Archive for October, 2020

FA Youth Cup Man City & Rangers

October 31, 2020

When I noticed that the FA Youth Cup Semi Finals were on BT Sport my attention was brought to the first game at St.George’s Park between Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. I remembered a young Rangers side’s win over Man City at the Istria Youth Cup in 2018. So I wondered if any of that Man City squad would be playing tonight.

I soon realised this was last season’s FA Youth Cup and therefore the players were predominately 2002’s. Rangers squad at that tournament in 2018 were all 2003’s and 2004’s, although the Man City squad did include two 2001’s and three 2002’s. One of those 2002’s Cole Palmer and a 2003 Luke Mbete-Tabu were in the starting lineup for the 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Yet in the game two years ago Rangers defeated the English giants 3-2, the goals coming from Ross McCausland, Leon King and Arron Lyall. These goals can be viewed on the link below.

It is interesting to look at both squads with the bulk of them still at the respective clubs. A handful have moved on from Man City, Felix Goddard (Blackburn Rovers), Leojo Davidson (Sheffield Wednesday), Fedel Ross-Lang (Southampton), and Charlie McNeill (Man Utd). I couldn’t find Sonny Perkins linked to Man City but West Ham’s player of that name was at Leyton Orient at the time, perhaps he “guested” for Man City at that tournament.

At the time Rangers three Northern Irish boys were technically trialists, Ross McCausland and Lewis MacKinnon has since singed for the club while Charlie Allan joined Leeds United this summer. Another six of the Rangers squad have moved on Reegan Aitken (Morton), Aiden Berry (Kilmarnock), Rhys Caves (Dundee United), Adam Mansouri (Dundee), Lewis Robertson (Motherwell) and of course Dire Mebude joined Man City in the summer.

Back Row:- Leon King, Adam Devine, Aidan Berry, Jay Hogarth, Ross McCausland, Jack McConnell, Lewis MacKinnon, Rhys Caves, Cole McKinnon, Adam Mansouri. Front Row:- Robbie Fraser, Dire Mebude, Alex Lowry, Charlie Allen, Lewis Robertson, Reegan Aitken, Matthew Henderson, Arron Lyall.

In the FA Youth Cup’s other Semi Final Chelsea beat Man Utd 1-0. The final is on BT Sport on Monday.

Champions Youth League Appearances

October 3, 2020

Following on from the latest post which looked at the top scorers in the UEFA Youth League. This post will look at the players who have made the most appearances in the competition and how they have progressed.

The nature of the competition mean the players that have made the most games tend to be from clubs who are in the competition on a regular basis.

Pedro Alvaro (Benfica) – Out on his own with twenty eight appearances the twenty year old has still to make the breakthrough at Benfica. He has played on a fairly regular basis for Benfica B.

Pedro Alvaro

Diogo Costa (Porto) – One appearance behind, Swiss goalkeeper Costa made his first team debut in September 2019 in the Taca de Liga (League Cup) against CD Santa Clara. Two weeks later a league start followed in a deafeat at Boavista FC.

Timothy Eyoma (Tottenham Hotspur) – Currently on loan at Lincoln City, Timothy is comfortable at either centre back or full back. He made a first team appearance in January 2019 as a sub in the FA Cup Tie away to Tranmere Rovers.

Timothy Emoya

Oscar Rodriguez (Real Madrid) – The attacking midfielder’s only top team appearance came in November 2017 against CF Fuenlabrada in the Copa del Rey. A successful two year loan spell at Leganes followed, top scorer in last season’s campaign that saw Leganes relegated. His performances were noted and Sevilla paid €13.5 million for his services in the summer.

Carles Perez (Barcelona) – Carles featured in the previous post as one of the tournament’s top scorers. Now at Roma following a €11 million transfer, he made thirteen top team appearances at Barcelona before the move to Italy.

Carles Perez

.All the above players played in at least twenty four games, below are a few selected players who made between twenty and twenty-three appearances

There are two players that would be considered real successes. Shakhtor Donetsk’s Mytola Matviyenko, the defender made his debut in October 2015 and has gone on to make over a hundred appearances for the club.

Although Fode Toure never made the top team at PSG a couple of years at both Lille and Monaco sees him close in on a hundred Ligue One games.

Fode Toure

There are a few players that have a link to British football, none more so than Calvin Miller (Celtic) who made twenty appearances in the competition. The former Rangers SABC player made a handful of first team appearances and had successful loan spells and Dundee and Ayr United. Left Celtic in the summer and has only just signed for Harrogate Town.

Calvin Miller just signed for Harrogate Town

Winger Yakou Meite appeared in the competition for PSG on twenty-three occasions. He signed for Reading at the start of 2016/2017 season and is still at the Championship club.

Chelsea wing-back Ola Aina is another on twenty games. He made his Chelsea debut in 2016/17 season in a league cup game against Bristol Rovers, he spent the following season on loan at Hull City. In season 2018/19 he moved to Italy on loan at Torino, in July 2019 the Italian club triggered the option to buy for a reported £9 million. Changed his international allegiance from England to Nigeria and now has seventeen caps.

Ola Aina

Another twenty appearance man Hildeberto Pereira has got around, no top team games at Benfica but a loan move to Nottigham Forrest in 2016/17 season. On leaving Benfica he joined Legia Warsaw but failed to become a regular and moved to Northampton Town on loan. Since then he returned to Portugal with Vitoria Setubal and is now playing in China with Kunshan.

