The Crystal Palace Youth Academy is considered to be one of the best in the English game but does that hold up under scrutiny?
At least that is what we’re told because we’ve churned out gems that litter the game such as… erm… Wilfred Zaha… Nathaniel Clyne… erm… Victor Moses…
Okay, I need to look at this in a little more depth.
The fact is, the academy hasn’t churned out as many gems as you might think, certainly not by Premier League standards.
So, what would be considered a gem?
Back in 2001 when our first academy graduate, Wayne Routledge, broke in to the first team, we were grateful for whatever we could produce, especially if we could sell them on for a tidy profit.
Founded in 2000 by former chairman Simon Jordan after he took the club out of administration, the academy has gone on to produce 38 players who have made appearances for the first team. Of the 38, just 11 of them have gone on to make 30 or more senior appearances.
Can you name all 11?
Can you name 5 of them?
Of course, this isn’t to say our youth academy is shit but on the other hand, it isn’t like Manchester United’s either.
Today our demands are higher than that of the ‘naughties’ in that we are a Premier League club about to complete it’s fourth consecutive season.
How many of the players on the graduate list from the last 16 years would get game time in our team today if they were coming through the system?
I think 3 of them would, 4 at a push. Those being Zaha, Moses, Clyne and maybe Routledge.
Three players from 16 years years isn’t that good, is it?
Who would you consider to be our most successful graduate during that time?
Would it be Wilfried Zaha because we sold him to Manchester United for £15million? Or would it be Jonny Williams because he’s played 17 times for the Welsh national team making him our most capped player?
Would it be someone else, such as Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne, Chelsea winger Victor Moses or Swansea City winger Wayne Routledge?
Here is the list in full. Appearances and goals are for all senior league and cup competitions;
|John Bostock||2007-08||5||0||RC Lens|
|Ashley-Paul Robinson||2007-08||6||0||Tooting & Mitcham|
|Kieran Djilali||2008-09||35||1||Free Agent|
|James Comley||2008-09||6||0||St. Albans|
|Kieron Cadogan||2008-10||25||2||Free Agent|
|Wilfried Zaha||2010-13||251||33||Crystal Palace|
|Ibra Sekajja||2011-14||3||1||Hemel Hempstead|
|Jonathan Williams||2011-||69||1||Crystal Palace|
|Kyle De Silva||2012-15||10||0||FC Eindhoven|
|Hiram Boateng||2013-||3||0||Crystal Palace|
|Sullay Kaikai||2014-||4||1||Crystal Palace|
Information correct as of 13th April 2017