David Weir, Brighton’s pathway development manager, feels that Albion youngster Max Sanders will have benefitted greatly from his loan spell at AFC Wimbledon last season.
The ex-Rangers and Scotland defender was reflecting on the respective loan spells of those players who had time away from the club in 2019/20 and, speaking to the Seagulls’ official website, he had a clear message for the 21-year-old midfielder.
When talking about Sanders, Weir said: “It was his first loan and he went to a team that were in a bit of a relegation fight, so there is a lot of emphasis on getting points from each game which took Max a little while to adapt to. But after that period of adaptation, he got himself into the team and finished the season really strongly.
“It was a really beneficial loan for him and I think he will have learned lots of lessons and will have definitely improved from that experience. What happens next is up to him.”
Sanders played 22 times during his loan spell at the League One outfit, scoring once and providing two assists. He enjoyed regular game-time with the Londoners, making 18 league starts for Glyn Hodges’ side.
The 21-year-old has accrued plenty of experience at youth and reserve level for Brighton, with six goals and six assists in 48 matches for the under-23s. He has been on the bench for three first team fixtures but is still awaiting a senior debut for the Seagulls (as per TransferMarkt).
During his time with AFC Wimbledon, the midfielder proved to be a steely presence, winning 1.9 tackles per game, while a match average of 1.1 key passes indicated that he can make effective use of the ball when in possession.
In 2019/20, only four players at Brighton had a better tackles per game ratio (2.2 was the joint-highest figure), while just three players surpassed Sanders’ match average for key passes, as per WhoScored. Therefore, the youngster may feel that he could hold his own in Premier League company.
Weir’s assessment of Sanders seems a fair one – the midfielder’s spell at AFC Wimbledon offered him his first taste of senior football and he appears to have acquitted himself well, albeit in the third tier.
The Brighton pathway development manager’s comment that the 21-year-old’s future is in his own hands was also striking – having seen the likes of Tariq Lamptey and Alexis Mac Allister break into the first team at the Amex Stadium, Sanders will realise that there are opportunities for youngsters to get their chance under Graham Potter, if they can earn the manager’s trust.
Will Max Sanders get his chance at Brighton next season?
That should offer him a massive incentive to prove to his boss next season that he can be a worthy addition to the Seagulls’ first team.
Brighton fans, are you hopeful that Sanders will break into the first team over the next few months? Comment below with your views!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience