Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Jose Mourinho’s shock Djed Spence touching gesture might have played part in Tottenham move

Jose Mourinho’s shock Djed Spence touching gesture might have played part in Tottenham move

Jose Mourinho once asked for Djed Spence’s shirt before a game, which may have convinced Tottenham to sign the talented winger. 

The 21-year-old played for Middlesbrough against Mourinho’s Spurs in the FA Cup in January 2020, and the now-Roma manager made a touching gesture before the game.

Spence had only recently broken into the Middlesbrough squad when they travelled to Premier League Tottenham for the match.

 But the England Under-21 defender already knew Mourinho because he had previously played in Fulham’s youth system with the Portuguese’ son.

As the two teams walked onto the pitch to warm up before the game, which Spurs won 2-1, Mourinho made sure to get Spence’s shirt.

Spence, on the other hand, performed admirably, and it is likely that this is the first time he has caught the attention of the North Londoners, who have paid an initial £12.5 million to secure his signature.

“I was standing in the tunnel waiting to go out for the warm-up and he tapped me. He said ‘hey kid’ and it took me by surprise. Then he said ‘my son wants your shirt.’ I was trying to act professional but I was like ‘what is going on?’ It was a crazy feeling,” Spence reflected to The Athletic about being approached by Mourinho. 

“I know his son. Before the game he asked for my top to give to his son. He told me after the game that I was doing really well and to keep it up.

“It was a humbling experience in a great stadium. It felt like playing in the Champions League when I walked out and the lights were flashing. Knowing my family was there watching me, my mum, my dad and my uncle to watch it and being there.

“Some of these players are Champions League finalists so it was a great experience playing against some great players and especially against Ryan [Sessegnon] who I played with at Fulham.”

Spence, whose mother is a Spurs fan, added: “You can’t say no to Mourinho!” Antonio Conte made the attacking full-back a top target in a bid to upgrade on Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal at wing-back.

Spence rose to prominence at Nottingham Forest last season, despite his good performance for Boro against Spurs. 

Then-Boro manager Neil Warnock was sceptical of Spence’s ability and loaned him out, only for the south Londoner to become the Championship’s best right-back at Forest. In all competitions, he scored three goals and assisted on five others.

Spurs and Conte’s busy summer transfer window will be extended with the signing of Spence. Thrilled to have qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 2020. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has welcomed Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, and Clement Lenglet.

Jose Mourinho’s shock Djed Spence touching gesture might have played part in Tottenham move

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