BACK in 2018, Noni Madueke left the UK for the fast-track to senior football, and it's a gamble that has paid of.
The 19-year-old winger has been called up to Aidy Boothroyd's England U21 squad for the first time after starring for PSV Eindhoven this season.
The former Tottenham youth star has been a revelation in Holland – where he has nine goals in 25 games for the Dutch giants.
And his form hasn't gone unnoticed by Boothroyd, who explained his reasons for selecting the young talent.
He said: "Noni Madueke is having an excellent season at PSV. We’ve been keeping a close eye on him.
"He’s been scoring goals, making goals and I spoke to (PSV manager) Roger Schmidt at length about him before bringing him into the fold.
"He’s been in the pathway and we’re really excited to have him. He’s going to be a really good player and we felt this is the right place for him to be."
It's a pathway that could easily have been somewhere else.
FORMER MAN UTD TARGET
When Madueke was considering his options, there were plenty of offers on the table.
Highly thought of by Mauricio Pochettino he could've stayed in North London when his contract expired.
Manchester United and Chelsea were also said to have thrown their hat into the ring to sign the teen wonderkid.
But brave Madueke decided to chance his arm at PSV in the hope of securing first team football.
At the beginning of the season in September, the wideman opened his account for his club against FC Emmen in only his second start.
That followed an impressive performance the week before against Groningen, when he came off the bench to create two goals in a 3-1 win.
Since that moment, Madueke has seized his opportunity with both hands and made it impossible to be dropped.
VAN NISTELROOY EFFECT
A man who has helped Madueke find his shooting boots this term is Red Devils legend Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Since he arrived at the club, he has been taken under Van Nistelrooy's wing at PSV Eindhoven.
Van Nistelrooy started his coaching career at his old club and has struck up a close relationship with Madueke since the youngster arrived from Spurs.
With 150 goals for Manchester United, Van Nistelrooy has plenty of experience to pass on and Madueke is benefiting from it.
His hero is the legendary striker's ex-United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and his coach will be passing on how dedicated the Portuguese forward was to becoming the best.
A skilfull and creative attacking midfielder, Madueke is physically strong and possesses a magic left-foot.
He also boasts a powerful shot, scoring goals from distance regularly at youth level and has a calm head – slotting penalties home for fun.
Aged just 15, Noni played in the UEFA Youth League for Spurs and didn't look out of place despite being well under the U19 age.
At the Sonnenland Cup in 2017, he was named player of the tournament, taking centre stage for the North London giants who made the semifinals of the competition.
At the same age, he also turned out for Spurs' Under 18s and was captain of their Under 16 side, showing his ability to be a natural leader.
No doubt, should he get his opportunity to play for the Three Lions in the U21 Euro qualifiers against Slovenia, he will lead from the front.
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