Arsenal’s Charlie Patino and Chelsea’s Harvey Vale are two of ten wonderkids to watch in FA Cup action this weekend.
As the number of Covid-19 infections in the Premier League and EFL continues to rise, clubs have been told they must play their fixtures if they can field 13 fit outfield players and a goalkeeper.
Managers will have to look beyond their first-team squads and use their young stars to fill the gaps, according to top-flight executives.
The academy youngsters who could light up the FA Cup this weekend are profiled by SunSport.
With Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny both unavailable due to the Africa Cup of Nations, Patino could make his first senior start against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Sunday.
Mikel Arteta resisted the pressure to play the 18-year-old prodigy as long as he could.
But the Watford-born teenager’s Christmas came early when he made his Carabao Cup debut against Sunderland last month.
Patino immediately repaid Arteta by scoring his first senior goal in the 5-1 rout.
The England youth international is a deft left-footed midfielder capable of playing in any of the central midfield positions.
After training with the first team this season, Martin Odegaard recently hailed him as the ‘biggest talent’ in the Arsenal academy.
GET CHELSEA AT 201 TO BEAT CHESTERFIELD IN THE FA CUP BETTING SPECIAL
Jay Stansfield only joined Fulham from Exeter City in August 2019, but it feels like he’s been scoring goals for the U18s and U23s for a long time.
He scored 26 goals in his first season with the club, with 18 of them coming before Christmas.
He’s been sidelined for a lot of the season due to injury, but in his seven appearances so far, he’s scored four goals.
Given that he has only made four senior appearances, fans have been itching for the English striker to get a chance in the first team.
However, in his most recent first-team appearance, he staked a claim for a regular spot by scoring his first senior goal in the Cottagers’ 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Birmingham.
When it comes to the Dons’ exciting group of youngsters, Assal is the cream of the crop, and he could be back in action today against Boreham Wood after being sidelined by a positive Covid-19 test.
Mark Robinson, the Dons’ head coach and former academy manager, has nurtured the development of the No10, who began his career at Millwall.
Since scoring on his league debut in March, the attacking midfielder has been in red-hot form.
Assal, who was born in Morocco and has Moroccan parents, has six goals in all competitions this season…
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