THE last few years have seen a number of high-profile English youngsters kickstart their careers by moving to Germany – now, Leon Dajaku wants to buck the trend and spark an exodus in the other direction.

Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham made it into the senior England squad after leaving Manchester City and Birmingham City respectively to join Borussia Dortmund, and their decision to head to the Bundesliga has sparked a flurry of similar moves in the last couple of seasons.

Jamal Musiala, Rabbi Matondo and Reece Oxford have all left Premier League academies to play their trade in Germany, while Demarai Gray and Ryan Sessegnon had successful loan spell in the Bundesliga before returning to England.

Moves in the opposite direction are much rarer, especially when it comes to youngsters still feeling their way in the game, but in Dajaku and goalkeeper Thorben Hoffman, Sunderland have two German trailblazers.

The pair, who are both aged 22 or under, joined the Black Cats on loan in the summer – Dajaku from Union Berlin and Hoffman from Bayern Munich – and are delighted to be getting the kind of first-team opportunities that would almost certainly have been denied them had they opted to remain in their homeland.

“There has been a lot of talk in my country about the good young English players that are coming over to Germany – maybe now we change it and show it can start to happen the other way,” said Dajaku, who scored his second Sunderland goal in Wednesday’s 4-0 thrashing of Crewe. “It is a big opportunity for a young player like myself.

“It is a chance to play big games in front of big crowds at this level – that is why I decided to come to England. Of course, Sunderland is a big club, and that was really important. But in general, I think there are definitely opportunities for young players from Germany here in England. That’s why I came here, and I am enjoying it.”

When young English players head to Germany, they often talk of being able to pick up the technical side of the game more readily in the Bundesliga than amid the hurly-burly of English football.

Speak to Dajaku, and it is clear he feels there is an alternative viewpoint when the roles are reversed. Exposure to life in League One has taught the winger how to play at a much higher pace and intensity than he was used to in Germany, and he is confident his all-round game will improve as a result.

“The football is different to the same level in Germany,” he said. “Here, it is much faster. You get competitive games in Germany at this level – the teams are still pretty good – but often, we would be playing a bit slower. It’s hard, but not so fast. Here, it’s quick. You have to be always 100 per cent ready to sprint and get involved. It’s definitely faster.”

Another key difference is the level of support and engagement in the third tier. The German Third Division contains reasonably well-known clubs such as MSV Duisburg and FC Magdeburg but also features reserve teams from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Freiburg.

As a result, while some matches are well-attended, passionate affairs, others are played out in front of pretty much empty stands. It is certainly rare to see a sight such as Wednesday’s, when more than 1,600 travelling Sunderland fans filled the stand that ran the entire length of one side of the pitch at Gresty Road, and also spilled over into a second stand behind one of the goals.

“I couldn’t really believe it,” said Dajaku. “Before the game, I was looking at the whole of the stand and asking the rest of the players, ‘Are they all the fans from us?’

"There were so many fans for us, and it’s great, we need that support. It’s great for us to have that, and we have to say thanks to our fans because they came a long way.

“That’s definitely different to the third level in Germany. We also have some games where there are a lot of fans, but it is certainly not every game.

"The big difference here is that whe we play, it is every game where there are thousands and thousands of Sunderland fans coming to watch us.

“It’s a new atmosphere for us (Dajaku and Hoffman), we’re not really used to seeing something like this every week. We have the support every game, whether we are winning or losing, they are always there. For us, it’s important.”