West Brom boast an impressive academy set-up, though very rarely does an elite talent break the surface and make it at the Hawthorns.
In 2013, the Baggies received category one status and pledged to contribute £3m-per-year into the youth system so that they can continue to produce the very best talent in the Midlands.
Only Dara O’Shea and Rekeem Harper are on the cusp of the first-team right now whilst names such as Nathan Ferguson, Tyler Roberts, Kemar Roofe and Izzy Brown have all gone on to teams at a similar or better level.
Unlike recent times, Albion managed to secure the long-term commitment of Rico Richards this summer, one of their most promising forwards since Saido Berahino.
According to The Sun, Premier League rivals Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester City were all tracking the 17-year-old sensation last year but in August, he signed his first professional deal with a fresh three-year contract.
Academy manager Richard Stevens waxed lyrical about the young frontman, he said: “Rico is a creative player who can make things happen and we are looking forward to continuing his development.”
Richards has continued his impressive form this season, contributing to three goals in two appearances in the U18 Premier League, before finding himself promoted to the U23 set-up, where in back-to-back starts the young Albion side have picked up 1-0 victories.
It is also always a good sign when the youngster is recognised at an international level, and the Baggies starlet has picked up England caps for the U16s and has also played in a few friendlies for the U17s.
Slaven Bilic could have West Brom’s best talent since Berahino on their hands here and given their struggles in front of goal as the Premier League’s lowest scorers, he could well be called upon sooner rather than later.
Very much so as the club currently lack the presence of a Hal Robson-Kanu or Peter Odemwingie type that can play in a multitude of attacking positions, this combined with seemingly no attitude problems gives Richards the potential to eclipse their most controversial homegrown player of the modern era.