At just 21, Jayson Molumby has a massive decision to make

At just 21, Jayson Molumby has a massive decision to make

JAYSON MOLUMBY is doing everything right, on and off the pitch. But his next decision could be his most important.

Picture this. You're a teenager playing for Brighton in the Premier League. You feel you've made it and yet you're only 18.

Not Jayson Molumby. He decided to grind. To put in double the effort. The hard work was just beginning.

He went on loan to Milwall. The Lion's Den, literally. A team renowned for its agrression, its passion, and its hostility. It's no bed of roses.

But he came out the other side a better footballer. A tougher footballer than he already was, and that's saying something, because he has never been one to shy away from a crunching tackle. He has faced injury problems, and consistently come out stronger.

And while things have not gone badly for the young Waterford man since, he has reached a point where the next movie in his career is crucial, despite being just 21.

Currently on loan from Brighton at Preston, he just isn't having the same effect on the Championship as he did last season, and must be wondering what his next move is going to be.

He has a lot to offer a number of Premier League clubs, being consistently assured and confident on the ball, while also possessing a good knowledge of the game and a decent bit of acceleration.

But the path for him is unclear.

Scott McCarthy from WeAreBrighton spoke highly of Molumby, but is understandably worried about the gametime he may get at Brighton over the next few seasons.

"It was quite telling that Chris Hughton had him in and around the first team squad as a 17-year-old for League Cup games in 2017 as Hughton was a manager who rarely trusted or used young players. That alerted people to the fact that Molumby must have something about him.

"Becoming a Premier League regular is a whole other challenge of course and he's probably at the age now where the next 18 months are crucial in terms of him breaking through at Brighton. Fingers crossed he can, after his injury problems and what he's done to come back from them, he deserves a chance."

And while Molumby is now an Irish international who has two years' of first-team football under his belt, he has an awful lot of competition to fight with to get into a very strong Brighton side.

McCarthy says: "He's got a bit of a challenge on his hands breaking into the first team at the Albion as we are well stocked for central midfielders. Ahead of him in the more defensive role where he looks likely to fit in are Yves Bissouma, Davy Propper, Steve Alzate, Jakub Moder and probably Moises Caicedo

"There is every chance Bissouma will be sold this summer for big money and Propper is too good a player to be sitting on the bench as frequently as he has this season, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him leave either.

"Both Millwall and Preston wanted to sign Molumby permanently in January, but Brighton weren't interested.

"They obviously think he has a future at the Amex, and with another six months in the Championship under his belt and a bit of a clearer path to the first team ahead of him there is no reason why he can't be challenging Moder, Alzate and Caicedo for a starting spot next season."

Molumby is one of Ireland's finest footballing prospects, and it is crucial that he doesn't allow himself to simply fall by the wayside, like many have done before him.

His decision at the end of this season may be the most important of his career. Here's hoping those around him help steer him down the right path.