Soccer

EFL leading scorer Jake Young ‘just wanted opportunity’ after Mark Hughes snub

Jake Young, right, has 16 goals for Swindon this season (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Jake Young, right, has 16 goals for Swindon this season (Jonathan Brady/PA) Jake Young, right, has 16 goals for Swindon this season (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Jake Young has outgunned Erling Haaland this season after proving his worth.

The striker – on loan at Swindon from Bradford – has 16 goals in 20 games and is the top league scorer in England.

Young is two ahead of the Manchester City goal machine after netting again in Tuesday’s 4-3 win at Accrington.

Seven goals in his last six games have fired the Robins to within a point of the Sky Bet League Two play-offs, with Young having also smashed in four against Crawley in August.

It has left the 22-year-old top of the pile and taking the extra attention in his stride.

“It’s not something I think about on the pitch but when I get off and I’ve scored another one I’ll have a little look. I’m sure Haaland isn’t looking if I’ve scored for Swindon though,” Young told the PA news agency.

“I normally look at the League Two ones first but since Haaland’s been mentioned I’ve had 10 to 20 people sending me screenshots (of the goal table).

“I think there was something on Twitter the other day and I had a lot of people sending me that one – but it’s not counting my Champions League goals!

“It’s nice but for me it’s not a shock. I know I’m capable of this. It’s definitely something I feel like I’ve worked for.

“Without trying to sound arrogant, I know I can score and play at this level. I’ve just wanted the opportunity to prove it.”

Young’s time has come after a frustrating and lonely initial spell at Bradford under Mark Hughes.

The Robins looked at a permanent deal in the summer but he could now be recalled by the Bantams in January.

It would be a dramatic return after being dumped by former boss Hughes, who was sacked in October, training with the kids, loaned to Barrow and not even joining the first team squad for the summer’s pre-season trip to Spain.

Having signed a four-year deal after joining from Forest Green in 2022 Young was frozen out despite scoring twice in three league starts.

“It was mainly one man’s opinion and that’s fine, that’s football. My view was he’s got me there, give me an opportunity to improve. That’s all I was looking for,” said the former Sheffield United youngster, who won League Two with Forest Green under Rob Edwards.

“I wasn’t looking to play every minute but when I’d been on the pitch I’d shown I could affect games to at least be an option off the bench.

“I just wanted to learn and improve and I didn’t really think I got the opportunity but football’s about opinions.

Mansfield Town v Forest Green Rovers – Sky Bet League Two – One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town v Forest Green Rovers – Sky Bet League Two – One Call Stadium Young won League Two with Forest Green. (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I was 21 and to be deemed not good enough three months into a four-year deal was tough, especially when it’s somewhere I wanted to be.

“It something you’ve always wanted to do and when you find yourself not enjoying it anymore that’s the hardest part.

“It’s something I’ve learned from and I won’t take these spells I’m in now for granted because I know how hard I’ve worked physically and mentally to get here

“It’s not necessarily about proving people wrong but more proving myself right that I belong at this level and higher. This is the player I know I am.”