Farewell and good luck to our young defender Christian Maghoma:
With our young defender Christian Maghoma set to depart the club upon the expiration of his contract on June 30, I thought I’d write a farewell piece, on a young player who has such a bright future in the game. A player who I will be sad to see leave the lilywhites after so many years spent in the academy set up. 20 year old Christian Maghoma becomes the third member of the under 23 side who is set to leave the club, after Joe Pritchard announced on social media last week that he had left the club. Whilst it was announced on Friday that promising young winger Keanan Bennetts had joined German side Borussia Mönchengladbach in a deal worth £2 million. A towering centre half who is dominant in the air and strong in the challenge, Maghoma has followed in the footsteps of his older Jacques in coming up the various youth levels at the club. Christian is a proper defender, similar to someone like Brightons Shane Duffy in many ways. Less of a ball playing centre half, and more of a classic Dawson-esque defender. A defender who puts his body on the line for his teammates, who gets stuck in and leads by example. Christian is a natural born leader, and those qualities have really shone this season for the under 23 side. He is charismatic and composed, vocal and encouraging to fellow defenders, particularly to those who are new to the development side. I remember vividly back at the beginning of the PL2 season, when Christian was constantly giving words of advice and reassurance to the then 16 year old Brooklyn Lyons-Foster on his debut at that level. That is just one many examples which I can recall from seeing over the the past couple of seasons.
Capped at under 16 level by England, Christian enjoyed a fantastic season for the under 18’s back in the 2014/15 season, whilst still a first year scholar. Physically far too good for that level, Maghoma would go onto make six starts for the development side that season. Including an incredibly assured performance against Norwich’s Gary Hooper at Carrow road, in front of a bumper crowd. Christian was still only 16 years of age at this time, yet he had been able to totally nullify the threat of an experienced striker, who had experience playing in the champions league. Christian capped off the season with a fine goal against Fulham at White Hart lane, a powerful bullet header from a Will Miller corner, I remember it well! Maghoma spent the majority of the following season in the under 21 side under the tutelage of the great Ugo Ehiogu, barring a brief loan spell at Yeovil town where he failed to make a senior appearance for the glovers. The 2016-17 season saw Christian play more games then anyone else at under 23 level, he became a mainstay in the side and was rewarded at the end of the campaign with a first international call up to his country, the Democratic republic of Congo. He made his debut for the DRC in an international friendly against Botswana at the age of just 19. However, it was in the 2017/18 campaign that Christian really stepped up a level. A pivotal figure in Wayne Burnett’s side over the course of the season, the defenders courageous defending coupled in with his effectiveness to lead the backline, proved to be crucial in Spurs’ push for survival. Maghoma skippered the side on a number of occasions and put in a series of high quality performances. At times not best suited to Spurs’ play it out from the back philosophy, Christian made up for this with the many heroic blocks and clearances which he made during the season.
Christian has always played as a defender and I remember him citing the legendary Ledley King as his footballing hero, in an interview which I conducted with him back in 2016. The dominant centre half chipped in with two goals for Burnett’s side during the season just gone. One was an unstoppable bullet header against West Ham, the other a memorable goal against Liverpool in front of the Kop. It was a lovely finessed effort from the edge of the penalty area. Maghoma provided Burnett’s inexperienced side with a solidity at the back, he formed tenacious defensive partnerships with the likes of Japhet Tanganga and Jonathan Dinzeyi. Drawing back to my earlier comparisons with Shane Duffy, Maghoma gave the development side a physical presence which could be unrivalled by any centre forward. Excellent in the air, strong on the ball and above all else he put his body on the line for his team to make important blocks, challenges and goal line clearances. He doesn’t show off nor does he take unnecessary risks, he just gets on and does his defensive duties. He has put in many magnificent performances over the course of the season. Maghoma put in a terrific performance up against Cambridge United’s senior side back in pre season. He marshalled his defence incredibly well back in January during our 3-1 win at Old Trafford. He also singlehandedly kept out Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke in a league meeting in February. However, Maghoma’s most impressive performance came during our under 23’s 6-1 thumping to Leicester City. Yes, it may seem odd to single out a game in which we lost by such a scoreline however, Christian was magnificent that day he held it together after Spurs were reduced to nine men. Whilst his teammates fell apart around him, Christian put in the performance of a lifetime to stop Leicester running riot and getting into double figures.
A tenacious and hardworking defender, it was a great shame that Christian never got the opportunity to play for the first team. However, I have no doubts whatsoever that Christian will go onto enjoy a great career in the game, he has the talent and determination to do so. He is also a thoroughly nice young man who I have had the pleasure of meeting on numerous occasions, he has always has time for us Spurs fans! I wish Christian all the very best of luck for the future and I thank him for his great service to the club.
Myself and Christian after our development squads pre season friendly with Ebbsfleet back in July of 2017: