English Premier League football teams usually improve their lineups in two ways - they either scout fresh talent from international teams, recruiting valuable players like Jordan Ayew, or grow their own in their football academies.
Youth players usually get their share of the spotlight once they join the first team, a time when both the fans of the team and those interested in soccer betting online get to know them better. And then, their performance decided whether they remain benchwarmers, not getting the chance to strengthen their team’s odds at Betway or step on the turf to prove themselves.
For these Crystal Palace youngsters, yet to graduate from the Palace Academy, their bit of spotlight came early.
Aidan Steele is an 18-year-old midfielder who joined the Palace Academy in July 2019. He started his professional career with Cliftonville F.C., a semi-professional club in North Belfast. He left the team in the 2018 summer transfer window to continue playing with Watford before finally ending up at the Palace Academy in 2019.
As part of Crystal Palace’s U18 team, Steele had 15 apps in the U18 Premier League and one app this March in a Premier League 2 game against Leeds’ U23 team. Now, he’ll play his first match as part of Northern Ireland’s U21 national team.
Steele joins fellow Northern Irish goalkeeper Ollie Webber in the Northern Irish youth national team’s upcoming matches. The 20-year-old has been with the Palace Academy for almost three years now, and played in 12 of the team’s Premier League 2 matches this season, managing to keep a clean sheet three times. Out of the 16 games played by the Crystal Palace youth team, Webber started 12 times.
Steele and Webber are the latest in a string of Crystal Palace youngsters to get an international call-up this year. Earlier this month, 20-year-old Welsh midfielder Siôn Spence was capped to play with the Wales U21 national football team. Spence joined the Palace Academy last September, coming from Cardiff. Since then, he started with the team six times, scoring six goals and two assists in the process.
Two more Palace Academy players have been capped for international appearances, both of them in line to join England’s youth national team. English goalkeeper Owen Goodman is one of them, with three apps already on record in the U18 premier league. The other is 17-year-old English goalie Joe Whitworth who has only joined Crystal Palace’s U18 team last July but he has already played in 13 U18 Premier League matches and managed to keep a clean sheet three times in the process.
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