With a surprising golden generation of English players emerging in recent years, there was always likely to be a few who went under the radar.
18-year-old left-back Matthew Bondswell is one of them.
One of a number of English players to head to the Bundesliga in search of a fast-track to first-team game time, the RB Leipzig man was sent on loan to the Netherlands in the summer.
His performances for second-tier FC Dordrecht have been so impressive that the young defender now looks all but set to join West Ham this January.
Here’s everything you need to know about Bondswell…
Bondswell is a Nottingham Forest academy graduate, following in the footsteps of the likes of Michael Dawson, Jermaine Jenas, Matty Cash, Marlon Harewood and Premier League winner Wes Morgan.
He joined the club aged eight and spent eight years at the club before moving to Germany to pursue regular football and a new footballing education.
An explosive left-back, Bondswell is a modern full-back who is excellent going forward but defensively needs work.
Currently he relies a lot on his pace, whether it’s offensively or defensively, and he’ll be hoping to improve his positioning as he learns his trade.
In another world, the 18-year-old could have swapped studs for spikes after representing Nottinghamshire in athletics events.
Bondswell won a silver medal in the triple jump at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in the summer of 2017 and took gold in the same discipline at country and schools level. He also represented Nottinghamshire schools in the 200m sprint event too.
While coming through the Nottingham Forest academy, Bondswell was linked to a lot of top Premier League clubs.
As it turned out, he rejected the offer of the Old Trafford side and his beloved Forest to follow in the path of Jadon Sancho by moving to the Bundesliga.
Highly-rated throughout his time in Nottingham Forest’s academy, he has been representing England since the ripe old age of 14. He was even part of the England Under-17 squad that won the Syrenka Cup in 2019 by beating Poland on penalties.
He didn’t feature in the final of that but was part of the travelling party along with the likes of Harvey Elliot, Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala.