Clarets Putting Faith In Youth Team Players
The Clarets have today issued their retain list in which they have made new contract offers to a number of their young players and triggered contract extensions for others as they continue to look to the future. Midfielder Josh Benson and defenders Ryan Cooney and Jimmy Dunne who have all gained first-team experience on loan in the English Football League this season, have had their stays at Turf Moor extended along with Republic of Ireland international Robbie Brady, as previously announced.
Central defender Jimmy Dunne, has been part of the match-day squad for the Clarets since the Premier League restarted, while Benson and Cooney have both trained in the senior set-up, without being eligible to play due to their season-ending loan spells at Grimsby Town and Morecambe, respectively.
New offers have been made to midfielder Adam Phillips, striker Rob Harker and defender Ali Koiki. All three were key players in the Clarets’ U23s side which was challenging for the play-offs in the Development Professional League before Academy football was curtailed due to Covid-19. Former England youth international Phillips and Harker also ended last season out on loan with Phillips enjoying a productive spell alongside Cooney at the Globe Arena, while Harker got a taste of first-team football in the Vanarama National League with Hartlepool United.
The Clarets have also offered a new deal to midfielder Aiden O’Neill, 21, who has spent the last two seasons on loan in his native Australia, playing in the A League for Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar. The Clarets have lodged their retained list with the Premier League, which confirms the departures of senior men Joe Hart, Aaron Lennon and Adam Legzdins, along with the news that midfielder Jeff Hendrick has rejected a new contract offer. In addition, young professionals Tunde Bayode, Christian N’Guessan, Henri Ogunby and Joel Senior all members of last season’s U23 squad have also been released.
The futures of defenders Scott Wilson and Oliver Younger, who also combined U23 football with loan spells last season, are still to be resolved. Contract offers may follow as the club pursues Category One Academy status, although the pair, who have both progressed through the age groups at Turf Moor, are free to pursue options elsewhere. Lower down the age groups, second-year scholars Harry Allen, Chris Conn, Matty Rain, Ne’Jai Tucker, Lewis Thompson and Max Thompson – who made his Premier League debut as a substitute at Manchester City on Monday night – are all staying on after being given a third-year extension.
In addition, second-year scholars Joe Conley, Rhys Fenlon, Mitch George, Kane Patterson and Edon Pruti have all been offered 12-week extensions to give them the chance to start the 2020/21 season after the early finish to the current campaign. Udoka Chima and Jayden Major have been released, along with third-year scholars Kai Calderbank-Park & Will Harris.