Justin Tellus has exclusively spoken to MalteseFootball about the talented youngsters currently playing in Malta and how opportunities abroad can play a key part in kick starting their careers.

The former Birkirkara star spoke highly of Maltese international Kyrian Nwoko who was close to signing for English SkyBet League One side Scunthorpe United during the January transfer window.

The 21-year-old is currently playing for Tellus’ former side Valletta and recently travelled to England to play in a reserve match for United.

Scunthorpe boss Stuart McCall has previously expressed his desire to sign Nwoko following an impressive trial however, after the deal falling through last month, the club are looking to restart the bidding process over the summer.

Kyrian Nwoko (left) recently went on trial with Scunthorpe United.

“Being in the UK and playing in Malta for many years, I was aware of Kyrian Nwoko, the son of Chucks Nwoko. There were a few English clubs who were aware of him, I knew that because I had been asked about him by various scouts,” explained Tellus who has a close relationship with a number of Football League and Premier League sides.

“There was a scout out there, a very famous former Premier League player who went out to watch him play for the Under 21’s. The reports came back really good and Scunthorpe seemed to be the leaders with the interest around him.”

The 44-year-old continued by looking at Nwoko’s qualities: “He is very good, very strong and physical who suited the game well in the UK.

“He held up very well under conditions. Unfortunately, the deal fell through, Valletta and Scunthorpe couldn’t agree terms but he is a great player and hopefully that will happen in the future.”

Tellus is currently at English side Matlock Town working within the youth setup.

After playing in Malta for a number of years he believes there are a number of Maltese players ready to make the step up to the English game.

Justin Tellus played for Valletta during his playing career.

“I think there is a good opportunity for Maltese players in England, technically I would go as far to say that I have seen much better technical players pre 16 in Malta than what I have in some cases in the UK,” said the former Birkirkara man.

“I think they get to a stage between 16 and 19 where we lack something to get our lads through in Malta, that is a crucial stage.

“Maybe lads aren’t getting enough game time at a good competitive level to be able to develop. The average age for a debut Premier League player now is 23 so there are systems in place in the UK for those players between 18 and 23, it has been called Premier League 2.

“I am seeing talented players in Malta who could fit into a CAT three or two and maybe even a CAT one academy. There are contracts and club restrictions sometimes but I do urge the lads to go out and develop in the international game, not just on the football side but culturally and socially.

“That is a crucial part for them to survive if they end up getting careers abroad.

“I think that there is a lot of talent in Malta and if these lads get the opportunity to come over then they would get the opportunity to develop as players and I think that the development of players is very crucial for the lads and Maltese football.”

Maltese international Ryan Fenech evades Dele Alli of England during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Malta and England at Ta’Qali National Stadium.(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Tellus finished by explaining how the Maltese national team can play a vital part in the development of its young players: “There is a high interest level, I do hear lots of names, especially around the under 21 level.

“Between the 18 and 21 stage I think there is a great opportunity for them with the Maltese national team. If you have got up to seven players who are playing abroad at a good level it can only help them.

“They are coming up against tough opposition who are physical so I think it will be good for them, sometimes the physicality can let the technical Maltese players down.

“With that experience, it can hold in good stead for the future, especially with players like Kyrian Nwoko. Sometimes their natural style can suit different games and in the case of Kyrian, his style suits the English game.”

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