For talented young footballers, it’s a complicated path to stardom.
John Cofie was signed by Manchester United for £1.2 million at the age of just 14 back in November 2007.
That’s how good he was. But at the start of 2020, Cofie decided to retire and at the age of 27, he is now mentoring kids at his old school, Moorland.
For an idea of Cofie’s talent as a teenager, Charlie Jackson offered him some huge praise in the Clitheroe Advertiser.
“I’ve followed John’s career closely and for me between the ages of 14 and 18 he was better than Paul Pogba,” said Jackson, who also worked with Scott McTominay at United.
“He had more to his game. The work ethic was always there – he had a difficult time with injuries.
“He was one of the most naturally technical and athletically gifted players that I have ever worked with.”
Cofie left United in 2013, having never played a first team game for the club.
He signed for Barnsley, before joining Molde, the former club of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who he worked with at youth level.
From there, he bounced around, unable to fulfil his potential and slipping further down the pyramid.
Along with Ravel Morrison, who was also on the books at the same time as Pogba and Jesse Lingard, he has to go down as another one who got away for United.
It’s a shame to see a talented player out of the game at the age of 27, especially for a club like United which prides itself on its youth development.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work out for a player. Even Pogba himself had to leave Old Trafford in order to play regularly at Juventus before coming back.
Cofie says he hopes he can use where it went wrong for him in his career to educate the next generation coming through.
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