The Motspur Park conveyor belt is well known for producing precious young talent. Since the transformation of Fulham’s youth set up began more than a decade ago under the stewardship of Huw Jennings and Malcolm Elias, who were recruited to London’s oldest professional outfit by Alistair Mackintosh, this rather sleepy Surrey setting has become home to a category one academy that has quickly become the envy of many English clubs – and possibly plenty further afield.

Fulham have developed a reputation for being both astute developers of young footballers and not being afraid to blood them in their senior sides at an early age. The most classic example is Ryan Sessegnon, plucked from youth football at sixteen and promoted to the first team by Slavisa Jokanovic in 2016 without much fuss. The youngster took to the rough and tumble of the Championship seamlessly, making light of his tender age to deliver composed displays as a key part of the team that first reached the play-offs and then won promotion the following year – supplying the superb pass for Tom Cairney’s memorable Wembley winner.

The club have offered first-team opportunities to a plethora of youngsters in recent seasons, with Patrick Roberts, Cauley Woodrow and Moussa Dembele being handed Premier League debuts whilst still teenagers. Fabio Carvalho is the latest starlet to shine on the senior stage – and there is a compelling argument to suggest that Scott Parker left the twinkle-toed number ten’s introduction to a struggling first team too late. He scored on his full debut at Southampton, with the Whites only consigned to relegation, and has gone on to shine under Marco Silva in the Championship.

Silva has shown a willingness to give the next generation their opportunity. As well as his unstinting faith in Carvalho’s ability, he handed Tyrese Francois a first senior start in the centre of midfield against Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough – no easy assignment – when there were more experienced options available. The head coach gave Adrion Pajaziti a debut in the League Cup and has looked to continue Jay Stansfield’s progression to the first team squad wherever possible. Given that he regularly watches the youth sides and includes players in the first team, it can’t be long before Luke Harris is the next youngster to make the step up.

The Welsh under 19 international’s name has long been whispered by those who cultivate the club’s academy prospects as potentially one of the best of the bunch. Harris was spotted in Jersey by Malcolm Elias and has enjoyed a rapid rise through the club’s youth set up. A cultured passer who also has a keen eye for goal, Harris slotted seamlessly into Steve Wigley’s under 18 side at just fifteen – scoring eight goals and adding three assists as he alternated between a conventional centre midfield role and the ten position. His reward for helping the young Whites win the U18 Premier League south for a second season in succession was to be fast-tracked into the under 23’s set up by Wigley, who has quickly come to depend on Harris as a consistently ‘high performer’.

“He’s a starter for the U23s now, it’s as simple as that. The only time he’s missed out on playing is when a member of the first team, who’s come back from injury, comes down to us to play. I want to see him play for Fulham’s first team. Then, if we can get him there, the world is his oyster.”

Fulham under 23s coach Steve Wigley on Luke Harris

He scored on his under 23 debut up at Sunderland and now has seven Premier League 2 goals to his name after a stunning nine-minute hat trick at Newcastle last night. Harris has become a key part of an under 23 side that leads the Second Division by an incredible twenty points, despite his youthfulness. He grabbed a brace as for the under 18s as Manchester City were dispatched in the quarter finals of the Premier League Cup a couple of weeks ago and there’s more than a hint of Frank Lampard in those late darting runs into the box that leave despairing defenders looking round anxiously. Ten goals in eighteen appearances in youth football this term is a terrific record for someone who doesn’t turn seventeen until April. You wouldn’t bet against him making another step up before the end of the season.