There is a worrying tendency for major English clubs to keep their outstanding young players out of the first team – at a time when they could be invaluable to an England side which is hardly overflowing with talent.
For a salient example there is Phil Foden, who sparkled in the Manchester City attack in the pre-season charity match at Wembley.
An attacker born in nearby Stockport, he can play up front or as an attacking midfielder. When an unfortunate injury ruled out the formidable Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne from the City side, it seemed a perfect opportunity for Foden to replace him. But, whatever his achievements at Wembley, Foden is as yet still no more than a secondary figure at City, and at the moment there is no sign that City are ready to send him out on loan elsewhere.
When Fulham recently accounted for Burnley at Craven Cottage, where was Ryan Sessegnon, a refulgent newcomer last season either at left-back or outsideleft? The answer, alas, was on the bench, which he was allowed to leave only for the concluding few minutes.
Sessegnon was a revelation in last season’s Championship and surely deserves an extended chance to show that ability in the top division.
And then there is Ruben LoftusCheek. Praised by no less a figure than Glenn Hoddle for his performance, however controversially limited, for England in the World Cup finals, he excelled last season as what I would still call an inside-forward on loan at Crystal Palace, despite missing a substantial part of the season through injury. In the World Cup squad he, frankly, seemed to me the only English player truly capable of passing the ball to effect, which he particularly and impressively did in the third-place match against Belgium.
He has now returned from Palace to Chelsea, where there are still several years on his contract and he has virtually been told to contain himself in patience to wait his chance, competing for a midfield spot with Ross Barkley, who seems to have recovered after a long absence injured, Mateo Kovacic, who is on loan from Real Madrid, and Brazilian-Italian international Jorginho.
Blocked from a transfer in the Premier League, you could hardly blame LoftusCheek if he wants to go abroad.
Secondary...Phil Foden’s game time at Manchester City is limited