13 contenders to be the Premier League's first Year 2000 player

Last season, West Brom's Jonathan Leko became the first 1999-born youngster to feature in the top flight – if that wasn't bad enough, we're edging closer to a debut from the noughties. Allow FFT's chums from the exellent Youth Hawk to make you feel old...

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1. Kane Wilson, West Brom (March 11, 2000)

The West Brom defender has already featured in the Baggies' first-team set-up as a substitute in the League Cup this term, and looks a leading contender to be the first 2000-born Premier League player.

An England U17 international, Wilson became a mainstay for the youth team as a schoolboy before spending pre-season with Tony Pulis’s squad in the summer. He has been handed opportunities at left-back, though is equally capable at right-full-back and in midfield.

Kane, Wilson

Wilson (left) spent time with West Brom's senior team over pre-season

2. Jadon Sancho, Man City (March 25, 2000)

The forward has four goals in six for City’s youth team in the Under-18 Premier League

One of the brightest prospects breaking through in Manchester, Sancho was plucked from Watford in March 2015 and is now one of the most exciting talents among the England youth ranks. The forward has four goals in six games for Manchester City’s youth team in the Under-18 Premier League and also netted three times for England’s Under-17 side this term.

While City seem reluctant to push him too far too quickly, it will undoubtedly be a matter of time before he comes to Pep Guardiola's attentions. First, though, he will surely have to prove himself as a consistent performer in the elite development squad.

3. Angel Gomes, Man United (August 31, 2000)

Life has been difficult at Manchester United’s academy in recent years, with their neighbours' significant investment in youth development resulting in dwindling influence for the former north-west heavyweight. The Reds had just eight England representatives from Under-16 to Under-21 age levels last season, compared to 27 from Chelsea, 23 from City and 18 from Tottenham.

However, London-born Gomes has revived hope and optimism at Carrington. Assured in possession, he offers a goal threat from the No.10 position and has scored five in his first two months as a scholar. Opportunities for teenagers may be limited under Jose Mourinho but Marcus Rashford’s dramatic progression shows there is still hope at Old Trafford.

4. Ryan Sessegnon, Fulham (May 18, 2000)

Sessegnon's goal against Cardiff City made him the first 2000-born scorer in English football’s second tier

The Fulham full-back has earned himself a regular place in the Cottagers’ defence under Slavisa Jokanovic. With eight appearances and two goals to his name, he is the only 16-year-old to have featured in the Championship this season.

While promotion hopes are on the back-burner for the mid-table west Londoners, the England Under-19 international has been linked to the Premier League's big boys. Sessegnon has also created a piece of Championship history already – his goal against Cardiff City made him the first 2000-born scorer in English football’s second tier.

England U16's Ryan Sessegnon celebrates scoring

Ryan Sessegnon is quickly gathering interest from Premier League clubs

5. Trae Coyle, Arsenal (January 11, 2001)

Still just 15 years of age Coyle, attacking midfielder/forward Coyle has featured regularly for the Gunners' youth team this season and netted his maiden goal for the south section table-toppers in last weekend’s win over Tottenham.

That followed a debut in the UEFA Youth League against Basel and caps a promising start to the season for the schoolboy. With Arsene Wenger not afraid to blood talented youngsters at the right time, the England Under-16 international could be this list's surprise package.

5. Jake Vokins, Southampton (March 17, 2000)

Oxford-born left-back Vokins made his under-21s debut for Southampton while just 15 against Tottenham in February, and looked more than adept at that level.

He has since returned to play the bulk of his football with the under-18s but, with Matt Targett and Ryan Bertrand around at Staplewood for him to pick up tips from, another flying full-back could be hot on their heels. 

6. Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Tottenham (February 14, 2000)

A central midfielder born and raised in north London, Oakley-Boothe caught the eye as a schoolboy in Spurs' youth team last season and has since featured for their under-19s and under-23s.

