Former Everton talent Matty Foulds has made an exciting return to his hometown club Bradford City this week, after a brief stint in Italian football with Como 1907.
When Everton snapped up the left-footed defender back in January 2016 he arrived with plenty of hype.
His status as a ball-playing defender who had been plucked from a Football League side in Bury earned immediate comparisons to John Stones, who has just started to showcase his immense ability at Goodison Park.
The Liverpool ECHO claimed that Everton had plans for Foulds to be a first-team regular within the next two seasons whilst Roberto Martinez openly spoke of his excitement at Foulds’ arrival.
“Matty Foulds has all the attributes to be a very good ball-playing centre-half,” the then Everton boss told the club website. “We feel very excited about him joining in January.”
At just £225,000, it was a gamble worth taking and during his time at Finch Farm, Foulds did impress plenty within the Everton hierarchy.
His ability at left-back or centre-back was never in doubt but, unfortunately, niggling injury troubles did pester Foulds during his time on Merseyside.
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So it was no surprise to see that Everton let Foulds go in the summer when his contract expired. What was a surprise, was where Foulds ended up.
The youngster took the plunge and headed to Italian Serie C side Como 1907, getting to play football in the beautiful lake-side Giuseppe Sinigaglia stadium.
It was reported that former England midfielder Dennis Wise helped get the deal done, as he works with the club who have a strong Anglo-Italian connection building up.
Foulds was a fully fledged member of the first-team at Como but not as a regular starter, featuring just three times in Serie C for the promotion chasers. That led to his mutual agreement to terminate his contract at the club a week ago. In turn, this led Foulds into a return to Bradford City, who he left as an academy product, after a successful trial period.
“I am over the moon to be joining such a big club which I have supported all my life,” Foulds told the Bantams website after securing a contract until the end of the season.
“Since leaving as a youngster, I always had dreams of coming back after watching the likes of Nahki Wells and James Hanson scoring goals – from the stands – so it is a bit of a dream come true, for me.”
Foulds is still only 22-years-old and whilst the hope of becoming the next John Stones seems to have dissipated there is no doubt he might still have a bright future in the Football League going forward.