There have been a plethora of players whose young, promising careers have been derailed, or at the very least curtailed, but moves too early to bigger clubs who just cannot give them the playing time to really develop. The careers of Wayne Routledge, John Bostock (despite still being young) would surely have been more if not left in the reserves once they had been stockpiled. Saying that, there are also cases of young players going to a big club and instantly having an impact; look at Chris Smalling, who less than 3 years ago was playing for Maidstone, as perhaps the optimum recent example.
Jeffrey Schlupp, still only 18, has an undoubtedly big future, yet is at somewhat of a footballing halfway house. The team he plays for, Leicester City, are by no means a small club, with a Premiership set-up in everything but position, and with heavy investment for the level there is no reason to suppose they won’t be there soon. Here he will get games, and will gradually become an ever-more important player for a team growing in confidence, but lacking a finishing touch. If he can supply that, he could be the difference between success and disappointment; big expectations on such young shoulders.
If he was to join Liverpool or Stoke however, two of the clubs linked with him, then the expectation would be far more fervent, due to the increase in stage if nothing else. A quick, pacy, skillful and lethal striker, Schlupp is an exciting player to watch, but it is hard to see how he will get a game for either of these teams.
For a start, he is not particularly strong in the air, so is unlikely to adapt well to Stoke’s style (which is not an insult, it’s just true), whereas Liverpool recently spent over £60,000,000 on two strikers, with the two rarely on the pitch at the same time for tactical reasons, making it thus even more unlikely for him to receive many appearances. Carroll and Luis Suarez, he is more in the mould of Suarez, as a swashbuckling and intelligent striker, but of course he has a long way before getting anywhere near the Uruguayan’s level.
If he was at a smaller club, it might make sense for him to make the step-up, to train with better players and just be around a club with excellent facilities. However, considering the size of Leicester, the level they are at, the facilities available and the fact, in all likelihood due to investment, they will be in the Premier League in the next few years, he doesn’t really need to move. He will get games, play with experienced players, toughen up and get the experience he will need to challenge with the best. If he does this then he will eventually get a move, if he wants it.
On the other hand, if he joins Liverpool, he would be at a top club, historically winners, and would be able to train and play with world stars; who would not be inspired by that? It would be a risk, but it sometimes pays off; belief, ability and a hell of a lot of luck go a long way in situations like this.
Lower league football squads are littered with former young talents who made bad decisions early on in their careers and lived to regret it. For Schlupp‘s sake, lets hope he shows maturity and foresight in his decision and makes the right one for himself and his development.
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