Ethan Meade returns to The False Nine fold with a look at why some of Football Manager‘s most notable wonderkids failed to justify their early hype in the real world…
“I was the most wanted kid in England at 14 and I became arrogant with it. I thought, “I’ve made it, I’m the best player in the world, and no one can talk to me”
The shelf life of a footballer is a remarkably short one. Players can be a hero one week and a villain the next; just ask Cherno Samba. Rated as a 14 year old as the player who was set to spearhead England’s 2006 World Cup hopes, by 2008, he’d been released by Plymouth Argyle. Samba’s story is an all too common one in the modern world of football scouting, of over-exposure at a young age, and missed opportunities.
Samba rose to prominence as a 13 year-old in 1998, when he scored 132 goals in 32 games for St Joseph’s Academy in Blackheath. With agents already swirling around the youngster from Peckham – his father claims one agent offered him £25,000 to represent his son – Samba began training at Millwall. It was at the age of 14, that amid interest from a number of top clubs, Liverpool allegedly offered Millwall £2 million for the trainee. He went on a week-long trial at the Anfield giants, and a week later, took a phone call from Michael Owen, advising him to sign on at the Anfield club. Continue reading