Its only natural that we will look closer to home initially and a litter of scouts across Europe means we get linked with every talented youth player going.
Hillion has tried to be true to his words and the other young French players that have made the move to us all seem to have the special talent label on them. Jeremie Boga was a name that resurfaced during the Gael Kakuta transfer debacle and when he was initially signed in 2008, the now overplayed labelling of young players 'the new ....' reared its head. The new Zinedine Zidane some reports quoted. The Zidane comparison might have been derived from quotes attributed to Hillion who described him as a perfect Number 10. Still early days for Jeremie to feature in any meaningful age groups, but he has already made his mark at his current level wining the most valuable player award at the Audax tournament in his age group. Another French youngster currently in our academy is Yann Gueho. personally i know little of Gueho, but the quotes below from his former coach at Cretiel points to the possibility of him being another gem.
When asked the question - Which player impressed you the most since you started the club? His answer reference Yann Gueho - Yann GUEHO "El phenomeno" an unpredictable player on all fronts. A character as strong as his talent as a player. With it, you're in the show, a treat, it will seem to you a little paradoxical, but trade with him was a real privilege, simply because it is an extraordinary character.
Italy has always being good to us with our hall of fame having a picture of one or two Italian. Despite the faded early promise of Dalla Bona, we now have Jacopo Sala and Fabio Borini on the fringes of breaking through. Vicenzo Camilleri was another Italian teenager but an inability to settle here meant the union was short lived.
Settling is a major issue in youth football as our Portugese recruit Kaby will testify, a difficult first year has now given way to progress but our first foray into that Portugal was not as reconcilable. Fabio Feriera & Ricardo Fernandes never lived up to their initial promise. However our newer youth recruits from Portugal have been slightly different, Kaby and our latest Portuguese import Boumesca are African born. With Kaby's adopted father our most active scout in the region, and both Kaby and Boumesca being born in the same country as the scout. Two and Two can be put together.
What is largely unmissable in our academy though is a substantial African influence despite our inactivity in that region. Nothing more than a case of geographical location and immigration. Players like Daniel Pappoe, Aziz Deen Conteh, Nathaniel Chalobah and Bobby Devyne were all born in Africa. All now settled in the United Kingdom and within FA regulated travelling distance from the club, their monitoring and scouting can be largely credited to the local scouting network. Not only has the local scouting network helped in the acquisition of these players, their work getting in other players from around the local and national area is largely apparent with good national representations at different age groups.
Josh McEachran might be another piece of raw gold if his first 3 appearances for the first team are something to go by and if he does go on to be a star player in the future, then our local scouts can give themselves a good pat on the back.
Have we found more gold? Well only time will tell!!!