Whatever happened to these English starlets? Ex-Everton and Crystal Palace prodigies feature

Swindon Town's John Bostock in action

A Luton Town youngster will be eager to avoid following ex Everton and Crystal Palace youth talents who failed to cash in on their early promise.

John Bostock - Tottenham Hotspur

John Bostock playing for Tottenham Hotspur

15-year-old striker Connor Tomlinson was named on the bench for Luton Town in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday evening. The Hatters youth is the latest in a number of youngsters given a chance at their clubs despite still being in, or just out of school, some of whom, including an Everton pair and Crystal Palace's youngest ever player, are listed below.

Tomlinson required permission from his headmaster to play for Luton against Gillingham in the first round of the new Checkatrade Trophy.

The revamped competition consists of a mixture of U23 and U21 teams from Premier League and Championship clubs competing alongside senior sides from the Football League.

There will be lots of young talent on show, but it's important not to expect too much too young of our young footballers. Here are a few youngsters who announced themselves on the football scene before their first driving lesson, but for whom the path to the top was not navigated. 

Shabazz Baidoo

Age at debut - 16 years 357 days

Hackney-born striker Shabazz Baidoo made his debut for QPR on 5 April 2005 whilst the club was going through an injury crisis.

After 28 league appearances and three goals for the club, QPR released Baidoo in January 2008.

Brief spells at Dagenham & Redbridge and Lewes followed, but in October 2008 he joined non-league Croydon Athletic.

The 29-year-old has since plied his trade for several other non-league clubs including Wealdstone Raiders and Biggleswade Town, whilst he has run his own car showroom and has a flourishing musical career under the stage name MC Terminator.

Francis Jeffers

Age at debut - 16 years 335 days

Jeffers made his debut for Everton in December 1997. Four promising seasons with Everton in the Premier League saw Arsene Wenger come calling, and the youngster joined Arsenal for £8 million (Sky Sports) in 2001.

He made his debut for England against Australia alongside a 17-year-old Wayne Rooney, scoring the only goal in a 3-1 loss, but the only way was down from there for Jeffers.

He fell down the Football League, whilst also trying his luck in Australia for the Newcastle United Jets, and his professional career ended with Accrington Stanley in 2013. 

Robin Van Persie - Arsenal celebrates his goal with Francis JeffersJeffers celebrating an Arsenal goal with Robin Van Persie

He has since been spotted helping out with the coaching at Everton's training ground.

Jose Baxter

Age at debut - 16 years 191 days

Attacking midfielder Baxter made his Everton bow on the opening day of the 2008/09 Premier League season.

During the course of that season and the three that followed, he made only seven appearances for the club. He left Goodison Park in 2012 for League One side Oldham Athletic, but 15 goals in 43 league appearances brought Baxter back into the spotlight.

Preston North End's Calum Woods in action with Sheffield United’s Jose BaxterPreston North End's Calum Woods in action with Sheffield United’s Jose Baxter

After just one season with Oldham, he remained in League One with Sheffield United. During three seasons with the club he made regular appearances, but his time at Bramall Lane was marred by a failed drugs test.

After being suspended by the club, Sheffield United elected to release Baxter at the end of last season. He remains without a club.

John Bostock

Age at debut - 15 years 287 days

Bostock made his debut for Crystal Palace in October 2007 and was hailed as one of England's brightest prospects.

After making only four league appearances for Palace, he moved to Tottenham Hotpsur for £700,000 (Telegraph). But in five years at White Hart Lane, he mustered just a handful of appearances from the bench and was loaned out to a host of clubs including Toronto FC, without ever setting the world alight. 

In 2013, Bostock moved to Belgium to play for Royal Antwerp and then Oud-Heverlee Leuven, before joining Ligue 2 side RC Lens last month.  

John Bostock - Swindon TownBostock in the colours of Swindon Town

Despite representing England at various age-grades, Bostock has recently thrown in his lot with Trinidad and Tobago.

Given his early promise, Bostock's career hasn't quite travelled on the trajectory that many had hoped, but at 24 years of age, there's still time for him to make his way back up to the top. But at present, he is still most remembered as being both Tottenham and Crystal Palace's youngest ever player.

Reuben Noble-Lazarus

Age at debut - 15 years 45 days

Noble-Lazarus became the youngest player in Football League history when he came off the substitutes' bench for Barnsley on 30 September 2008. 

He was too young to receive a match fee and returned to school the following day.

Reuben Noble Lazarus - BarnsleyNoble-Lazarus playing for Barnsley

Barnsley manager Simon Davey had wanted to select the youngster earlier in the season for a League Cup match, but Noble-Lazarus was ineligible at the time as he hadn't yet enjoyed his 15th birthday. 

In seven years at Barnsley, the winger made 46 league appearances for Barnsley - only 10 of which were starts - and after spending the first half of the 2014/15 season on loan at Rochdale, the move became permanent in the January transfer window.

In a year and a half at the club, he has made 24 league appearances, of which only six have been in the starting XI. 

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch