Then & Now: Youth in Revolt

Rhys Daly 12th July 2019

As Harvey Elliot becomes the latest Fulham academy prospect to leave Craven Cottage in favour of a new challenge, Rhys Daly takes a look at how other young hopefuls fared after leaving west London.

Patrick Roberts (Fulham academy 2010 – 2014)

Patrick Roberts joined Fulham from AFC Wimbledon at the age of 13 and went on to earn a professional deal on his 17th birthday which he described as: “one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life.”

Felix Magath described the player as a “an extraordinary talent” before he made his Premier League debut against his future side Manchester City in March 2014.

Fulham were suffering in what would be a difficult season for any young player to break into the first-team, with Roberts ending the campaign with FA Youth Cup final heartbreak with the Under-18s.

Although Roberts had what was probably the best natural dribbling ability of any Fulham academy graduate, it was with England that he caught the eye of potential suitors.

The Kingston-born winger was a featured often in the England Under-17 side between 2013 and 2014, scoring three goals and assisting four more during the European U-17 Championship triumph five years ago.

During his only full season for Fulham the forward made just 17 Championship appearances before joining City and a long-term deal for a fee of around £12million.

The 22-year-old spent two-and-a-half seasons on loan in Scotland at Celtic winning back-to-back trebles, before having a turbulent time in Spain with Girona who were relegated last term.

Roberts is now set to make his Premier League return having joined newly-promoted Norwich City on loan, with City not giving up on the player just yet.

Career since leaving Fulham: 6/10

Moussa Dembele (Fulham academy 2012 – 2013)

Fulham signed Moussa Dembele from French giants Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 in what was a considered a big coup.

After turning professional the striker spent two years struggling to break into the first-team before taking the Championship by storm in 2015/16.

Despite Fulham ending up in a disappointing 20th in the league, his partnership with Ross McCormack was arguably the most impressive in the division.

The Frenchman and the Scot hit a combined 36 goals across the 43 fixtures, with Fulham fans keen to keep hold of the youngster for at least another year.

That wasn’t to be as Dembele rejected the offer of a new deal before deciding to accept an offer from Celtic, no doubt after communicating with his former team-mate, Roberts – his final record for the Whites standing at 19 goals in 64 games.

Dembele massively improved his goal return after moving above the border, hitting 54 goals in 94 fixtures while taking home six winners medals from various competitions.

That form earned the striker a £20million move to Lyon, with talks of a move to Manchester United now often after an impressive season in Ligue 1.

Career since leaving Fulham: 9/10

Dembele in another strong performance for Lyon in Ligue 1

Kerim Frei (Fulham academy 2010 – 2011)

Kerim Frei earned fan favorite status at Fulham in a short period of time after coming through the academy and making a mark in Europe.

Huw Jennings described the winger as: “humble, but not lacking in confidence”, as he went on to make a respectable 25 appearances in all competitions.

In a season which should’ve marked his breakout into a first-team star, Frei’s appearances dried up under Martin Jol, totaling just eight as he was loaned to Cardiff with Fulham finishing 12th.

In a decision that angered Fulham fans, Jol decided that Frei was surplus to his requirements before the player agreed a five-year deal at Besiktas.

The Turkey and Switzerland youth international was a regular for two seasons in Turkey before a loan to Birmingham and a permanent move to Istanbul Basaksehir.

The 25-year-old now plys his trade for Maccabi Haifa in the Israeli Premier League, in a case of ‘what could have been’ for Whites fans.

Career since leaving Fulham: 4/10

Emerson Hyndman (Fulham academy 2011 – 2014)

Emerson Hyndman, now 23, earned a move to Fulham’s academy from FC Dallas after a potential move to Newcastle broke down.

Hyndman’s passing ability earned him a place in the first-team squad in 2014 after signing a professional deal two-years earlier.

The USA international made 17 appearances in the 2015/16 season as he struggled to manage the physicality of the Championship, before Slavisa Jokanovic gave the player his blessing to find a new club.

In three years at Bournemouth, Hyndman has made just seven appearances for the Cherries in a spell that has included loans at both Rangers and Hibernian in Scotland.

Hyndman hasn’t played for the international side since 2016, and has now opted in a temporary switch to Atalanta United in the MLS to get his name into the thoughts of current USA boss Gregg Berhalter.

Career since leaving Fulham: 4/10

Images from the match between Atlanta United and Saint Louis FC at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. (Photo by Karl L. Moore/Atlanta United)

Ryan Sessegnon? (Fulham academy 2008 – 2016)

Ryan Sessegnon, who made the list as a precaution, has been notably absent from both pre-season training and club publicity for the new kits.

The 2017/18 Championship player of the season endured a difficult debut campaign in the Premier League, but still notched two goals and registered six assists as Fulham finished second-bottom.

There’s no doubt that a longer feature will follow should Sessegnon’s exit come to fruition, with the current saga having a: ‘last-gasp deadline-day move’ written all over it.

Harvey Elliot (Fulham 2018-2019)

Fulham handed Harvey Elliot the title of the Premier League’s youngest ever player in May during the 1-0 defeat to Wolves.

Of the list, Elliot is the player that Fulham fans would have seen the least of, having made just three appearances in all competitions.

Scott Parker was keen to keep hold of the creative midfielder this summer, but alleged interest from Real Madrid, PSG and Liverpool proved to tempting to resist.

The 16-year-old has now turned down the offer of a new deal in London, and is set to join up with Jurgen Klopp’s European Champions after his contract expired airier this month.