Emerging Legacies - The Rise of Second and Third Generation Football Stars.

01.03.2024 13:54:30 Adam England
Young kids playing football
  • Liverpool beat Southampton in the FA Cup thanks to goals from Lewis Koumas and Jayden Danns
  • Their fathers are former Premier League players Jason Koumas and Neil Danns respectively
  • A number of young players coming through at English teams have former professional footballers as fathers


Liverpool swanned through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Wednesday night with goals from Koumas and Danns sealing a 3-0 win over Southampton. 

If those names sound familiar, you’re sort of right. It’s Lewis Koumas and Jayden Danns, the sons of former Welsh international Jason Koumas and Neil Danns, who played in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City in the 2000s. 

But, while their fathers turned out for lower-mid-table Premier League times and spent time in the Championship too, Lewis and Jayden are coming through the ranks at one of the world’s biggest and most successful clubs. At just 18 years old, they’re gradually being integrated into the senior squad. 

They’re far from the only sons of former professional footballers to be coming through, however. Let’s take a look at some of the other names.

  

Keyrol Figueroa

Another Liverpool prospect with an ex-Prem star dad? Keyrol’s father is Maynor Figueroa, the Honduran international who made over 300 Premier League appearances for Wigan Athletic and Hull City and might be best known for his goal from inside his own half against Stoke City in 2009. 

Keyrol was born in his father’s home country while he was playing for Olimpia, and first came through the ranks at MLS side FC Dallas, a team his dad also played for. He joined Liverpool in 2018, and hasn’t yet made a senior appearance. He doesn’t turn 18 until the end of August, however, so time is on his side. The young forward is also a United States under-17 international, and has scored nine in 13. Meanwhile, he’s got Antoine Griezmann on hand for advice, in a pairing you perhaps might not have expected.
 

Archie Gray

Generally considered one of the better players in the Championship, let alone one of the better youngsters, Archie Gray is having one hell of a season for Leeds United. He first made the bench for the club in 2021, when he was just 15, but made his debut in August last year in a Championship game against Cardiff City

His rise since then has been impressive. Against Chelsea in the FA Cup at the end of February, he was named player of the match by ITV’s Lee Dixon, high praise indeed from a former England international. At just 17 years old, he’s already turning out for the England under-20s. His dad? Former Scotland player Andy Gray, who himself came through the ranks at Leeds and also played for the likes of Nottingham Forest, Bradford City, and Sheffield United. His grandad? Former Leeds icon Frank Gray. 

 

Sol Sidibe

Ah, the Tony Pulis years at Stoke. One player who was a fixture of his teams for a few years in the mid-to-late 2000s was forward Mamady Sidibe, a Mali international. He left the Potters in 2013, but his son Sol joined the club’s academy two years later.

Sol turned 17 last month, and made his debut back in August against Rotherham United. He became the youngest Stoke player to feature in the league for 65 years before a first start against West Bromwich Albion in the EFL Cup three days later. Unlike his dad, he’s a midfielder, and one who plays for the England under-17s at that. 

He’s not the only offspring of a Premier League star to be on Stoke’s books, either. There’s also D’Margio Wright-Phillips, son of Shaun and grandson of Ian. He’s a bit older at 22, but has made 22 appearances for the Potters in all competitions to date. He’s currently on loan at Beerschot in the Belgian second division under the tutelage of manager and former Liverpool cult hero Dirk Kuyt. 

 

Charlie Savage

You might remember this young midfielder making his debut for Manchester United a couple of years ago, replacing Juan Mata in a Champions League tie while his father, Robbie Savage, was co-commentating on the game for BT Sport. That was to be his only appearance for the Red Devils, however, as he went on to spend time on loan at Forest Green Rovers and then join Reading. 

He’s established himself in the team at the League One club, however, and he’s also a senior Wales international now, like his dad. Robbie had a lengthy Premier League career for Leicester City, Birmingham, Blackburn and Derby County. Could his son do the same? However, Charlie has explained in the past that they’re different types of players, seeing himself as more technical than tenacious. 

 

Jordan James

Admittedly, his dad never played in the Premier League, but Small Heath’s favourite son is just too good to leave out. Tony James had a good career as a centre-back, most notably for Hereford United and Burton Albion where his career overlapped with that of future Birmingham manager Gary Rowett. Despite the longevity of his career he would never play at a level higher than League Two. 

For the younger James, on the other hand, the sky is truly the limit. Jordan made his Blues debut in 2021, one of a cluster of highly-rated youngsters (the Bellingham brothers among them) to have come through the ranks at the club in recent years. The Welsh international, who travelled with the Wales team to Qatar for the experience before making his debut last year, hasn’t always been a guaranteed starter for Birmingham, but there’s a case for him being the club’s best player this term. Interest in January from the Premier League and Serie A was swatted away, but with eight goals to his name this season, he’s definitely a young midfielder to keep an eye on.

 

 

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