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The Youth Of Today

As frustration over lack of new signings grows and the season draws closer, there have been a few names on our pre-season team sheets that we may just see added to the squad from our successful academy this season.

Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

So, admittedly, I love a big name signing. This means that I am, as expected, smashing my head off the nearest wall like the rest of you.

However, I was very pleased to see SAFC.com showcasing all of our pre-season fixtures live - it was great to see how the team would be shaping up following on from our impressive end of season form. With each passing game came a name even I had to do a little bit of research on.

Last season saw the emergence of Duncan Watmore. He’s definitely one of the class of 2014 that has now turned into a man. Scoring a good handful of goals, Watmore ended up winning our Young Player of the Year award.

Over on our tour of France and our wins at Hartlepool and Rotherham, there have been a number of young guns who look like they could keep our spending down without negating on quality.

Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman have been threatening to break in for some time.

With the appointment of David Moyes, that could change and we could see him adopt to give the third midfielder more of an advanced role, one which is more suited to both Gooch and Honeyman in particular.

Across the defence, we have a number of younger boys who have been given game time in pre-season. Thomas Robson is the most obvious one to look at here - when he came into the side at Watford last year, he didn’t pull up any trees but looked far from out of his depth. Though Patrick van Aanholt is first choice at left back, I truly believe Thomas can be more than an adequate deputy and we should see him get a few games over the course of the season.

Tom Beadling and Michael Ledger are both centre halves that find themselves on the fringes of the first team, with the latter playing the majority of the 0-2 win over Stade Nyonnais. However, with the defensive partnership of Lamine Kone and Younes Kaboul in front of them as well as the likes of John O'Shea as back up, I don’t think they’ll get much game time.

We all know we are very much bare when it comes to our right back slot. DeAndre Yedlin filled that position with success from February last year, but has since gone back to Tottenham and it looks like we won’t be following up on that move. Last year Billy Jones was arguably our worst first team player - whilst I have no doubt Moyes will be looking at that position, quietly Josh Robson has been filling in now and again there during pre-season. He completed a successful ninety minutes against Rotherham and may feel that, given the chance, he can stake a claim for that position.

Rees Greenwood was last year’s stand out youth teamer and was rewarded with a first team debut against Watford on the last game of the season. Much like Tom Robson, he didn’t look out of place and despite not being head and shoulders above the rest of the young boys, he still looks the most likely of the bunch to win a game with a little bit of magic. With Greenwood reaching twenty this year, he’ll really want to kick on and try and win a place in the team and I wouldn’t bet against him doing it.

Probably the name most of us have spoken about over these summer games has been young Swede Joel Asoro.

With Jermain Defoe our only recognised striker, he started and scored in the game against Dijon. He was a constant threat and helped Wahbi Khazri add a second with a sublime pass that veiled his teenage years. We’ll no doubt be in the market for another centre forward, but I really wouldn’t bet against Asoro making an impact similar to the one Mr Watmore did last season.

I may be clutching at straws here, but whilst I’m sure we can nab a few solid additions to the squad before the season opener against Manchester City, as well as throughout August, these young boys might just do more than plug a few of the gaps we have in the squad.