Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Nathan Oduwa:

Nathan Oduwa was a very exciting winger during his days at Spurs as an Academy player. Born and raised in central London, Oduwa’s quick feet, pace and outrageous pieces of skill wowed many watchers of the Spurs under 18, 21 and 23’s side, during his time at the club as a full time player, from 2012 to 2017. Oduwa was at Spurs for quite a while before signing scholarship forms with the club in the summer of 2012, and he did spend a period of time (around six months) away from the club at West Bromwich Albion on loan, during the 2012/13 season. Making his competitive under 18 debut for Spurs during the 2011/12 season (Oduwa made a further three appearances in that particular campaign) during the following season Nathan Oduwa scored three goals from his first three under 18 league appearances. He made an additional three league appearances for the club at that level that season, as well as playing for Spurs in the NextGen Series, and also representing England at under 17 level. In fact the talented winger who was comfortable at operating on either flank, as a CAM or even as a centre forward, would play for England all the way up until under 20 level. A player with real technique and flair, Oduwa would later represent Nigeria at under 23 level, and during his second season of scholarship after he had returned to Spurs (2013/14), Oduwa made a really good impact on the under 18 side as they finished top of the Under 18 Premier League South that season. He scored 11 goals from 26 competitive under 18 appearances (league and cup) as well as registering a good number of assists at that level. The Spurs under 18 side that finished top of the Premier League South that season were a very talented team, and going forward they were quite literally unstoppable during that season, and Oduwa was a part of that potent forward line. Oduwa also made an appearance for Spurs’ first team against a Ledley King XI, in Ledley King’s testimonial at White Hart Lane in the May of 2014, scoring a really cool chip, after initially faking his effort from inside the box.

The 2014/15 season saw Nathan step up to play for our under 21 side on a permanent basis, as he was now a first year professional. He showed the skill, directness in his play and ability to go past players, as well as working hard for the team during his first season with the development squad. Oduwa registered some  assists and scored four league goals from 11 under 21 appearances, and he notably scored an outstanding goal against Fulham’s under 21 side, where he came inside from the left flank onto his right, before powerfully directing the ball with real dip and swerve into the top right hand corner of the goal, from the edge of the Fulham box. He went out on his first senior loan halfway through that season, going out on loan to then League Two side Luton Town, who he ended up making 11 appearances for. At the beginning of the following 2015/16 season Nathan went out on a season long loan, along with Spurs teammate Dominic Ball, to Scottish side Rangers, who were then playing in the Scottish Championship, after playing one game for our under 21 side at the start of the season. Oduwa started the season really strongly at his loan club Rangers and he became popular with the fans at the Glasgow based club, and he showed the great skill (including a wonderful rainbow flick against Alloa Athletic) and ability that he had on the ball during those opening stages of the season. During his time in Glasgow, Oduwa made 19 appearances for Rangers, scoring one goal and registering five assists. However, his season long came to an early end, and he returned to Spurs in January 2016. Soon after returning to north London he joined then League One side Colchester United on loan for a month.

For Colchester United Nathan made only two appearances appearances before retuning to play for Spurs for the rest of the season. The start of the 2016/17 season saw the predominantly left sided winger join League One side Peterborough United on loan, after making three Premier League 2 appearances for our under 23 side at the start of the season. He made nine appearances for Peterborough before returning to Spurs in the January of 2017. Upon his return to Spurs the Londoner played four times for our under 23 side in the league, and I remember reporting on those four games well, and Oduwa was really really good. He put in some very strong performances against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and finally Liverpool at Anfield in the February of 2017. From those four appearances the confident winger was at times extremely difficult to defend against, and he was directly involved in a good number of goals from those four appearances, and I did hope that he might have got a chance in the first team squad, possibly at the start of the next season in pre-season. Dominant and strong down the flanks, the tall and quick winger showed on many occasions at youth level for Spurs his ability to do almost Yannick Bolasie-esque and Adel Taarabt-esque types of skill, and his trickery and ability to seemingly effortlessly weave his way around opposition defenders, was at times unreal. He could also cross the ball well, had a good eye for goal, and when playing the CAM role Oduwa’s linkup play and passing was good, and he showed this for England at youth level when playing that role. He could also hold the ball up well and bring others into the game, when playing as a centre forward. However, at youth level, and out on loan and even still now, Nathan is such an unpredictable player, who with his pace and trickery could give any defender a really difficult game on his day. He showed this on occasions even when playing his last game for Spurs’ under 23 side, when coming up against a young Trent Alexander-Arnold on the left flank at Anfield.

Nathan left Spurs on a permanent basis shortly after that Liverpool game, when he went to join Slovenian PrvaLiga side NK Olimpia Ljubljana on a three year deal in mid February of 2017. Oduwa would go on to make 25 appearances in total for the Slovenian club, scoring two goals and registering some assists for NK Olimpia Ljubljana, he played a part in helping them to finish as runners up in the Slovenian Cup in the 2016/17 season, and also help them to win the Slovenian PrvaLiga during the following 2017/18 season. Oduwa left NK Olimpia Ljubljana in the summer of 2018, and he then joined Danish Superligaen side Vejle Boldklub in September 2018, but after making just three competitive appearances for them, he left in the December of that year. Oduwa then signed for Israeli Premier League side Hapoel Hadera at the start of 2019, and during his time at Hapoel Hadera he made 16 competitive first team appearances, scoring one goal. However, most recently the former Spurs man  played for well known Irish Premier League side Dundalk, after leaving Hapoel Hadera. Oduwa joined the then reigning Irish Premier League champions in March of last year, but he had to wait until July of 2020 to make his competitive debut for Dundalk. The now 24 year old footballer who turns 25 in March, made 16 appearances for Dundalk during the season just gone, scoring two goals, which both came in the FAI Cup, against Bohemians and Athlone Town respectively, as Dundalk went on to win that competition. As well as playing in the league and cup for the Irish side, Nathan also made three appearances for them in the UEFA Europa League group stages (he created two goals in those games), and he also played once in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League. He left Dundalk at the end of the season just gone, and is currently without a club.

I recently caught up with two of Nathan Oduwa’s old Spurs Academy teammates, Kodi Lyons-Foster and Christian Maghoma to ask what it was like for them to play and train with Nathan at Spurs. Kodi said “ Nathan is someone who I regard as one of the most talented players I played with coming through the Academy. I can still remember magical moments he done to this day, whether it was in training or in matches. He was athletic, strong and quick and had all the technical attributes far beyond anyone else at the time, on top of that he was a great lad to have in the team, and was full of jokes and banter. I played in the age group above mine a lot when I was in the Academy so I spent a lot of time with Nath and he was just magical, he was able to do things that weren’t to be taught. From what I saw since leaving the club some of his highlights from his time at Rangers were even just a small amount of what he is capable of, despite him doing so well there. He’s a player with an abundance of ability and one I’m sure will surface to the top again soon. ” Christian said “ I think anybody who has played, trained or seen him play will agree when I say there’s not any player like him. Tall, strong, fast, powerful and so so skilful, it’s just a shame he hasn’t been able to show that yet to the world like he would have liked to. Absolute pleasure to play with and train with and I honestly think he’s one of the greatest youth team players ever. Hopefully he can boom on to the scene and show that to the world! ” Like what Kodi Lyons-Foster said about Nathan playing at the top again soon, I strongly agree with that, and I believe that he has the potential to play in a top league. I’m sure that Nathan will have a new club in the very near future, and I would like to wish the very talented player all the very best of luck for the future.

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