Learning lessons in Liberec – Rolando Aarons and his unconventional route to Sheffield Wednesday
Whatever it says about the state of the English game, young home grown players are increasingly looking for moves to Europe as the next step in their development.
Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson are two of the current crop of young British talents hailed for their courage in packing in their Premier League hopes – at least for the time being – and moving to the continent to prove their worth.
But it’s a road already travelled for Sheffield Wednesday’s Rolando Aarons, who has two loan spells abroad at Italian outfit Hellas Verona and Czech top flight side FC Slovan Liberec on his footballing CV in the last year.
At the age of 23, the Newcastle United loanee has had limited chances with the Magpies’ first team.
But the deadline day lure of first team football in England at Sheffield Wednesday was enough to bring Aarons back from his European adventure.
Speaking to the Star, he said: "Ideally, I wanted to stay in England. I have been away for about a year.
"Wednesday were the club that acted quickly and it felt right to come here.
"It was very, very difficult to adapt to a different culture and language. It was snowing from like November!”
After spending the second half of the 2017/18 season with Verona, Aarons was in the Czech Republic with three-time league winners Slovan Liberec for the first part of the current campaign.
And the left-sided winger says that the standard of football and the learning experience during his 12 appearance spell in the Czech Fortuna Liga were useful in his journey to playing in south Yorkshire.
"It was not as bad as what I thought it was going to be. I'm not being disrespectful but I didn't know much about the league before. I was there for three months. It was a good experience.
"When you are in England, you are in a comfort zone. When you go abroad, you don't know anyone.
“You are trying to learn the language and the way people play. You can't really communicate with someone and you have to find other ways of doing that.
"It was difficult on the pitch where I couldn't really communicate and give commands that I can in England to players and stuff. But after a while it was alright and they started to learn my game and I started to learn how the team played.
“It was difficult but I believe everything I have gone through is for a reason and it has made me a stronger character. I'm here and ready.”