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

Jon Obika, Tottenham

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.

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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