GMS Wonderkid Of The Week: Samuel Iling-Junior swapped Chelsea for Juventus

Samuel Iling Wonderkid

This article forms part of GiveMeSport’s Wonderkid of the Week feature, bringing you the latest updates on some of the world's most exciting prospects. Join us every Wednesday to get the lowdown on the next generation. 

A growing trend to have emerged in the last few years has been the departure of talented young British players moving abroad in order to further their development.

Jadon Sancho is of course the obvious but a raft of others have followed his path to mainland Europe in the years since he left Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund.

Another to have done exactly that is left-winger Samuel Iling-Junior.

A Chelsea academy graduate, the 17-year-old forward attracted interest from the likes of Bayern Munich, Ajax and Schalke following his performances for both the Blues and various England youth groups - including scoring twice in 13 appearances for the Young Lions’ U16 side.

Chelsea, of course, are currently stocked with attacking talent and another prodigious talent to have made his way up through their ranks in Callum Hudson-Odoi has seen his first-team minutes somewhat dry up amid a flurry of new signings.

So, perhaps Iling-Junior has moved with that in mind. Obviously, Juventus are awash with attacking options themselves but have looked to a young generation of late, signing both Dejan Kulusevski (albeit in January) and Federico Chiesa after early Champions League exits in each of the last two years.

Since his move to Turin, he’s been playing in the Italian giants’ Primavera side. After training with the club all summer, he registered an assist on his debut against Empoli within just 17 minutes.

Feeling his way into the U23s (who were supposed to be coached by a certain Andrea Pirlo before his quick-fire promotion to the first-team), Iling-Junior then played 70 minutes in their last game - a win over AC Milan’s outfit in Serie C - seemingly growing in importance.

Should he manage to find his way into the starting XI over the next few years - perhaps more of a  possibility in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era - the teenager would be entering relatively uncharted territory. Indeed, only two English players have played for Italy’s most successful club (William Jordan and David Platt) before. 

Still, even amid Sancho's links with a return to England, there does appear to be more of a presence of Englishmen abroad. International teammate Jamal Musiala has already featured - and scored for the Bayern first-team - while more seasoned pros in Chris Smalling and Kieran Trippier are regulars at Roma and Atletico Madrid respectively. 

With Juventus making a conscious effort to reduce the average age in their squad, perhaps the Pirlo revolution could soon include an English star. 

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