Noni Madueke: The English teenager who rejected English giants to star for PSV Eindhoven

Madueke scored twice this season in Champions League qualifying for PSV Eindhoven, but Benfica's play-off defeat means that the Dutch team are now in the Europa League
Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is 140 km west. There, Jude Bellingham, 18, is thrilling Bundesliga fans. But there's another English teenager prodigy: Noni Madueke, PSV's famous continental club.

The 19-year old Barnet-born player had a great season in the Netherlands, scoring nine goals and recording eight assists. His performance earned him a call up for the Uefa European Under-21 Championship in England last March. He caught the attention of clubs back home as well as further afield.

If you find his style of a powerful, direct and versatile attacker resembling something, it's because it was inspired from one of the Premier League's most prominent names.

Madueke explains to BBC Sport that Cristiano Ronaldo, when he was playing for Manchester United, was the person who made me want football. He was my idol. He was my idol from a young age.

Madueke, despite his loyalty to United, turned down the chance to join them. He felt a better switch would have helped his development. Madueke, who was thriving in Tottenham's youth football teams, decided to leave in pursuit of a quicker route to senior football.

United was one of many top clubs that wanted Madueke but he chose to go with the first-team path at PSV.

Madueke says that Chelsea, Manchester United and a lot other European clubs have made offers.

"I was only here once and I signed as soon as possible. It was the exact same thing. My motivation was to get faster into the first team. PSV is a top European team. It was a great idea at the time, and it still makes sense today.

Madueke learned from the great Premier League player, Ruud van Nistelrooy at PSV. Madueke credits Ruud van Nielrooy, a former Manchester United striker, with sharpening their scoring instincts.

Madueke said that Ruud was a great help. "I was there almost two years from the time I arrived until I joined the first team. I was able to learn a lot from him.

Madueke was vindicated quickly for his Dutch decision. He was a standout in the Jong PSV under-19s and Jong PSV juniors, and was given a debut in the first team at 17 years old. In January 2020, he was called up to the bench for a 1-1 draw against VVV-Venlo.

It was no surprise that the teenage winger was able to adapt to the senior game, which is not surprising to anyone who has worked with him. He is always ahead of the game in terms of development.

Madueke has signed a 4-year contract with PSV, which was in effect from August

Justin Cochrane, a former Tottenham youth coach and now at Manchester United, recalls that he always wanted to be better than others. He would say that if there were a better player than him, he would tell him, "I can score more goals then him." He is bold and has a lot of self-belief.

He was a player in the under-14s as well as the -15s, and I can recall a time when we met. He asked me, "What are the steps to get in the under-16s?" He said, "If you score 10 goals within the next 10 games, then you'll be in the under-16s." He scored 12 goals in 10 games, I believe."

Madueke says, "I've always been a year ahead." "It's not a new thing to me to play against stronger, physically more powerful opponents. That's why I found first-team football so easy."

The coronavirus pandemic struck shortly after Madueke made his debut. The Eredivisie season was cancelled and suspended. In the most difficult of circumstances, the youngster was forced to leave his home. He responded by doing all he could in order to be available for football's return.

He says, "I worked a lot during this pandemic." "I wanted to return and make a difference in first-team football. I returned and was able make my mark immediately. I keep going.

It paid off. Madueke was able to secure a regular spot in PSV's starting lineup. His hard work was rewarded with a four year contract and the number 10 jersey. He says, "I wanted the shirt to represent the best players wearing those numbers."

His best performance was at the beginning of 2021-22 in the Johan Cruyff Shield, the Dutch equivalent to the Community Shield. PSV defeated Ajax 4-0 with the Englishman scoring twice. Since then, it hasn't been easy. Although he has had some minor injuries and his form has been inconsistent, Madueke continues to be a shining example of excellence.

Rik Elfrink who covers PSV in Eindhovens Dagblad says that he had moments when he struggled. His attacking skills are exceptional, but he still has much to learn about defensive work. However, I think the PSV plan has been almost perfect.

"Hard work is not a problem for him. He is a very dedicated man. He finds PSV a great environment. He will be happy that he began his development in PSV, even if he ends up playing for a major club in England.

Madueke was a part of England's Euro U21s qualifying match against Kosovo in September. Cole Palmer from Manchester City, another player who impressed this season, also played for England.

According to reports, major clubs in England and other countries are closely watching the situation. Real Madrid, Tottenham, Manchester City and Paris St-Germain are just some of the names that have expressed an interest in Madueke.

The ambitious and goal-oriented teenager, however, is focusing on the unfinished business in Eindhoven for now.

He says, "I am focused on my own goals." I set very high goals for myself. I keep notes of what I want to accomplish.

"I want to win the league, cup and be as successful in the Europa League as possible. Individually, I want to improve my game and score many goals. That's it.

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