Where are they now? Former Spurs player John Bostock:

Former Spurs player and Crystal Palace Academy coach Micky Hazard on John Bostock: “ As a youngster John was exceptional and he was one of the very best around. I think that every club in the country wanted him, as well as clubs from abroad. I know that John went to play for Barcelona at one point and scored two goals in one of their youth team games. But he was a brilliant player, although I’m not sure that he ended up getting the guidance that he should have got, as I look at him and I know that there was so much more to achieve. He had a great background and a lovely family, and so he had the right grounding and was very well educated. From the age of 15/16 he never sort of fulfilled what he had shown as a youngster, in the way that he should have, even though he’s still playing in the Football League now, but it’s not a level that he should have been playing at, for the talent that he had. But ultimately he’s a lovely, lovely human being and his family is amazing, and so I genuinely believe that if he’s happy then that’s the be-all and end-all, and over and above success. 

John never struck me as somebody who would let things get him down and he would accept that what ever came his way was what was due to him. Therefore as he was very religious, he would accept whatever came his way. And that was what was so lovely about him, and that no matter how great or poor he got he would always be that nice human being. He had a nice level outlook. ”

John Joseph Bostock was born in Lambeth, South London, in 1992. Starting his footballing career with Crystal Palace, a club with a very good youth set-up, John Bostock was very highly rated as a youth player, and a great number of top clubs wanted to sign him. Clubs such as Barcelona, who even offered him a ten year contract to join them, at an early stage in his career. However, Bostock, who attended the Nautical School as a youngster, would continue to progress really well at Crystal Palace, as a youth player. He progressed so well at the South London club that the midfielder rose up the ranks faster than anyone else in Crystal Palace’s history, to make his senior competitive debut for their first team as a 15 year old, in the Championship. Bostock, who was part of the same Crystal Palace youth team as Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Moses, and who was coached as a youth player by Spurs legend Micky Hazard, made an additional four competitive first team appearances for Crystal Palace’s first team during the remainder of his time at the club. However, John Bostock made the move across London, to sign for Spurs on a permanent transfer in the May of 2008, when he signed scholarship forms with Spurs.

Bostock made his non-competitive first team debut for Spurs during his first pre-season at the club, when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Spanish side Hercules. During that first season at the club, and in the subsequent season John Bostock became a regular and important player for a very talented Spurs Under 18 side. He did however, also make appearances for the Spurs reserves as well. But once again he made history, this time at Spurs, when he came on as a substitute in a UEFA Cup game against Dinamo Zagreb, in the autumn of 2008. He became the youngest player in Spurs’ history, at 16 years and 295 days, to appear for their first team in a competitive match, when he came on in that game at White Hart Lane. Bostock would make an additional three competitive appearances during his time at the club, plus some appearances in friendly matches. He also went out on various loan moves to other clubs, during his time at Spurs.

John Bostock went out on his first loan move in 2009, when he joined Brentford. The midfielder scored two goals on his Brentford debut, in a 2-2 League One draw with Millwall. A midfielder with great ability, Bostock has always been a classy player, and one who has expressed himself on the pitch with the ball at his feet. A very technically gifted player, who has always been quick, skilful and assertive in midfield, Bostock has demonstrated his good vision for a pass and eye for goal, and also his quality left foot (he can pass the ball well off of either foot). After returning from his loan move at Brentford, John went on several more loan moves away from Spurs. Loan moves that would see him play for Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon Town and MLS side Toronto, via a trial with LA Galaxy. However, after Bostock’s contract came to an end with Spurs in the summer of 2013, five years after he made the move across London, the footballer who was still relatively early on in his career at that stage, made the decision to try a different footballing culture. He joined Belgian side Royal Antwerp in the July of 2013. 

After a season of getting a lot of minutes and a lot of games for Royal Antwerp, John Bostock made a really good impression in the second tier of Belgian football, during that 2013/14 season. The former England youth international left Royal Antwerp to join another Belgian side, in Oud-Heverlee Leuven in the summer of 2014. He spent two very fine seasons with Oud-Heverlee Leuven, scoring and providing a really good number of assists from midfield. Bostock also played a big part in helping Oud-Heverlee Leuven get promoted to the top tier of Belgian football, during his second season with the club. His influence on the team was recognised a lot by Oud-Heverlee Leuven fans and in the second tier of Belgian football itself, during his time at the club. A successful time in the French Ligue 2 followed for John, who made the move to France in 2016, to sign for RC Lens. Scoring five league goals and providing five assists for Lens during an impressive first season at Lens, John Bostock won the player of the year award for Ligue 2, during his first season playing in that league.

After leaving RC Lens in the January of 2018, the talented midfield player signed for Turkish side Bursaspor. He later moved back to France to play for Toulouse, before returning to England to sign for Championship side Nottingham Forest on loan, during the 2019/20 season. He later left Toulouse during the following 2020/21 season, and ended up signing for League One side Doncaster Rovers in the January of 2021. Bostock has so far made 32 league appearances in the time that he has been in Yorkshire. And the player who was once called up to represent Trinidad & Tobago, is currently still out after picking up an ankle injury last year. Although he should hopefully be back playing again for Doncaster, who he will be very much hoping to help avoid relegation to League Two (they are currently in 23rd place in League One). Last season I saw John Bostock play twice for Doncaster, in League One games against Ipswich Town and Portsmouth (I was watching those two games to watch Spurs loanees Troy Parrott and Harvey White). Providing an assist in the 2-1 win over Portsmouth and having a really strong game in midfield that day, Bostock also impressed in the game against Ipswich Town.

In both of those games that I watched last season I thought that the former Spurs player stood out very much on a technical level. He was always composed on the ball and used it very well. But it was that very obvious class that he has had since he first came onto the footballing scene all those years ago, which was still very much at his feet. Still only 30 years of age, John should be very proud of all that he has achieved in the game so far, and his career still has quite a long way to go. But right now he’ll be very focused and eager to return to help Doncaster Rovers avoid relegation to League Two. He may not have made a lot of appearances during his time at Spurs, but he has been very well traveled in the game and experienced different footballing cultures. The player who was thought of so highly by his old Spurs youth team teammates and also by so many others in the game, has achieved an awful lot more than most would ever dream of achieving in the game, and at 30 years of age he still has a lot more to achieve in football. I would like to wish John Bostock all the very best of luck for the remainder of the 2021/22 season with Doncaster Rovers.

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