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EFL: Young stars set to shine in Season 2016/17 after recent moves

28 July 2016

There have been plenty of comings and goings at EFL clubs this summer, with some of England's finest young players on the move during the close-season.

While experience and football know-how is a crucial ingredient in the success of a football club, it's all about creating that perfect blend – and the acquisition of young and hungry talent is just as vital.

So it's no surprise to see managers making their move for those up and coming players, whether it's taking a bit of a gamble or snapping up youngsters who have already made their mark in the EFL.

Read more: Stand-out signings in the EFL this summer

Let's start with the newest of the newcomers to the Sky Bet Championship – Play-Off winners Barnsley. A productive summer has seen Paul Heckingbottom bring in a number of new faces, with three catching his eye during the Tykes' memorable Sky Bet League One campaign last term.

Tom Bradshaw, 23, has sparkled for Walsall, hitting 20 goals in each of his last two seasons with the Saddlers, resulting in a debut for Wales back in March. Now, he's earned his place in English football's second tier in the red of Barnsley, where he'll be joined by George Moncur and Elliot Lee among others – including the recent season-long arrival of Liverpool youngster Ryan Kent.

Colchester United may have suffered relegation to League Two last term, but 22-year-old Moncur was one of the division's stand-out players, and Lee also impressed in what was his fifth loan spell in the EFL. Now, the former West Ham United attacker, 21, has put pen-to-paper on a permanent deal at Oakwell.

Alex Gilbey was another who performed well as the U's fought for survival, and he grabbed the attention of another promotion-winning manager, Wigan Athletic's Gary Caldwell. Gilbey, 21, netted some stunning goals in the relegation run-in, and he'll join up at the DW Stadium with the returning Nick Powell – a 22-year-old who's no stranger to stunning goals himself...

Newcastle United and Aston Villa have added youth to their squad with Isaac Hayden and Aaron Tshibola making respective moves from Arsenal and Reading, both of whom have EFL experience.

The third side relegated from the Premier League, Norwich City, made teenage sensation Sergi Canos their first bit of summer business. The 19-year-old arrives from Premier League Liverpool, but the Spaniard was in fine form for Brentford last term.

Canos is a Canary! 💛💚

— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) 13 July 2016
Speaking of the Bees, someone who has been in scintillating form for the past three years has arrived at Griffin Park this summer. Dan Bentley, Southend United's record-breaking goalkeeper, has signed for Dean Smith's men along with fellow 23-year-old John Egan and Romaine Sawyers – voted the second best player in League One last year.

Jordan Cousins, voted Charlton Athletic's Player of the Year for the past two campaigns and the League One Apprentice of the Year in 2012, has departed the Valley but will remain in the capital after signing terms at Queens Park Rangers.

Sky Bet League Two's best player, Kemar Roofe, earned a move to Leeds United after a free-scoring season for Oxford United, and fellow promotion-winner from the Kassam – Callum O'Dowda – has also made the two-tier leap, taking his creative talents to Bristol City.

Another young star who has made that jump is Adam Webster, a rock at the back for Portsmouth last season, who will now line-up for Ipswich in 2016/17. Matt Clarke heads in the other direction after impressing on loan at Pompey, and the teenager showed his gratitude to the Tractor Boys after sealing the switch to Fratton Park.

— Matt Clarke (@MatthewClarke96) June 8, 2016
Glen Rea has also turned a temporary switch permanent; the 21-year-old former Brighton & Hove Albion defender signing permanently at Luton Town to rejoin boss Nathan Jones at Kenilworth Road. Another Seagull making his way to Bedfordshire is goalkeeper Christian Walton, who excelled for Bury in 2015/16 and will now be between the sticks on loan at the Hatters.

In Sky Bet League One, Peterborough United's transfer activity has a youthful look to it, with all Grant McCann's signings aged 24 or below, barring the exception of the returning Paul Taylor following a year out of the game.

Andrew Hughes, Ryan Tafazolli and Bradden Inman, all 24, have joined Posh this summer, with Hayden White (21), Luke James (22) Gwion Edwards (23) and 18-year-old Matty Stevens rounding off the summer business at London Road – for now, at least!

And aside from two goalkeepers, that's the case at the Wham Stadium, where Accrington Stanley will want to go one better than 2015/16, after missing out on promotion on the final day of the season.

Bastien Hery and Frazer Shaw offer divisional experience after arriving from Carlisle United and Leyton Orient, while John Coleman has dipped into the non-league market for Omar Beckles, Patrick Lacey and Steven Hewitt. Winger Luke Wall has joined from Blackburn on a free transfer, along with Callam Jones on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

Hidden gems are often unearthed on loan, and Jason McCarthy proved a prominent figure while at Wycombe Wanderers last season. This time around for the Southampton youngster it's Walsall, who have also added West Ham's George Dobson to their defensive ranks.

THE FIRST WORD with @JasonMcCarthy32
Highly rated Southampton defender joins the club on a six-month loan

— Walsall FC Official (@WFCOfficial) 30 June 2016
Matt Grimes at Leeds, Blackburn's Stephen Hendrie and Fulham's Tomas Kalas are among those young yet experienced EFL players to make temporary switches from the top tier to the Championship.

In League One, keep an eye out for Joe Quigley, on loan at Gillingham from AFC Bournemouth, and Arsenal teenager Dan Crowley, who links up with Michael Appleton at Oxford.

Chelsea youngsters Mitchell Beeney and Alex Kiwomya will be on show in Sky Bet League Two, respectively stepping out for Crawley Town and Crewe Alexandra, while Cambridge United have brought back Hull City full-back Max Clark on a six-month deal.

Follow, follow, follow...

It's not long until the new signings will get their chance to impress!

EFL Season 2016/17 gets under way on Friday 5th August, when Fulham host Newcastle United in front of the Sky Sports cameras, and you can keep up to speed with it all on our social media channels.


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