Luke Freeman.

The Independent named their top 10 teenagers from outside the Premier League in 2008

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It’s becoming increasingly difficult for young players to get an opportunity in the Premier League.

The riches of England’s top flight means clubs are purchasing players from overseas who already have experience, instead of continuing to nurture their own talents.

England’s youth teams enjoyed a brilliant summer, winning the Toulon Tournament and U20 World Cup and reaching the final and semi-final of the U17 Euros and U21 Euros respectively.

Yet there’s no guarantee that these players will be given a chance to impress in the first teams of their clubs.

Dermot Drummy, who heads Chelsea’s academy, summed it up perfectly when he said club’s are putting on-pitch results over their youth players.

“Buying power is the issue,” Drummy said, per the Daily Mail.

“The top clubs can afford to get it wrong. I look at Ryan Bertrand as an example. In my eyes he was always a huge prospect. He felt the opportunity was not there and left Chelsea. Now there's talk about Manchester City wanting him.

“I had Romelu Lukaku at 18 and we worked hard on his finishing and you could see how talented he was but he was sold; it doesn't matter because they can buy him back.

"Look at Paul Pogba at Manchester United.

“It comes from the owners. If Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich said to Antonio Conte, 'Push the youth players, don't worry about results for a few seasons' they would come through. But you won't break the cycle unless that happens.”


So when you scan a list that the Independent published in 2008, of their top 10 teenagers to watch from outside the Premier League, it’s hardly a surprise that many failed to become household names.

Mark Beevers

Then: Sheffield Wednesday
Now: Bolton Wanderers

Northampton Town v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One

John Bostock

Then: Crystal Palace
Now: RC Lens

Luke Freeman

Then: Gillingham
Now: Queens Park Rangers

Queens Park Rangers v Northampton Town: Carabao Cup

Owen Garvan

Then: Ipswich Town
Now: St Patrick’s Athletic

Crystal Palace v Blackpool- npower Championship

Dan Gosling

Then: Plymouth
Now: Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United - Premier League

Chris Gunter

Then: Tottenham Hotspur
Now: Reading


Lee Hills

Then: Crystal Palace
Now: Unattatched

Aaron Ramsey

Then: Cardiff City
Now: Arsenal

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

Sean Scannell

Then: Crystal Palace
Now: Burton Albion (on loan from Huddersfield Town)

Leeds United v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship

Ben Tozer

Then: Newcastle United
Now: Newport County

Northampton Town v Yeovil Town - Sky Bet League Two

Arsenal midfielder Ramsey is the most recognised name to come from the list, with Gosling the only other player currently playing in the Premier League.

Getting to the top has never been harder.

Does more need to be done to give youth players a chance? Let us know in the comments section below!

Aaron Ramsey
England Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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