In the second part of the interview with Noni Madueke, recalling the unconventional path that has brought him to Chelsea, the young winger explains why he took the pioneering decision to move abroad to speed up his development at the age of just 16, a choice he believes will continue to benefit him throughout his career.

In recent years we have started to see more teenage English players move abroad, in the hope of progressing into the first-team set-up and gaining senior experience more rapidly than they would be able to at a Premier League club.

However, five years ago when a 16-year-old Noni Madueke made the decision to leave Tottenham and sign for Dutch side PSV Eindhoven’s academy, it was still something of a step into the unknown.

As the winger explains, though, it didn’t seem like a gamble at the time, but was part of a carefully thought-out strategy, as he tried to turn the certainty in his mind that he was good enough to make the grade at the highest level into a reality, with the solution presenting itself via a moment of inspiration.

‘The first step is knowing you’re going to do it, the next step is knowing what do you need to get better at, what do you need to do to make sure it happens. For me that was the move to PSV,’ explained Madueke.

‘I’d just turned 16. I’d been offered a scholarship agreement at Tottenham but I’d seen a lot of the boys who were good as well just kind of get lost in the system and I didn’t want that for me. I hadn’t seen many others go abroad at that age, I think it was just Jadon Sancho who went before me, but he was a bit older.

‘My thing was that we played PSV in a Premier League tournament. We lost to them on penalties in the semi-final, I actually missed a penalty, but I scored in the game. They went on to win it and it was a big tournament for the youth at that time.

‘I remember thinking “these boys are good”. Technically and even physically, they were just really good. So I thought going to PSV’s not going to harm my development at all and if I’m good enough I’m going to play quick in the first team. So that was really my mindset.’

Of course, having the idea and making it happen are two very different things, but this is where fate intervened to create an opportunity for the young Madueke. Bizarrely, it all started as a bit of touchline banter between parents at that youth game between Tottenham and PSV, as Noni’s father got chatting to the parents of then-PSV defender Ian Maatsen.

‘In that game when we played them, one of their parents was speaking to my dad – it was Ian Maatsen's, who is playing for Burnley now, a good player. They were laughing and joking and then my dad said he’d bring me to PSV, so they should go and tell the coach.

‘Once Ian Maatsen’s dad realised my dad was being serious, he actually went straight over and did tell their coach. That’s how they established the connection, they came and watched a few more games and came in at the end of the season and said they wanted to do it.’

In a further quirk of fate, Madueke would never get to play alongside Maatsen in the PSV youth set-up, as their parents had envisioned. While Noni completed his move to the Netherlands in the summer of 2018, the Dutchman was crossing the English Channel in the other direction, to join the Chelsea Academy.

Unperturbed, Madueke set to his new task in Eindhoven with the same confidence and determination which had prompted him to take the step into the unknown by leaving his homeland in the first place, even if he admits it was not all plain sailing, especially early on.

‘Being a footballer is not all highs. In fact it’s 50 per cent lows,’ he continued. ‘When I first got there it was difficult. It was not even so much being in a new country because I was living with my mum, but even on the pitch it was difficult. I had to adapt to a whole new style of play, but I didn’t know the language. It's still football at the end of the day, it’s not like it’s so different, but just having so many new things happen to you at once as a kid is always going to be difficult.

‘When you’ve come in as a big player from Tottenham’s academy, there’s a lot of eyes on you. Pressure is normal but just the expectation, you really want to rise to the expectation, and as a kid sometimes you can’t always control that, control how you answer that.

‘At first I wasn’t really doing that well, but then it all started clicking about three months in. I got moved up to the Under-19s, played there and that was when I really started finding my feet, after that I was absolutely fine.’

The self-reflection Madueke shows when analysing his past decisions demonstrates an impressive maturity for a young man who only turned 21 last week, but judging by the explanations of that move abroad it seems he has always had a wise head on his shoulders.

That isn’t the only thing which becomes clear when hearing him talk so intelligently about making the leap of faith to join PSV, though. There is a constant underlying current of ambition present as he explains that move was always intended as a stepping stone towards his ultimate goal of starring in the Premier League and why it continues to benefit him at Chelsea, and will continue to do so throughout his career as he adds more experience at a higher level with the Blues to that he has already amassed in the Eredivisie.

‘I was just thinking if I jump the queue I’ll be better than all my peers, because while they’re playing Under-18s and Under-21s I’m playing in the first team versus men. So I’m developing quicker and then by the time it’s time for me to come back I’ve leapfrogged all of them.

‘So we were all there on around the same level, all in the academies playing against each other and in the England Under-17s. If I could go and play men’s football before them, I’m there while they’re still trying to get there, and if I still keep working hard they’re never going to catch me.

‘Having that experience gave me a huge boost when I joined Chelsea. I feel like if I hadn’t played 80 games in Holland I’d be coming to Chelsea with a different approach and a different feeling in and among the dressing room. I know I’m no Thiago Silva or N'Golo Kante, but who’s to say I can’t be?’

Madueke clearly has his sights set on the very top, but what better way is there to continue his development and emulate the achievements of experienced internationals and Champions League winners like Thiago Silva and Kante than training and playing alongside them at Chelsea?