AFC Sudbury starlet Tyler French’s dreams of being catapulted into a Premier League academy have been reignited after 2015/16 champions Leicester City took him on trial.
The 18-year-old versatile defender had looked set for a move to Crystal Palace on January’s transfer deadline day, but the deal had to be put on hold with then-manager Sam Allardyce too busy chasing other first-team targets.
Palace’s interest has not been followed up so far this summer, with Jamie Godbold planning on being able to start the season with the talented teen in the Bostik League Division One North.
But things all changed for the former Hadleigh United and Long Melford youth when Leicester City invited him for a two-week trial last week, meaning the signing of ball-playing centre-half Julian Smith became the perfect fillip.
“Tyler is on trial with Leicester City, so the timing of Julian signing is a big positive,” said AFC assistant manager Andy Reynolds.
“It is much the same situation as before; we hope he does enough to get offered a deal.
“The timing of Julian’s signing is very important, though.”
French spent three months on trial with Sky Bet Championship side Ipswich Town from October 2016, but with The Tractor Boys not coming to a quick decision, The Eagles of Palace swooped as a host of scouts continued to attend Sudbury matches to cast their eye over French.
The club will be due a transfer fee and compensation if he does depart, with French having signed a three-year contract last September.
The AFC boss has previously tipped French to succeed in the professional game, with Danny Laws having converted him from a centre-forward to a centre-half after he joined AFC Sudbury Academy.
French went on to make 30 first-team appearances in the club’s first ever campaign at Step Three level, which ended in relegation, impressing with his ability to provide 40-yard pinpoint raking passes out of defence.
Meanwhile, Godbold said he was delighted to land the signature of 24-year-old former Watford academy player Julian Smith, who has experienced Bostik League football with Harrow