A couple of clubs players feature heavily in the list. Six Real Madrid players are either still trying to break through at the club or have moved on. Victor Chust is a regular in the B team and Alberto Fernandez is on loan at UCAM Murcia. Miguel Baeza is still in La Liga with Celta Vigo, while Cristian Cedres and Aleix Febas have dropped to the Segunda Divison with Las Palmas and Real Mallorca respectively. Alex Martin has dropped further and is now at fourth tier FC Cartagena.

Victor Chust

Porto are the other club that feature prominently and in Diogo Queiros they have a centre back on loan at Mouscron in Belgium who will still be hoping to be a Porto player. Primeira Liga side Portomonense SC have picked up both Paulo Estrela and Bruno Costa. Joao Cardoso is now at second tier Estoril. Midfielder Moreto Cassama has moved to French football and Reims in the top league.

Moreto Cassama

Champions Youth League Scorers

October 1, 2020

With all football effectively still in lockdown its been difficult to think of posts to keep the blog ticking over. When the news came out this week that the UEFA Youth League is postponed until March 2021 it gave me an idea.

In this post I’ll look at the UEFA Youth League “stars” in terms of goals scored. At the top there are three players on fifteen goals and the all players featured have scored at least ten.

Charlie Brown (Chelsea) – Signed from Ipswich town as a sixteen year old Charlie turned 21 a week ago. Twelve of his goals came in season 2018/19 when he finished as the season’s top scorer. Yet to make a first team appearance at Chelsea he moved to Belgian second division side Royal Union Saint Gilloise in January. He only made three appearances before the season came to a premature end and has returned to the Belgian club for the coming season.

Charlie Brown at Union Saint Gilloise on loan from Chelsea

Borja Mayoral (Real Madrid) – Scored seven goals in the 2014 competition and made his senior debut for Real Madrid B three months short of his eighteenth birthday. In October 2015 he made his La Liga debut as a substitute against UD Las Palmas. At the start of 2016/17 season he was loaned to VfL Wolfsburg, scoring twice in nineteen appearances.

Back at Real in 2017/18 season he scored seven goals in twenty four appearances across all competitions. The next two seasons was spent on loan at Levante, eleven goals in sixty-three appearances and returned to Real this summer. Now aged twenty-three he came on as a sub in Real’s most recent game against Real Betis. He has been strongly linked with Roma this transfer window.

Roberto Nunez (Atletico Madrid) – Roberto mainly played with Atletico’s B & C teams but did make his debut as a sub in a Copa del Rey game against CD Guijeulo. He left Atletico at the start of 2017/18 season for Royal Antwerp in Belgium, but a season with only a couple of cup appearances saw a return to Spain with Las Palmas. For the last two seasons he has turned out for Las Palmas Atletico, the reserve team. He was released at the end of the season and is now a free agent.

A couple of Chelsea players who will be familiar to most are just behind in the scoring lists. Tammy Abraham is now pretty much part of the Chelsea squad and a current England International. He benefited from loan spells at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa before establishing himself at Chelsea.

Tammy Abraham

Dominic Solanke made his Chelsea debut in the Uefa Champions League against NK Maribor. Top scorer in the 2014/15 Uefa Youth League scoring in the final when Chelsea beat Shakhtar Donestk. A loan spell at Vitesse Arhem followed.On his contract expiry he opted to join Liverpool with a tribunal setting the fee around £3 million. Despite twenty+ appearances he never became a regular and was transferred to Bournemouth for a reported £19 million. Played in Bournemouth’s three Championship games this season scoring once.

A couple of nineteen year olds are in the early days at their clubs but making progress. Liverpool’s Curtis Jones was in double figures in terms of appearances last season and has already caught the eye this season. Goncalo Ramos at Benfica is a wee bit behind, only recently making his first team debut as a late sub against Aves.

Curtis Jones

There are also another couple of players who their Uefa Youth League clubs haven’t given up on and are currently out on loan. Napoli’s Gianluca Gaetano has broke into the top team but has been on loan at Serie B Cremonese since January. Diogo Goncalves who had a loan spell at Nottingham Forest is still on Benfica’s books but is on loan at Portuguese top tier side Famalicao.

Gianluca Gaetano

A few players on the list may have moved on but still would be considered to be playing at the top level. Jean Kevin Augustin who scored his goals for PSG has recently joined Leeds United on loan from RB Leipzig. Seville’s Munnir El Haddadi scored his goals for Barcelona but declined a new contact and moved to Seville in January 2019. Another Barcelona graduate Carles Perez moved to Roma on loan in January and made the move permanent this summer for €11 million.

Sevilla’s Munnir El Haddadi

The next group of players have again moved on but are still playing in top level leagues. Timur Zhamaletdinov scored goals for CSKA Moscow, benefited from a loan spell in Poland with Lech Poznan and is now back in the Russian top division with FC Ufa. Another Russian Ivan Ignatyev is playing for Rubin Kazan having scored in the Uefa Youth League for Krasnodar. Dani Gomez never got beyond the B Team at Real Madrid but following a loan spell at second tier CD Tenerife, he signed a five year contract with La Liga side Levante UD. A couple of top team appearances and a loan move to FC Groningen was the grounding for Kaj Sierhuis move to Ligue One and Reims for €4 million in the summer.

Kaj Sierhuis

Two players have slipped into second tier football but are still playing at a good level. Brother of Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, Arron Leya Iseka scored the goals when at Anderlecht where he did make the first team but since June 2018 he has been at Toulouse in the French second division. Although Jordi Mboula never made the Barcelona first team he reached double figures when he moved to AS Monaco. He recently returned to Spain signing a four year contract at second division Real Mallorca.

Arron Leya Iseka

Quite an impressive list with only Roberto Nunez, ironically one of the three players on fifteen goals, struggling to remain at a good level.