On Wednesday afternoon, Tottenham Hotspur’s 18-year-old wonder-kid Joshua Onomah put pen-to-paper on a new contract which keeps him at the club until 2020.
The highly-rated midfielder signed a new deal only last summer, but Spurs have improved and lengthened it to 2020 to ward off interest from clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
He has already featured a number of times this season for the first team, and, at such a young age, this shows the amount of faith Mauricio Pochettino has in him.
Can he follow in the footsteps of Harry Kane or Dele Alli? Shoot takes a look at the youngster…
Tottenham through and through
Josh Onomah was born and brought up in Enfield, and has supported Tottenham throughout his whole life. From a very young age he played for a local club called Omonia Youth, which was just a stone’s throw away from Spurs’ training ground. At just nine years of age, he was picked up by scouts from the club after impressing in a school tournament.
The midfielder has been developed through the Tottenham academy, which is spoken very highly of, and was first called up for the first team squad on January 5, 2015, remaining as an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw away to Burnley in the third round of the FA Cup.
Onomah has represented England from under-16 level up until under-19 level, and was part of the Young Three Lions’ side that won the European Under-17 Championships in May 2014. Overall, the youngster has been capped 29 times at youth level for England, scoring three times.
Breaking into the Tottenham first team
Onomah made his first team debut nine days after being called up for the FA Cup encounter with Burnley in the replay, coming on for the last 15 minutes of a 4-2 victory at White Hart Lane. On May 24, 2015, his name was first included in a Premier League match-day squad, although he once again remained unused as his team overcame Everton on the last day of the season.
There has certainly not been a lack of first team opportunities for Onomah this season; he has made 13 appearances so far, including six in the Premier League. He experienced top-flight football for the first time in a 3-1 home victory over Aston Villa on November 2, 2015, replacing Dele Alli for the final moments. On December 10, he made his first start for Tottenham, playing the full 90 minutes at White Hart Lane in a 4-1 victory over AS Monaco in the Europa League.
Why is he so effective?
Onomah is highly versatile, and can make a difference both defensively and offensively. He is more than capable of playing in both defensive or attacking midfield, as well as on the wing.
His stand out attributes are his balance, pace, dribbling and strength. He is strong in possession and makes it hard for opponents to get the ball off of him – the way he dribbles naturally and powerfully into gaps and drives at the opposition defence has earned him comparisons to Juventus powerhouse, Paul Pogba.
The 18-year-old also has good vision and movement; his passing from deep to play team-mates in is exceptional, and he effectively links the midfield to the attack.
Finally, there is never a shortage of work-rate from the young star. He works his socks off from start to finish, and always seems to pop up in dangerous positions from where he can influence the game, whether it be on the right, on the left, or in the centre.
What does the future behold for Onomah?
If Onomah can continue to impress in training and matches, his playing time will gradually increase and, with a bit of luck for the youngster, and perhaps an injury or two, he could easily stake a claim for Premier League starts as we near the back end of this top-flight campaign.
After seeing the likes of Dele Alli take his chance, consolidate a permanent spot in the Tottenham midfield, and subsequently earn a place in the England set up, there is no reason why Onomah can’t go knocking on Roy Hodgson’s door in the not too distant future.