Dangerman Tonge a bright young prospect
Player to Watch: Michael TongeSEVERAL teenagers have emerged to make an impact in the Nationwide League Division One this season, writes Tony Garnett.
Player to Watch: Michael Tonge
SEVERAL teenagers have emerged to make an impact in the Nationwide League Division One this season, writes Tony Garnett. Cash-strapped clubs have looked to their youngsters sooner than they might have done in the days when they were able to afford larger squads.
Michael Tonge, a six-foot 19-year-old, has taken his chance with both hands. He was already being watched by Premiership scouts before his two goals against Liverpool that enabled the Blades to take a 2-1 advantage to Anfield for the second leg of the Worthington Cup semi-final.
Tonge is already on the way up the football ladder. If Sheffield United are unable to secure Premiership status the odds are that Tonge will be the subject of a big-money move before long.
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He broke into the Blades' midfield in September 2001. His form was a revelation and he was voted young player of the year at Bramall Lane.
Tonge is only one of several teenagers to catch the eye this season. Ipswich have their two Darrens, Bent and Ambrose, while Bradford City's 17 year-old Simon Francis is impressive for his age.
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Nottingham Forest have a potential future England international in central defender Michael Dawson while in Division Two the Crewe forwards Dean Ashton and Rob Hulse will surely end playing at the top level.