Linfield’s children, Charlie Allen and Dale Taylor, prepare to cross the water

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Leeds United won the race to sign Charlie Allen, a teenage sensation from Linfield, while Windsor Park teammate Dale Taylor is about to join Nottingham Forest.

The coveted 16-year-old strikers are considered two of the most exciting young talents in Northern Ireland football and will appreciate the opportunity to show off their skills on a big stage.

Having both played for the first Linfield team, showing qualities that belie their tender years, they should move to their new clubs later this year.

Linfield will receive a fee for boys who impressed when they showed up for children under 16 in Northern Ireland.

Greenisland FC alumni of Linfield’s youth ranks, Allen and Taylor have been nominated for stardom for a time with a multitude of clubs in England and Scotland that are developing.

All the while, they have maintained a down-to-earth attitude and are kids popular with senior Windsor players.

Allen was followed by some of England’s greatest outfits, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham. Scottish giants Rangers have also been linked to the gifted youngster who made his first bow with Linfield at the age of 15.

As we approached the last game in last season’s championship, Allen showed class touches in a 1-1 draw against Coleraine. Blues boss David Healy had no fear of throwing the child into the fray.

Allen has also played for the Linfield senior team several times this season. Considered a natural talent, the adolescent offers vision, an excellent overtaking range and an eye for goal.

Earlier in the season, Healy predicted that Allen would not see his 17 or 18 birthday in Windsor and he should be right.

Northern Ireland record goalscorer Healy has known everything about life at Elland Road since his playing days and talks enthusiastically about the size of the club and its passionate fan base.

Stuart Dallas is a big favorite with Leeds fans these days while 20-year-old Alfie McCalmont, who won his first cap in Northern Ireland last year, is making good progress at Yorkshire club.

Another young wanted man was Taylor, the young man from Tigers Bay, with Leicester City and Derby County keeping an eye on him.

It is understood that the Forest Championship team won for the forward who scored his first senior goal for Linfield in a County Antrim Shield tie against Cliftonville in October.

Northern Ireland boxer Carl Frampton, who also hails from Tigers Bay, is a big supporter of Taylor.

Powerful, lively and capable of creating and taking risks, Taylor has the same fighting spirit and the same determination as the Jackal who could see him go far.

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