Going abroad to earn playing time in other top leagues isn't commonplace among young, rising Premier League talents, but after leaving Man City for Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho is showing what's possible in a crucial time for a player's development. 

By 90Min
September 24, 2018

For years now we have seen a common debate reappear every season regarding the number of chances that young English players get at top Premier League clubs.

Hundreds of young players are shipped out on loan every season and progression to the first team at their clubs has become increasingly tough. This has caused a growing trend amongst the young talent to look abroad for the next step in their fledgling careers.

The most famous example of this growing trend is the story of the Under-17 World Cup winner and former Manchester City player Jadon Sancho.

Sancho, said to be highly rated by those at the top at City before his departure, swapped the Etihad for the Westfalenstadion and its famous ‘Yellow Wall’ at the start of the 2017/18 season, feeling it was the best move for him, his progression and his quest for regular top level football.

Since leaving the Guardiola regime, the bold move to Germany looks to have paid off with the forward ending his first season with 12 first-team appearances to his name, his first senior goal and an Under-17 World Cup winners' medal with England. He’s gone on to back that up this season too, with the London born youngster racking up two assists in four Bundesliga games already.

With the success Sancho is having, you have to think it could be time that we now start to encourage younger players to make the same type of move and look to enhance their careers in the top leagues over Europe.

Martin Rose/GettyImages

The comparison to make to Sancho as an example of a player staying in England is his former City teammate and fellow World Cup winner Phil Foden. Foden is very highly rated by Guardiola, who recently explained how he felt guilty that he hasn’t been able to give Foden more opportunities in the first team so far this campaign.

Foden and Sancho were both recently linked with being selected in Gareth Southgate’s first squad since the World Cup. Neither were included, but the fact they were mentioned shows just how good they are. You just hope Foden is given the right pathway to success by his manager, because he and Sancho are arguably the real future of the England team.

There is a pattern that most younger players are being made to follow in this country though, and that will be familiar to most fans of the top clubs in the Premier League clubs. These clubs seem to have a huge stockpile of talent who end up stagnating in Under-21 sides or being shipped out on loan time after time.

Chelsea are the club that has been repeatedly berated on this subject as they seem to send over 30 players a season out on loan with mixed success. This often unsettles players, who move to new clubs every season and struggle to find their feet.

With UEFA currently looking at the whole transfer system, there could soon be restrictions on the amount of loans clubs can make, meaning clubs like Chelsea and City could end up having a high number of youngsters stuck at the club.

Could this then lead to more and more players leaving clubs on permanent deals to search for football abroad?

If that proves to be the case once new rules are brought in, you would hope that a lot of people would back these moves and give their blessing to any young and highly rated players to feature in leagues like the Bundesliga and Eredivisie because of the increased chances on offer.

This summer window saw a number of young English players take the leap, as another of the successful England Under-17 team, Jonathan Panzo, left Chelsea and signed for Monaco, while Spurs lost three talented and highly rated players in Reo Griffiths, Noni Mandueke and Keanan Bennetts to Lyon, PSV, and Borussia Monchengladbach respectively.

Playing abroad helps these players grow in different environments, gain experience in different styles of play and develop on and off the pitch in character, gaining grit and real mental strength in the process.

Obviously, in an ideal world we would want to see our best young players all featuring for the top clubs in the Premier League, performing week after week and exciting us every Saturday.

However, it is surely time that we stopped living in the past and started putting future talent ahead of money and club finance and encourage the younger generation to seek out their own future. 

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