In recent years, Crystal Palace have finally begun to maximise the abundance of talent that lies on their south London doorstep.
Wilfried Zaha, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrick Mitchell have all graduated from the capital club’s youth system after many barren years, but the best could still be to come.
The Guardian newspaper recently published their annual Next Generation list where they profile the next crop of talent rising through the ranks at Premier League sides. And named amongst the division’s current crop of wonderkids was Palace’s very own Kayden Rodney.
Several mature performances from the 17-year-old at the base of midfield caught the eye last term, helping Paddy McCarthy’s charges to a second-place finish and earned the praise of many impressed onlookers.
“It was a dramatic end to the season for Crystal Palace’s under-18s as they came agonisingly close to winning the Premier League south title, only to miss out to Fulham on the final day on goal difference,” wrote The Guardian’s Ed Aarons.
“But the emergence of Rodney – an intelligent defensive midfielder who is also capable of scoring spectacular goals – as one of the standout performers from the first crop of players since the club’s academy attained Category One status was a promising sign for the future.”
With Palace’s midfield trio of Cheikhou Kouyate, James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic all in their 30’s, manager Patrick Vieira will be forced to overhaul his engine room options in the near future.
And while the arrivals of Conor Gallagher and Will Hughes have already started that process, there’s still plenty of room for Rodney to make his mark upon his boyhood club.
Due to his goalscoring ability and preference to play as a more defensive-minded midfielder, it’s club captain Milivojevic who the teenage starlet most closely resembles in the current first-team squad.
If Rodney can have a similar impact upon Palace as the Serbian, then he’ll be remembered in south London for many years to come; only time will tell if his wildest dreams become a reality, though.