What’s it like to always be on loan? Seven-club star Jon Obika tells FourFourTwo

Jon Obika, Tottenham

The former Tottenham trainee was farmed out to Yeovil (four times!), Millwall, Crystal Palace, Peterborough, Swindon, Charlton (twice) and Brighton over a five-year period

How did you first feel about going on loan?
My first spell was at Yeovil and I really enjoyed that. It wasn’t about picking a style of club back then; it was about experiencing men’s football and the mentality that comes with it. It was great fun. You were put in a pressurised situation and had to stand on your own two feet. I was there with Andros Townsend; the club were fighting relegation but we managed to help get them up to 17th, which was a massive buzz. 

Did that excitement wear off the older you got?
I think it became more about choosing the right loan and picking a club which suited Spurs’ style of play.

Jon Obika, Yeovil

Obika liked Huish Park so much he went back four times

What did you learn from your 11 loan spells?
You pick up things from every club you go to. I was at Charlton with Yann Kermorgant and then at Brighton with Leonardo Ulloa, and I took a lot of things away from the way they held up the ball and linked play. Those were things that I needed to improve in my own game.

Did you feel a Spurs career getting further away each time you were sent out on loan?
You always have a belief that you can play at the top level and will get a chance, perhaps in the FA Cup or Europa League. I knew I probably wasn’t going to get a run of games, but I was confident that I could make it. I just needed something to click when I got the chance.

Did those loan spells change you as a person?
If you’re at your parent club, you’re constantly monitored – but if you go out on loan there are different obstacles you have to overcome. From a personal point of view it was a challenge to leave home but you adapt; learn how to cook and do things that would otherwise be done for you. I’ve got a few signature dishes now that I’ve learned on the road – I like my salmon and rice! 

Was it an easy decision to finally leave Spurs in 2014?
I wanted to settle down so I think I was ready. I was at a point in my life where I was ready to move on, and Swindon fitted the bill.

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