Josh living his dreams!
Wed 03 February 2016, 15:44|Tottenham Hotspur
Josh Onomah says he’s fulfilling his childhood dream by playing for the club – but, after signing a new contract today (Wednesday, February 3), he insists he’s not about to rest on his laurels.
The 18-year-old Academy starlet has featured regularly in the senior matchday squad this season, making 13 appearances in all competitions since the beginning of the campaign including starts against Monaco in the Europa League and Leicester City in the FA Cup.
It’s been an encouraging emergence for the young midfielder, who made his initial first team debut in an FA Cup tie against Burnley in January, 2015, and captained our Academy side to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup last season before penning a new deal back in July.
Following his endeavours in recent months, the England Under-19 international has now been rewarded with a fresh new contract which will run until 2020 – and, while he says he’s over the moon with the progress he’s been making under Mauricio Pochettino, he’s underlined how the hard work for him is only just beginning.
“It’s a dream come true really – since I was young, my dream was to play for Tottenham and now that I’m doing that, it just seems surreal really,” he said.
“(This contract) shows that if you work hard you’ll get your rewards. The gaffer has put me in tough games, he’s trusted me and he’s given me minutes so I thank him for that, I thank the fans for their support and I thank everyone close around me that’s given me the support that I need to do what I’m doing right now.
“I’ve just got to keep my head down now and carry on working.”
Below: Spurs TV exclusive - Josh speaks on his new contract...
How do you think the season has been going for you on a personal level?
Since I signed my contract in July it’s been going up and up. Obviously I’m still young and I’m still learning so I’ve just got to keep going and keep improving. That’s my main goal.
Do you feel that you’re earning the trust of Mauricio Pochettino with your performances?
Yes, definitely. Towards the start of the season I wasn’t playing, I was just working hard, but he spoke to me, he gave me confidence and recently I’ve been playing a lot of games and getting a few minutes here and there, so it’s been good really. Trust is the most important thing and that’s what’s going on at the moment.
What’s been the turning point for you in terms of your progress in recent months?
I’d probably say when I made my first appearance this season against Anderlecht away. Ever since then I’ve just been going up and up so hopefully this season I’ll make my first start in the Premier League – that’s my next goal really. I’ve just got to keep going, working hard and hopefully that chance will come.
What’s been your favourite moment of the season so far?
Definitely my Premier League debut against Aston Villa. The fans were amazing from the moment I stepped onto the pitch. We were winning 2-1 and when I came on, we scored another goal so that made it even better.
Everyone says there’s a great atmosphere among the players – have you noticed that?
Yes, definitely. Everyone seems together, joking around with each other and we recently went to Barcelona where it was a chilled environment with good vibes. Everyone enjoyed each other’s company, so it’s brought us all really close.
How helpful is it to your development to be in and around the first team?
Very, very beneficial. I’m learning off all the players, people like Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris – all experienced players. It’s good for me that I can learn from them and ask them for help and they’re good to me as well, good to all the youngsters, so there are all good vibes.
How important is it to be able to play different roles in midfield?
It’s very important to be versatile. The gaffer has played me further up the pitch because he knows that I can run at people, drive at people and work hard. It’s no different to me – I can play in defensive midfield or attacking midfield, as long as I’m playing. That’s the most important thing really.
Have you learned from some of the more senior midfield players at the club?
Yes. Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier – they’ve all been good to me and I’m learning bits and bobs from everyone really. Also Dele Alli – he’s doing amazingly. He’s only a year older than me and look at the stuff he’s achieved! I’m learning from him as well.
Are you quite close to Dele then?
Definitely. On and off the pitch myself and Dele are quite close. We joke around, we laugh and we’re good to each other. Learning from him is important for me because he’s played for England’s senior team and is playing for Tottenham’s first team week in, week out.
Have you set yourself any targets for the remainder of the season?
My targets are to carry on being in and around the first team, to try to get that first start in the Premier League and, in the cup competitions, to just carry on making an impact and doing well.