Middlesbrough may not be achieving much these days in terms of league position, but one thing they can take pride in is the rate they are churning out local young Premier League players. Boro regularly feature at least four local youngsters in the starting line up. In their most recent game against Sunderland, a total of seven locals made it onto the pitch (5 starters and 2 subs).
The map above shows the 13 players from the region who have appeared in the Premier League for Boro in the last 12 months. For reference, there is about 40 miles between the most-northern and most-southern players on the map. On average, each player in the group is 21 years old and has 43 Premier League appearances to their name.
I’ve been trying to figure out how much the group would be worth if they were all sold today. Lee Cattermole and James Morrison left in the summer, for a combined 5.5 million pounds. Boro have reportedly been offered 14 million for Stewart Downing. David Wheater, Adam Johnson, Ross Turnbull and Andrew Taylor would all command fees above or around the 3.5 million Wigan paid for Cattermole.
I think we’re looking at group that is worth at least forty million pounds in the transfer market.
The one position that Boro’s academy doesn’t seem to excel in is centre-forward. Danny Graham was briefly in Boro’s first team squad in 2007 but after fifteen appearances and only one goal, he was released and is currently playing for Carlisle. Tom Craddock (22, from Darlington) is the latest hope, currently on loan at Norwich where he has bagged four goals in six appearances.
Are there any other teams – whether in the Premier League or elsewhere – that can claim to match the production of Boro’s academy?