Sky’s The Limit For Ngoy
“Bloody hell, he’s good.” Those were the words of agent Sky Andrew when he first saw Julien Ngoy as a 14-year-old.
And Andrew knows all about talent having represented the likes of Jermain Defoe, David Ginola and, most notably, Sol Campbell since hanging up his table tennis bat in the early 1990s.
I caught up with the former Olympian to talk about the rise of Stoke’s young striker Julien Ngoy.
Andrew first caught a glimpse of Ngoy four years ago: “I went over to Belgium to see some guys in an academy. The guy running it said “we’ve got a good young player”.” And they did. Over the next 12 months Ngoy had the biggest clubs in Europe circling around him.
But Andrew assured Ngoy and his family where his immediate future should lie: “The best way for a young player to progress is to be in an environment where he’s going to be looked after properly. I knew Stoke were trying to build an academy and that there are good people at the club. It wasn’t a hard decision for him and his family to make.
“Stoke has got a good feeling of a family club. His parents had offers from many different clubs, but they chose Stoke because their son felt it was the right place for him.”
Ngoy has impressed at youth level since coming to these shores from Belgium, scoring 14 goals last season. Now 18, Ngoy has taken the step up to the fringes of first team level having been heavily involved in Mark Hughes’ pre-season preparations, before taking his place on the bench in last month’s Premier League defeat at Everton.
His progress comes as no surprise to Andrew (pictured right): “He’s tall, he’s quick, he’s strong and he can finish well. He can play either on the wing or upfront. He’s got an incredible turn of pace so he can front the defender up and then turn and go.
“The club have done very well in pacing his career and looking after him in the right way. Clubs (like Stoke) that have the right intention for a player know when the right time is to put him in.”
And whilst the #DeployNgoy movement might be slightly premature, there’s no doubt Ngoy has a bright future in the game.
“Julien is at the level where it’s about how you play yourself mentally,” Andrew told me. “He’s very level headed and that’s why I’ve got good hopes for him. He’s such a great kid. There’s nothing showbiz about him, he just wants to concentrate on his football career.
“In 20 years of being an agent he’s one of the best kids I’ve worked with. Stoke is the right fit for him as it’s a very well run club.”
And it’s a club that fought strongly to gain Ngoy’s signature. With that in mind, he may well be the focal point of Stoke’s future.
For now though, Ngoy must remain patient ahead of his bow at senior level. If it’s as explosive as his pace and impact at youth level, then we’re in for something special.
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