Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur were in for him. In fact Spurs were desperate to sign him after witnessing him waltz through a host of defenders and net a hat-trick in a trial match. George Green a left footed, attacking midfielder was built up to be “a next Paul Gascoigne”, “the next Wayne Rooney” and signed for Everton in October 2011 from Bradford City for a fee rising to £2 million at the age of just 15.
Bradford’s head of player development said at the time that he was the next Wayne Rooney. Well, Wayne was spinning on the half way line and banging in a stunner against David Seaman in the Arsenal goal when he was still 16. Green is now 19 years of age and is yet to make a first team appearance for the Toffee’s. In fact he has only made two substitute appearances in the Under 21 premier league this season and not even been included in the U21 squad for the other fixtures. He’s played just about half an hour of football for them this season having been substituted on in the 72nd and 79th minutes respectively.
It has to be acknowledged that he is still very young but given the hype that surrounded him and the level of admiration bestowed upon him as a 15 year old you would expect him to be knocking on the door of the first team or impressing on loan at a Championship club and not struggling for game time in the Under 21 squad.
Is he the example of another early developer who shines as a teenager due to his early physical development? At 15 he was five foot nine inch and stocky for his age but hasn’t really developed on physically since then and therefore doesn’t have any physical advantage in the senior game meaning that many of his attributes are diminished. He hasn’t been able to replicate the sort of play he produced a few years back against senior professionals and has been described by first team boss Roberto Martinez as “the sort of player who will win you an under 18 game”.
It is possible that Martinez is allowing Green to develop over a longer period of time instead of thrusting him into the limelight too early but 30 mins in the U21 squad this season is hardly the best development. Ross Barkley was busy getting vital experience on loan at Championship clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United when he was the same age as Green is now.
His contract runs out at the end of this season and if they held him in such high esteem; the next Rooney, then they would almost certainly have tied him up on a longer contract by now. If he is not careful he could end up as another case of what happened to that Bradford wonderkid: George Green.