Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Manchester United let Larnell Cole join Fulham on transfer deadline day in a permanent deal because there were high expectations of the 20-year-old from those who followed the academy sides.
He said: “Larnell was quite a unique case. He was technically way and above many of those around him but physically, he was still developing.
“Some clubs can fear sending players on loan because for all the benefits, playing in front of fans and the exposure to physicality as well as meaningful competition, the downside is they maybe don’t quite continue to work on the things they need to improve on, which means they could ultimately fall short of the required standard at their parent club when they return.
His agent continued: “It was a tough decision for him to leave United. They were not pushing him out of the door, quite the opposite, but Larnell felt like there wasn’t going to be too many opportunities in the near future and it had got to the stage where he wasn’t going to improve anymore by playing in the Under 21 league for another 12 months.” Peter Morrison
“With Larnell, there were opportunities to go out on loan in this window but prior to that, he was the kind of player that would have needed to have gone to a team that suited his style of play. Both the club and the player didn’t feel that there was the right Championship club available.
“It is crucial that players are placed in good hands with coaches who will continue to develop them in the right way because league position alone is not a sufficient enough reason for players to join a club, despite the perception.”
Physical development should never be a reason why a youngster isn’t given a chance. If that was the case, Paul Scholes would never have been a United player and this year, the slight framed Adnan Januzaj hasn’t done too bad for himself has he?
Cole’s departure means he is now the latest in a string of talented players including Pogba, Morrison and Daehli who have left United before being given a chance in the first team which is a testament to how poor the Under-21s Premier League is for player development.
It’s a shame that he isn’t still a United player but in reality, the likes of Jesse Lingard and Wilfried Zaha were more likely to get first team appearances before Cole did.
He now has every chance of going on to be a very good player at Fulham and hopefully he does manage to fulfill the fantastic potential he showed at Carrington. Good luck, Larnell.