Former Tottenham talent John Bostock reveals why he moved to Belgium in 2013

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The ex-Crystal Palace midfielder was one of England's hottest young talents when he was just 15-years-old.

Back in October 2007 the Daily Mail ran with the article ‘Meet John Bostock, aged 15, the boy Barcelona can’t buy’ - heavy hype for one so young.

Bostock made his debut for Crystal Palace aged 15 and from there he became the world's most wanted youngster.

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea were all linked with the player.

In the end it was Tottenham Hotspur who managed to tie him down in what was a controversial transfer deal worth just £1 million in compensation.

At the time Simon Jordan, then Palace chairman, was adamant that one day the young star they had just lost for what he felt was pittance would be worth much more than the price Spurs actually paid.

But he never hit the heights many expected of him. Bostock struggled to breakthrough at Spurs. Loan spells with Hull City, Swindon Town and Toronto FC were all vaguely successful or unsuccessful and last summer he left Tottenham on a free transfer.

He then surprised everyone by joining Belgian club Royal Antwerp. This summer he was on the move again. He remained in Belgium, joining OH Leuven, also in the second tier of Belgian football.

He has been in great form for his new team and today was on Soccer AM, enjoying his winter break, and talking about his time in Belgium and why he decided to leave England after his Tottenham deal ended:

"[Leuven] is a student town. It's about 15 minutes from Brussels, its a really lovely area to live. The team just came down relegated from the top division last season. We are hoping to go back up this season, it's a great club, a family club and I am really enjoying my time there.

On how he came to become one of the rare English footballers playing abroad, he credited a Chelsea legend:

"My contract at Spurs finished. I had a few offers in England and a few others in Europe, so a few options to choose from. But Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took the job at Royal Antwerp and he spoke to my agent and said, 'Look just come out here and play, you'll have a platform to show what you can do,' so I jumped at it really."

He then elaborated on why he felt he needed to leave England. After his early career looked so promising he soon found himself being labelled a flop and his confidence was at an all-time low. But he took the brave decision to head abroad and it sounds like it is paying off for the now 22-year-old:

"I just needed to play, my confidence was a little bit low at the time .

"Yeah I guess [I wanted to get away from England]. Obviously the media stuff, everyone has their opinion. So it was nice just to go away and solely focus on playing football, which helped me.

"I really enjoy playing out there, the footballing philosophy is really good as well so I think it has really benefited me just going away and just being there and just focusing.

"In my opinion yes [I was ready at 15]. Because I guess the manager saw fit that I could play and I did well when I played, I thought anyway at the time. But it comes after that, the pressure of who is this kid? Some other clubs and that is difficult to deal with.

"I'm lucky that I had a good family around me, good friends and they keep me humble and my feet on the ground. Looking back on it it was an amazing experience, becoming the youngest ever player for the team you support was every boys dream so."

It is good to hear that, in a week Steven Gerrard announced he is leaving Liverpool, that a player once touted as his natural successor in the England set-up is finally getting back to his best both on and off the pitch, even if it is in Belgium's second division.

In time he will surely head back to his home shores and when he does he might finally prove just what made Tottenham cause so much fuss over him when he was just a kid.

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