Bundesliga: How the German Top-Flight has Become the Perfect Place for England's Youth

German football's obsession with youth stars

German football has long been one of the most admired within the beautiful game. Their exceptional talent, unrivalled love for the tactics of the game, and, the country's constant influx of young stars have always been unmatched.

Down the years we've not just seen the German teens breakout, but the Brazilians, Polish, English and even American youth turn up on the big stage. Gargantuan clubs like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have always pencilled in younger talent to work their way up to eventually become the stars that lead the line, unlike what goes on in England.

The likes of Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze and Kai Havertz have quickly become vital components to success on the field, whilst other leagues around Europe aim for the blank cheque instead. Foreign players have since packed up and moved to Germany where they don't just find the minutes they desire on the pitch, but become heavyweights on the European scene.

Nowadays, even the elite names of Phil Foden struggle to play. Jadon Sancho, Reiss Nelson and Ademola Lookman are just a few English stars making the move to Germany, which has turned out to be the wisest decision of their careers to date.

Here, we look at how the Bundesliga has become the perfect place for English's fabulous, trophy-winning youth.

England's trophy-winning youth is perfect for Germany

Unlike their German rivals, the England senior squad haven't achieved any success since 1966, with a World Cup semi-final in 2018 and 1990 the only positives to take from 54 years of hurt.

However, now, England's youth sides have not just boasted future stars, but become a dominant force similar to that of Spain and Germany down the years. In the year 2017, England's youth squads became the teams to watch with three major titles and even a 2017 Toulon Tournament, a year after winning that title in 2016.

Back then, England U20s won the FIFA World Cup, just as the U17s won the same competition at their age group, whilst the U19s bagged themselves a European Championship with the likes of Ryan Sessegnon leading the line.

These wins down in the youth ranks, compared with a semi-final place for the seniors at the World Cup, put England back on the map as a world leader in their own sport. Since then, the young winners have all struggled for senior appearance for their clubs, meaning a place with Gareth Southgate's squad has been all but written off.

Now, the likes of Sancho and Lookman have moved to Germany where first team football is now a guarantee and these young English stars can finally establish themselves as the talents they aimed to be.

In truth, German football has become the best place for England's World Cup and European winners to grow and progress onto the national team, and the Bundesliga is now much more helpful than the Premier League for England's hopes of another major title.

Who could move to Germany next?

It was only a year ago since Callum Hudson-Odoi was all but packed up and ready for a new life with Bayern. The U17 World Cup winner seemed to be joining his teammate Sancho over in Germany where Hudson-Odoi surely could have become a star similar to that of the Dortmund winger.

The current Chelsea man has only gone onto make less than 25 league appearances since Bayern's bid for him in January 2019, which is less than Sancho's goal contributions for this season alone. Elsewhere, Foden has started just three games all Premier League season long this campaign for Manchester City, and in reality, nothing looks to change on this front anytime soon.

At the same time, Sancho has moved onto becoming one of Europe's best and his recent hat-trick against Paderborn only further added fuel to the fire that England's young talents must move abroad.

Nobody will ever know if Hudson-Odoi could have secured a more permanent role with Bayern than with Chelsea, but considering his talent and Bayern's history with youth, it looked like a match made in heaven. Furthermore, Nelson, when on loan from Arsenal last year, managed to bag seven goals in the Bundesliga in 23 appearances, and the Englishman has since gone onto make only six league starts.

Jonjoe Kenny is another man who has taken German football by storm this campaign, becoming one of Schalke's key players, whilst his parent club Everton, struggle for consistency at right-back. The Toffees loanee has been a regular at the back and even worked his way closer to the England senior setup, three years on from winning the U20 World Cup.

Elsewhere, Chelsea have even seen the likes of Ethan Ampadu of Wales move to RB Leipzig on loan, where he made more appearances in the Bundesliga in a matter of weeks, than he has in his entire Premier League career. Another Welshman, Rabbi Matondo, has made 23 Bundesliga appearances since leaving City in 2019 and he has also subsequently earned himself a regular spot with the Wales national setup.

Now, Foden, Hudson-Odoi and others should all consider moves to the German top-flight, where faith is restored in youth and where these stars can become the winners they are, just like Sancho.

The landscape has changed for English talent at home

Sancho's brilliance over in Dortmund seems to have changed the landscape for the young British players. Growing up in the UK game is as tough as it gets, with so many youth products failing to progress on from their illustrious academy days and thus settle for a sporadic role or even countless loan moves.

The likes of Foden and Rhian Brewster are just a few names who have failed to move on from their U17s World Cup win with England, with the City star making just 34 league appearances ever since, whilst Brewster hasn't stepped out in the top-flight at all.

It was only a year ago that Bayern were doing almost everything to capture the talent of Hudson-Odoi, having bids reach as high as £35m turned down for the youngster. At 18 years old, the U17 World Cup winner has had a few Premier League chances, scoring the one goal, and he is not looked at to be the natural heir to Eden Hazard's throne.

Moving to Bayern, a club that treasures youth, would certainly have been a more positive career move, rather than waiting for a chance at a club like Chelsea, which tends to head for the blank cheque instead.

The likes of Sancho proved their worth at youth level and cashed in on this quickly with the right move to Dortmund, and just look how good he has become. Perhaps it's time for Hudson-Odoi to pack his bags and head to Munich once more, and Foden, Brewster and co. should consider doing the same.

The Bundesliga has shown us where it is at for English talent progressing. How ironic.


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