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English youngster Jadon Sancho has been exceptional(1)
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Time for more English youngsters to move abroad this winter window?

English youngster Jadon Sancho has been exceptional(1)
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Every passing day signals the arrival of the year 2020, and the winter transfer window from a footballing perspective. However, one thing which refuses to change is the limited number of opportunities being made available to English youngsters in the Premier League.
The cut-throat league is notorious for managers being sacked within a few games, with Phil Foden and Tyrone Mings only examples of players being afforded regular game-time. Considering the circumstances involved, there is every chance of witnessing a youngster or two taking a plunge abroad akin to Jadon Sancho.

English wonderkid Jadon Sancho spurs revolution:

The English wonderkid has been hailed as the next prospective record signing on the back of excellent performances for Borussia Dortmund. Sancho decided to leave Manchester City, after growing frustrated due to lack of game time.
The attacker was given the number seven shirt previously worn by Ousmane Dembele. He further became the first English player to play in the Bundesliga. Sancho however certainly holds a grudge against his former club as evident from a statement, following an International Champions Cup tie last year.
The youngster capped off another brilliant performance, impressing one and all. Sancho started the post-match interaction on a friendly note, expressing happiness at playing against his previous teammates again.

However, the next statement indicated a different facet of his character unearthing the fire burning inside him. There was a fierce desire to make the EPL club suffer for not giving him regular opportunities- “I had a point to prove against Manchester City”.

To understand the situation better, let’s take a trip down memory lane. 

“50 million down the drain,” said the English media, when Manchester United announced the purchase of Anthony Martial for a record-breaking fee. This announcement was further greeted with a snigger by EPL clubs, who branded the decision as one which would inevitably fail. 

Martial however finished as the clubs’ leading goal scorer, prompting the big clubs to start splashing the cash for the youngest sensations in world football.

Leroy Sane moved to Manchester City for a fee of 50 million. Paul Pogba further came to Old Trafford for a record fee of 105 million euros. Football was converted from a game being battled out on the field with the ball, to one being fought out in offices through vast chunks of money.

Ever-deteriorating situation despite English U-20 triumph:

The situation has further deteriorated over the years sadly. Liverpool boasting of Jurgen Klopp hailed for his desire to hone homegrown talent have been amongst the biggest spenders.

Let us consider the recent situation of crosstown rivals Everton and Liverpool. The two sides are famed for encouraging top English footballers over the years.

England lifted the U-20 World cup on the back of excellent performances by the likes of Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Dominic Solanke. One would expect them to enjoy first-team opportunities on the back of such excellence. However, the reality has been anything but that.   

Lookman and Calvert-Lewin decided to stay on at Everton. Solanke opted to move on to Liverpool.

However, in the summer of 2017, Everton decided to go big bringing in the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson. This meant lesser opportunities for these youngsters, but they decided to stay.

Everton’s summer acquisitions sadly failed, resulting in Ronald Koeman getting the sack. This however had a positive impact on Calvert-Lewin, who started enjoying minutes on the pitch. The attacker repaid the faith by scoring quite a few critical goals. This sadly was not the case for Lookman.

Having made only one start, Lookman rejected a move to Derby County in favour of a transfer to RB Leipzig. This move worked in his favour though as he went onto play for a total of 576 minutes.

Now let us take a look at the U-20 World Cup’s golden ball winner, Dominic Solanke. Tired of being loaned out by Chelsea, Solanke decided to move to Anfield. Solanke only played 583 minutes in the 2017/18 season scoring one goal.

Bundesliga, the perfect launchpad for overseas youth talent:

Almost 70 per cent of EPL players are from other countries. The Bundesliga in comparison enjoys the presence of about 49% of players from outside Germany. That encourages youngsters to work hard in search of opportunities.      

The England squad for the U-21 Euros held in 2017 recorded just over 200 EPL appearances all together. This is in stark contrast to eventual winners Germany, who enjoyed an impressive tally of 1000 games in the Bundesliga. 

With the influx of so much foreign talent and with the Premier League’s hunger for success, it is not difficult to understand why English youngsters believe that their best chance of grabbing first-team opportunities lies in the Bundesliga.  

Jadon Sancho, Reece Oxford have been part of the Bundesliga so far. Sancho and Oxford are amongst those signed on a permanent basis.

Arsenal player Kaylen Hinds, Ryan Kent and Danny Collinge are other examples of players who have been a part of the Bundesliga system with Greuther Fürth, Freiburg, VfB Stuttgart.

Ademola Lookman and Jadon Sancho are examples that other English players should look up to. Sancho is pacey, has flair and has shown it at the highest level. The attacker is undoubtedly one to watch out for the future.

English players tend to stay in England knowing that they have the best league in the world. However, this has its downside with many clubs opting for quick success rather than having faith in the youth system.

With more and more youngsters taking a leap of faith by joining foreign leagues, the scenario is indeed one to watch out for. After all, it is such a leap of faith that a certain Argentinian made in 2000, that led to him emerging as one of the greatest of all time.

Written By: Abhiram Hari.


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