The rise of Jamie Vardy has led to some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs searching for stars in the semi-professional ranks, with this 20-year-old tipped for the top.
The winger, who currently plays for non-league outfit Lewes and has been likened Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, played two Under-21 matches during his five-week stay at Chelsea, which started on March 29.
This was not his first trial period with a Premier League side, having previously spent time with West Brom and Crystal Palace. But even though there has not been a formal offer yet, there is still plenty of interest from the likes of Arsenal, Leicester and Norwich.
El-Mhanni, 20, is confident he can win a professional contract and was positive about the time he spent with the FA Youth Cup winners and Chelsea first-team stars like Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao and Alexandre Pato.
“Chelsea took a chance to have a lot at me when other clubs might have turned their noses up,” he told Goal. “It shows while they have big players and can buy, they aren’t afraid to look at players who might not have the CV.”
He has been inspired by the rise of Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, who started his career four levels below the top tier, and is delighted that he has been compared to PFA Player of the Year Mahrez.
“I guess it is because we both have heritage from Morocco,” said El-Mhanni. “But Mahrez is there and has made his name. He’s been so good and I’m just at the beginning of trying to make a professional career. He plays with freedom and skill and I like to play the same way.
“I believe there are others playing in non-league that, if given the platform, could potentially be good enough.”
The London-born attacker is no stranger to the spotlight; several of his videos have gone viral on YouTube and he has also appeared in an advert alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
The AG Football Academy, who offer youngsters dropped by professional clubs a route back into the game. were credited with providing him the chance in getting back into football by the player.
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