England legend Chris Waddle has encouraged young Premier League players to ‘be brave’ and try their hand at playing in a foreign league.
19-year-old England international Jadon Sancho has been a sensation since he decided to leave Man City and move to the Bundesliga, with the London born youngster now regarded as one of the hottest prospects in the world.
Sancho’s success has seen other major European clubs linked with moves for promising English players who are struggling to make a breakthrough at Premier League clubs, with Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi the subject of a £35 million bid from German giants Bayern Munich in January, despite the teenager having never started a top-flight game for the Blues at that time.
Waddle enjoyed massive success when he decided to leave Spurs in 1989 and move to Marseille, with the mercurial winger going on to become a cult hero in the south of France.
Speaking exclusively to The Football Faithful this week, Waddle revealed how he thinks young Premier League players can benefit from moving abroad.
”Well, I was when I was 28/29 and looking back I wish I had of gone [abroad] earlier if I’m honest,” Waddle told us on our latest Podcast.
”Obviously, you have to try and fit in with the language, the way they live, it’s not like England, it’s completely different. It took me three or four months to settle in.
“The weather was different, it was very hot in Marseille. There was a lot of things against me, I was living in a hotel and I couldn’t speak a word of French, I could barely count to 10 and say yes and no. I was relying on people like Jean Pierre Papin, who spoke very good English and one or two other players I could communicate with. The rest of the time it was very frustrating.
”Whatever people say about the Premier League, this league, that league, it is different. I don’t care what anybody says. When I played in France it was different, the mentality was different, training methods were different, the style of football was different.
“It takes you a while to adjust, but once I got my fitness right as I’d been chasing my fitness because I had a later pre-season than my teammates. But once I got fit and moved into a house, I thought it’s got to be now, otherwise, I’ll probably be going home at the end of the season. Luckily it turned around and everything went up.
”The problem now is England pays so much money compared to the French League – except maybe Paris – so you’ve got to look at it and think I could sit in the reserves at a big club in England and probably pick up double the wages I’d get playing in the first team in the French league, or Spanish league or the German League. But you’re playing and you’re learning and you’re getting educated about the game.
”It makes you a better player and you can always come back to England, you do well and everybody wants you – especially in the Premier League. So it’s a great way to learn, yes you may miss out on a few pound notes compared to what some players will get for not even playing. But it’s not about that, you are a professional footballer, you’re here to play football, don’t be sat down. Yeah you might have a nice car in the car park and you might have a massive house, but at the end of the day you need to be playing football. That’s how people will remember you. That’s how people will rate you and that’s what it’s all about, being on the football pitch.
”So I would say to any young player, if you’re not getting your game and you’re not getting enough game time, go away even if you have to take a drop in wages, because if your good enough the money will come. Go and be brave, try a different culture, go and play there. Jadon Sancho is doing an unbelievable job at Dortmund. He’s done fabulously well for a young player. A young kid who’s gone out there. It’s not easy, but he’s settled in and he’s let his football do the talking.”
Listen to the whole version of our exclusive interview with Chris Waddle below.