Since the start of Phil Brown’s reign at Southend United he has always called upon the talents of Blues Academy players, most memorably Daniel Bentley and Jack Payne who both enjoyed a run in the first team...
This year is no exception for the Blues boss after picking 10 Academy products to feature in his first team squad throughout the season.
Here we take a look at how they have all fared and played their part so far this season.
Dru Yearwood – Yearwood was plucked straight from the U18s to feature in the first team this season. After a pre-season in which he featured heavily, he was named on the bench for Blues’ opening game of the season. Just three days later he made his debut for the club in the EFL Cup game against Newport County before the 17-year-old made his first appearance in the league that weekend against Rotherham. Yearwood's back-to-back starts in Blues' last two games takes his total to 11 appearances in a Southend United shirt this season.
Michael Klass – Klass was picked to sit on the bench for the game against Plymouth, remaining an unused sub in a number of games up until th Checkatrade Trophy defeat away at Gillingham. His first start came in the same competition on 3rd October when Reading U21’s visited Roots Hall which ended 1-0. In the U23’s team he has made six appearances and scored twice.
Harry Kyprianou – Kyprianou broke through into the side last season, but he has kicked on again this term. The 20-year-old defender impressed at the centre of Blues defence when deputising for Anton Ferdinand and consequently in September he earned his first DeVines Player of the Month award, before he pulled his hamstring against Doncaster. He's back fit now and like Yearwood has started the last two games.
Elvis Bwomono – Bwomono was thrown into the first team after injuries struck Brown’s squad at the start of the season. The 19-year-old made his debut in Blues' 2-1 defeat to Gillingham in the Checkatrade Trophy. He made his league debut against Rochdale, a game which saw Bwomono shine at right back as he picked up the Man of the Match award. Between August and November he made seven appearances, starting in all of them.
Nathan Bishop – Bishop has been selected in Brown’s squad on a number of occasions this season, but found it hard to break into the staring line-up due to the impressive performances of Blues No.1 Mark Oxley. But last month Bishop got his chance after Oxley picked up an injury during the game against Scunthorpe. Bishop made a number of impressive saves during the game, denying the Iron on a number of occasions.
Nico Cotton – Cotton found himself on the bench against Reading U21’s and was granted his debut after he came on for Jack Bridge in the 73rd minute, helping Blues record a win against Reading’s youth side in the Checkatrade Trophy. Cotton has made seven appearances for the U23’s this season, with one coming off the bench and most recently has been on loan at Lowestoft.
Norman Wabo – Wabo was selected on the bench for Blues’ game against MK Dons as well the game against Bradford, but remained an unused sub. However, the following weekend he was handed a sub appearance against Scunthorpe in the 87th minute, joining Bishop in making his senior debut. The New Year brought another sub appearance for Wabo as he came on for Simon Cox in the 74th minute against Northampton.
Dan Matsuzaka – Matsuzaka was placed on the bench for Blues’ game against Rochdale, remaining an unused sub, also being selected on the bench for the game against Reading alongside Nico Cotton and Nathan Bishop. Matsuzaka has made five starting appearances for the U23’s this season, also scoring one goal.
Sonny Coutts – Coutts was on the bench for the Reading game, but was unfortunately not selected for a sub appearance. But despite this he has made two appearances in the U23’s. Prior to Coutts progression into the U23's squad he captained Blues’ U18’s in the 2015/16 season.
Harry Phillips – Phillips was the latest member of the U23s to appear in the first team squad, coming in Blues’ first game of 2018 against AFC Wimbledon. He was an unused sub in the game and consequently became the 10th youth product that Brown has selected in his squad this season. Despite not featuring for Blues’ first team this season Phillips has managed to make nine appearances for the U23’s also scoring one goal.