The new Barclays Under-21 Premier League was designed to help bridge the gap for young players to make the daunting step to the senior side and experience competitive matches against strong opposition.
The reserve league was looked down upon by the majority of managers with Harry Redknapp going as far to abandoning the concept and instead arranging friendly matches when he needed to watch certain players in action.
Now well underway, the competition is split into three mini leagues which have presented managers with the chance to judge the young talent at their clubs. Currently topping the divisions are Manchester United, Liverpool and West Ham.
These are three clubs that have traditionally had strong academies and have produced a number of regular first team players from their youth ranks. We look at the players making at impact at the three Premier League clubs.
Manchester United : 11 points from 5 games
Michael Keane - The 19-year-old can play at centre-back or full-back and last season was voted the Reserves Player of the Year. Relatively small in stature he makes up for this with a superb understanding of the game and is still a threat from set pieces, scoring give goals in 30 reserve games last season. Manchester United have the tightest defence in the league and that is in no small part to the assured performances of Keane.
Jesse Lingard - An exciting midfielder who helped Manchester United win the FA Youth Cup in 2011, Lingard has the ability to play on the flanks or just behind a lone striker. Still just 19-years-old, he has been a regular in the youth side and was badly missed when United drew 0-0 with Sunderland. Born in Warrington, he has progressed through the ranks and will be hoping to break into the first team with his tireless and energetic display in midfield.
West Ham United: 16 points from 7 games
Robert Hall - This West Ham side is full of goals. They have already put four past Arsenal and five past Everton, with the 18-year-old striker grabbing four goals in six games. A regular for England at youth level, Hall has already made his debut in the Premier League this season and has clearly impressed manager Sam Allardyce with his goal-scoring prowess.
Paul McCallam - Unlike Hall who has been with the Hammers since he was seven, this 19-year-old striker was signed from non-league club Dulwich Hamlet. A tall and powerful striker, McCallam has scored three goals in six appearances and has formed a lethal partnership with Hall. A typical target man he will be looking to prove to Allardyce that he can perform the role that Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole are asked to play in the first team.
Liverpool: 14 points from 6 games
Michael Ngoo - Signed from Southend back in 2009, the 19-year-old is a powerhouse of a forward who has terrorised youth sides for the last three years. His physical presence and turn of pace make him a handful for any defence which he recently proved when he scored the fourth goal against a strong Chelsea side. With Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers handing chances to numerous young players, Ngoo will be hoping his opportunity will soon come.
Conor Coady - A captain of Liverpool throughout his youth career, the 19-year-old is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Steven Gerrard. He made a good start when captaining England Under-17's to their first ever European Championship title in 2010 and has since progressed through the youth ranks. A box-box midfielder who can tackle and score spectacular goals, Coady is a consistent performer in the Under-21 side and has been instrumental in their impressive start to the season.