Will Donkin is unlikely to be a name too many Palace fans are familiar with but thanks to his mother’s international heritage, the U18 regular is fast becoming one of the biggest stars in the Taiwanese international set-up.
Born in Oxford and educated at Eton College, Donkin has always been looked upon as a talented footballer, initially being spotted by Barnet’s scouts at the age of nine, where he spent two years before moving onto Chelsea’s academy in 2012. Throughout his five years with the Blues, Will enjoyed real success, winning the Premier League U15 international tournament and even managing to get himself on the scoresheet against Manchester City in the final.
In 2017, Donkin decided to swap Chelsea for SE25 and is now part of Paddy McCarthy’s U18 squad; the venue within which Taiwan coach Gary White first approached the teenager regarding the possibility of representing the country at full international level. Unsurprisingly, given the fact that Donkin still has family living there, he jumped at the chance and is already being looked upon as a celebrity by vast swathes of the football-mad Taiwanese public, complete with an endorsement offer from a prominent donut shop; I’ll let you work out the pun they’re angling towards.
Despite the fact that he’s still yet to make his debut as club level, Will has now played in four full international fixtures for Taiwan, impressing in every one. Luckily, his coaches, both out in Asia and back here in south London are on the same page in relation to his development and look upon this as an opportunity that the teenager simply cannot afford to miss out on.
Whilst I’ll be the first to highlight the gap in quality between international football at that level in comparison to the Premier League, the mere fact that Donkin is able to hold his own at such a tender age undoubtedly bodes well for his future with us once he reaches true physical and mental maturity.
You may not have paid much attention before but Will’s next chance to impress comes tomorrow at midday when he and his teammates will take on Singapore. He’s yet to start a game for his country but this could prove to be the first of many.
Keep your eyes peeled.