With an abundance of emerging talents set to grace the EFL’s three divisions again in 2021/22, here are just a few up-and-coming youngsters to keep an eye out for next season…
Rubin Colwill – Cardiff City (Championship)
Cardiff City starlet Rubin Colwill has enjoyed a whirlwind few months. From training with the Bluebirds' first team and making his debut under Mick McCarthy, to getting called up by Wales for this summer’s European Championships and later making his international bow against world champions France, it’s a period he won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Still only 19 years of age, the midfielder has been with Cardiff since he was eight, and will now hope to make a real impact at club level in the Championship in 2021/22. "He just blew us all away with how he was and he conducted himself - he’s really impressed me,” Wales manager Robert Page said when discussing Colwill’s inclusion on the international stage, with the youngster’s rapid rise making his EFL journey an interesting one to follow.
Josh Eccles – Coventry City (Championship)
Josh Eccles started his career in the youth system at boyhood club Coventry City, where he signed his first professional contract in July 2018, before going on to make his debut in the EFL Trophy. Recalled from an eye-catching loan spell at Gillingham in January 2021, his displays for the Sky Blues in the second half of the campaign contributed to over 20,000 minutes given to players under the age of 23 by manager Mark Robins last season. “He’s got the attributes to do whatever he wants in the game,” Robins said of the defender-turned-midfielder in April, and those associated with the club will be hoping for big things from the 21-year-old in 2021/22, as he looks to cement a regular spot in the Coventry side.
Harry Darling – MK Dons (League One)
Having joined MK Dons from Cambridge United in January 2021, Harry Darling enjoyed a standout second half of the 2020/21 campaign at League One level, with his arrival coinciding with an upturn in fortunes on the pitch. The defender made an immediate impact, being named Man of the Match in each of his first three appearances before going on to win the club’s Young Player of the Year Award, and has built a long list of admirers… not least his own manager. "He's going to be miles better than me!" said Russell Martin, who won promotion from all three EFL divisions as a player, and the club’s fans will certainly be hoping to see Darling go up another gear in 2021/22. All of the signs point to the 21-year-old being one to look out for.
Noah Chilvers – Colchester United (League Two)
Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season and Goal of the Season. The 2020/21 campaign was undoubtedly one to remember for Colchester United youngster Noah Chilvers, who will be hoping to go from strength to strength when League Two football resumes again for the new season. Now 20 years old, the attacker featured in an impressive 49 fixtures in all competitions last term, having first joined Colchester’s Academy at Under-9 level before making his long-awaited professional debut for the club in March 2019. “For Noah to play in different positions and not be set in stone, it’s been fantastic for his development,” said manager Hayden Mullins, who will be hoping to improve Chilvers’ game further in 2021/22. There will certainly be many tracking his progress next season.