Revealed: Issues Harambee Stars prospect must address to succeed in 3rd loan spell from Tottenham

Revealed: Issues Harambee Stars prospect must address to succeed in 3rd loan spell from Tottenham

Mark Kinyanjui 11:20 - 18.01.2024

The Kenyan right wing back signed for Tottenham in 2022 but has already been loaned out to three different clubs in less than two years.

Harambee Stars prospect Djed Spence will have to work on some key issues if he is to finally make good of the  £12.5million  (Ksh 2.5 billion) investment that Tottenham spent to bring him from Middlesbrough after a stellar 2021/2022 campaign.

That season saw him get into the Championship team of the year while on loan at Nottingham Forest, but he found gametime increasingly scarce at Spurs, so he went out on loan to Rennes in France in January 2023, before then sealing another to Leeds at the beginning of this season.

However, things did not work out there, and now he is on loan at his third club, Genoa.

Leeds United boss Daniel Farke was  careful to avoid throwing Spence under the bus, while allowing everyone listening to read between the lines on what he needs to work on

 “Obviously, it’s important — the potential and the quality of the player,” Farke said, “but also it’s professionalism, it’s discipline, it’s workload on and off the pitch and also the soft skills, also if he’s positive and committed, good for the group and engaged with these topics.

"Our demands are very, very high and we don’t differ between loan players or permanent players. We are pretty picky on this topic.”

According to The Athletic, sources with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect relationships, said Farke’s prime concern with Spence had been his in-game performance levels. 

But there were other issues too: late arrivals for certain training sessions and team meetings, the failure to appear for an off-field event, raising red flags despite the fact that, day to day, Spence was polite and friendly around the training ground.

Leeds had no replacement lined up for Spence when they decided  ahead of their FA Cup tie at Peterborough United, that Spence would return to London. 

Tottenham had not expected him back and the development took them by surprise, though Leeds explained their reasons for activating the loan’s break clause in advance, preparing Spurs for Farke’s comments about Spence at his next press conference.

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Spence has represented England at U21 Youth level but could also play for Jamaica and Kenya, as his father hails from the former country and his mother the latter.