In a relatively short professional career Xavier Amaechi has already shown a willingness to take risks in order to find a regular game – his latest, could benefit both himself and Wanderers.
Part of a new breed of young Englishman no longer content to sit within the bosom of a Premier League academy feeding on off-cuts of cup action, he stepped out alone to sign for Hamburg nearly two years ago.
Amaechi had trained with the Gunners’ first team but watched former colleague Serge Gnabry’s stock rise sharply after he cut ties with the Emirates to find fame and experience with Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and Germany.
He also saw Jadon Sancho’s rise at Borussia Dortmund after he had quit Manchester City and so looked abroad for the same sort of exposure, albeit in the German second tier.
Wanderers have already recruited one young player who went on a similar journey outside his comfort zone in George Johnston, the former Liverpool Under-23s captain who forwent life as a fringe first team defender at Anfield to seek regular action at Feyenoord.
It must be said, neither Amaechi nor Johnston found the games they were looking for. But their technical schooling continued and life experience off the pitch mean they arrive at the UniBol as more mature prospects, with a point to prove.
Amaechi – whose loan deal is currently scheduled to last until January - has represented England at every youth level, scoring a stunner against Wales just last October in a 2-0 win for the Under-20s at St George’s Park.
The quality of the goal, the quick feet to mesmerise the Welsh defender, the speed at which he cuts in from the right flank to bend a shot into the top corner from 25 yards, was reminiscent of one of his idols, the ex-Chelsea and Bayern winger Arjen Robben.
It is little wonder that with such compelling available evidence, Amaechi’s arrival has been greeted with such unanimous approval among the Wanderers supporters.
The club noted in their official release that they had beaten others to the punch to bring the 20-year-old to England, and that they have attracted two young players from the continent this summer tells you a lot about the reputation Ian Evatt’s expansive and exciting brand of football is starting to develop.
It also points to the influence and research skills brought to the club by Chris Markham, the technical performance director whose role has been to identify players who can best suit the type of football Evatt has been seeking to play.
Amaechi’s game time in Germany has been limited, both for Hamburg and in a loan spell at Karlsruhe last season. He has played most of his football on the right flank but local reports say some of his better performances have been as a number 10.
Speaking to The Times in October 2020, the ambitious Amaechi listed his career targets.
“At the moment my dream is to play regular football for Hamburg, have an impact, help Hamburg go up to Bundesliga 1 and then after that, if all goes well, win World Cups with England. That’s my dream,” he said.
In order for any of the above to happen further down the line, the young winger will need to make the most of his six months at Wanderers in League One and tick off 'regular football at Bolton' first.
He joins an attack which already boasts the likes of Dapo Afolayan, Lloyd Isgrove and the fit-again Dennis Politic in the wide positions, where Evatt not only demands quality on the ball but hard work off it, too.
Once reported as a target for Bayern and Barcelona in his Arsenal days, Amaechi may have to accept that his rise to the top will involve a few more staggered stages than some of his old team-mates, including Bukayo Saka.
But the youngster, who sharpened his skills on the public parks of Watford dribbling balls between traffic cones before being picked up by Fulham, does not strike you as someone who will shirk the challenge.
"I’m not going to sit here and say it was easy for me and that I wasn’t upset or angry when I wasn’t playing back end of last season," he said of his time out of the side at Hamburg. "Dieter Hecking was saying to me, ‘You’re training so well, I have to play you,’ and then he put me on for 15 minutes and that was it for the season.
“It was hard for me mentally but then again it’s about staying positive. You can’t let it get the better of you. You hear about players that just lose their heads and give up, but not me. I have to keep going. I can’t stress about it. I trust Hamburg. I’m ready.”
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