Another example of an academy product tipped to have a big future in the game is prolific forward, Jay Stansfield.
Son of the late, great, former City striker, Adam Stansfield, Jay certainly did the family name proud with his rise through the ECFC Academy, where his reputation for hard work and an eye for goal indicated a bright future from the start.
Having joined the Exeter youth set-up as an under-9s player in 2010, the coaches held high hopes for the young attacker and, in the 2018/19 season - after guiding the under-16s Floodlit Cup glory, and helping the under-18s reach the EFL Youth Alliance Cup final - City supporters got excited that Jay may adorn the number nine shirt for the Grecians much like his father did.
However, in August 2019, Exeter reluctantly received an offer from Fulham for their first-year scholar which saw they young forward make his way to Craven Cottage. The marksman settled quickly and didn’t take long to get used to his new surroundings.
After enjoying a fruitful pre-season for the Londoner's’ youth side, Jay netted five goals in his first four league games for his new team in the under-18s Premier League. Jay’s goalscoring record continued at an impressive rate, finishing with a total of 26 goals in 18 appearances in the 2019/20 campaign across all competitions, making Fulham fans sit up and take notice of their new star.
That season, however, wasn’t just about youth football for Jay. His form was so strong that he began to gain admirers on a national level, and in November 2019, the striker was called up by England under-18s for their matches against Russia, Norway and Czech Republic.
Jay was also involved with the Cottagers’ first-team matters later on in the season, and, on the 4th January 2020, he made his first-team debut in Fulham’s FA Cup third-round match against Aston Villa. Jay also appeared as a substitute in their Championship draw with Charlton Athletic a few weeks later.
This season, however, Jay has found things much tougher as an ankle injury severely hampered his progress, and left him on the side-lines from October to January. To date he has played nine times in this year’s U18s Premier League, scoring five goals, but, has also racked up five Under-23s appearances when fit.
In a recent interview with Fulham’s website, Jay announced he found things difficult during his time in the treatment room, however, has objectives that include being involved with the under-23s on a more regular basis, and hopes he can grab a few more appearances for the first-team in the near future.