Bristol City or Bundesliga? Why young English Premier League players should shun the lower league loan move and opt for foreign football experience instead.
Ademola Lookman came through the Charlton Athletic academy towards the end of the 2015/16 season, making 45 appearances and scoring ten goals before his transfer. Lookman was sold during the 2017 January Transfer window costing Everton up to £11m with add-ons. However, since then he has made only 15 appearances and was moved, on loan, to German Bundesliga side RB Leipsig. At RB Leipsig he scored on his debut and in that moment set a great standard for young English players.
If more English players go on loan abroad it will improve English football. Koeman and Allardyce are aware of Lookman’s ability but Everton were struggling and risks were avoided. Lookman is proven at League 1 level had looked good in glimpses in the Premier League. The perfect option was to loan him out to a team performing well in Europe. An option not afforded by many young English players in recent years. Why?
English Premier League – Inferior English Players
It was obvious in 2016, losing to Iceland in the Euros, that England are poor, in comparison, on all levels, with Europe’s elite. England sit behind fifteen others in the FIFA world rankings for Europe. England are at a level closer to Iceland or Wales, nations with a fraction of England’s populace or influence. Every single player of the most recent Wales squad plays in England. Notably, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Burg Gudmundsson of Iceland both play in the EPL. Gareth Southgate’s entire selection pool is from the same league. Is it any wonder England are at the same level? Most of the world’s best players will play in the EPL at some point in their careers. England’s best players can only play in the EPL.
The F.A. are focused on the EPL and making it the best league in the world, and it is. It is the most competitive, the most unpredictable and most importantly; it is the richest league in the world. That’s why the best players want to play in the EPL, that’s why everyone wants to play in the EPL. Moreover, this has led to the Championship, despite being a second tier league, becoming one of the other top leagues in Europe. In turn again, this has led to League 1 attracting a lot of young Premier League loan players looking for form or games. Why are these players not given the opportunity to play in Europe instead?
Lookman – Let’s Look Forward
League 1 loan experiences offer a lot. They offer the chance to gain the steel and determination needed to play in front of old Premier League stadiums filled to a third of their capacity. It will also introduce Premier League Academy players to seasoned lower league players that will kick them and the ball very hard. Also; long balls, poor refereeing, the woft of chip fat, waterlogged pitches, Gillingham and Scunthorpe! League 1 is a great league and representative of what many people love about football. I love lower league football. However, it won’t help the national game if the nations best young players are looking for first team football in League 1 when Ligue 1 is also an option.
Currently, Germany’s National Squad contains five players playing in the EPL. Spain’s current squad contains 4, France 4, Portugal 3 and Belgium 11! In comparison; every single player in the most recent England squad plays in the EPL and the Championship. Although lower league experience for loan players can be beneficial for many players, players like Lookman are finding more benefits in the other top leagues in Europe. The same leagues belonging to the countries actually winning trophies and surely that’s the end goal for England?
The Other Way
The Premier League academies are some of the best in the world. Instead of clogging up competition in the lower leagues go and represent England abroad. Get used to playing the best, every week. Boost your CV! Gain experience in other cultures and educate yourselves with different methods and approaches towards football. As well as this, take up competition with the actual elite players of Europe moreover the world. Keep them out of the other best teams in Europe. It’s nice to have five English teams in the knockouts of the Champions League this year but it would be nice to have more English players as well.
The lower leagues also produce a lot of professional English players. Unfortunately though, many are bought early on in their careers, sat on a bench and wasted during their formative years. They’d progress much better through the lower leagues gaining first team experience. If more young Premier League players chose to earn experience, on loan, abroad then there would be more opportunities for players graduating from lower league academies. If you argue that these players are not good enough then something must be done to improve this, especially if England want to win a major tournament again.