CHERRIES are in talks with Brentford over Chris Mepham – but who is the talented centre-back?

Hammersmith-born Mepham began his youth career in Chelsea's academy but was released at 14 with the likes of Jake Clarke‑Salter and Fikayo Tomori ahead of him in the pecking order.

Failed trials with Watford and boyhood club Queens Park Rangers followed but as a 16-year-old, Mepham was spotted by a Brentford scout while playing for North Greenford United reserves and went on to earn a scholarship with the Bees.

He progressed to the Brentford B team and was awarded his first professional contract in the summer of 2016.

Having impressed the Griffin Park hierarchy, Mepham penned a two-year extension the following January and made his professional debut the day after when he came on as a late substitute in a 5-1 FA Cup victory over Eastleigh.

September 2017 was a busy time for Mepham. He achieved Wales under-21s honours in a 3-0 European Championship qualifying win over Switzerland and signed a new five-year deal at Brentford before being handed his Bees debut in a 3-1 Carabao Cup loss to Norwich City.

Although Mepham gave away a penalty in that game, it did not appear to harm the regard in which he was held. He went on to make 23 appearances that season, bagging his first senior goal in a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United in March.

A matter of days earlier, Mepham had made his senior Wales debut in a 6-0 thumping of China in the China Cup, a tournament at which he roomed with Real Madrid star Gareth Bale.

A first Wales start followed in a 0-0 friendly draw against Mexico in Pasadena, California in May.

Mepham has been a regular at the heart of the Brentford defence this campaign, making 26 appearances for the Championship side.