Asoro hits out at agents
Ex-Sunderland forward Joel Asoro is now doing well for himself back in his homeland of Sweden, scoring six times and registering five assists this season from the right wing for Djurgardens.
But in an interview with the Swedish podcast Lundh, the 23-year-old says he was ripped off by agents during his time at Sunderland, says none of them are trustworthy and likens them to adults luring in children with ice cream:
What’s the world like with bids and agents when you emerge as a young player?
Agents were at their worst a few years ago, they brought in as many players as they could, they could have 100 players and not bother with one. Had it been today it might have been different. But there’s not much you can do about it. You listen, the agent says a lot of things. You believe in it. It’s like luring a kid for some ice cream, it’s that way.
How do you know it’s someone you can trust?
That’s what you don’t know. When you’re young, you don’t think about that, who you can trust. If you hear the person talking to your parents, you think they’re trustworthy. It’s about them fooling the parents first before they fool you.
Is there any way to control this, so that more people don’t experience what you have experienced?
It depends on what kind of agent you have. You can’t trust any agent, but there are agents who do the job anyway. That’s the difference.
What’s it like to realise you’ve been ripped off?
That’s the worst part. You don’t realize it until two years later. That’s what I took to heart, “what’s going on with my football career?”
Have you got insight into the business now too?
I took that after, because the club comes and talks to you about how it’s gone and stuff, “we’ve given you this”, and you feel like “you haven’t done that at all”. Then you start thinking about what has happened. Then you hear some stuff about what agents have promised and not performed.
How much money is involved?
A lot of money. I left BP for free, so it’s a lot of money.
That the agent took?
Yeah, that’s right.
Have you tried to get it back?
There’s nothing you can do about it. I’m not the person who likes to argue and should report and fix problems for myself, I don’t have time for that. I mostly think about my football. The difference was that he had fixed me a good salary, I don’t think you think that way either. That’s what I mean, they can be bad agents but they can still fix things.
It wasn’t all bad for Asoro at Sunderland however, with the player having a Premier League cameo as a youngster in a home game with Middlesbrough, something that came as a massive surprise:
When I came back the next pre-season, out of nowhere I was promoted to the A team straight away. I was shocked, I didn’t understand anything that had happened
David Moyes came down looking for me, and said he wanted to talk to me. He said I was going to be moved up to the first team. My chin dropped, literally. I thought it wasn’t true. “Is today my birthday, or what?” It was special. I saw that my team was in the first team dressing room.
What was it like to train with the first team?
It was sick. I was lucky, Sebastian Larsson and Ola Toivonen were there, I had people taking care of me.
Were they nice?
They were very nice to me, especially Sebastian Larsson. He was very nice to me. He said that if I really fought, something good would come out of me.
Asoro also revealed he was initially supposed to sign for Chelsea before moving to Sunderland but the move fell through after his mother was not allowed to accompany him:
I was supposed to go to Chelsea’s youth team, that was almost a given, but the problem there was that I wasn’t allowed to take my mother with me. Joseph Colley, among others, went to Chelsea. He had to stay with a host family. I didn’t want to do that. It feels like you become one of the crowd then, I didn’t want to take that risk. I’d rather have my mum with me in case things went wrong. It was important to me that my mother came with me.
Somehow, anyone can understand that you’re extremely young to leave home at that age. Is that how you felt?
I wanted to move out. But my mother did everything for me, whatever I did, I wanted my mother to come with me. If I succeeded, I wanted her to succeed that way too.
Did she get a job, or get paid by Sunderland?
It was more that I got paid and so was able to give her money. My best experience ever was when I was 15 and she stopped working. It’s something I won’t forget.
How much money is involved when you go to a club like Sunderland?
Transitionally, I don’t know that much, but I think it was quite a lot. More than what it’s signed for in the Allsvenskan, anyway. But salary-wise, being 15, I didn’t have access to my account, it was my mum who took care of it. But she says we were doing well, so I guess I was getting a good salary at that age.
You can listen to the full Lundh podcast with Joel Asoro below (assuming you speak Swedish!).
Bennette Snr. pleased with (Jewi)son’s progress:
Jewison Bennette has shone for both club and country in the last couple of weeks, opening his goalscoring account for both, in draws against Watford and South Korea respectively.
After his double against the Koreans, the player’s father, Jewison Snr. spoke to La Teja about advice he has given to his son and how he is pleased with how Sunderland have guided his son’s development early into his career at the Stadium of Light:
They work on him in that sense at Sunderland, but I don’t want him to be heavy and I’ve told him that. He can’t lose his speed, because that’s his weapon. If he gets stronger, he gets more mechanical and that’s no good.
Let him put him in, you have to strengthen him, yes, but I don’t want it to be just muscles and lose that speed, but they are guiding him well in that part.
He has also advised his son to make sure he is always getting into the box, as carrying on his goalscoring form is vital for a winger in Europe:
I told him that in Europe wingers score a lot of goals and it’s because they get into the box, otherwise there’s no way. He has to get to the box, he has to score a lot, because there are always chances that are left over.
Surprise debut for Roberge
Former Sunderland defender Valentin Roberge made a surprise international debut, at the age of 35, this week following a call up by his adopted country of Cyprus.
Following his departure from Sunderland, the Frenchman joined Cyriot First Division outfit Apollon Limassol and has been a first team regular there ever since.
He only became a Cypriot citizen earlier this month but marked his international debut with a clean sheet in 1-0 win over Greece in the Nations League at the weekend.