Leicester City already have the next Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall lined up

Jake Evans
Leicester City academy star Jake Evans has been tipped for great things -Credit:Plumb Images

Leicester City's academy has produced a number of talented players over the years and the current crop breaking through at Seagrave are on course to follow in the footsteps of those who have made it.

In City's Championship title winning season, Enzo Maresca's squad consisted of five academy players (Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Hamza Choudhury, Kasey McAteer, Ben Nelson and Wanya Marcal) with Will Alves, Tawanda Maswanhise, Brandon Cover and Arjan Raikhy (who joined from Aston Villa) all either featuring or training with the first team.

The abundance of serious level talent coming out of the football club is one of excitement and on Bank Holiday Monday, Leicester fans were treated to a glimpse of what the future may look like.

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The U16s lifted the Premier League Cup in front of thousands at the King Power Stadium against Manchester City. Jake Evans, who has spent portions of this season playing at U18s level, was the hero on the night with both goals in a thriller.

After his penalty was cancelled out by Christian Dunbar-McDonald, Evans' stunning second in the extra-time crowned the young Foxes as champions. If City fans didn't know of Evans before, they certainly will be taking notice now.

One man who knows more than many about the attacker is former Leicester academy coach Alistair Heath. Heath spent seven years at the football club between 2015 and 2021 before moving to Cambodia to take up a first-team head coach role.

During his time in LE2, he worked as head coach of the Thailand International U17s-U23s head coach before spending just over a year coaching the academy players.

"After Covid/during Covid, I joined the actual academy working with the U14s," he told LeicestershireLive. "The first group I worked with had Trey Nyoni in and the second, who I consider the best academy age group I’ve ever been with, have got Jake Evans.

"He will make the first team. I keep in contact with him now and he is one to keep an eye on."

Heath continued: “I would say he’s a very versatile player, he can play on the left and right. He has got strength, determination, good ball control and pace. He’s got a good eye for goal and he’s an all-round great attacking player.

"His biggest strength is his mentality. I remember seeing him in the U13s and to be able to watch him when I was with the U14s was great. In some ways, he reminds me of a Wayne Rooney-type player.

Jake Evans
Jake Evans scored twice for Leicester City U16s in their Premier League Cup final win over Manchester City -Credit:Plumb Images

"He’s an all round player. When I was with the U14s, I knew he would go on to be involved with the U21s, etc. For him, as long as he keeps that mentality then there’s no reason why he can’t go all the way and be the new Dewsbury Hall."

Dewsbury-Hall was a late bloomer to the Leicester first team but made a name for himself after back-to-back loan spells with Blackpool and Luton Town. This season, he was a key part in the club returning to the Premier League with him scoring 12 and assisting a further 15.

While comparing Evans' potential pathway to the first-team to Dewsbury-Hall is difficult, Heath believes the teenager could go on to surpass previous academy graduates at the club.

“If you are, in my opinion, not in and around the first team by 18 (training, pre-season, etc), it’s very difficult (to make it) because that’s how tough it is. If a U21 team hasn’t got a young age group, then something is wrong.

"Jake has got a great chance. Now they’re back in the Premier League, it might be more difficult, he might have to go out on loan but I know he’s got the mindset to do that and do well. They’ve got real talent there. Whether it’s on the same level as Dewsbury-Hall or [Hamza] Choudhury, I think he can be better than those two."