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‘It’s going to be very hard’: pandemic leaves academy players in limbo | Ed Aarons

Many teenagers have been unable to find a new club and there are fears they could be lost to the game

Zubayr Boadi thought his big chance had finally arrived. Having spent two years on the fringes of the academy system, the 16-year-old defensive midfielder from south London who models his game on Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté was invited for a week’s trial at Derby in March in the hope of earning his first professional contract.

“It was a great experience for me,” says Boadi, who attended trials at the French clubs Le Havre and Amiens in February. Despite all three having indicated a desire to sign a player previously briefly on the books at Chelsea, Tottenham and Fulham, the coronavirus pandemic has meant his fledgling career has been put on hold .

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