Have you heard about Mandela Chinweizu Egbo?
The 20-year-old made his debut for Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend, coming on for the last ten minutes of a 1-0 win against Hannover.
What’s the fuss about? Isn’t he a bit old to be making a first-team debut?
Egbo hasn’t taken the normal route to a Bundeslgia debut. For a start he’s English.
English? So why isn’t he playing in England?
Ask Crystal Palace. The London-born defender left Palace in 2015 without making a senior appearance.
London you say?
Yep, Egbo played for Hackney JFC and Afewee Urban before signing professional terms with Palace.
Why swap England for Germany?
For exactly the reasons we saw on Sunday. Upon signing for Gladbach Egbo told The Guardian: “I’d read that the chances of coming through a club into the senior team were higher here than anywhere else in Europe’s major leagues.”
Haven’t Gladbach got a pretty tasty academy?
Tastier than the new Big Mac Grand. Mahmoud Dahoud, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Marko Marin and Amin Younes have all graduated through Gladbach’s academy all the way through to playing for Germany.
Any international experience?
Indeed. Egbo was part of the England Under-17 squad that won the European Championships in 2014, alongside current Premier League players Joe Gomez, Dominic Solanke, Izzy Brown and Lewis Cook.
So what does the future hold?
Plenty of scouting trips for England staff. Gareth Southgate will definitely be keeping an eye on the England Under-18 defender in the final ten games of the Bundesliga season.
Too late for Russia?
Never say never. It’s not like England are blessed with a bountiful supply of quality defenders at the moment *cough* Phil Jones and Chris Smalling *cough*.