Middlesbrough have always been renowned for giving youth a chance, and Boro fans love nothing more than seeing a local lad representing their hometown club.
The likes of James Morrison, David Wheater, Stewart Downing, Ben Gibson and more recently Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier have all graduated from the academy, and gone on to wear the red shirt of Middlesbrough.
The three latter names are still currently in the first team squad, and here are five players to look out for in the coming years who could be joining them.
1. Robbie Tinkler – Central midfielder
The versatile midfielder has been at Middlesbrough since he was aged 13, and he has represented the club at every age level since, barring the senior side.
He has captained Middlesbrough’s under-21 and under-23 sides in recent times, and looks an assured head on young shoulders. He is comparable to Grant Leadbitter, as Tinkler has a lot of weapons in his arsenal, with a good range of passing and he is strong in the tackle, similar to the Boro number seven.
2. Hayden Coulson – Winger
Another player who can operate in multiple positions, Hayden Coulson is certainly one to watch for Middlesbrough in the next few seasons.
He has been a shining light for Boro’s under-23 side, and has helped the club achieve at least a Play-Off spot this season, with consistent performances throughout the campaign.
Coulson has the ability to beat a man, whip in an accurate cross and cause havoc against opposition defences due to his pace and direct running. He has also been key in providing assists from set-pieces.
3. Calum Cooke (currently on loan at Blackpool) – Attacking midfielder
The attacking-midfielder caught the eye when on loan at Crewe Alexandra back in 2016. Cooke played with a freedom, scoring and assisting a hatful in just 18 games at the club.
Blackpool has been a really good learning curve for Cooke this season, where he has settled in just as comfortably. Middlesbrough’s first team could come too quickly for the 21-year old next season, but a couple of loan spells could see him make a push for the senior side further down the line.
4. Harry Chapman (currently on loan at Blackburn Rovers) – Attacking-midfielder
Chapman has been making waves in the under-23s side for some time, and recent loan moves to Barnsley, Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers have all been successes. Injury is currently keeping him out of the Rovers side, but he has impressed when he has been given the chance under Tony Mowbray in League One.
His solo wonder goal against Torino in the UEFA Youth League is worth a watch. The competition was a huge platform to show people what Chapman could do, and he contributed three goals and eight assists, more than any other player in the tournament.
The attacking-midfielder was part of the England under-20s World Cup winning side, alongside fellow-Middlesbrough man Dael Fry.
5. Luke Armstrong – Striker
Currently the best striker at the club in under-23 level, Luke Armstrong is assured in front of goal and is capable of scoring all sorts of goals.
Armstrong has seven goals in 20 games, but spent the first half of the U23 season playing second fiddle to George Miller, who is currently out on loan in League Two with Bury.
The forward started his career at Middlesbrough, but was sold to Birmingham in 2015, before moving to Cowdenbeath and then onto Blyth Spartans. He returned to his home town club Middlesbrough in the summer of 2017.