Contracts expire-players will be released
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 6 December 2015 at 9:04pm
First of all – apologies as there was no article last week. For those who follow my site you may have noticed I haven’t posted much either but fortunately normal service should be resumed now.
It’s been a relatively quiet week really at the academy. Aside from results on the pitch, the club officially confirmed the appointment of Liam Manning, who is the new assistant academy manager after James Rowe departed, and Peter Trevivian, who takes on the role of head of player development. Both are highly talented coaches with Manning joining from Ipswich and Trevivian joining from the FA.
It’s also that time where clubs across England start to decide who will be part of next season’s scholarship intake – with the deadline being March 2016 to submit the list to the FA. There have been no decisions just yet – the only player whose future was guaranteed was striker Yiannis Constantinou who we signed from Tottenham in the summer. Idris Kanu and Alfie Lewis are the leading candidates, with Ben Johnson, Malyk Hamilton, Ben Wells, Rosaire Longelo, Korrey Henry, Mason Barrett and more recently, Abdoulahi Diallo and Conor Coventry have all featured for the U18s, with goalkeeper Tyler Forde on the bench numerous times. Aji Alese will be U16 next season.
Those are not the only contract decisions to be made, either. There are still a few second years yet to sign professional terms – namely Oscar Borg, Grady Diangana, Matt Carter, Ross Elsom, Noha Sylvestre and goalkeeper Clarke Bogard, along with third year scholar Tim Brown, also a goalkeeper. Sylvestre and Diangana surely will be offered deals, with the former being the U18s captain and is gradually working his way into the U21s and the latter being impressive at both U18 and U21 level both this season and last. Oscar Borg, the highly rated winger on trial at Manchester United last season which garnered much media attention hasn’t featured for the U21s as much, along with Matt Carter, another highly rated player. The club will only likely retain one of Bogard or Brown, with Bogard spending the rest of season at Tilbury with a possible scholarship extension and Brown, who was loaned to Dulwich Hamlet as a first year, Canvey Island as a second year and now Chelmsford up until January, looking more likely to depart. Ross Elsom has unfortunately been injured a few times so he should be offered an extension too.
Raphael Spiegel, who joined in 2012, sees his contract expire at the end of the season and is not likely to be retained, with Sam Howes, despite being very young, seen as a better third choice option. Howes should be the main U21 goalkeeper, backed up by either Bogard or Brown. Rihards Matrevics, who hasn’t even played for the U18s yet, will be a second year next season and if Spanish goalkeeper Pablo Vazquez ends up signing he will also fall into that age group. Tyler Forde or Jake Leonard may be signing scholarships, and there is also a highly rated goalkeeper waiting on clearance who will also be a second year next season if he does sign. This season we have already seen Dan Boness leave for Colchester and Mitchell Ware leave to Ipswich due to the lack of opportunities.
And of course, there are young professionals seeing their contracts expire. They include Luka Belic, signed only this season, but the Serbian striker has struggled with injuries since his arrival. Defensive midfielders Moses Makasi and Amos Nasha, winger Nathan Mavila, strikers Jordan Brown and Elliot Lee, defender Leo Chambers also out of contract at the end of the season. Lee and Chambers will both be overage players for the U21s next season so their future depends on whether Slaven Bilic sees him in his first team plans. Makasi and Nasha have been hugely impressive for the U21s and personally I think they definitely deserve an extended say if Alex Song does not sign for us permanently – though if Noha Sylvestre stays on next season it will be a little overcrowded in the defensive midfield area, with Matt Carter and Ross Elsom also capable of playing there if they too turn professional. Mavila is a pacy winger whose future will likely depend on Oscar Borg signing, whilst Jordan Brown should get an extension after his impressive displays this season as he looks to be the main striker for the U21s next term.