MORE than a few eyebrows were raised when Paul Mitchell was announced as the new RB Leipzig sporting director in February.
Mitchell moved to the Bundesliga side after leaving Tottenham. where he helped sign the likes of Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld.
PA:Press Association10 Paul Mitchell is loving life at RB Leipzig after quitting Tottenham last year
Forced to retire when he was just 27, Mitchell has earned a reputation as one of the game's top talent-spotters during his time at MK Dons, Southampton and Spurs.
The Bundesliga is now the perfect environment for the Manchester-born talent spotter.
In Germany the focus is on youth and player development while Premier League clubs would rather spend huge sums chasing instant success.
He exclusively told SunSport: "It’s hard to be honest, you look at the severe pressure the Premier League coaches are under, especially at the top.
“England are coming into a rich vein of talent from winning the World Cup at Under-17 level to the senior side (World Cup semi-final).
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10 Paul Mitchell has taken over from Ralf Rangnick who is now RB Leipzig head coach
Action Images – Reuters10 After retiring, Paul Mitchell was at MK Dons and oversaw Dele Alli's progress
Getty Images – Getty10 Homegrown talent like Luke Shaw was married with foreign imports like Dejan Lovren at Southampton
England have the quality coming through and must get chance to shine insists Paul Mitchell“We have to be reflective that we have a lot of good players in England and they need to play to get those capable minutes between the ages 17 and 21.
“England have a great environment, coaching system and understanding of talent to give these guys a real platform to go on and be successful.
“Our managers in the Premier League don’t get time – so how are we ever going to get to a point where these players are allowed to learn on the job or make mistakes?
Star maker's amazing role of honour
PAUL Mitchell's reputation for spotting and recruiting top talent is second to none.
During his time at MK Dons, Southampton, Tottenham and RB Leipzig he is credited with finding stars including:
Dele Alli (current transfer value £90m)
Sadio Mane (£60m)
Son Heung-Min (£45m)
Toby Alderweireld (£35m)
Kieran Trippier (£35m)
Dusan Tadic (£15m)
“Some of the coaches in the Premier League have some of the biggest reputations in the world, but that doesn’t mean they are given time as well.
“At Southampton, there was always a natural appetite to develop talent because of their historic success.
“I think working at Tottenham with Mauricio Pochettino who has a high recognition for young talent, working with an academy director like John McDermott who buys into what we were trying to achieve there.”
Mitchell began his playing career at Wigan in 2000, moved to MK Dons in 2004, but injury forced Mitchell to retire aged 27.
Getty Images – Getty10 Harry Kane is one of the many young players given time to develop at Tottenham
Karl Robinson was MK Dons boss at the time and created a Head of Recruitment role for Mitchell at Stadium MK.
Mitchell was instrumental in bringing Alli through the League 1 side’s system.
He moved to Southampton in 2012 and his eye for talent came to national attention developing young British stars Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse, Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne.
He married those young players at St Mary’s with foreign imports like Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren and Toby Alderweireld.
Mitchell has replaced Ralf Rangnick who has taken over as Head Coach after the summer exit of Ralph Hasenhuttl, so the scrutiny of his work comes from the board and from the man he took over from.
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He added: “It was about sharing our knowledge base when I worked with Les Reed at Southampton, he came at the job as a sporting director from his coaching experience with the FA and with Charlton as a manager.
“And in Ralf, I see a lot of similarities (with Les Reed) in terms of their perception and how they facilitate the role.
“I come at the job from a recruitment and player development angle having not had that substantial coaching experience, so I recognise a lot of synergies from our philosophies of doing the same role.”
Getty – Contributor10 Jadon Sancho is thriving after quitting Manchester City to join Borussia Dortmund
AFP10 Reiss Nelson is on loan at Hoffenheim from Arsenal
The penny seems to be dropping with young English players who now realise meaningful game time is the only way to progress and there’s plenty of that on offer in the Bundesliga.
Six English kids featured in the German top-flight last season with 18-year-old Jadon Sancho’s rapid development at Borussia Dortmund has been rewarded with an England senior call-up.
Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson is having the time of his life on loan at Hoffenheim and has already hit five goals.