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EFL young players: Who will shine in 2016/17? Managers have their say

5 August 2016

The EFL is often the breeding ground for young talent and 2016/17 is another opportunity for prospects to make their mark and introduce themselves to the footballing world.

Gareth Bale, Joe Hart, Dele Alli, John Stones – the list of players to come through the ranks of EFL clubs is endless, so who should we be looking out for in the upcoming campaign?

We asked some current EFL managers for their opinions, and here’s what they had to say…

Chris Hughton (Brighton & Hove Albion):

Solly March is one player who was coming onto a really good game before he got injured last season. He will miss the start of the season but probably about one month in he will be available. He’s a young player that was doing really well for us and it was a big shame that he picked up the injury he did. I’d like to see him make progress this season but he has a fair amount of competition because we’ve got a few good players in the wide areas, but hopefully he can have a good season.

Neil Harris (Millwall):

We have Jordan Archer, Ben Thompson, Mahlon Romeo, just to name a few. They’re super young talents but I always remind them that it’s not ideal being great for 15 or 20 games - you do 15 or 20 matches then you be great for 46 games the year after. So that’s the challenge. We hope as a club and I hope as a manager that they progress and perform consistently well over a good period of time. The hard work starts now.

Jim Bentley (Morecambe):

We've got a couple of good young players. Tom Barkhuizen has been doing well. We've just brought a lad in from Oldham called Rhys Turner. We also have Aaron McGowan. We have quite a young squad and we have high hopes for them all.

Rafael Benitez (Newcastle United):

We’ve got a good squad with a few young players who have got great potential. Adam Armstrong has been training with us this summer after scoring a lot of goals away on loan last season. Rolando Aarons is another exciting player in our squad. Hopefully they can have good seasons and contribute to the team.

🌟 2016/17 #EFL young stars 🌟

Rolando Aarons
Position: Winger
Age: 20

— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) July 29, 2016

Karl Robinson (Milton Keynes Dons):

I think Ben Reeves and Samir Carruthers are going to be key influences for us. I wouldn’t say they are that young - they’re 24 and 23 respectively which is old at our place - but they should both have wonderful seasons. We’ve also got a youngster called Oran Jackson, who has done really well for us in pre-season.

Paul Hurst (Grimsby Town):

I've signed a lad, Rhys Browne, from Aldershot Town – he's an exciting young player. We've got Omar Bogle up front, too. He had a couple of years at Solihull Moors then we took him last summer.

He started very well before having a down period in the middle of the season but came back and scored a lot of the important goals at the end of the campaign. He's keen to challenge himself and that was his reason for joining Grimsby, to get into the EFL and push on, and that's what we want to do as a club.

Alan Stubbs (Rotherham United):

We’ve got a lad who has done very well in pre-season for us – Jerry Yates. He’s been in and around the team and has really impressed. He’s in the squad on merit at the moment. He could have an impact for us this season.

Steve Robinson (Oldham Athletic):

I've got a lot of new young players but a lot of experience too. We've got Lee Erwin, Connor Ripley and Cameron Burgess, and that's just to name a few.

Darren Way (Yeovil Town):

I've signed Otis Khan from Barnsley, who's also been at Sheffield United. It's been difficult because every club he's been at has been a big club, and I think we're quite lucky to have him.

Ryan Hedges is a Wales youth international and he's come in and excited me, and we've signed a goalkeeper with very good potential – Johnny Maddison from Leicester City – who's going to be pushing Artur Krysiak. Hopefully they can improve their CVs, my management and this football club.

Dean Smith (Brentford):

We have a young left-back called Tom Field who made his debut for us against Fulham at the back-end of last season. He played 55 minutes for us that day and is certainly a player who is up-and-coming. Chris Mepham and Reece Cole are two other players in our B Team who are also doing really well.

Shaun Derry (Cambridge United):

We've managed to recruit younger players, a number under the age of 22. One player in particular from Barnsley – George Maris. He just might be the surprise player and we're hopeful he can have a good season.

Lee Johnson (Bristol City):

We’ve got some good young players on the radar. We like the look of Zak Vyner, a right-sided centre-back who can also play right-back. We signed Johnny Smith from Wrexham, a young winger who is very exciting on the ball. We also brought in Josh Brownhill from Preston, while George Dowling is a name coming through the youth system that we have high hopes for.

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