The Guardian’s list of Top 20 ‘future stars’ from 2008 is awkward reading
In 2008 The Guardian stuck their necks on the line and wrote an article with the players they believed to be future stars. All of them were already youth team players, so there was method in their selection.
The list contained players that have indeed gone on to play professionally, but their prediction of ‘future stars’ is wide of the mark for the most part.
We’re going to take a view at each player and see where they are now, more than eight years later. Some of them have proved the Guardian right, whereas others… Well, let’s have a look:
20) Jordan Henderson
Henderson is one of the success stories that the list contained. The midfielder began at Sunderland and caught the eye of Liverpool, who signed him as a long term replacement to Steven Gerrard. He is now their captain at just 26 years of age and is believed to be England captain after Wayne Rooney.
19) Gavin Hoyte
Hoyte rose through Arsenals famous youth system, like many players you’ll read about in this article. He showed promise and even represented England at youth level. He opted for Trinidad and Tobago as his national side however.
Gavin Hoyte found himself loaned out a lot during his early senior career and eventually left the Gunner for Dagenham & Redbridge in 2012. As of 2016 Hoyte, now 26 years old, plays for Eastleigh in the National League.
18) Jack Wilshere
The most high-profile product from Arsenal’s youth team, Jack Wilshere showed incredible skill and looked the perfect midfielder to help his side reach the next level. Injuries however slowed his progress, but he remains very much a favourite amongst Gunners fans.
Wilshere is currently on loan at Premier League side, Bournemouth where he is impressing. Arsenal are believed to be using the loan spell to give Wilshere first-team football before elevating him as their key midfielder next season – providing he isn’t injured again.
17) Henri Lansbury
Although Lansbury first signed a youth contract for Norwich City in 1998, he joined Arsenal in 1999 and developed through their youth system. The Midfielder looked a promising prospect, but struggled to force his way into the first team. After many loan moves he found a home at Nottingham Forest where he has flourished.
Lansbury has been the subject of many transfer rumours in early 2017. Forest may struggle to hold onto their captain due to his form and quality.
16) Aidan White
White joined Leeds United as a youngster during the clubs rise in the early 2000’s. He remained with the club throughout their dramatic fall from grace. He made his first-team debut in 2008 at just 16 years of age and received a standing ovation. White showed great promise at Left Back and looked one of very few players who could replace Ashley Cole in the England squad.
Things didn’t pan out for the defender though and after injury ruled him out, he struggled to regain his place. White dropped down a division to Oldham Athletic where he revitalised his career and regained his place at Leeds. White suffered further injuries before being released by the Yorkshire club. Aidan White recovered and signed for Rotherham United for one season. Barnsley then signed the player, where he remains contracted today.