Jordan Brown looked set for big things as a youngster emerging at Arsenal and West Ham United.
West Ham are famed for their academy roots and have been a conveyor belt of talent over the years.
The Hammers orchestrated the successful careers of the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and to a lesser extent John Terry.
But the development of homegrown stars into first team regulars has slowed in the past decade.
New hero Declan Rice is the first player since Mark Noble to truly establish himself in the Hammers first team.
West Ham co-owner David Gold was heavily criticised when he publicly stated young players are increasingly less likely to be given a chance in the West Ham first team (Daily Mail).
The curious case of Jordan Brown
That came one year after talented young forward Jordan Brown elected to leave the club for Germany.
Brown, a promising striker, had been with the Gunners before joining West Ham’s academy in 2013 in the hope of a more realistic pathway to first team football.
It looked like his decision would pay off too when he was first included in the Hammers’ squad for their Europa League first qualifying round second leg fixture away to Lusitanos of Andorra in July 2015.
He was an unused substitute in a 1-0 win but made his debut in the next round as an 80th-minute substitute for in a 2-1 defeat against FC Astra which saw West Ham knocked out of the competition.
Brown was loaned to Chelmsford City but by the end of the season he had seen enough. He took the somewhat surprising decision to move to Germany with Hannover 96.
That made him something of a trailblazer with lots of young English talent following suit in the years since including West Ham’s own Reece Oxford.
Brown explains why he left West Ham
Now in an interview with Sky Sports, Brown – who has just signed for Cavalry FC in the new Canadian Premier League – claims the quality of coaching at West Ham was holding him back.
“There have been lots since but I was one of the first to go out there,” Brown told Sky Sports.
“What made me explore it was the opportunity to play. I would never have thought about it if the situation at West Ham was perfect. I just felt I needed to play more competitive football.
“The problem is that it’s hard to get into a Premier League first team. I wanted to do what was best for my future and that was Germany.
‘West Ham tactics a waste of energy… In Germany they mould you’
“The tactical ideas they have are different. In England if you are very good then they let you just be good but in Germany they want to mould you. They try to simplify the game for you. The attitude in Germany is that you can be the best player in the world on the ball but if you are not doing what they want off the ball then you simply won’t play.
“There are training sessions without the ball where they explain that if the ball goes here then you are expected to go there. In England, I never did that. You just do what you do and it’s almost random.
“When I was playing up front for West Ham, I was leading the line and pressing but I was basically just pressing the person nearest to me. If someone is there you close them. It was only when I went to Germany that I realised that maybe wasn’t the cleverest idea. You are wasting energy if you are not pressing as a team. That is what they do.”
Brown made 40 appearances for Hannover’s reserves, scoring nine goals, before joining Czech National Football League side Znojmo last October. There he played just four games before signing for Cavalry.