​Academies are the centre of much football debate.

Premier League clubs are often criticised (or, occasionally, praised) for their use of homegrown talents – footballs governing bodies are frequently looking for ways to encourage teams to use their academy products.

Best Football Academy In England:

  • Chelsea

  • Southampton

  • Liverpool

  • Manchester United

  • Manchester City

Many tournaments require teams to name a certain amount of academy graduates in their squads. Youth football isn’t all about producing for your own first team, however, particularly in the age of financial fairplay.

Developing talent that can be sold on is useful to teams, even if the players never get near your own first team. There are no surprise 888 predictions here - this article looks at the best academies in British football…


The most talked about academy in British football at the moment, Chelsea have dominated the FA Youth Cup in recent years and are finally seeing the benefit in the first team. The Blues have been prominent in expert football betting picks for the competition.

Roman Abramovich has invested heavily in the academy – Chelsea have won the Youth Cup seven times since 2010 and finished runners up in 2013.

John Terry remains the most well-known Chelsea graduate, and the Blues’ difficulty converting their academy stars into first team contributors since Terry has been well publicised.

That’s all changed under Frank Lampard. Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount are three of the first names on Lampard’s team sheet, while Billy Gilmour, Reece James and Marc Guehi have all been involved.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are established first team squad members. Other recognised names who developed in Chelsea’s academy include Robert Huth, Patrick van Aanholt, Ryan Bertrand, Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah.


The revenue generated by Southampton’s academy sales is extraordinary. It’s not some lucky football betting tips fluke, either - the Saints genuinely have one of the best football academies in England.

Southampton have a track record for producing some of the best young players in the country, and they continue to deliver on that promise.

Southampton stick to a style of play through the age groups and place an emphasis on classroom work as much as getting out to the practice fields.

The academy played a significant role in their rise from League One to the Premier League; the club places faith in its academy products.

Alan Shearer broke through at Southampton before leaving for Blackburn a few seasons later. Matt Le Tissier came through at the club and spent his entire career there.

Gareth Bale, who was the most expensive player in the world, was a Southampton graduate, as were Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers, Theo Walcott and Luke Shaw.


Liverpool have always prioritised homegrown talent. Sometimes it’s been to their detriment, but often it has reaped the greatest of rewards.

Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson is one of their most famous graduates – in more recent times, club legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher made the leap from the academy to the first team. Both players went on to captain the club.

Michael Owen and Steve McManaman – now frequently seen/heard on BT Sport – both came through at Liverpool before heading to Real Madrid. Robbie Fowler, one of the Premier League’s greatest strikers, joined the club soon after leaving school.

Since the turn of the century, Raheem Sterling has been their most successful graduate - though he now plays for title rivals Manchester City.

The England international is in the Golden Boot running – check out the latest odds and 888 football prediction tips if you fancy him to top score this term.

Manchester United

Manchester United’s place on this list is guaranteed thanks to the achievements of the Class of ’92 alone.

David Beckham, the Nevilles, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes represent one of the greatest academy graduate classes in all of football, let alone Britain.

The group starred at one of football’s biggest stadiums for years, dominating the England game.

Since then, production has been hit-and-miss aside from Marcus Rashford. There have been positive signs of late, however, with Mason Greenwood, Axel Tuanzede and Brandon Williams all impressing. The Red Devils boast one of the best youth teams in England.

Unsurprisingly, Manchester United are the most successful team in Youth Cup history with 10 titles. Notably, though, they have only made the final three times since 1995.

Manchester City

The academy has been part of the vision of Manchester City’s owners.

With such a high standard in the first team squad, we are yet to see any academy graduates make a meaningful contribution in the Premier League, but the players being produced are of the highest calibre.

Although they’ve only won the Youth Cup on two previous occasions, City have made the final in four of the last five seasons (losing to Chelsea thrice and Liverpool once).

It might not be long before Phil Foden is a name to consider as you analyse the latest 888 tips and online betting options.

Other high-profile City graduates include Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton, Micah Richards, Jadon Sancho Brahim Diaz and Denis Suarez.

*Credit for the main photo belongs to Jon Super / AP Photo*

Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.