For the purpose of this article, a ‘youngster’ is a player aged 21 or under as of August 1st 2021.
Archie Collins (Exeter City)
After the departures of Ryan Bowman, Randell Williams and Joel Randall, Exeter fans could be forgiven for feeling a bit sorry for themselves. However, a number of talented players remain – including midfielder Archie Collins. The 21-year-old, who was an ever-present for the Grecians in League Two last season, will be looking to add to the four goals (three from outside the box) that he scored last time around.
Elliot Watt (Bradford City)
With Derek Adams now at the helm, big things are expected of Bradford City this season. At present, nine new players have come into the club, but keeping Elliot Watt at Valley Parade could be their must important piece of business. The former Wolves man completed the most passes in League Two last season (106 more than Archie Collins), as well as making the most passes into the final third.
Udoka Godwin-Malife (Forest Green Rovers)
There can’t be many 21-year-olds in the EFL who are described as their team’s ‘most reliable defender’ on their club’s official website, but Udoka Godwin-Malife is one of them. Formerly of non-League Oxford City, Godwin-Malife usually plays on the right-hand side of a back three, but he can also play at right back or right wing back. The FGR youngster featured in 50 games last season, boasting a passing accuracy of 82.8%.
Mason O’Malley (Scunthorpe United)
It’s been a tough few years for Scunthorpe and, after losing a number of key players over the summer, the season ahead looks set to be another uphill battle for the Iron. However, in Mason O’Malley, the north Lincolnshire club have an impressive young left back. O’Malley made 31 appearances for the Iron last season, in addition to earning a call up to the Republic of Ireland U21s squad.
George Tanner (Carlisle United)
Carlisle’s Beechball may have burst in February/March time, but there were still plenty of positives to take from Chris Beech’s first full season in charge of the Cumbrians – including the performances of defender George Tanner. The 5’11 right back made 42 appearances during his first season with the Blues, scoring three goals along the way. The ex-Manchester United youngster also impressed in terms of tackles won, clearances and interceptions.
(Photo Creds – Ran Berkovich)