| 12.6°C Belfast

What makes Linfield's Championship-bound duo Charlie Allen and Dale Taylor so special, explains Jim Magilton

 

Close

Linfield duo Charlie Allen (left) and Dale Taylor are off to English Championship clubs.

Linfield duo Charlie Allen (left) and Dale Taylor are off to English Championship clubs.

Jim Magilton

Jim Magilton

Shooting stars: Charlie Allen in action for NI Under-16s against Australia

Shooting stars: Charlie Allen in action for NI Under-16s against Australia

Dale Taylor celebrates a goal for Co Antrim

Dale Taylor celebrates a goal for Co Antrim

Linfield duo Charlie Allen (left) and Dale Taylor are off to English Championship clubs.

Irish FA Elite Performance Director Jim Magilton has hailed the ability and attitude of Linfield teenagers Charlie Allen and Dale Taylor who will complete moves to English Championship clubs later this year.

As revealed in the Belfast Telegraph last week, 16-year-old forward Allen is on his way to Leeds United while fellow striker and team-mate Taylor, who is the same age, will join Nottingham Forest.

Former Northern Ireland midfielder Magilton knows the pair well from the IFA's Club NI programme and the Association's Youth Academy.

Nurtured at Greenisland FC, both have excelled under David Dorrian at Linfield Swifts and first team boss David Healy has already played them in the Windsor Park senior side.

The two prospective clubs (they will move to) are clubs who develop young players and there is a pathway into their first teams which is hugely important.

The coronavirus pandemic has halted football matches in the UK and had an impact on transfers but Allen and Taylor are set to complete their deals to Leeds and Forest respectively in the coming months.

Speaking about the gifted duo, Magilton said: "Both Charlie and Dale were in the Club NI programme at the start. Dale exited the programme and then came to prominence at the Milk Cup when he was starring for Antrim in the same squad as Charlie.

"After that Milk Cup I brought Dale back in. What I saw was a lad who had a fantastic appetite for the game and a fantastic attitude.

"I loved his cockiness. He is a Tigers Bay boy and he brought a different mentality into the group and he flourished. Training wise and application wise he was a top class boy. He needed polishing in terms of technique and needed to understand his role within the team and whenever he played international games he got better and better.

"He was brought in a year up at that level. My recommendation to Stephen Frail was to do that and he played a year up in the under-17 international group and he was a star.

"What he needed was to be a little more selfish in terms of his runs and he needed to be a little more ruthless in his technical play and his finishing and that came.

"Right away he showed great leadership qualities and temperament and all round capabilities and Dale was made captain of the under-17 international group that went to Luxembourg.

Close

Dale Taylor celebrates a goal for Co Antrim

Dale Taylor celebrates a goal for Co Antrim

Dale Taylor celebrates a goal for Co Antrim

"With each passing year he has got better and better and he was brought in as one of the first players into our Academy. He and Charlie were in from September last year and Dale showed his leadership and his ability and all the younger boys in the Academy look up to him. He is a great role model for them.

"For Charlie it has always been a case of where he was going to go because he has had tremendous qualities and ability since he was a young boy. He is another with a wonderful appetite for the game and he has a great attitude in the game.

"Charlie was one of those kids that you could play him anywhere and he was probably the best player on the pitch. He could play right back, right midfield, central midfield, as a number 10 or at centre forward and off either flank.

"He has always had that wonderful ability to go past people which is a dying art. We didn't want to coach that out of him and it was an insistence of mine to give him the confidence to keep playing that way.

"Charlie has developed physically and worked extremely hard in the gym. An important aspect of our programme is developing the boys and Charlie has excelled in that area. He is also an under-17 international and is a really, really good footballer.

Close

Shooting stars: Charlie Allen in action for NI Under-16s against Australia

Shooting stars: Charlie Allen in action for NI Under-16s against Australia

Shooting stars: Charlie Allen in action for NI Under-16s against Australia

 

"In terms of the attitude and application of both lads to get better that's second to none. They have high output and are low maintenance."

Magilton praises Linfield first team boss David Healy and assistant manager Ross Oliver plus Linfield Swifts manager David Dorrian in the work they have done in developing Allen and Taylor adding that the relationship between the youth football department at the IFA and the Blues is "very positive".

The ex-Southampton and Ipswich star added: "During lockdown both Charlie and Dale, like all the boys at the Academy, have been given home tasks. They are online every day with us. They have been given fitness programmes and technical programmes led by Gerard Lyttle, Stevie Lynch and Gary McIlwaine.

"You can see in both of them a desire to get better and they are both coachable lads.

"I think both have an opportunity to go on and have a good career. It is whether or not they get the chances and can deal with it. I genuinely feel though that both have a great mentality and they are really exciting prospects.

"The two prospective clubs (they will move to) are clubs who develop young players and there is a pathway into their first teams which is hugely important."

Belfast Telegraph