Luton receive financial boost from EFL Futures programme

Keeper Christian Walton
Keeper Christian Walton

Luton Town have confirmed they receieved almost £20,000 from the EFL Futures programme last season.

The EFL announced earlier that the initiative provided a £750,000 cash boost to clubs who introduced young English players into their starting line-ups for league matches during the 2016-17 campaign, with Town revealing their coffers have been swelled by £17,982 after manager Nathan Jones gave 82 league starts to players who were under the age of 21 and eligible for England.

Hatters youngster James Justin

Hatters youngster James Justin

Goalkeeper Christian Walton was top of the appearance makers, with 27 starts during his loan spell from Brighton & Hove Albion, with homegrown talent James Justin, currently in Spain with the England U19s, starting 24 times.

Midfielder Jake Gray, 21, with 11 starts, and Alex Gilliead, 21, who made 10 when on loan from Newcastle United were next in the list, followed by 19-year-old left-back Jack Senior, who had nine starts after joining from Huddersfield Town.

Youth team centre-half Akin Famewo was also included, as he was just 17 when he made his full League debut in the 1-1 draw at Hartlepool last September.

Stats already show the Hatters fielded the youngest team in the League Two based on minutes played during the season, at an average of 24.6 years, while Jones gave many academy products a chance in the run to the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final underlining the club’s commitment to giving opportunity to developing players.

Town youngster Akin Famewo

Town youngster Akin Famewo

Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive, has welcomed the financial contribution EFL Futures has made, saying: “When we launched EFL Futures we discussed the need for a collective commitment to support the progression of young players into starting line-ups.

“EFL Clubs already play a big part in player development through the Academy system, but EFL Futures provides an additional incentive to give more playing opportunities to our young local footballers. We will continue to look at further ways to shape the ambition of providing a pathway from Academies into the first team.

“I’m sure that the payments announced today will have a positive and lasting impact and that EFL Futures will deliver the required change in what is a hugely significant area for the long-term growth of the English game.”