SCOUTING REPORT: The 5 League Two whizkids being watched by Man Utd, Spurs, Liverpool

With the English domestic season coming to a close next month, we thought it was time to have a look at some players from lower divisions who are catching the eye of the top flight clubs.
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With the English domestic season coming to a close next month, we thought it was time to have a look at some players from lower divisions who are catching the eye of the top flight clubs.

Below is a list of five League Two youngsters who tribalfootball.com believe could be on the radar of Premier League teams ahead of the summer transfer window.

Top 5 League Two prospects

Sam SlocombeScunthorpe United
Goalkeeper

25-year old gloveman Sam Slocombe has become the undisputed first choice at Glanford Park this season after sharing the duties with Steve Mildenhall and Eirik Johansen, who was on loan from Manchester City, last term.

Scunthorpe-born Slocombe has racked up more than 100 appearances for the Iron since making his debut in 2008 and has attracted interest from various clubs in higher divisions.

Tottenham were keen on Slocombe a couple of years ago when Scunny were in League One and he has only enhanced his game since the North Lincolnshire outfit dropped to League Two this campaign.

Slocombe received some invaluable game time in the Championship in 2009/10 and 2010/11 when he was developing and could be on the way back up the ranks sooner than later as Scunthorpe currently sitting second on the fourth tier table.

19 clean sheets this term has helped Russ Wilcox’s side produce a genuine title-winning side, having lost just four times, and Slocombe has been the ever-present at the back which further adds to his credentials.

It appears as though Scunny could be headed back to the third division of English football but expect some summer interest in their keeper who is one of the most promising custodians in the UK at present.

A recent ‘selfie’ taken by Portsmouth fans when Scunthorpe won 5-1 in February shows that Slocombe is respected by opposing supporters for his consistent performances in the claret and blue.

Back in 2012, Slocombe said that he was often watched by interested clubs and admitted he simply went about his business whenever this was the case.

"There's always people watching at football, whether it's Spurs or someone else," he told BBC Radio Humberside.

"If they want you, they come and watch you because of how you're playing so there's no need to change your game for that.

"What you need to know is that they watch over a number of weeks and a number of games so they won't just come and watch one game."

Tendayi DarikwaChesterfield
Midfielder

Highly-rated midfielder Tendayi Darikwa has already been linked with Manchester United which shows just how far he has come since debuting for Chesterfield in 2010.

The 22-year old English-born Darikwa, who is of Zimbabwean parentage, has taken his game to a new level in League Two over the past two seasons which attracted the curiosity of Red Devils boss David Moyes, when he was at the helm at Everton, and again since he took charge of the Old Trafford reins.

Darikwa’s performances this season have helped the Spireites up to third spot on the fourth tier table and have also attracted the attentions of London trio Tottenham, West Ham United and Fulham.

Chesterfield chief executive Paul Cook is aware that the youth academy product is a target for Premier League clubs, suggesting the former Barrow and Hinckley United loanee is one of the most talented players in the lower leagues.

“Tendayi is a lad we know clubs are looking at. Will someone take him soon? That's out of my hands,” said Cook in October last year.

“But certainly as a young player there will not be many better around the country.”

Nottingham-born Darikwa, who can operate as a central midfielder or on the right side, is contracted with Chesterfield until June 2015.

He has made 35 league appearances this term adding to the 36 from last campaign (including 31 starts) for a total of 10 goals and eight assists in 87 outings for the Derbyshire outfit.

Jed WallacePortsmouth
Midfielder

20-year old Jed Wallace (pictured above) is a bonafide Portsmouth first-team player in 2013/14 after getting a taste of the action in League One last season.

The Reading-born England U19 international has appeared 38 times for Pompey in League Two this term, scoring six goals, and attracting the attention from clubs in the Championship in the process.

Both Burnley and Blackburn Rovers have been credited with an interest in Wallace who comes out of contract at Fratton Park this summer.

The versatile Wallace can be deployed anywhere across the midfield, but mainly on the right wing, where he does most of his damage for Pompey despite the fact they currently languishing in 21st position in England’s fourth division.

Wallace enjoyed loan spells with Conference South clubs Farnborough (where he spent time as a youth) and Whitehawk in 2012 which helped prepare him for the League One campaign last term which in turn gave him the experience to take on the best defenders in League Two.

There is plenty of upside to Wallace, who has 12 goals in 65 Portsmouth appearances, and expect him to be finding his way to a club placed higher up the ranks when the next transfer window comes around.

Brad Walker – Hartlepool United
Midfielder

Hartlepool have unearthed a gem in 17-year old Brad Walker who has emerged on the scene in League Two this season.

The County Durham-born Walker has amassed 30 league appearances for the Pool this season and has impressed so much that manager Colin Cooper is keen to tie him down to a long-term contract.

Walker, who has been involved in the England U18 setup, is under contract at Victoria Park until this summer and the north east club are hoping they can keep him around for a while longer.

The central midfielder has already been linked with Premier League duo Norwich City and Stoke City while Scottish champions Celtic and Championship league leaders Leicester City have also been sniffing around.

Walker spent time at Middlesbrough as a kid before joining Hartlepool’s youth academy in 2010 and he has been one of the ***** Hangers’ most promising performers in the fourth tier this season.

Recently, Walker spoke of his inclusion in the senior squad during a preseason trip to Holland which has seen him become a first-choice selection under Cooper.

“I started the season with the youth team and I wasn’t angry but I wanted to kick-on,” said Walker.

“I said to myself if I get the chance I’m going to take it and then went away to Holland with the first team and got to know the manager and Craig Hignett [former assistant manager] and really enjoyed it.

“That was a real positive and I have just kicked on from there.”

The in-demand Walker will be hoping he can continue the brilliant form of his maiden senior campaign with the 14th-placed Pools as they look to move into the top half of the League Two.

Ben Purrington – Plymouth Argyle
Defender

Plymouth Argyle defender Ben Purrington has taken massive strides forward in his debut season with the senior team.

The 17-year old left-back, who was born in Exeter, made his League Two bow for the Pilgrims on Boxing Day and has gone on to start nine times for a total of 10 appearances in the league since.

Purrington has been nominated for the League Two Apprentice of the Year award such are his performances which have also attracted the attention of the England U18 national setup.

Reports in February suggested that the Plymouth youth academy product was attracting plenty of interest from the higher divisions with Sky Sports of the belief that the likes of Liverpool, Aston Villa, Southampton, Reading, Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town and AFC Bournemouth were all monitoring his form.

One of Purrington’s former Plymouth academy coaches Kevin Nancekivell was a big rap for the talented defender who has adapted well to the senior game under John Sheridan.

“All the way through, Ben has been consistent every week in training and every week in games,” Nancekivell told the Plymouth Herald in late January.

“He is a seven or eight out of 10 all the time. He’s reliable and he’s conscientious – he’s a good player.

“It’s no surprise for me to see him go straight into the first team and stay there.”
To throw a bit of extra sporting prowess into the picture, Purrington is the nephew of former England rugby union ace Richard Hill.

 
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