Sheffield news Emerging academy ace could give new manager real first team headache PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - The performances of young full-back Femi Seriki this season suggest United have another talent on their hands
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! When Sheffield United get round to announcing their new manager, expected to be by the end of next week, he will arrive with plenty on his to-do list. The most obvious, aside from lifting shattered confidence levels, is to look at the make-up of the squad and how he plans to strengthen and in what areas. But what he may find when he arrives is that lurking below the surface is the potential for an unexpected first team selection problem. The success of the academy this season has been one of the very few highlights to emerge from a miserable campaign, which is on course to break a number of records for being among the worst. The under 23s are currently preparing for the end-of-season championship play-offs after winning the Premier Development League North title, while the under 18s reached the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup and came within a whisker of reaching the last four. It's been nothing but progress at Shirecliffe since Jack Lester was appointed head of the academy, with Derek Geary at under 18s and Paul Heckingbottom at under 23 level. Sheffield United really does have a bright future ahead and a number of those players have already had a taste of first team action. Antwoine Hackford, Iliman Ndiaye and Daniel Jebbison have all made their debuts, while Zak Brunt, Kyron Gordon and Frankie Maguire have featured on the bench. But one player who has been swimming under the radar has been right wing-back Femi Seriki. The 19-year-old has had an outstanding campaign and been an integral part of the success. He had originally shot to prominence with Bury in the 2018-19 season, when they secured promotion from League Two. Femi Seriki in action for Bury against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup in 2019. (Image: Nick Taylor, via Getty Images) He starred in their FA Youth Cup run to the quarter-final, where they lost to eventual champions Liverpool. Aged just 15, he also featured on the first team bench against Macclesfield Town in the EFL Trophy and later in the league against Port Vale.
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. However, the club's collapse in the summer of 2019 left him without a club and facing an uncertain future. The Blades were quick to snap him up and they are now reaping the rewards after a stellar campaign. He has featured eight times for the under 18s but it's with the 23s where he has caught the eye, scoring six goals in 22 appearances and providing countless assists. He ticks plenty of boxes for a modern-day wing-back. Strong in the tackle, he's fast, skilful, loves to attack and has a real eye for a killer pass in the attacking third. The sight of him bombing down the right flank has become a regular occurrence. Paul Heckingbottom said recently that some of the youngsters in the academy will be sent out on loan next season as part of their development and Seriki could well be one of those. He looks too good for the under 23s whenever he plays and a decision may be needed on his route to the first team. Ahead of him in that position are Jayden Bogle and George Baldock, two players who do not look like they will be ousted from their first team berths any time soon.
The emergence of Seriki now means United may well have three players capable of providing competition for places in that area and an potential selection headache for next season. If Baldock, who could well attract interest from other clubs following United's relegation, is sold in the summer, the 19-year-old could be given the opportunity to play understudy to Bogle in the Championship. If not, a loan might be the sensible option. There are more in the academy that are worth keeping an eye out for, but for now, Blades fans should remember the name Femi Seriki.
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