One of the brightest English prospects in recent years is now re-finding his feet after being frozen out at Tottenham Hotspur.
John Bostock made his professional debut aged just 15 in 2007 when he turned out for Crystal Palace in a game against Watford. He then started a game for the first time a week later. He showed great talent for his age and was courted by a number of clubs.
At the end of that season it was Tottenham Hotspur that he joined for a fee that could have risen to £2m. Unfortunately in his five years at White Hart Lane he never appeared made a league appearance for the side. He did however, become the youngest player to play for Tottenham too, when he came on as a substitute in a Europa League match against Dinamo Zagreb.
Bostock spent the majority of his those five years on loan at other clubs. He featured for Brentford, Hull City, Sheffield Wednseday, Swindon Town, and then Toronto FC at the back end of last season. In his first game for Hull City he scored a memorable 30-yard strike however the rest of his loan spell was rather unsuccessful. Each of his other loan spells didn’t muster up many appearances and the once raved about talented prospect was slowly becoming a player who was struggling to find his feet.
He was released by Spurs this summer, and on 11th July he joined Belgian side Royal Antwerp who are now plying their trade in the second tier. Davide Petrucci is also at the club, having joined on loan from Manchester United.
Royal Antwerp are currently managed by Leeds United and Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Bostock has thanked his boss for giving him a chance. In an article with The Mirror he said: ‘I feel like he is patient with me, whereas in England if I had a bad game I was out of the team.’
A lot was expected from Bostock due to his wonderkid status, and therefore there was more pressure on him to succeed. Bostock goes on to say how he has a lot more confidence in himself now and he is enjoying the game: “Getting away and being able to play and learn for myself now is helping me a lot“.
It makes you wonder… did it all come too soon for the 21-year-old and could many youngsters dubbed wonderkids have the same problems.
John Bostock played in the same England youth teams as Jack Rodwell, Jack Wilshere and Steven Caulker, but says that the youngsters need to be handled in the right way. Sometimes going on loan to clubs who play route one Football does nothing for a player. With so much media attention on youngsters breaking through it is no wonder the players feel the pressure. John feels that Wilfried Zaha will be better prepared however.
‘The massive difference between me and Wilfried Zaha, who left Palace for Manchester United, is that Zaha has played maybe 150 games for Palace and I played five in the first team.‘
Adnan Januzaj has been talked about a great deal in the media after one brilliant game for United. He is now in the spotlight and under so much pressure. The Red Devils are reportedly lining up a new £30,000 contract for him. Again this will increase expectations of him and as Bostock has proved that can all be too much and sometimes it is better to get away from it all and start again.