Which Premier League team has the most youth academy graduates in their squad?
By Matthew Cheetham
Last Updated: 11/11/15 9:43am
Arsenal, Tottenham and Southampton are currently the top developers of young players in the Premier League.
The north London rivals and Saints each have nine players in their squads who have stepped up from their youth ranks to play in the Premier League, according to a new Sky Sports study.
However, no current Bournemouth or Swansea player has progressed from the youth ranks to play for their club in the Premier League, while, of their current squad, Kelechi Iheanacho is the only former Manchester City youngster to play for the current first-team squad in the top flight.
With transfers of young players meaning many footballers spend different phases of their development at different clubs, gauging how many players a club has developed is a complex matter. So for this study we established three key rules. Players are only considered if…
- They joined their club before their 18th birthday
- They played for their club's U18 side or equivalent
- They had not played a senior match for another professional team before joining their current club
YOUR CLUB'S YOUTH PLAYERS
ARSENAL - 9 players
Nine Arsenal players have progressed from their youth ranks to play for the first team in the Premier League - and six of them have gone on to make over 10 appearances for the club in the top flight. Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin have all become first-team regulars, while Wojciech Szczesny and Serge Gnabry have had Premier League experiences before going out on loan. Ainsley Maitland-Niles (on loan at Ipswich), Chuba Akpom (on loan at Hull City) and Alex Iwobi have each appeared in at least one top flight game for Arsene Wenger.
TOTTENHAM - 9 players
Tottenham have fielded the youngest team in the Premier League on average this season - and nine of the footballers in their squad have stepped up from their youth system. Danny Rose spent much of his youth with Leeds United before joining Tottenham aged 17. He has since gone on to make 68 Premier League appearances for Spurs, while Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Tom Carroll have also racked up significant game time with the first-team after developing with Tottenham. Alex Pritchard, Milos Veljkovic and Josh Onomah have each made one appearance for Spurs.
SOUTHAMPTON - 9 players
Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain… the Southampton academy has produced a raft of top talent in the past and continues to do so today, with nine of Saints' current squad featuring in the Premier League after stepping up from youth level. James Ward-Prowse and Matt Targett are among that number, while the likes of Sam Gallagher - who joined Saints as a 17-year-old from Plymouth - suggest the future's bright on the south coast. Other Saints youth players to get a taste of Premier League action are: Harrison Reed, Ryan Seager, Jake Hesketh, Dominic Gape, Jason McCarthy, Lloyd Isgrove.
MANCHESTER UNITED - 8 players
Famed for the crop of players they brought through in the 1990s, Manchester United continue to produce plenty of homegrown talent, with eight of the current squad being former youth players who have enjoyed Premier League game-time. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is the latest name on the list, while James Wilson and Paddy McNair are included in that figure, too. So is Adnan Januzaj, who is out on loan at Borussia Dortmund. The Brussels-born Belgium international joined United from Anderlecht as a 16-year-old. Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Will Keane and Tyler Blackett have also stepped up to the first team.
NEWCASTLE - 7 players
Newcastle have seen seven of their current players step up from their academy into the first-team squad and make a Premier League appearance - with six of those players enjoying substantial game time in the top flight. Injured goalkeeper Tim Krul, for example, has been with the club since the age of 17, while 18-year-old Adam Armstrong is impressing on loan at Coventry in League One after making 15 appearances in the Premier League. The others are: Paul Dummett, Rolando Aarons, Steven Taylor, Sammy Ameobi and Shane Ferguson.
ASTON VILLA - 7 players
Exciting youngster Jack Grealish has been getting plenty of game time for Aston Villa since progressing from their youth system, and he joins six other former academy players in the Villans squad who have featured in the top flight. Gabriel Agbonlahor is by far the most experienced of that crop - the club captain has made over 300 appearances for his hometown team - with the five being: Ciaran Clark, Gary Gardner, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Callum Robinson and Nathan Baker.
EVERTON - 6 players
Roberto Martinez has described Everton's emerging youngsters as a 'golden generation' and the Spaniard hasn't been slow to utilise the Toffees' budding talent in the Premier League. Defender Tyias Browning is beginning to earn more first-team opportunities, while the likes of Ross Barkley follow in the footsteps of team-mates Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert - the pair have made over 600 Premier League appearances between them since stepping up from the youth ranks. However, talented full-back Brendan Galloway isn't included as he made 10 first-team appearances for MK Dons before signing for Everton in 2014. The other youth graduates with Premier League experience are Luke Garbutt and Conor McAleny.
WEST HAM - 6 players
Mark Noble and James Tomkins are West Ham's most established youth team graduates in their first-team squad but the likes of Reece Oxford, Elliot Lee and Josh Cullen will be hoping to add to their current tally of Premier League appearances. In total, six current West Ham players have stepped up from the youth team to play in the Premier League, including defender Reece Burke who is out on loan at Bradford City.
