This week something very exciting happened at The Dripping Pan. No, it wasn’t anything to do with a rare horde of gold found as we relaid the pitch but news that Brighton & Hove Albion’s young midfielder Solly March had been called up to the England Under21 squad. The reason to celebrate? Well, young Solly had started his career at the Dripping Pan, playing in our Under18 side before he moved down the A27 to the Seagulls.
News of young English talent is rare these days. Whilst to some of us it only seems like a few years ago that a 18 year old Owen danced his way through the Argentinian defence at the World Cup – in fact it was “just” 16 years ago this summer. Yet Owen never worked his way up through the ranks with England, playing just once for the Under21’s before making his senior debut. In fact fewer and fewer England internationals these days ever turn out for the Under21’s, making the step straight into the England Team.
It is even rarer these days to see a young English player work their way up the ranks of a Premier League team and then be given a chance. Most teams have one or two players who have made it through the ranks such as Jack Wilshere at Arsenal or Tom Cleverley at Old Trafford. Gone are the days at Upton Park when the “Academy of Football” produced players every season for West Ham. Today, only local boy Mark Noble has been given a chance to make a mark on the first team.
So where do all these players come from? The infographic below, produced in association with Jacamo helps explains the situation.