Fulham striker Jay Stansfield is turning heads for the under-18s this season – but should he given a call-up to Scott Parker’s first-team?
Jay Stansfield joined the Fulham Youth Academy from Exeter’s in the summer, and the forward has lit-up the club with his third consecutive hat-trick at the weekend – his 11th goal in three games, and his 17th from 11 games of the season.
He’d scored four within fifty minutes of Fulham’s 5-3 win over Norwich City U18’s at the weekend to continue his side’s fine form in their Youth League – Eight wins and a draw from nine games to go three points clear the top, surpassing their points tally from last season already.
It’s brought to light the talent that is Stansfield, and the wonder kid could soon make the leap into Scott Parker’s first-team if he doesn’t stop scoring.
Parker is a man under growing pressure at Fulham. His side’s 3-0 loss at home to Hull City at the weekend, and Parker’s managerial inexperience proves a more pressing issue with every game that they fail to impress in.
With one win in their last five Championship games, Fulham are slowly but surely slipping out of play-off contention though the table remains tight, and a couple of results would turn Parker’s fortunes right round.
The Cottagers haven’t lacked goals this season – they’ve scored 23 in the Championship, Aleksandar Mitrovic again proving why some people say he’s the best finisher at this level. Ivan Cavaleiro and Tom Cairney have also chipped in with a few, so do Fulham need another goal-scorer in their team?
Should Jay Stansfield be called-up to the Fulham first-team?
One can never have enough goal-scorers in a team, but promoting Stansfield right away is probably too much of a risk for Parker and the player.
He’d be battling with the likes of Mitrovic, Kamara, Bobby Reid and so on for a starting spot up-top at Craven Cottage, and Stansfield probably isn’t ready for that kind of competition yet.
Stansfield looks a real talent and a top find from the Fulham academy, his best interests though like within that academy for now. He’s playing football and scoring goals which for a young player at a big club, is all they can ask for.
Physically, he doesn’t look ready for the first-team yet and if Parker were to introduce him into the team this quickly, it could do his long-term trajectory a world of doubt.