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6 English youngsters tearing it up in Europe

Lookman has already made Big Sam look foolish by starring for Leipzig

Tom Bodell

“It’s one of the most unusual situations I’ve been in,” Sam Allardyce said in January after, reluctantly, allowing Ademola Lookman to join RB Leipzig on loan for the remainder of the season.

“We tried to persuade him not to because I think that’s a big challenge for his development,” the Everton boss continued.

“We wanted him to go out on loan in the hope he is going to play first-team football every week and I think we had a much better opportunity to do that but his stubbornness means he got his own way in the end.”

At the time the 20-year-old had made just seven Premier League appearances â€“ only one of which was a start – as the Toffees faltered. On Saturday, however, the former Charlton youngster scored his third and fourth goals for RB in the 4-1 crushing of Wolfsburg.

But Lookman isn’t the only English youngster impressing on the continent. Our friends at Football Whispers take a look at his success and that of five other prospects.

Ademola Lookman, 20, RB Leipzig

Allardyce’s concerns surrounding Lookman appeared sincere. The Toffees manager felt adapting to a completely new way of life and a different style of football would all prove too much for the England Under-21 international.

He cited the case of former Nottingham Forest youngster Oliver Burke who was signed by Leipzig in the summer of 2016 for an incredible£13million but made just five Bundesliga starts before returning to England to join West Brom last summer.

Back RB Leipzig to beat Hertha Berlin on Saturday at 5/6 with FansBet

However, Lookman has proven his manager wrong in spectacular fashion. The Wandsworth native bagged the winner at Borussia Monchengladbach late on his Bundesliga debut and has gone from strength to strength since.

Although he had made just six league starts for Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side Lookman’s goal contribution per 90 is 0.87, the best of any English player under 22 in Europe’s top five leagues and seventh among Bundesliga forwards.

Reece Oxford, 19, Borussia Monchengladbach

It wasn’t only Lookman for whom January was a chaotic month. West Ham prospect Oxford was also subject of a transfer tug-of-war after being recalled by the Hammers on December 29, that despite the German side being keen to secure a permanent deal.

“He wasn’t playing regularly enough,” David Moyes said when asked why Oxford had been brought back. “He’s just really got into the team the last couple of games and I don’t think there’s any guarantee he would go back in the team.”

 

A£10million offer wasn’t enough to persuade West Ham to part with the England Under-20 cap on a permanent basis but Oxford did return to Borussia-Park at the end of January and has made six appearances since.

Now, according to the Daily Mail, Oxford is desperate to make the move to the Bundesliga on a permanent basis having averaged 1.55 tackles and 2.33 interceptions per 90 this season.

Jadon Sancho, 18, Borussia Dortmund

The third of the three young English prospects currently thriving in Germany’s top flight, Sancho has long been touted as an exceptional talent having first been poached from Watford by Manchester City in 2015 for a paltry£66,000 under the EPPP system.

Last summer the fleet-footed wideman decided his first-team opportunities at the Etihad Stadium were likely to be limited and agreed an£8million switch to Borussia Dortmund, taking Ousmane Dembele’s recently vacated No.7 shirt.

Back Jadon Sancho’s Dortmund to beat Hoffenheim on Saturday at 33/20 with FansBet

That was an indicator of his standing in Peter Bosz’s squad, though it has been interim coach Peter Stoge who has really championed the Under-17 World Cup winner’s cause, handing him his first start in a goalless draw with Wolfsburg in January.

Last month Sancho scored his first professional goal in a 4-0 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen as well as supplying a pair of assists, one of which proved a social media sensation thanks to some silky first-time control.

Mason Mount, 19, Vitesse

The relationship between Chelsea and Dutch side Vitesse has seen numerous players make the switch from Stamford Bridge to to GelreDome with Bertrand Traore, Dominic Solanke and Lewis Baker three of the biggest success stories.

This is Mount’s first spell away from Chelsea and the Portsmouth-born midfielder has seized his chance with both hands, making 29 Eredivisie appearances and scoring nine goals for Vitesse who finished sixth.

And the England Under-19 international’s form has not gone under the radar in England with reports claiming he will be a Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City transfer target this summer.

His next move is unclear, but clubs are forming a queue in the Netherlands, too. “After the season I will first go back to Chelsea and then I will see where I can go,” he told omroep gld.

“Of course, a step higher up would be nice, I want to keep improving myself. We are going to see what happens, I have read about the interest of Ajax and PSV, but those are really only rumours. I am now focusing on football first.”

Marcus McGuane, 19, Barcelona

Arsenal losing their best players to Barcelona is nothing new – think Thierry Henry or Cesc Fabregas – but seeing young prodigies trade North London for Catalunya is a worrying development.

At the end of the January transfer window that’s exactly what happened as defensive midfielder McGuane decided his development would be best aided by time in Spain, joining up with the Blaugrana’s second string.

The Greenwich-born teenager had featured just twice for Arsenal’s first team, with both appearances coming in this season’s Europa League, but had been a regular for the Gunners’ under-23 and under-18 sides before electing to depart.

He made his first-team debut for Barca from the bench in the Supercopa de Catalunya final – a tournament which features the two best-ranked Catalan teams in La Liga in a one-off match – in a shootout win over Espanyol, becoming the first Englishman to represent Barca since Gary Lineker 29 years prior.

Fankaty Dabo, 22, Vitesse

Another member of Chelsea’s loan army currently parked at Vitesse is England Under-20 full-back Dabo who is enjoying his second stint away from Stamford Bridge as one of three Blues players in Arnhem.

Having spent the second half of last season on loan at Swindon Town with Chelsea team-mates Charlie Colkett and Islam Feruz, Dabo headed abroad for the first time last summer when he moved to the Netherlands.

And his time at the GelreDome has been a success, making the right-back spot his own in Yevgeny Merkel’s side. He shot to notoriety in November when he scored a bizarre own goal against FC Groningen, lobbing perplexed keeper Jeroen Houwen from 35 yards.

He has done well despite that blip, though, averaging the fifth-most tackles per 90 of any Eredivisie defender (2.37), creating the fifth-most big chances (0.12) and seventh-most key passes (0.6).

By Tom Bodell – follow Tom and the rest of the team at Football Whispers on Twitter @FB_Whispers

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