FOLLOWING the recent loan signing of Lloyd Jones, and in celebration of the EFL Youth Week, we look back on the team who were in the Milk Cup squad in 2010, a number of whom made it into professional football.
Lloyd Jones, who recently returned to Argyle from top-of-the-league side Luton, started his youth career with the Pilgrims and then furthered his education to play three years in the youth ranks at Liverpool, leaving for a fee of £150,000. He has also been on loan to Cheltenham, Accrington Stanley, Blackpool and Swindon. He then signed for Luton on deadline day in 2018, where he made two appearances before returning home to Plymouth Argyle.
Former apprentice Louis Rooney was also one of the squad alongside Jones. Joining Argyle’s youth ranks at the age of nine in 2006, he made two appearances for Northern Ireland Under-19s and one outing for Northern Ireland Under-21 after signing his professional senior career at Plymouth Argyle in 2015. Rooney made four first-team appearances for the Pilgrims, going on loan to both Truro and Hartlepool before signing for Northern Ireland Football League Premiership Champions, Linfield, on a 12-month contract. His debut for Linfield was a memorable one, where he scored three goals in ten minutes in a 6-0 victory over Lisburn Distillery after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Sam Gallagher, born in Crediton, was another team-mate who appeared in the 2010 Milk Cup squad. He spent six years in the Argyle youth team before making a move to Southampton. The striker made 18 appearances for Southampton, as well as going on loan to MK Dons, Blackburn and championship side Birmingham City. He scored 18 goals in the three seasons spent out on loan, 11 of which came from his loan at Blackburn. Gallagher has also played for Scotland Under-19, England Under-19 and England Under-20.
Plymouth-born midfielder Tyler Harvey was a member of the youth team with the Pilgrims from 2004 to 2013, joining when he was nine years old and his goal record brought him to the attention of manager Carl Fletcher, as well as bigger clubs. He signed his professional contract with the club in 2012 and made 50 first-team appearances for Argyle, plus nine appearances in total for both Salisbury and Bath on loan. Harvey then went on to sign for Wrexham, returned to Bath on loan before signing for Truro in 2017, where he has stayed since.
Recent Charlton loanee Ben Purrington also joined the Argyle youth ranks at the age of nine and played for eight years before signing his professional contract. He went on to make 52 appearances before signing for Rotherham in 2017. Since then, Ben made 26 appearances whilst on loan to AFC Wimbledon and is now on loan for Charlton. Younger brother Tom is now following in his footsteps, as he is currently in the development squad but has also been on the bench for the first-team.
River Allen began his youth career at Tamarside, moving to Plymouth Argyle in 2007 where he was a youth team member for seven years before signing his first professional contract in 2014. His debut came as a 107th-minute substitute for Lee Cox in a League Cup first round game against Leyton Orient on August 12, 2014, in which he took and scored the first Argyle penalty in the penalty shootout after a 3–3 draw at Home Park. In his time at Argyle, Allen also went on loan to Gosport Borough and Truro before signing for Gateshead in 2015, Bodmin in 2016 and then Truro in 2016. He went out on loan to Tiverton in 2018 but returned to Truro after making just three appearances.
Currently on loan to Wigan from Brighton, former Argyle youth player Christian Walton has also enjoyed loan stints with Bury, Luton, Southend and back to Argyle in 2015. The ‘keeper spent eight years in the youth ranks for the Pilgrims before moving to Brighton & Hove Albion, where he signed his first professional contract. He has also made appearances for England at Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 levels.