My piece on promising and versatile young Spurs development side defender Jubril Okedina:

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

A consistent, hardworking and reliable player for Tottenham Hotspur’s development side, versatile defender Jubril Adesope Okedina (19) has enjoyed two fine seasons of development at Spurs after enduring an injury hit campaign during his first season with the club full time. The former Beths Grammar School pupil who was born and raised in Woolwich, South London is a centre half (RCB) by trade however, since the 2018/19 campaign he has predominantly played as a right back, a position in which he has settled down nicely in. In the following piece I shall be giving Spurs fans who may not have seen Jubril Okedina play an understanding of what type of player he is, and what his traits and attributes are as a player. Having been at Spurs since a young age and risen up the various youth ranks at the club, Okedina made his competitive debut for Spurs’ under 18 side in a PL South fixture against Aston Villa in the February of 2017. Spurs fielded a very young side for that fixture due to having an important FA Youth semifinal tie against Chelsea soon afterwards. Okedina completed the entirety of the 2-1 defeat to the ‘ Villains ‘ at their Bodymoor Heath training, he played at centre half and did a fine job as he looked comfortable throughout the game. During the summer of 2017 Jubril Okedina signed scholarship forms with Spurs in time for the new 2017/18 campaign. However, for the young defender it was to be a difficult campaign with extremely limited playing time for the Londoner. Okedina made his first competitive appearance for our under 18’s that season when he started our Premier League Cup group stage game against Fulham. He put in a competent performance at RCB in that game as he partnered Brooklyn Lyons-Foster in central defence. Unfortunately in a season when Okedina was out for significant periods due to injury, the then first year scholar didn’t play again for our under 18’s in a competitive fixture until January 2018, when he came on as a late substitute in a pulsating 6-3 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion down on the south coast. 

In his second year of scholarship with the Lilywhites the teenager enjoyed an impressive break through season at under 18 level for the club. The defender who is also eligible to represent Nigeria at international level started the 2018/19 campaign when he came on as a substitute for our under 18’s in a PL South game against Swansea. It took a little bit of time before he established himself in the under 18 side in which he properly got a chance in after putting in a good performance and 3-2 victory over Arsenal in the league, a game in which he scored in. Okedina started every remaining league game that season for our under 18’s after that Arsenal game. Combining his time playing in his natural position of central defence as well as at right back the Spurs man who in addition to his 16 league games that season (he also featured once for them in the FA Youth Cup as well as making a couple of appearances in the Premier League Cup), also made his debut for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League against PAOK, as well as his under 23 debut in a PL2 game against Brighton and Hove Albion at right back. Okedina excelled for our under 18’s during that season with some excellent defending at both right back and centre half. However, our penultimate league game of the season against Chelsea in Cobham was arguably his best performance, as he put in a faultless defensive display with his reading of the game and anticipation of danger second to none. Promoted to our development side after signing a professional contract during the summer of 2019, Okedina played a number of games for our development side during pre-season, as well as travelling to France to play for Spurs in the Tournoi Europeen. Okedina started the 2019/20 season proper by performing very well at right back in our under 23’s 4-0 opening day PL2 victory over Liverpool. 

Jubril Okedina would play the vast majority of our development sides games up until March and before the season was curtailed due to the pandemic. The defender almost always played at right back, with the one exception being after he came on as a late substitute in a 4-0 PL2 defeat to Blackburn Rovers when he played at RCB. A very consistent performer throughout the campaign as he continued to adapt to his new position following the 2018/19 season, Okedina played 17 times for our development side during the season just gone, scoring one goal. As a right back during the season just gone some of Okedina’s impressive traits were defending tightly and aggressively down the right flank. In addition to that the versatile defender who is good with the ball at his feet and has good close control, is a skilful player who is capable of dribbling his way out of tight situations. He is a cool and composed defender who rarely panics, and reads the game mostly well and effectively. Some of Okedina’s best defensive attributes include being good in the air, possessing good pace, remaining defensively disciplined and also steady, with him usually making well timed challenges and rarely making rash decisions. A well rounded defender, one of the pluses to him playing at right back regularly is the fact that it will help him to further improve his ability to bring the ball out from the back when playing at centre half. Another plus to playing at right back is that it allows him to put his attacking qualities into practice. Last season the hardworking right back demonstrated a real willingness to get up and down that right flank throughout matches. Okedina who is strong at going forward on darting runs, knows when to overlap the Spurs right winger, but also when to stay deep and defend. The technically good young player is agile and that along with his strength allows him to get forward to effect. 

A good passer and crosser of the ball Okedina’s form shortly before the lockdown and subsequent curtailment of the season was very good indeed. The young defender put in two really good performances at right back against both Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively in the PL2. In the game away to Leicester he defended solidly but also did some really good offensive work. Overlapping his man (the Spurs right winger – Maurizio Pochettino) at the right times, he really threatened Leicester down that side of the pitch. Okedina also scored a good goal after powering home an unstoppable low effort on the edge of the Leicester box. In the following and final league game of the season against Wolves in Stevenage, the right back once again put in a really good well rounded performance. Getting up and down that right flank so well, he defended tenaciously as well as being potent at the other end of the pitch. Okedina was also involved in our opening goal of that 3-2 win, when he curled a nice pass all the way down the right flank for winger Maurizio Pochettino to run onto and set up Troy Parrott. When you think about the fact that Jubril has really had to adapt to his new position over the course of the last two seasons, it really is quite impressive as he has looked really at home in that right back role. He is still young and developing his game as well as learning new things all the time, but he is a player I really like and admire for how he consistently performs on the pitch. Hopefully the defender who turns 20 in October can keep pushing on next season for our development side and continue to improve his all round game. I do really hope that he gets his chance to play for the first team in the future at some point, maybe one pre-season. Now that our development side players have returned to training at Hotspur Way I would like to wish Jubril all the very best of luck for the 2020/21 season as well as congratulate him for having a fine 2019/20 season.

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