With Marcus Edwards in particular blazing a trail to Mauricio Pocchetino’s first-team squad, the pathway is there for Tottenham's youngsters to take advantage of.

Tashan Oakley-Boothe sets up Jadon Sancho's goal against Netherlands U16's

7. Benjamin Mbunga-Kimpioka, Sunderland (February 21, 2000)

Mbunga-Kimpioka has already seen compatriot Joel Asoro and fellow academy forward Josh Maja make their senior bows under David Moyes this season

An attack-minded midfielder signed from Swedish club Sirius IK in the summer, Mbunga-Kimpioka has already seen compatriot Joel Asoro and fellow academy forward Josh Maja make their senior bows under David Moyes this season.

With Sunderland seeking to find a long-term identity and having also blooded Jordan Pickford and Lynden Gooch so far this term, the door is already wide open for more to follow.

8. Conor Coventry, West Ham (March 25, 2000)

A Republic of Ireland Under-17 international who made his Hammers’ under-21 debut while still at school, central midfielder Coventry has thrived since becoming a first-year scholar and has a wise head on young shoulders.

Despite a considerable recruitment drive at first-team level, the likes of Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina have shown there are places to be had for those who deserve them and, perhaps later in the season, Coventry could work his way into Slaven Bilic’s plans.

West Ham United's Conor Coventry

Several West Ham youngsters have already been given their opportunity under Bilic: is Coventry next?

9. Max Sheaf, Hull (March 10, 2000)

The Tigers have one of the smaller squads in the top flight and Sheaf has the pedigree to take huge strides in a short space of time

The younger brother of Arsenal hopeful Ben left his sibling’s side for the first time in his career this summer, having not been extended the offer of a scholarship by the Gunners.

Together since their formative days at West Ham, Max moved north to join an ambitious Hull academy which produced a 16-year-old debutant last season in defender Josh Tymon, who himself made his bow at the Emirates Stadium. The Tigers have one of the smaller squads in the top flight and Sheaf has the pedigree to take huge strides in a short space of time.

10. Rhian Brewster, Liverpool (April 1, 2000)

Liverpool’s academy is bulging with exciting young attacking talent once again, and manager Jurgen Klopp has already shown that he’s not afraid to hand out opportunities where they’re warranted.

Forward Brewster, who upped sticks and left Chelsea as a 14-year-old for a career on Merseyside, has begun the season in prolific form for club and country and, if he keeps it up, could have plenty more to shout about as time goes on.

11. Glenn Middleton, Norwich (January 1, 2000)

Much like Sessegnon, Middleton may currently play for a club outside of the top flight but, with several big clubs reportedly keen on his services and Norwich seeking an immediate return to the Premier League, Middleton is already on a fast track to the top.

Born on the first day of the new millennium, he spent his final year as a schoolboy regularly turning out for the Canaries’ under-21s in front of healthy crowds at Carrow Road and possesses a lively, dynamic wide game tailor made for the current era.

12. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea (November 7, 2000)

A regular for Chelsea’s oft-conquering youth team, Hudson-Odoi is another England star catching the eye. A dazzling dribbler and still just 15, he will be hoping to be the standout attacker for Jody Morris’s side as they bid for a fourth successive FA Youth Cup triumph this term.

However, the Blues are not renowned for fast-tracking their elite youngsters into the first team set-up; Nathaniel Chalobah had seven year and six other clubs (on loan) between his under-18 emergence and Premier League debut last weekend (albeit as an 89th-minute sub).

England U16's Callum Hudson Odoi

Hudson playing for England's U16s

13. Timothy Weah, PSG (February 22, 2000)

The son of former Milan striker George, Timothy already has three goals in two UEFA Youth League games this season and would be something a wildcard pick from the continent if the Premier League’s elite come calling in the next 12 months. Few sons manage to emulate their legendary footballing fathers – Weah Jr. has some particularly big shoes to fill – but hopes are high for the young Frenchman.

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