Noni Madueke

The Premier League is by far the most lucrative domestic division on the planet, but plenty of English stars are finding homes away from home in some of Europe’s lesser leagues.

After Jadon Sancho’s consistent brilliance with Borussia Dortmund earned him a mega-money move back to the commercial riches of England and Old Trafford, a clear developmental pathway to success outside of the Premier League is appealing to British youngsters in a big way.

Birmingham City youth product Jude Bellingham is the latest wonderkid blazing the trail at Westfalenstadion and starring on glitzy Champions League nights, but don’t sleep on PSV attacker Noni Madueke; he’s the Dutch Eredivisie’s latest superstar in the making.

Noni Madueke: Story so far

Madueke was born in Barnet. Fast-forward to his breakout season 2020-21 in the Eredivisie with seven goals & six assists in 24 league outings and he was also called up to England’s squad for the UEFA U21 European Championships. After humble beginnings in the Crystal Palace youth setup, he’s now rubbing shoulders with the likes of veteran World Cup winner Mario Gotze and young Dutch international Cody Gakpo.

 Prioritizing first-team opportunities

Madueke reportedly rejected an opportunity to join Man United back in 2018, the club he supported growing up, in favour of a switch to PSV Eindhoven that he felt would better serve his personal goals and development. Madueke excelled in Tottenham’s youth ranks after making the switch there from Crystal Palace as a 12-year-old in 2014.

In the summer of 2018 when he was only 16, Madueke made a bold move abroad, where first-team football was a realistic target at Dutch giants PSV. Spurning offers from the likes of Man United and Chelsea couldn’t have been easy but PSV is a big club in its own right, and regular game-time is crucial for any youngster on their journey to the top.

Madueke’s didn’t have to wait long for his big chance. After standing out for Jong PSV (the club’s -youth setup) he made his first-team debut aged 17 in January 2020. Through hard work and self-belief, he nailed down a regular spot in PSV’s first XI and was rewarded with a new four-year deal and the fabled number 10 jersey at the start of 2021-22.

“I wanted to wear the shirt because the best players wear those numbers and I expect a lot from myself.”

 Learning from the best

If you’re a young striker learning the goal-scoring ropes, who better to lean your trade from than legendary Dutchman and ice-cool finisher Ruud van Nistelrooy? The ex-Man United, Real Madrid and PSV striker is in charge of the Jong PSV side and he was key in sharpening Madueke’s scoring touch.

And Madueke’s playing idol growing up? None other than Cristiano Ronaldo. “The person that made me want to play football was Cristiano Ronaldo when he was playing for Manchester United. “He was my idol. I grew up watching him.”

Playing style and tactical options

Madueke’s game is predicated on power and explosiveness. His versatility is also a genuine asset for manager Roger Schmidt; he favours playing off the right-hand side in a 4-2-3-1 but can operate as a wide attacker in a 4-3-3 or in a box-shaped 4-2-2-2 as one of the two strikers.

He’s a technically-gifted attacker who can beat his man or play a one-two/short layoff and then burst into space for the return ball. His slick technique and physical prowess make ball-retention another one of his major assets and he’s got a good eye for a final pass.

🔭 What’s next?

Europe’s elite clubs will keep an eye on Madueke’s progress in the Eredivisie but for now, the ambitious teenager with an eye for goal is focused on PSV. He’s also got bags of personality.

“I focus well on my own objectives. I set really high goals for myself. I write notes about what I want to do. I just want to win the league and cup and do as well as we can in the Europa League. From an individual standpoint, I just want to improve my level a lot and score lots of goals. That’s really it.”

Big things are expected of the latest young Englishman to look further afield for opportunities, personal fulfilment and ultimately glory.

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