New Signings Revealed
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 15 November 2015 at 10:40pm
First of all I’d like to thank ExWHUEmployee very much for giving me the opportunity to write for his new website and I hope to write many more articles.
It’s been a busy past couple of weeks at the academy. Second year scholar Marcus Browne signed his first ever professional contract and I have to say, he really does deserve it. He struggled a bit last season unfortunately due to some injury problems but he has come back very strongly this season with some amazing performances for the U18s and U21s. He’s been the academy for quite a while too, since he was eight years old and it’s always good to see a long-serving player rewarded with a professional contract. Hopefully he keeps up his impressive performances up for the U21s and hopefully, in the near future, makes his first team debut.
Chelsea’s winger Dan Kemp is also set to sign for the club too. Having signed his scholarship at Chelsea only this summer it seems quite surprising to move only a few months into this season but it is fair to say Kemp is quite an exciting player who can also play up front or in attacking midfield if needed. However I am quite surprised that he was brought in considering we already have options on the wing and up front but with Anthony Scully and Jahmal Hector-Ingram unfortunately having injury problems so far, perhaps Terry Westley is looking for more cover in those areas. Despite this I would’ve thought more U16s could play up for the U18s. Idris Kanu is one that has obviously impressed, alongside Rosaire Longelo, Mason Barrett, Alfie Lewis and Ben Johnson this season and hopefully players such as Malyk Hamilton, Abdoulahi Diallo, Tyler Forde, Josh Rossiter and Korrey Henry all get their chances too at some point.
Goalkeeper Dan Boness also departed the club. The second year scholar signed for Colchester after finding opportunities limited during his one year spell at the club. Boness signed from Colchester towards the end of his U16 season, late on in the 2013/14 season and was one of three goalkeepers to sign a scholarship (the other two being Sam Howes and Clarke Bogard) in summer 2014. He only made one league appearance in 2014/15, during the 2-0 loss to Derby which was mainly an opportunity for schoolboys and only has featured in friendlies otherwise. There was no doubt he was a talented goalkeeper, but with Howes, Bogard, Tim Brown, new signing Rihards Matrevics and U16s Tyler Forde and Jake Leonard to compete with it was quite crowded. U16 goalkeeper Mitchell Ware also departed, signing for Ipswich Town. Last season U16 goalkeeper Nathan Parsons was surprisingly not offered a scholarship with the club and unfortunately, he remains unattached.
As well as that, in the next couple of months it will be a hard task for Westley and his team as they select who will receive a scholarship, with these groups being the first “Olympic Stadium” scholarship intake. Personally I’ve always thought it seems quite an early time to make this decision but some would say it allows players more time to find a new club. There are only 16 U16s in total, with Mitchell Ware signing for Ipswich and Jesse Osaro leaving for Dagenham & Redbridge last season, and it is definitely one of the most talented groups yet in my opinion. With only eight out of last season’s 15 receiving a deal (including Reece Oxford, effectively making it seven), this suggests quite a lot of the group will receive deals. Players like Idris Kanu and Alfie Lewis lead the running and ideally, I’d hope that all 16 get one as they have all been working hard so far and deserve one. Most have played for the U18s already so they definitely have the experience, and with players like Tunji Akinola, Joe Powell, Declan Rice and Vashon Neufville likely playing up for the U21s there are plenty of opportunites.