Kenneth Omeruo recently confirmed that he'd be returning to Championship club Middlesborough on loan, snubbing a switch to a Premier League team in the process. The young defender spoke to African Footballl about the rationale behind this perhaps surprising decision:
You know, it’s difficult to see a 20-year-old defender play week in, week out. And if I go to join a premiership side I would not be guaranteed regular play. So, if I would be on the bench in another club, I would rather remain at Chelsea. So, that's why I decided to go where I am familiar with and guaranteed regular play.
While you can spin that as a lack of ambition from Omeruo if you so chose, it probably makes more sense to chalk it up to the youngster's drive to be playing football and improving. He knows Middlesbrough and knows he'd be playing all the time there; he has no such guarantee at a Premier League side and while I'm sure he'd be willing to fight for his place, it's a risk which he decided not to take. And that's fine.
A good season in Middlesbrough wouldn't be quite as impressive as a good one at a Premier League club, but right now Omeruo needs to be focusing more on the level of his play than that of his competitors. He's already done ok against some fairly big attacking names thanks to his regular appearances for Nigeria, and now it's all about raising his own level once again and getting as much work in as possible.
Good luck in the northeast, Kenneth!