Nathan Oduwa. Remember him?

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

It’s a common theme in football. So many “promising” youngsters are courted from an early age in the hope that they might be the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or if we go to a bit more of a realistic territory, the next Dele Alli or Harry Kane.

However, players like Kane and Alli are a rare breed and more often than not the next wonder kid isn’t all that wonderful and as quick as his rise through the youth ranks he finds himself on the football scrapheap a hell of a lot quicker.

Remember Nathan Oduwa? He was labelled as the next big thing to come off the Tottenham Hotspur production line. A lot of Tottenham fans were alarmed at the prospect of losing the youngster for nothing after he had refused to sign a new deal and see a “prized asset” leave for nothing.

It was claimed at the time, in a report by Sky Sports, that Oduwa had his heart set on impressing potential suitors by representing Nigeria at the upcoming Olympics. However, if that was indeed true, it backfired for the young winger as he wasn’t even selected for it.

Despite a promising start to a loan spell with Glasgow Rangers in the 2015-16 season he was moved on and now finds himself in Slovenia with NK Olimpija. A bit different I hear you say.

However young Nathan’s time in Ljubljana has yet again not gone according to plan for the 21-year-old. Inconsistent form has seen his first-team chances limited and he has found himself out of the team more often than in it.

In 11 matches this season Oduwa has started just twice, he was a used sub four times and actually found himself out of the first team picture on five occasions.

So a bit of a fall from grace for the supposed “next big thing” out of Spurs academy. With Mauricio Pochettino’s preference to blood youngsters you would have thought he would be the ideal manager to develop under, but perhaps the Argentine saw something he didn’t like about Oduwa or wasn’t enamoured by what Rangers reported back on him. It’s also significant to note that no other British clubs took the opportunity on him and hence why he’s found himself struggling in Slovenia.

It’s sad to see, a young man with the world at his feet, an obvious talent but probably believed too much in his own ability and I’d hazard a guess aided and abetted by an unscrupulous agent. No more than Anton Walkes taking a risk by heading to the MLS so young, Oduwa has to be applauded for trying to kick-start his career in unfamiliar surroundings, however, as the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters and Harry Winks might testify to, patience is indeed a virtue. Something perhaps for Nathan to think about in cold winters in Slovenia.

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  1. Could have written pretty much the same for Parrett, Bostock, Thelwell, Pritchard or most of the academy bilge, and the template could be kept for Onomah and probably Edwards. It's great to get behind the youngsters, heap pressure and expectation on them is ludicrous!


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