BEST YOUNG ENGLISH FOOTBALLERS
Eze Dasilva James White Lamptey Madueke
England have one of the brightest crop of young players coming through in Fifa and Football Manager.
Here, we profile a group of them, taking a look at their background and style of play, with links out to other Scouted Football resources where you learn more about them.
You can find our best and most detailed reports in the Scouted Football Handbook, our quarterly magazine in which we profile 25 of the world’s best up-and-coming talents, with additional features and interviews also included.
We will be keeping this page updated regularly with new reports, as well as updates to the existing profiles.
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A breakthrough players in the 2019/20 season for Brentfotrd, Josh Dasilva is a standout midfielder in the Championship. He was a striker in Arsenal’s youth teams before Thierry Henry (then-Arsenal U-19 coach) dropped him into deeper positions, initially as a left-sided defender then into midfield.
STYLE OF PLAY
Josh Dasilva is a dynamic midfielder. He plays as an 8 for Brentford, making key contributions in every phase of play. He tends to play in right-sided areas, but slides laterally often and is prominent in deeper areas (build-up) and around the box (attacks).
He is a very impressive athlete. He has good burst and change of pace which is effective over every distance, as well as the power to sustain big runs over long distances. He looks a couple of inches taller than his listed 6’0”, perhaps because of his muscular frame. His solid core means he has good balance/strength to withstand challenges and hold off opponents in contact.
His athleticism is a key component in his strong ability as a ball-carrier. He coordinates his physical attributes with good technical skill to break pressure in congested areas then drive into open space with poise and power. Dasilva is especially good in broken play – when play breaks down, he is effective at securing the ball and driving forward to exploit space.
Dasilva’s general technical level is of a Premier League standard. He has good touch and technique in his passing and dribbling, and is also a very decent ball-striker. Around the penalty area, he is adept at sliding clever through passes into runners or shifting the ball to shoot from the edge of the box with his strong left foot.
His defensive output is below-average, probably a result of his passive role in this Brentford team. He rarely engages in duels, but has adequate mobility, physique and work-rate to be a positive defensive asset in future. Needs to improve his awareness/positioning in defensive phases. Question marks about his ability to receive ball between lines; body often too square to ball and struggles to turn quickly/efficiently in order to drive into space + attack defence.
Last Updated: 01.03.2021 | Llew Davies
Suffered a lot of rejection in formative years, having been dropped by Arsenal, Fulham, Reading and Millwall before joining QPR as a 17-year-old. Broke into their first-team in 2018/19 after a loan at Wycombe Wanderers in League One. Established himself as a genuine superstar in the Championship with exciting skillset and high-level ceiling. Eze made his big move to the Premier League move in 2020, joining Crystal Palace for a fee of around £20 million.
Eze has since become a regular in Roy Hodgson’s side, offering an alternative attacking threat to – and much-needed creative support for – Wilfried Zaha. An unfortunate achilles injury has halted Eze’s hot start at Selhurst Park, but will hopefully be back fit and firing later in the 2021/22 season.
STYLE OF PLAY
Ebere Eze was an extraordinary player in the Championship. He combined graceful touch and technique with explosive bursts of speed, making him a dangerously dynamic attacker. He is beginning to show those qualities on a consistent basis in the Premier League too, providing Wilfried Zaha the creative support he has needed for some time at Crystal Palace.
Ball-carrying ability is a key aspect of his skillset. Has the control and athleticism to eliminate multiple players and drive into open space. His coordination in tight spaces is good, as is his ability to withstand contact. Regularly bounces through challenges or skips over tackles using tight, technical touches to keep possession and explosive burst to create separation. Similar to an NFL QB (Lamar Jackson) in ability to extend sequences, turn out of pressure and exploit space. Exceptional change of tempo.
Good at manipulating ball to create separation to shoot or draw a foul. Decent with his weaker left foot and a solid ball-striker off either side when shooting and passing – adds another layer of danger. Efficient at linking play across final third, probing defences with fast combinations. Has potential as a creative passer – decent vision and touch to see/attempt killer passes but has some inconsistencies also. Significant upside in this aspect.
Has potential as a proactive defender: solid technique in defensive duels to jockey ball-carrier, and has the athleticism to match opponents, recover defensive positions or press the ball effectively. Unfairly criticised for perceived lack of work-rate.
Last Updated: 01.09.2021 | Llew Davies
Is Reece James England’s best right-back?
Jody Morris’s 2017/18 treble-winning captain has been at Chelsea since the age of six.
A two-time FA Youth Cup winner, two-time U18 Premier League champion, Toulon Tournament winner, Toulon Team of the Tournament, Toulon Tournament Player of the Final, UEFA European U-19 Championship winner, Chelsea Academy Player of the Year. James’ youth career was prestigious.
But it was a loan spell to Wigan during the 2018-19 season that provided the Cobham graduate with his first taste in senior football. Then-manager Paul Cook lauded James as “Player of the Month every month, and he’s Man of the Match almost every week.”
Frank Lampard’s arrival at Chelsea combined with a transfer ban gave the club’s academy graduates a platform to make their claim to first-team minutes. James has since established himself as the first-choice right-back, displacing club captain César Azpilicueta.
At international level, he looks set to battle with Trent Alexander-Arnold among numerous other right-back prospects for England’s most fiercely contested position.
STYLE OF PLAY
Reece James has won a treble on the right side of a back three, international tournaments as a wing-back, and established himself as Wigan’s best player in an all-action midfield role.
