West Brom keen to keep teenager amid Barcelona interest
Albion are determined to keep 15-year-old wonderkid Louie Barry amid interest from Barcelona and the Bundesliga.
Barry, who has been at the club since he was six, has caught the attention of several European giants thanks to his exploits with England under-16s.
Fifa rules forbid players under 18 moving to a foreign club but those aged 16 and 17 can move within two countries in the European Economic Area. Barry turns 16 in June.
A prolific forward from Sutton Coldfield, who attends Bishop Walsh Catholic School, he scored both goals in a 2-2 draw with Brazil U16s at St George’s Park in February.
That impressive brace came after he picked up the golden boot in November at the Val-de-Marne tournament which England U16s won.
He came off the bench for Albion’s U18s on Monday in their 4-2 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup semi-final and scored for Mike Scott’s team in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool U18s yesterday.
Barry first rose to prominence last year when he scored 10 goals in five games for England U15s at a tournament in Italy.
A number of big European clubs have been sniffing around the youngster, with Barcelona particularly interested.
That interest is another feather in the cap of Albion’s flourishing academy, which continues to punch above its weight.
Albion will attempt to keep the young strike by showing him the pathway to the first team already trodden by other academy players.
Sam Field, Rekeem Harper and Kyle Edwards have all featured for the first team in 2019, while Morgan Rogers and Rayhaan Tulloch recently made their senior debuts.
Speaking after Monday’s Youth Cup semi-final, under-18s boss Mike Scott said: “There’s a pathway at our club and that’s something our lads look at. They know there’s an opportunity here.”
Academy manager Mark Harrison believes 50 per cent of the first team could be home-grown talent in the next three to five years.
“It’s about having a plan, having the pathway and having what’s needed for each individual player,” said Harrison. “We will map that out for every player that we think will be right for them.”