CHELSEA - 6 players
Chelsea won the UEFA Youth League and, for the fourth time in six years, the FA Youth Cup last season, so undoubtedly have talented players coming through their ranks. John Terry is the only former Chelsea youth player in the current squad to have made more than 10 Premier League appearances but the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and on-loan quartet Nathan Ake, John Swift, Lucas Piazon and Andreas Christensen will be hoping to make their mark. As will Isaiah Brown, who captained the young Blues to their double success last season - but he doesn't make our list as he played for West Brom in the Premier League as a 16-year-old before signing for Chelsea in 2013.
LIVERPOOL - 5 players
Five of Liverpool's current squad have stepped up from the youth team to play in the Premier League, including the likes of Jon Flanagan, Jordan Rossiter and Andre Wisdom, who is out on loan at Norwich City. However, Jordon Ibe, who played for Wycombe before joining the Reds academy aged 16, and Joao Teixeira, who joined Liverpool as a 19 year old, don't meet the criteria for our list. Even though Teixeira was voted Liverpool's Academy player of the year last season! Jerome Sinclair and Brad Smith are the other players who have made the step up.
LEICESTER - 4 players
Andy King and Jeffrey Schlupp are established first-team players at Leicester City who have come through the youth system, while former youth team captain Liam Moore is currently out on loan with Bristol City. Joe Dodoo is the latest starlet to emerge from Leicester City's youth team. He made his Premier League debut in August after netting a hat-trick in the League Cup against Bury on his first-team debut. Harry Panayiotou is also a Leicester youth product but, although he's appeared in the Championship, is yet to feature in the Premier League.
NORWICH - 3 players
Three current Norwich players have progressed from their development sides to play in the Premier League for the Canaries - however, two are out on loan at the moment. Josh Murphy and Jamar Loza - who were both part of Norwich's 2012/13 FA Youth Cup winning team, are with MK Dons and Stevenage, respectively. Another member of that victorious side, Carlton Morris, has featured for Norwich in the Championship but hasn't yet made a Premier League appearance. Of Norwich's current squad, Declan Rudd is the third academy graduate to feature in the Premier League.
CRYSTAL PALACE - 2 players
Wilfried Zaha, back at Crystal Palace after his short spell at Manchester United, is one of the club's homegrown players who have gone on to represent the Eagles in the Premier League. The twice-capped England international joined Palace as a 12-year-old and is now a regular in Alan Pardew's side. The other Palace player to make our list is midfielder Jonathan Williams, who is currently out on loan at Nottingham Forest but has 11 Premier League appearances to his name.
WEST BROM - 1 player
Saido Berahino is the only player in the current West Brom squad who has progressed from the club's youth system to play in the Premier League. The England U21 ace has three goals in nine appearances this season, after a summer which saw the forward strongly linked with a move away from the Hawthorns.
WATFORD - 1 player
Of Watford's current squad, Lloyd Doyley is the only player who has progressed from the youth team to play in the Premier League. However, six academy graduates in Quique Sanchez Flores' squad have represented the Hornets in the Championship: Bernard Mensah, Connor Smith, George Byers, Alex Jakubiak, Josh Doherty, Tommie Hoban and Sean Murray.
MAN CITY - 1 player
Kelechi Iheanacho burst onto the scene this season with his 90th-minute winner for Manchester City against Crystal Palace. However, the Nigeria forward is the only player in City's squad who has stepped up from the youth team to feature in the Premier League.
STOKE - 1 player
Seventeen-year-old midfielder Ollie Shenton made his Premier League debut for Stoke in February - becoming the only player in the current Potters' squad to have progressed from their academy to play for the first-team in the top-flight.
SUNDERLAND - 1 player
Mikael Mandron is the only Black Cats academy graduate to feature in the Premier League for the club, of the current players at Sam Allardyce's disposal. The 21-year-old joined the club as a 16-year-old and made his debut as a late substitute for Danny Graham in a 6-1 thrashing by Aston Villa in April 2013.
SWANSEA - 0 players
No former academy player in Swansea's squad has Premier League experience - however, two have managed a solitary Championship appearance each. Welsh pair Lee Lucas and Daniel Alfei - both 23 - made their first-team debuts in the latter part of Swansea's promotion-winning 2010/11 Championship campaign, although neither have added to that appearance since.
BOURNEMOUTH - 0 players
Bournemouth are yet to field an academy graduate in their debut Premier League season. However, of players currently at the club, Josh Carmichael and Josh Wakefield have made appearances in the Football League. The midfield pair made four and three appearances for the Cherries, respectively, when the club was in League One.