Physically, the versatile 21-year-old is stocky, strong, and unrelenting. Although not blessed with searing pace, he moves quickly enough to cause concern, as well as combining it with a strength that makes him a powerful, if not electric, runner. His stamina means that whilst he may never hit a top speed that frightens the most rapid of opposing full-backs, he can hit the same velocity in the first minute right until the final whistle blows.
A genius crosser of the ball, his ability to consistently find his teammates on the move or from dead-ball situations makes his distribution arguably his greatest asset. The catalogue of different deliveries at James’ disposal ranges from whipped, near-undefendable crosses to deft dinks, surgically precise cut-backs. James also possesses a mighty right-foot, capable of summoning powerful strikes from distance. The Chelsea man is not just equipped with an explosive cannon of a right foot, he has access to a fully-stocked armoury for any situation.
If Alexander-Arnold represents the luxury full-back – blessed with unbelievable technique and a joy to have in possession – and Wan-Bissaka is seen as the opposite – nearly unbeatable in a duel and reliable to an almost robotic sense – then what makes Reece James’s potential so frightening is that his skillset is the marriage of both. His development as a forward has equipped him with all the tools necessary to rival his London rival’s claim to be a winger’s least favourite opponent, whilst his forays in midfield and even at centre-back have cultivated a technique and passing range rare that could rival Merseyside’s own double-barrelled prodigy.
We’re quick to praise the complete forwards and all-around midfielders in the modern game. In Reece James, we have a multi-dimensional talent equipped to excel in any area of the pitch. That’s scary.
Last Updated: 01.03.2021 | Jake Entwistle
Will Tariq Lamptey be the Chelsea academy graduate that got away?
They have done a great job at blooding youngsters in recent years, but with the South Londoner’s path blocked by Reece James, he sought pastures new with a move to Brighton in January 2020.
So far, the move has worked perfectly, as he has blossomed into an undoubtedly Premier League level right wing-back.
STYLE OF PLAY
As a miniature player, Lamptey is always going to struggle body-to-body, but he has shaped his game around his best asset: his electric pace.
His speed allows him to command the entire right flank, making direct runs at the opposition full-back near the penalty area at one end, before just as quickly recovering to make an intervention near his own box.
Already he is developing a great tactical understanding working within Graham Potter’s three-man defensive system, recognising when he has cover to push forward and stretch the field, or when he needs to tuck in and provide defensive cover himself.
Perhaps his best defensive attribute is the amount of cover he can provide his team when they have attacking set-pieces. It is so hard to launch direct balls to counter Brighton from these situations because Lamptey can cover the ground so quickly.
With the ball at his feet, he can be a little bit untidy. However, his directness constantly puts defenders into stressful situations where they are in danger of giving away penalties.
His insane agility when moving at speed makes it very difficult to tackle him cleanly.
Last Updated: 01.03.2021 | STEPHEN GANAVAS
Former Tottenham Hotspur academy product Noni Madueke has had a blockbuster start to life as a professional footballer, rapidly announcing himself on the youth football circuit in Holland since his 2019 arrival.
Madueke made it abundantly clear with his straight-line dynamism, strong ball-carrying ability for his age and ability to turn ball dominance into tangible opportunities that he was ready for first-team football.
Under Roger Schmidt, Madueke has been used as a right-sided forward or right-winger, often from the substitutes’ bench to accentuate his outstanding physical attributes.
STYLE OF PLAY
He has high-level potential as a dribbler, makes smart decisions which often end in goals or assists and has strong command over his technical ability even when moving at pace. Combined with his natural athleticism, Madueke has the potential to play multiple positions and in multiple setups, although against high-lines he will naturally be most devastating.
For a player so young, the core attributes which often develop a little later such as honed ball-striking technique from good locations and the ability to ride multiple challenges are already in place.
Should he continue to add to the building blocks currently aiding him in becoming one of the Eredivisie’s most explosive players, there is nothing to suggest he cannot be a top five leagues calibre attacker.
Last Updated: 01.03.2021 | Joe Donnohue
Ben White is one of Brighton’s success stories, having been developed through the club’s academy system during his latter teenage years. A free transfer from Southampton’s set up, White played under-18 and under-23 football before going out on loan first to Newport County and then Peterborough United where he earned rave reviews for his ball-playing pedigree.
It was to be at Leeds United during 2019/20 where White’s stock rose exponentially. In a title-winning team, he featured predominantly at centre-half, responsible for build-up in defensive phases. One of the most notable features of White’s style is that despite not being the most physically imposing, he rarely finds himself drawn into physical duels.
STYLE OF PLAY
His reading of opponents’ patterns of play and good control over his own movements mean he is an elite presser and interceptor of the ball. White’s comfort in possession means he has been utilised quite frequently as a defensive buffer in Graham Potter’s Brighton side.
He is as capable of making a slide-rule, line-breaking pass through bodies as he is at completing more rudimentary, traditional defensive duties.
White’s decision-making is often spotless, and is always a welcome receiver for progressive passing when he plays further up the pitch, which is a nod towards his acute appreciation of space. He is particularly adept at winning the ball in more advanced areas, forcing turnovers in dangerous positions.
His recent big-money move to Arsenal will prove to be a further test of White’s capabilities, with the Gunners placing enormous faith in the Englishman to be a long-term solution at the back: a position which has long been a weakness for them.
Last Updated: 01.09.2021 | Joe Donnohue
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