Fulham over recent years have garnered a reputation of helping to nurture young talents in their academy, and there is now another player who is catching the eye of the fans.
Fulham’s under-18’s currently sit on top of the Premier League U-18 south table, winning four of their last five matches. That in part is down to the form of young striker, Jay Stansfield.
The 16-year-old came through the highly rated Exeter City academy, and made the switch from Devon to South West London in the summer, where he joined the Cottagers as a scholar.
Since then, Stansfield has been in unplayable form for his age group, finding the net fourteen times this season to put him six clear at the top of the goal scoring charts in the Premier League U-18 South group.
His form for at Motspur Park has been rewarded with a call-up to England’s Under-18’s squad, where he will link up with head coach, Ian Foster. It is his first England call up for any age group, which will be an incredibly proud moment for Stansfield and his family, as well as Fulham fans keen to see their young talent impress.
Stansfield has a natural eye for goal, and is fearsome poacher in the six-yard box; a similarity shared with none other than Aleksandar Mitrovic.
He will thinking that the move from Exeter to Fulham has been vindicated within a matter of months, as the attention brought to scouts of players with potential in the Under-18 league is significantly higher than it is in the Youth Alliance League. However, the down side to that for Fulham fans is the attention Stansfield may now be receiving from clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.
With the likes of Ryan and Steven Sessegnon getting a chance in the first team at a young age, Stansfield’s form is likely to grab the attention of Scott Parker.
Ryan Sessegnon made his first-team debut for Fulham at just 16, featuring in an EFL Cup first round game against Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road. From that alone, it is possible that Stansfield could get a look-in in the near future if his deadly form in front of goal continues for the Under-18’s.
The only worry for Stansfield is that men’s football could be a step too far, too soon at such a young age. That could mean a loan move may be a more sensible option for himself and Fulham.
Receiving the call up to represent England will be a huge boost to the youngster, and may give him the confidence to impress further, as he could have international experience under his belt if he manages to get on the pitch for the games against Norway and Czech Republic.