It’s been more than a year since Nigeria international Josh Maja switched the Stadium of Light for the Matmut Atlantique, enough time to have witnessed the distinctions in the brand of football being played by the two countries.
Bordeaux forward Maja believes that he has made a big step forward in his career as football in Ligue 1 is more tactical and more defence-focused than whatever obtains in the lower divisions in England.
The 21-year-old led League One side Sunderland’s failed charge for promotion into the Championship in the early part of last season, scoring 15 goals in 24 games.
But after refusing to extend his contract beyond the summer, the Black Cats decided to cash in on him with Bordeaux coughing out €1.7 million to take the young striker to France.
It’s not been plain sailing for the Nigerian forward since joining Les Girondins, with Maja netting just once in seven matches in the closing stages of last campaign.
Six goals in 21 appearances this term show that Maja is adapting well to his new surroundings, but he admits he has had to cope against better defences that leave little room for plenty chances to be created.
“Football in France? The game in France is different: more tactical, more study of the game but a slower pace,” Maja told The Chronicle as per Girondins33.
“Creating a lot of chances in matches is hard because clubs play more defensively, but it suits my game better.
“Going abroad is a big test in terms of character, but if you think you are ready for that, then you have to take the plunge. It’s a big step, yes,” the young striker added.