THEY CALL ME THE WANDERER
Nine-loan Obika keen to stick
NOMADIC doesn’t really do Jonathan Obika’s short career justice – the striker is on his NINTH loan at his SIXTH club in FOUR years.
But with chances at parent club Tottenham hard to come by – one start and three sub appearances since signing in 2008 – the 22-yearold currently at Charlton is ready to find a permanent home.
He’s certainly put himself in the shop window of late. In his last two games at the Valley, Obika has come off the bench to score a lastminute winner, downing Leeds and most recently Wolves last Saturday.
But these brief chances are something the former Yeovil, Millwall, Crystal Palace, Peterborough and Swindon forward has grown far too accustomed to.
In his four years in the Football League, Obika has played in more than 100 games and scored at a rate of one every five matches, but he says it’s hard to build momentum when he’s being dragged from one club to another.
“When you go out on loan obviously the gaffer knows very little about you, so you have to show what you can do with the opportunities you are given,” said Obika, who has never made a Premier League appearance.
“My first season out on loan at Yeovil in 2009 was a new type of experience, but you do get used to it the more you do it.
“It has taken a while for me to get going at Charlton. As a player you always want to start games and when that doesn’t happen you look at yourself and other options, and how you can make an impact in games from the bench.
“It’s something you have to do when you’re on loan. You’re desperate to do well and impress as much as you can. To be fair, every club I’ve been to have been great with me.
“So I’ve just made sure the players and the gaffer know what I can do in training and stuck at it.
“It’s strange to score so late for two home games in a row, but the key has been that my goals have been important ones and helped the team.”
That 2-1 victory over Wolves saw the Addicks extend their unbeaten run to six games before the weekend – too late for the play-offs but great timing for Obika. Like fellow Spurs striker Harry Kane, himself desperate to prove his talents on loan at Leicester, Obika signed a one-year contract extension with Spurs in February and hasn’t given up hope of making an impact in the top flight.
He cites first-team regular Steven Caulker, who also had a spell at Yeovil in 2009, as one of the reasons he still believes.
“The coaches at Spurs do keep in contact with me and see how I’m doing, but I don’t really think of Spurs when I’m on loan.You’re concentrating on yourself really,” Obika added.
“But you see someone like Steven who has gone on to take that step up, and it gives you confidence that it is possible.
“I signed a new one-year deal and the aim is to push on in the Spurs team next season, but if that doesn’t happen I’d definitely like a permanent home somewhere.
“It’s hard to say where my level is at. I’ve never had a chance in the Premier League, but I do feel comfortable in the Championship.
“It’s everyone’s dream to play at the highest level, and I’m hoping to get my chance at Spurs. If I put in the work, believe I can.”
LONG AND WINDING ROAD: Jonathan Obika celebrates his goal against Wolves. He is inspired by Steven Caulker (above), who made the breakthrough at Spurs after three loans