Italy prodigy Udogie is hitting the right note at Tottenham after a great start – and the Azzurri’s call-up may not be far away

DESTINY UDOGIE was born in Verona, the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – and it’s fair to say Spurs fans have already fallen in love with the left-back.

The 20-year-old Italian, the son of Nigerian parents, was signed by Udinese for £15m last summer.

A young Destiny-Udogie in Hellas Verona. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from


A young Destiny-Udogie in Hellas Verona. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from

But with Antonio Conte already having Ivan Perisic and Ryan Sessegnon on the left, it was thought best that the prodigy return to the club that had sent him on a season-long loan.

Now he is thriving in the Premier League, not in the position the club originally signed him for as a full-back under Conte, but as an inverted full-back in Ange Postecoglou’s attack-oriented 4-3-3 system.

The fans were extremely impressed by the composure and talent on the ball of the quick Udogie, who at times acted as an auxiliary field player, as well as his defensive discipline.

Udogie has been a revelation so far this season


Udogie has been a revelation so far this season

He has already received two assists in the top flight and at this young age his potential is huge.

But with the focus primarily on new coach Postecoglou and James Maddison and Yves Bissouma stealing the spotlight, Udogie’s quick impact may have gone under the radar for fans outside the club.

The defender’s last name is pronounced “ooh-doggy” and his Nigerian first name, Iyenoma, means “good news.”

His father Franklin was a driving force in his career and never missed a home game against his son in Italy, even on a Sunday when Udogie Snr. went to church.

But it was actually his mother Kate who first encouraged his passion for the game, after noting, as Udogie himself told SunSport in Perth in July this year, that “as a baby I kicked everything I saw in the house” .

When Kate took her older brother Uwa to soccer training, she convinced the coach to let the tearful Destiny play too.

Kate told “Destiny couldn’t stop crying. He wanted to be with Uwa. So I asked the trainer to let them train together. He was four years old, Uwa was five. That’s how it all started.”

Destiny quickly impressed while playing for local club Nogara. A spectator from affiliated club Atalanta couldn’t believe the youngster was actually six years old based on his playing style and, according to Franklin, wanted to check his documents just to be sure!

Nonetheless, it was “try, try, try again” for Udogie when it came to joining hometown club Hellas Verona, who rejected him twice after legal proceedings.

Apparently it was only thanks to the father of an older teammate, who played on Destiny’s brother’s team and who alerted Hellas to the future Spurs star’s talents, that he eventually joined the Venetian team.

Udogie starred at Verona before moving to Udinese in 2021, initially on loan and then permanently.

His fantastic season with the Bianconeri, in which he scored five Serie A goals, alerted Spurs and Inter Milan, but the former won his signing.

A young Udogie with his family. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from


A young Udogie with his family. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from

He went back to Udinese for the season, where he didn’t quite achieve the same success, putting in excellent performances against the big teams like AC Milan and Napoli, but less well against the smaller teams, as the team won between October and March.

There was also a car accident incident where Udogie lost control of his Mercedes around 3 a.m. and crashed into the front of a bar, destroying twelve chairs, three tables, two umbrellas, five large plant holders and about ten plants.

The owner described the damage as if “a bomb had exploded.” Udogie apologized and was fined.

Udogie kicked the ball around from a young age. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from


Udogie kicked the ball around from a young age. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from

Udogie, who idolized Real Madrid legend Marcelo as a child, has certainly put last season’s dip in form behind him at Spurs, where he hit the ground running.

He has integrated himself excellently into the Postecoglou team – and that also applies off the pitch.

Udogie is particularly close to fellow Italian and new signing Guglielmo Vicario, who has described the left-back as his “little brother”.

The big tennis and basketball fan also gets along with almost everyone in the squad, which is mainly due to his relaxed manner and seemingly unimpressed character.

That last quality has certainly helped him produce some mature performances in the few games he has played so far, as has the fact that he will have 80 senior games under his belt when he takes on Sheffield United at home on Saturday .

Udogie in action as a teenager. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from


Udogie in action as a teenager. Photo credit: Andrea Molinari from

Postecoglou already seems to trust him – the Australian is a firm believer that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough – and was happy with Udogie’s punctuality.

The Spurs boss said: “He was great.”

“I think of Destiny, Micky (Van de Ven) and Pape Sarr, these 20-year-olds, 21-year-olds, and I tell them: ‘You will not be judged by your achievements in these early years.’ Play, not by me, so just go out and play.

“I think they accepted that. They enjoyed that freedom and the belief that nothing would happen out there that would tell me they would never be players at this football club because I put them out there.

“But for them it’s not easy to just put them in the Premier League. It wasn’t just one that I included, but three or four.

“As a coaching staff we talked about how it could have been easier to be safer when selecting the first team. Absolutely.

“But we had to change and challenge things. Guys like Destiny and Mickey and those players who didn’t just go in and get a foothold, they went in and tried to crush it. This is what I want.”

However, there is still some surprise within the club at how well Udogie has been accepted in the Premier League, as most foreign signings, particularly young ones, need time to settle in.

His top form is expected to decline somewhat as the performances of most young players fluctuate.

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But the way he’s going, it seems that a first call-up to the Italian senior national team won’t be far away.

In fact, reports from his home country suggest that Azzurri boss Luciano Spalletti sees Udogie as one of a few starlets he could bring into the fold next month.


ClareFora is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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