Fulham may be languishing near the bottom of the Championship, but fans can be optimistic about their future due to the strength of the Cottagers’ youth system.
The Whites have won the Barclays U18 Premier League title for the past three seasons, while Cauley Woodrow, Patrick Roberts, Moussa Dembélé, Lasse Vigen Christensen, Josh Passley, Ange-Freddy Plumain, Dan Burn and Muamer Tankovic all featured for the first team last season.
Huw Jennings, Malcolm Elias and Kit Symons have reaped the rewards of their hard work in recruiting and coaching the club’s youngsters, and should be lauded for changing Fulham’s fortunes at academy level.
Here James Robinson profiles five youngsters set to make a major impression next season.
1) Patrick Roberts: 17, England (Forward)
At just seventeen, Kingston-upon-Thames born Roberts is arguably the brightest prospect to graduate from Fulham’s academy.
Capable of playing on either flank, or behind the striker, Roberts possesses the pace, dribbling ability and creativity to be a threat at the very highest level.
He played a starring role in England’s victorious European U17 Championships in the summer, with four assists and three goals.
Comparisons with other players are negligible at such a young age, but there is more than a little touch of Lionel Messi in the way Roberts plays, especially the way the ball sticks to his left foot during mazy dribbles.
He made his debut under Felix Magath against Manchester City last season, and has continued to feature heavily in the first-team this season, earning a call-up to the England U19 squad.
Magath will be wary about leaning on the youngster too heavily, having seen him struggle physically at times, however his flashes of genius have excited supporters despite Fulham’s poor start to the season.
2) Emerson Hyndman: 18, USA (Midfielder)
The Texan moved from FC Dallas to Fulham as a youngster and hasn’t looked back since.
Neat and tidy on the ball, with the ability to control the tempo of the game, Hyndman featured heavily in pre-season.
After being handed the number 28 shirt for Fulham’s up-and-coming campaign, as well as being rewarded for his form with the club’s youth sides with a contract extension to 2016, Hyndman has quickly become a main part of Felix Magath's side.
Hyndman gained his first cap for USA against the Czech Republic in the last round of international fixtures, so his manager’s prediction that he will feature in the next World Cup seems realistic.
Magath is synonymous with promoting talented youngsters to stardom, having worked with the likes of Kevin Kuranyi and Timo Hildebrand whilst at Stuttgart, so Hyndman has every chance of succeeding as long as he gets his head down and continues to apply himself.
3) George Williams 18, Wales (Winger)
The winger's rise in the professional game has been quite remarkable.
After scoring for MK Dons as a 16-year-old, Fulham snapped him up in 2012, and was handed his senior debut in the 1-0 defeat against Millwall last month.
Williams has already made his bow for Wales, replacing Gareth Bale after the Real Madrid forward pulled out with injury against the Netherlands.
The 18-year-old’s main attribute is pace, although, similarly to Patrick Roberts, he has composure and maturity in the final third that belies his age.
4) Moussa Dembélé, 18, France (Striker)
An out-and-out striker, Dembélé took the brave decision to leave Paris Saint-Germain’s famed youth academy for Craven Cottage in 2013.
His ambition for first-team football was rewarded when Magath called the Frenchman up to the squad to play Swansea, before handing him his Premier League debut against West Ham.
Even as an 18-year-old, Dembélé held his own despite the physical nature of English football.
He finished last season with 23 goals in just 17 league and cup appearances at U18 level, where his pace and power was too much for the opposition.
A hat-trick in pre-season against FC Dallas was further evidence of his striking prowess, and whilst he is yet to hit the back of the net this campaign, Dembélé will benefit from the aerial ability of new signing Matt Smith.
5) Liam Donnelly, 18, Northern Ireland (Centre-back)
Another of the crop of Fulham youngsters to appear for his country before debuting at club level, Donnelly made his international bow for Northern Ireland against Chile in June.
A powerful and vocal defender, Donnelly captained Fulham at U18 level, so his leadership should endear him to Magath.
Unlike fellow young centre-back Cameron Burgess, Donnelly is yet to be handed a first-team squad number, so a loan spell could be his immediate future.
And with Fulham bringing in a number of defenders in the close season, the youngster may have to bide his time at Craven Cottage.