The Premier League is a sea of riches when it comes to young talent, yet fear of failure to meet objectives leaves clubs opting for established players over potential talents. The spending power of clubs sees them buy solutions rather than develop them.
Pep Guardiola has labelled Phil Foden as the most talented player he’s ever worked with, yet he can’t get a game. Chelsea’s young stars have only just been afforded game time due to the club’s transfer ban. When youth players struggle to see a pathway into the first team, they are left with few options to prevent their careers from spiralling. However, the recent trend of young British players moving to foreign leagues, namely the German Bundesliga, has proven successful.
The case in point here is Jadon Sancho. The Borussia Dortmund wonderkid found himself in a similar position to Phil Foden when at Manchester City. Too good to go out on loan and with no chance of starting, he decided to leave in pursuit of game time. Now he’s a regular starter for Germany’s second biggest club and has quickly become the Bundesliga’s most prolific creator, earning England caps in the process.
Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson and Everton’s Ademola Lookman tried their luck in Germany on loan and performed well, only to struggle for minutes upon returning home. Lookman chose to move to RB Leipzig permanently. Additionally, Bobby Duncan acrimoniously parted ways with Liverpool this summer, after a spat between club and agent over the young striker’s game time resulting in a move to Fiorentina.
Whilst the Premier League seems to be improving this season with regards to giving opportunities to youngsters, there is still much to be done to convince the potential prodigies that patience will be rewarded. If a foreign club is offering minutes then players should be encouraged to take a chance, to play, to develop.
Whilst not all players will become England starters within 12 months like Sancho, much encouragement can be taken by his meteoric rise. Young players are often tagged with being fearless yet too few British players are prepared to take this leap of faith. The most fundamental part in a young player’s development is match practice and if foreign clubs are promising minutes over millions in a player’s contract, they should pack their bags and buy a ticket to unlocking their otherwise untapped potential.