Belgian, a signing from Standard Liege, has had two very strong seasons at this level and, like Thorpe, was shortlisted for the Reserve Player of the Year award.
Larnell Cole: Skilful and intelligent midfielder with an eye for a pass and the ability to keep possession in tight spaces. Hitting peak form at just the right time, his hat-trick in the semi-final, which included two calmly-taken penalties, means he is leading scorer in all competitions in 2012/2013.
Mats Daehli: There is no doubting his ability or skill level and he is capable of beating defenders at will with his expert dribbling. Last year’s Young Player of the Year has often been played out wide but can be at his most dangerous when drifting into a central position.
Charni Ekangamene: All-action Belgian youngster who has forced his way into the team in a holding midfield role. Clearly gaining in power and influence as the campaign wears on, he has made rapid progress and is one to watch out for next year.
Jesse Lingard: Despite his slight build, he has the ability to create chances out of nothing with his direct running and clever footwork. Always a goal threat, he has been deployed in a number of forward positions and shows why he was regarded highly enough to go on last year’s tour.
Ben Pearson: The Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year and the stand-out performer in this year’s Academy team. The Oldham-born midfielder combines razor-sharp tackling with a sharp football brain and looks certain to play more of a role at this level in 2013/2014.