Forget the 2006 World Cup flops: we are now very much in the era of England’s golden generation.
Two years ago, the future stars of English football won the U17 World Cup, the U19 European Championship and the U20 World Cup – hugely impressive achievements by anyone’s standards.
Two years have since passed and now these talented groups require meaningful first-team football in order to develop and fulfil their potential. However, that’s easier said than done in the Premier League, where overseas players are responsible for 66 per cent of the overall minutes played.
As a result there has been a marked trend in German clubs snapping up these starlets and giving them a taste of life in the Bundesliga, including the likes of Jadon Sancho, Reiss Nelson, Ademola Lookman and Reece Oxford.
Now Bayern Munich are trying to get in on the action, with their pursuit of £35m-rated Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi – who earlier this week submitted a transfer request to try and force the move through.
It begs the question: what makes Germany such a more attractive option to young players than England?
We’ve donned our Paddy Power lab coats and magnifying glass to find out why…
1. Matchday atmospheres are infinitely better
Footballers dream of playing in front of passionate fans who generate an electric atmosphere. But England and Germany have taken two very different approaches to helping create these crowds.
While zee Germans have embraced cheap match tickets and booze on raucous terraces, the biggest contribution to the fan experience in recent years England has been supporter cheese bars. For reference, compare and contrast the atmosphere from Dortmund’s legendary Yellow Wall…
…with this recorded fan footage from Emirates Stadium:
It’s no wonder they’re all buggering off to the Bundesliga. We would too if we could.
2. They could have a better chance of winning the World Cup
While England’s World Cup adventure in Russia last summer was all good fun and games, deep down everyone knew they were never going to win it. When push comes to shove, the Three Lions bottle it.
Perhaps some of this new generation have finally clocked on and realised that if they turn down senior caps, bide their time and become naturalised German citizens, they’ll have a far better chance of lifting the sport’s most prestigious prize a few years down the line. Geniuses.
3. They can wear Lederhosen whenever they want
Be honest, whenever you’ve seen someone buckled into their Lederhosen, you’ve wished you were wearing the same. But you know you’d get some very dodgy looks when you turn up to the office in it, so there’s point bothering going through with it.
This is not a problem young English players have in Germany. Indeed, it’s probably even recommended to help curry favour with their new clubs. Imagine how quickly Thomas Müller – a man who we’re fairly certain has only ever worn Lederhosen or football kit in his life – would take Hudson-Odoi under his wing if the Englishman arrived to the training ground in German clobber?
4. The beer is much tastier
Footballer or not, every young lad needs to unwind with a few beers now and again. Imagine being faced with the grim choice of flat 4 per cent lagers in Blighty, or enjoying a delightfully fresh drop from one of the beer halls located on the corner of every single street in Germany. It’s a no-brainer.
5. They’ll still be able to buy food after March 2019
The last time we checked, eating fresh fruit and vegetables was pretty important to maintain a healthy lifestyle – which is exactly why we always ask for extra peppers on our stuffed crust Domino’s pizzas. It’s vital footballers have easy access to good food for the sake of their wellbeing.
If the newspapers are to be believed, England’s barren supermarkets will look like out of an apocalyptic movie within 47 seconds of leaving the EU at the end of March. That is not good news for these poor players who just want to stay in shape.
They’ll have no such problem when visiting their local DAS ZUPERMARKT if they’re playing in Germany. Another big tick in the Bundesliga column.
6. There is reliable public transport
If these kids are yet to pass their driving test or too young to rent a car, they must rely on public transport to get them around. Furthermore, it’s essential they turn up to training and club duties on time – consistent lateness could kill their reputation and careers before they even get going.
That’s not something they have to worry about in Germany, where you can safely rely on all trains turning up on the dot without fail.
England on the other hand? Well, they seemingly can’t run properly if it’s cold, warm, sunny, rainy, leafy or if there’s a single microscopic flake of snow of the line. Why would they bother risking that?