Jadon Sancho’s difficult first campaign at Manchester United should pose as a stern warning to young English players who want to try their luck abroad, claims Anton Ferdinand.
After three sensational seasons contributing 50 goals and 64 assists in 137 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, Sancho sealed a £73m moved to Old Trafford last summer. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old has struggled to find his feet on the red side of Manchester, only mustering three goals and three assists in 29 Premier League appearances.
While he has shown some bright sparks in the later stages of the campaign, the former Manchester City academy player will likely want to put his debut campaign in the rearview mirror. And former West Ham United ace Ferdinand believes Sancho is the perfect example of why many young players may do well to consider a loan move to the lower leagues, before a move abroad.
“Jadon Sancho went away and did unbelievably well, not even unbelievably well, he was a joke,” Ferdinand said to FIVE. “He got his move to United for £75million and he struggled, because he had never played in the Premier League before.
“As someone who came through the English set-up, the English game makes you robust – there’s now getting away from it.
“It hardens you and that’s why you see a lot of players go out on loan in the lower league clubs to become a man. Jadon Sancho has come back to England and now he’s probably feeling like he has to become a man again, because of the robustness of the league.”
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Another young English player who is attracting similar levels of interest to Sancho is PSV Eindhoven ace Noni Madueke. The right winger moved to the Dutch giants’ academy side from the Tottenham Hotspur youth system in the summer of 2014.
Sporting the infamous No.10 shirt, he has since gone on to establish himself as one of PSV’s most important players. However, Ferdinand believes the fact that he had to move abroad to get regular minutes is a huge problem for English football.
“For some young players it’s fantastic to get games under your belt if you can play for PSV, but we are seeing how hard it is to then come back. That’s the one thing that frightens me in terms of all these youngsters going abroad. Yea it’s fantastic going abroad and bringing a different culture back, but what do we as English fans want to see?”