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Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo has two clear aims

last updated Friday 26th February 2021, 2:43 PM


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Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo has two clear aims: keeping Fulham in the Premier League and forcing his way into the England squad for this summer’s European Championships.

Not so long ago either would have appeared fanciful. Now Fulham are just three points behind 17th place Newcastle United and such has been Tosin’s contribution at the heart of their defence that international recognition is entirely possible for a player who last represented England at Under-19 level.

“We know it’s the Euros this summer so hopefully if I keep on doing well, who knows, I could be looking to push myself into that squad,” Tosin says. “Obviously there are a lot of good players to choose from but if I do what I can do best there is a chance.”

There is certainly now a chance for Fulham - who face Crystal Palace away on Sunday - after it appeared they were one of three relegation certainties having lost seven of their first nine league games. Tosin arrived in the middle of that poor run and since then has formed an impressive partnership with on-loan Joachim Andersen. Remarkably, over the past 14 games, only Manchester City have a better defensive record in the Premier League. Fulham have only conceded 11 goals and lost one of their last seven and there is a sense of gathering momentum.

“It’s an amazing achievement. The start of the season was not great so it is catch-up, a lot of catch-up. But now we have reached a point where we know what we are about and what we can do,” Tosin explains. “We are getting some good results and some more respect in the league. Teams are starting to be wary of us and know what we are capable of. I definitely don’t think we are a team that deserves to go down. We are a top team and we will keep fighting. There are a lot of games still to play.”

Belief is high. Tosin, certainly, has never lacked it which is why he took the decision to leave Manchester City – having been at the club since the age of five – and back himself to prosper with a permanent move to newly-promoted Fulham. With a year left on his contract and having turned down a new deal, City had little option but to let him go and the £2million Fulham paid on transfer deadline day last October, with a 20 per cent sell-on clause, looks like one of the transfer coups of the season.

“I was fine with it, to be honest,” Tosin says of finally leaving City before adding, perhaps pointedly: “It wasn’t the same club that I grew up in. A lot of things changed, obviously, so it was an easy decision for me especially knowing that I needed to get out there and play football. It wasn’t the right club for me anymore and it was time for me to get a move to a Premier League team, to Fulham, and get some experience in this league.”

Were the signings by City of two more expensive centre-halves during the summer transfer window – in Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake – the final straw? “Knowing that I needed to go out and play Premier League football consistently was the only thought in my head. That’s what I needed,” Tosin responds.

Fulham manager Scott Parker and first-team coach Matt Wells had tracked the 6ft 5in, 23-year-old for some time – going back the days when the pair coached the Under 18s at Tottenham Hotspur – and their long-held interest was key.

“Being a Premier League defender is what I aspired to be and being a top one at that,” Tosin says. “I just need to continue to show my qualities. I felt like Fulham was the right opportunity for me to go out and play and show everyone.

“Knowing Matt Wells and Scott Parker from playing against Spurs sides’ when I was younger helped. We spoke quite often after the games and they would say ‘well done, you’re a good player’ and stuff like that. That’s how I got to know them and especially Wellsy. We kept in contact over the years. He has watched my games, he has given me some good advice even when he has not been on the coaching staff at the clubs I have been at. So having that support there was a big factor.”

There is also something of a ‘band of brothers’ feel to Fulham with Tosin already knowing a lot of the players. “Friendly guys,” he says, “guys I have known a long time from playing academy football. There is Josh Onomah, Ademola Lookman, Ola Aina, Ruben Loftus-Cheek; I played against Antonee Robinson. So quite a few.”

Another vital addition has been Josh Maja who has suddenly added a much-needed goal threat, scoring twice on his debut on loan from Bordeaux in the way away to Everton. “We need to score more goals,” Tosin says. “It feels like it is starting to come. It’s just margins – sometimes the last pass, the shot, the header, just that last piece of quality that we need.”

Those fine margins are also something he works on – especially when it comes to studying the opposition with requests to the Fulham analysts for his own bespoke ‘clips’ packages. “Pre-match I look at the strikers to see who I am up against,” Tosin explains. “But, to be honest, I look at pretty much every player who might be in the starting XI, see the way they play, see the passes they might make, the errors they could make. The analyst knows what I want.”

After loan spells in the Championship at West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers before he left City, where he made five appearances but none in the Premier League, Tosin is desperate to remain in the top-flight and firmly believes Parker will keep Fulham there. “It helps that he was a top Premier League player. He knows exactly what is required,” he says.

As for his own ambition, where does Tosin, an avid reader whose favourite book is entitled ‘Ego is the Enemy’ which explores the importance of conquering one’s own ego, see himself in five years time? He puffs out his cheeks before answering: “At a top club. Could be in England or Europe and hopefully winning as many trophies as possible. But that’s not for now. I am just focusing on survival, on avoiding relegation and we have full confidence that we will remain in this league. We have so much quality and so much fight to push on and get the results that we need. I think we are going to go on a mad run and stay safe.”





















Source Jack Rosser at Standard
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