Meet Djed Spence, Arsenal transfer target who is friends with Emile Smith Rowe and tear it up for Nottingham Forest

DJED SPENCE excelled against Arsenal in the FA Cup, so much so that he not only earned praise from Ian Wright but became a target for the Gunners.

And he was present again in the fourth round win over Leicester, beating the fourth team in a secret strike from right-back.

Smith-Rowe (second left) and Spence (second right) were grown-up teammates


Smith-Rowe (second left) and Spence (second right) were grown-up teammates

If Spence, 21, were to move to Emirates, he would link up with his former young team-mate Emile Smith Rowe.

The couple played for Junior Elite in south London who also produced Manchester United right behind Aaron Wan-Bissaka – like children.

However, despite his great performance in Nottingham Forest’s Win 1-0 Mikel Arteta The men within the previous three months shot him to stand out, Spence’s journey into professional football was not easy.

In fact, the Croydonian was almost eliminated multiple times due to being questioned about his technical abilities, only to be awarded another shot for his diligence and desire.

Colin Omogbehin runs Junior Elite and vividly remembers the talented under-10 team Spence played with with Smith Rowe and Manchester United youngster Di’Shon Bernard, who is currently on loan at Manchester United. Hull.

Omogbehin was the one who finally brought 12-year-old Spence in Fulhamwhere he worked in the academy and is currently the Cottagers general head coach for the Under23s team.

The master developer told SunSport: “I wouldn’t say he’s close to the best but he has an unbelievable desire to be part of the best and he’s worked hard at it. only.

“A lot of players in that group like Emile, Di’Shon and one or two others didn’t make the list but were really good players, they ended up being recruited and moved to clubs before Djed. .

“He was the last of that group of players to move to a professional club, Fulham, with me.

“There are always doubts. He hasn’t found it easy in years.

“He’s always been one of those guys they weren’t sure would go on. But he always finds a way to do well enough to stay in the system. “

Spence benefits from a strong support network with his mother Aisha playing a key role in fostering the youngest of her four children.

Aisha, who also has three girls, including Karla-Simone who is an actress, will help do the laundry for Junior Elite while her stepfather Martin used to run the line.

Omogbehin recalls: “She was the one who told him he needed to start working even harder.

Spence joined Fulham Academy at the age of 12


Spence joined Fulham Academy at the age of 12

“She would take him out, do additional things with him and push him and push him and eventually he would get into the A team when he was not the most skillful player.

“He has great fitness and technically we made him better in the end and now he is ready. But he is not as natural as Emile. He really worked hard in his game. ”

In bringing him to Fulham, Omogbehin helped Spence transform himself from a winger to a full-back as he felt it better suited his game.

Slowly but surely the youngster developed his technical abilities, which is an inspiring example for any footballer who wants to know how hard work can take you far. to what extent.

Omogbehin added: “He has all the tools, and that’s what we were looking for. He is very healthy and has desire.

“Once you have those qualities, then the technical stuff, as long as you get them at a good age, you can teach them the rest. You have to saturate them with balls.

“By the time he got to Fulham, it was starting to show up around 13, 14, 15.

“But he was always the person in his reviews who said, ‘You need to do better, you need to do better’. But I’ve seen a kid whose back is against the wall, he actually steps up.”

Spence impressed for Nottingham Forest against Arsenal earlier this month


Spence impressed for Nottingham Forest against Arsenal earlier this monthCredit: Alamy Live News

Even at the Under-16 level, Spence was one of the last on his team to receive a scholarship.

He’s part of a talent pool of that age at Fulham that includes twins Sessegnon, Ryan and Steven, as well as Matt O’Riley, who joined this month Celtic from MK Dons.

However, the Cottagers have decided not to keep him, a decision they may now be counting on in rupees, after he stood out on loan at Forest since Middlesbrough this term.

After Arsenal’s FA Cup win, the Gunners legend OK It was one of the best performances from a right-back I’ve seen in a very long time. A very long time.

“If we’re talking about defenders who have to function at an unbelievable level, we’re talking Reece James and Trent (Alexander-Arnold).

“But I haven’t seen such a mixed, technical and engaging performance in a long time.

“Then I told him, ‘whatever’s going on, whatever you’re doing, the level you’ve just shown us here is the level you have to keep reaching, Djed. ”

It’s not just Wrighty who takes notice.

Arsenal are viewing him as a possible replacement for Hector Bellerin this summer, while the Italian giants Rome and Inter Milan is said to be monitoring developments.

Tottenham are said to have been turned down two offers on the deadline date.


He got another chance to show everyone what he can do when he hosts Forest Leicester in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

However, it seems only a matter of time before Spence rises to the top – something not many of his youth coaches could have predicted.

But, as Omogbehin put it: “In terms of coping with adversity, this boy has proven time and time again from an early age that he can deal with it and that he is ready to fight.” Meet Djed Spence, Arsenal transfer target who is friends with Emile Smith Rowe and tear it up for Nottingham Forest


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