Interview: Tottenham U21's midfielder Nathan Oduwa - on his career and more

In an exclusive interview, Asif was given the rare opportunity to speak to Tottenham's talented youngster Nathan Oduwa - about his career thus far as well as football in general.

Interview: Tottenham U21's midfielder Nathan Oduwa - on his career and more
Picture source: Getty Images

Nathan Oduwa has been a Tottenham boy since day one, the 20-year-old has been with the club since the age of 11. Having netted ten goals in 24 appearances for the under-18's during the 2013/14 campaign, the last two seasons have been important for the winger's career prospects. Oduwa has completed loan moves to Luton Town, Rangers in Scotland and Colchester United - and has impressed at international level, having already broken into the under-20's squad.  

Below, Asif asks a number of questions and Oduwa's answers, especially the more lengthier, are intriguing:

Asif: What do you do in your spare time?

Nathan: Relax with family and friends, playing FIFA and watching movies in the cinema.

A: Whilst growing up as a football fan, which footballer did you look up to?

NO: Ronaldinho is my favourite football, I remember flicking through the Sky channels on Sky Sports. Barcelona were playing against Athletic Bilbao, Ronaldinho was the standout player and he flicked the ball over two players with a smile on his face.

Ronaldinho celebrating one of his goals with Ludovic Giuly. | Photo: Getty
Ronaldinho celebrating one of his goals against Bilbao with Ludovic Giuly. | Photo: Getty

A: If you were to build your own Ultimate dream team including retired players who would you include?

NO: Íker Casillas, Dani Alves, Carlos Puyol, Nemanja Vidic, Eric Abidal; Claude Makelele, Paul Scholes, Ronaldinho; Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo.

A: Who would you say is your current favourite footballer and why?

NO: Lionel Messi (I think the whole world can agree with me on this!), he makes football look really simple which annoys me as football is a very tough game. It’s a privilege to witness in my opinion the greatest footballer ever.

A: What persuaded you to try and make it as a professional footballer?

NO: My mum since I’ve been young she noticed how good I was, she has always encouraged and supported me with my football. My mother has always tried her best to make sure I was able to do the things which I loved; Football was one of them. She gave me the confidence to be brilliant and fulfil my potential as a footballer - to stand out from the rest, whether the feedback was positive or negative this helped me get to where I am today.

A: What are your aims? Short term? Long term?

NO -

My short goals: I want to make sure I have best performance of my life in my next game.

My long term goals: I’ll work towards becoming a recognised international player that plays at the highest level, playing for the greatest clubs and winning trophies.

A: How would you describe your recent loan at Rangers?

NO: I had an amazing time, it was a very good learning curve to taste success and disappointment as a professional footballer I guess this is all part of my development I was honoured to work with excellent staff and players who made me fit right in at Rangers. I worked with a very good manager, Mark Warburton, he gave me the confidence that I needed to go out there and play my game which now helps me during the hard times when I was receiving rough treatment from the opposition.

People were questioning my mental state and passion to continue to playing my game. I believe I was mentally and physically strong as this made me more determined to keep getting up over and over again still searching for the ball to make things happen for my team instead of hiding; I must be a threat for them to bring me down without any intentions of winning the ball. I recall one event at my time at Rangers where my career could have been ended within the first minute of the game but I thank God that I’m physically built well and was able to carry on. Overall, I’m happy I was able to receive rough treatment like that; it’s made me much stronger today. I am always looking to get on the ball as I’m not afraid of getting the ball and taking players on.

A: You scored your first goal for Rangers against Dumbarton, how did you feel?

NO: I felt the pressure from my shoulder drop, it was an amazing feeling to score a professional goal in front of 50,000 fans.

A: You’re a winger - what’s the first thing that comes to your mind as soon as you get the ball?

NO: First thing that comes to mind is I will think about what is happening around me. I am a player who likes to create a goal-scoring opportunity or start off attacking moves i.e. If my team-mate is in a good position I will try my best to make sure that I pass them the ball to give them the best chance of scoring.

A: What is your favourite pre-game meal? 

NO: Salmon or pasta; alongside some salad and vegetables. 

A: Lastly, how did you get started in football?

NO: Every weekend and during the school holidays, my mother would take me down to my cousin’s area, he lived in an estate which had a football area. Boys and girls of all ages even parents would come down to the area, I played football from when it opened at 8:00am in the morning until when the caretaker closed it at 10:00pm. Residents in the area would come out to play football and muck around that is when I really got into football, there were no rules showing what skills and tricks you can learn each day.