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Academy product Max Kilman puts Gillingham 261st in Premier League talent rankings

By Matthew Panting

Gillingham's academy has snuck into the latest rankings for producing Premier League talent, with one player developed at the club playing in the English top flight last season.

New research from the Press Association shows that products of the club’s academy played one minute of last season's Premier League.

It makes Gillingham the 261st best academy overall for minutes played in the English top flight, and the 67th top club academy in England.

Gillingham's current crop of academy players line-up alongside this year's first-team squad at the club's annual photocall - how many of these will feature in the Premier League one day? Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham's current crop of academy players line-up alongside this year's first-team squad at the club's annual photocall - how many of these will feature in the Premier League one day? Picture: Ady Kerry

Just one player – Max Kilman, who played 1 minute for Wolves – was responsible for Gillingham academy's showing in the Premier League last season. The 22-year-old, who played for Maidenhead after leaving Gills, signed for Wolves last year and made his debut as an 89th-minute substitute against Fulham in May.

The playing time was reflected with an entry into the rankings for the club last season. In 2017-18, none of Gillingham's academy products featured in the Premier League.

Manchester United’s academy produced the most Premier League players last season. Between them, 20 players – including Watford regular Craig Cathcart, Paul Pogba at United and Everton's Michael Keane – racked up more than 27,000 minutes of league time.

That was more than 50% more than Tottenham's academy, their nearest challengers, from which 13 academy products played 18,000 minutes.

Southampton’s youth set-up came third, with the academies at Chelsea, Manchester City and Premier League newcomers Sheffield United following.

The rankings also show the English top flight’s reliance on products of European academies – though the focus has shifted south, from Holland to Portugal.

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Whereas last year’s rankings featured Feyenoord and Ajax in seventh and 10th place respectively, this year sees Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, at eighth and 10th, feature as the only two continental sides in the top 10.

Wolves' promotion to the top flight, and their links with the Portuguese market, was a key factor – they gave minutes to six players trained in Portugal last year.

Outside of the top flight, Leeds United were the biggest English producers of Premier League players. As well as Charlie Taylor at Burnley, products of their academy included relative veterans James Milner and Aaron Lennon.

League 1 Coventry were next, with two players on the fringe of the England squad – James Maddison and Callum Wilson – gaining the most minutes.

The top ten academies, ranked by minutes their players played in the Premier League last season, were:

  1. Manchester United: 20 players, 27,395 minutes (Craig Cathcart, at Watford, played most)
  2. Tottenham: 13 players, 17,903 mins (Andros Townsend, Crystal Palace)
  3. Southampton: 16 players, 15,964 mins (Luke Shaw, Manchester United)
  4. Chelsea: nine players, 15,870 mins (Nathan Ake, Bournemouth)
  5. Manchester City: eight players, 13,605 mins (Ben Mee, Burnley)
  6. Sheffield United: six players, 12,400 mins (Kyle Walker, Manchester City)
  7. Liverpool: six players, 12,104 mins (Conor Coady, Wolves)
  8. Benfica: five players, 11,032 mins (Ederson, Manchester City)
  9. West Ham: eight players, 10,608 mins (Declan Rice, West Ham)
  10. Sporting Lisbon: five players, 10,127 mins (Rui Patricio, Wolves)

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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