WASTED YEARS END FOR OBIKA WITH MOVE TO SWINDON
NO PLAYER sums up the failings of Premier League academies like Jonathan Obika.
The striker joined Swindon Town on deadline day after six years at Spurs. While at White Hart Lane, he made 11 loan moves yet did not play a single game in the Premier League. And on Friday, he will be 24. What a waste.
At 23, Kieran Trippier has already finished second in the Championship and played top-flight football with Burnley. Team-mate Ben Mee can say the same at 24.
At 22, Adam Forshaw – Wigan’s new £4m signing from Brentford – already has a promotion from League One and a century of Football League starts on his CV.
All three started out at Premier League clubs, Mee and Trippier with Man City, Forshaw with Everton. All three left early when it was obvious that firstteam football was a pipe dr eam.
Now they have medals, experience and reputations that will set them up for a long car eer in the game. At the same age, Obika still has everything to prove.
Spurs have piles of young kids – Tom Carroll, Adam Smith, Alex Pritchard, Ryan Fredericks, to name a tiny few. All of them are out on loan to ‘gain experience’.
But will that experience lead to a place in the first team? Not with a hundred million quid’s worth of internationals and a Champions League dream blocking their way. It’s the same at any Premier League club.
Of course, loans are better than rotting in the no contact world of reserve team football.
But a month here and handful of games there is nothing compared to the feeling of being integral to a side, of forging a path without the subconscious safety net of a parent club. Of having a staff motivated to invest in your improvement. It’s tough to let go of the dream. At 21-22, I’m not sure I’d have been able to. But the evidence suggests that it’s better to be a Trippier than an Obika.
ACADEMY KID: Jonathan Obika