Mohamed Mallahi has admitted his desire to succeed at FC Utrecht convinced him not to consider options to join Leeds United and Chelsea.
The winger came up through the ranks of the Dutch club’s academy and has featured in excess of 100 games for the U21 side, managing 11 goals and registering 10 assists in the process.
Even though the 21-year-old was included in the match-day squad for league games last season, he had to wait until September to make his Eredivisie debut.
According to Voetbalzone, the Whites, Ajax and the Champions League winners were interested in his services. It’s not mentioned exactly when Leeds, Chelsea and the rest came forward to sign the Dutchman.
“I didn’t do that [leave Utrecht] because I wanted to break through in the Netherlands and not go abroad too quickly. FC Utrecht seemed like the perfect option to me, to eventually go abroad after all,” he was quoted as saying by Voetbalzone.
The player was born in Utrecht and that also played in his decision to continue with his current employer over joining the likes of Leeds, Chelsea or Ajax.
“My connection with FC Utrecht and the city also played a role in not going to those clubs. There was confidence, they came up with a good plan and convinced me with it. It’s not easy to make such a decision, you definitely need advice from people around you,” Mallahi explained.
Mallahi played alongside Orkun Kökçü, Ryan Gravenberch, Jurriën Timber, Lutsharel Geertruida, Mohamed Ihattaren, Myron Boadu and Sven Botman for his country’s youth teams.
When comparing his development with them, the attacker is disappointed with the progress he has had so far in his career.
“As a young boy you naturally look at your former teammates from Oranje who are already breaking through. Then you might think: I’m just as good, or maybe better. That’s a bit frustrating at the time, you have to be patient,” he stressed.
“It feels too slow and that has not always been easy. But I picked myself up and continued the line, although it went with peaks and troughs. That made me the person and player I am today. That has also been a development.”