George Dobson: Walsall midfielder glad he took the 'risk' with Sparta Rotterdam

George Dobson in action for Walsall
George Dobson scored once in 26 appearances for Walsall on loan from West Ham in 2016-17

Walsall midfielder George Dobson is happy to be back playing his football in England following his short stay in the Netherlands with Sparta Rotterdam.

But the 20-year-old Londoner still says signing for the Dutch Eredivisie outfit was a risk well worth taking.

After moving to Sparta from West Ham in July, Dobson made five appearances, but then lost his place - and a change of management prompted his Bescot return.

"When you're not playing, it's tough," he told BBC WM.

"It was my agent who first told me Rotterdam were interested and I've always been a person who tries to take risks and try something different.

"But I got dropped, then the manager went and circumstances changed.

"I enjoyed it when I first got there but playing football is all you want to do and when the gaffer here said he wanted me back, it was a no-brainer."

Dutch football so 'different'

Following the December departure of Sparta boss Alex Pastoor with his side bottom of the Eredivisie going into the winter break, 70-year-old former Glasgow Rangers, Sunderland and Dutch national team boss Dick Advocaat was appointed.

And, although that signalled the end of Dobson's six months as an honorary Dutchman, he is still grateful he had the experience of being one of only six Englishmen playing this season in the Eredivisie.

"It's a completely different style of football," he said. "You play on artificial 4G pitches and a lot of teams try to build up and play passing games.

"But there's a completely different aspect off the pitch too. Living on your own in a foreign country at just turned 20 is not easy."

Dobson, who was initially on loan with Walsall in 2016-17, returned to join a Saddlers side just below mid-table in the third tier - not good enough or ambitious enough, according to a small section of their fans, who tried to engineer a protest at Saturday's home game with Oxford United.

As it was, Walsall won 2-1 to climb to 15th in League One, 10 points outside the play-off places - but an improvement on the slender one-point margin that separated them from the relegation zone on 4 November.

"I didn't really notice the protest was going on," said Dobson. "We're here to play football. That's all we can do. And to get the three points was brilliant for the gaffer (Jon Whitney). It's something to build on."

George Dobson was talking to BBC WM's Steve Hermon

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