The Fulham of Tomorrow!
It seems, that as football fans, all we ever truly think and care about, is the current.
Little attention is paid to what's around the corner; The youngsters of Craven Cottage.
Obviously, I wouldn't expect anything more, seeing as those youngsters aren't the ones producing the results on the pitch. Yet, I shall stick my neck out on the line and say, of late, we haven't been renowned for producing young talent.
I'm not talking about the Smallings and the Browns, but the players that should have been making an impact a couple of years ago. As it stands, not one member of our first eleven was brought through our youth system.
Of course, this is the same for many other clubs, but it's always nice to know a few names on the team sheet are Fulham born and bred. That's why, you'd be glad to hear, I think our youth system has taken a turn for the better.
New staff have been drafted in under Hodgson's leadership and it does seem to have had a significant impact.
Whereas, under Coleman and Tigana, we may have had the odd flourishing youth, like a Zat Knight here and a Sean Davis there, but it never seemed like we had a concrete flow of good quality youngsters. Now though, from what we hear and what we can even see on the pitch from time to time, it would appear that we have a very strong youth setup, rivaling that of the best of the teams around us.
Goalkeepers Etheridge and Foderingham have shown great promise and look set to compete for a future number one spot, whilst the likes of Briggs, Marsh-Brown and Hoesen blatantly possess the potential to hit the big time within the not-too-distant future.
This can be seen from excellent performances in academy and reserve matches alike, backed up with some very creditable statistics. On top of that, many of them are already representing their respective countries and have gained valuable experience in doing so.
This begs the question: In 5 years time, will we be seeing a squad enriched with Fulham youth, or will they all have been brought in, completing a vicious circle which never seems to end?