[dropcap]A[/dropcap]head of the Premier League season starting this weekend, one team that is sure to capture a lot of attention is Liverpool after their summer revamp.
Although the fortunes of the likes of Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino will be of key interest, one young star could well be set for his top-flight debut.
Reputable media sources are reporting that 18-year-old Joe Gomez is set to be thrown in at the deep end after impressing in pre-season for the Anfield outfit.
Whether the teenager does get the nod to play against Stoke or is forced to bide his time, there is no doubting that the Merseyside club have acquired an exciting player that could well be a real star in the not-too distant future.
A product of the Charlton youth academy, the England under-19’s defender is the latest in a growing list of starlets to be produced by the London club, with a host of Premier League sides raiding The Addicks for their best youngsters.
Ever since Alan Curbishley’s days at The Valley, where future England internationals such as Scott Parker and Paul Konchesky were blooded, Charlton has been a goldmine of talent.
Looking back over the last five years or so, it was Liverpool that also started the ball rolling with their capture of Jonjo Shelvey back in 2010.
After coming through the ranks at Charlton and starring in the club’s first team, the dynamic midfielder quickly impressed with his direct running, superb distribution and powerful shooting from distance.
His move to Anfield, for a fee in the region of £1.7 million, set the ball rolling for another number of players to be picked from the Addicks’ ranks.
Rob Eliot left the Championship club the following year, with Newcastle swooping to steal away the long-serving goalkeeper and bring him to Tyneside.
After various loan stints at other clubs, the now Republic of Ireland international established himself at The Valley and showed form that suggested that he was ready for English football’s top flight.
Although he has found Tim Krul’s presence a continued roadblock in his search for regular action, Eliot has played 16 times in the Premier League for Newcastle and was also become an Irish international in the last year.
Arsenal were next to swoop for a talented Charlton star, with Carl Jenkinson adjudged to have the attributes necessary to make it in North London.
The Gunners were quick to make their move, with the versatile full-back only playing a handful of senior games for his boyhood club before being taken to North London.
Jenkinson continued his footballing development at West Ham last season and will spend this term with the Hammers also; the once-capped England international is another sparkling example of the potency of Charlton’s youth academy.
West Ham also have Darren Randolph in their squad ahead of the new campaign, who arrived at Upton Park via a number of other clubs this summer having received his footballing tutelage at Charlton, while Diego Poyet is another to end up at the Boleyn Ground after thriving at The Valley.
Son of former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder Gus Poyet, the Spanish-born Uruguay under-20’s midfielder was part of the Charlton youth academy for six years before featuring in the first team in 2013-14.
Since moving to West Ham last summer the youngster has been handed a sprinkling of opportunities and looks set to play a more substantial role for Slaven Bilić’s men this season.
Looking at the current Charlton squad, a number of young homegrown players looks set to play their part in their club’s ambitions of getting back to Premier League football for the first time since 2007.
With English football’s top flight back this weekend, there is a realistic expectation that Addicks alumni Gomez, Shelvey, Jenkinson and Poyet will have roles to play for top Premier League teams.
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