Ben Chrisene: Exeter City youngster has 'top level' potential after breaking Ethan Ampadu record

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Ben Chrisene
Ben Chrisene beat Exeter's record for their youngest-ever player by more than three-and-a-half months

Exeter City manager Matt Taylor says the club's youngest-ever player has the chance to make it at the highest level.

Ben Chrisene came on as a late substitute in City's 4-1 Carabao Cup loss to Coventry City aged 15 years, seven months and one day.

He beat the record held by Wales and Chelsea player Ethan Ampadu, who was 15 years, 10 months and 26 days when he made his Exeter City bow in 2016.

"He's going to play at the top level, it's as simple as that," Taylor said.

"What that top level is for Ben, he's 15 years old, I can't tell you that yet. But I think he'll play at a top, top standard of football."

England Under-15 international Chrisene, who has reportedly caught the eye of European champions Liverpool, is the latest in a long line of players to roll off the production line at Exeter.

The League Two club has made more than £5m in transfer fees from their young players in less than five years.

Ethan Ampadu
Chelsea and Wales' Ethan Ampadu - now on loan at RB Leipzig - also made his debut at Exeter as a 15-year-old in the EFL Cup first round

Chelsea's Ampadu - currently on loan at German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig - is the most famous, but Swansea City skipper Matt Grimes and highly-rated Brentford forward Ollie Watkins have all walked the same path that Chrisene is treading.

"The opportunities we give to our academy players are second to none in terms of the country, and possibly worldwide as a football club," added Taylor, who is a former Exeter captain and ran the club's Under 23 side before succeeding Paul Tisdale as manager last summer.

"But there's a reason we do that. We see the value in it in years to come.

"It might be three or four years down the line when Ben Chrisene plays a League Two fixture, it might be three months down the line, you honestly don't know with young players."

But Chrisene will not be involved in the League Two game with Swindon this weekend as he could be called up by England's youth team.

And Taylor says there is a fine balance to be struck between spending the summer holidays training with the first team and Chrisene's education - experience they have already had when Ampadu was in and around the first-team squad three years ago.

Taylor explained: "We've got to be respectful that he's going into his last year of school so the exams are a big part of that and then his training schedule with us will be limited.

"So it's something you don't expect as a manager, but it's something at Exeter City that we take in our stride.

"The good thing is we've had the experience with Ethan so we know how it's worked and we know there'll be times where he's got to concentrate on his exams and being a young man growing up."

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