Djed Spence says joining Tottenham fulfils his dream of becoming a Premier League player and now he cannot wait to learn from some of his star Spurs teammates.
The wing-back joined Tottenham from Middlesbrough for a fee in the region of £20million including add-ons on Tuesday, signing a five-year contract.
Spence, 21, became the sixth arrival of the transfer window for Spurs, joining Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison and Barcelona loanee Clement Lenglet.
Spence said to the Spurs website after his move was completed:
“It’s a dream come true to play in the Premier League at a big club like Tottenham Hotspur.
“It’s amazing, I’m thankful that I’m here and that I’m going to get the opportunity to play for this club.
“Of course, everyone wants to play in the Premier League. As a kid, you watch it from when you’re young, so it was a target of mine and I’ve finally reached it, so I’m happy.
“Obviously this is a big club with Champions League football as well, and you’ve got some of the best players who play here, so it’s a privilege to be here and I can’t wait to get going.
“[This environment] seems very good and it will help me develop as a player a lot. I can obviously learn from other people and the experience that they have.
“From a young age, to go from watching some of the players on TV to now playing with them – it’s going to be great, and I’m excited to learn from them and take in anything they can offer me.
“In the Premier League you have high-intensity, good technical players – it will be hard, but I’m ready for the challenge. I’m excited to hit the ground running, hopefully play and try to impress.
“We have a great manager too – from what I’ve seen of him, he’s a top manager and I can’t wait to work under him.”
Spence fell out of favour at Middlesbrough and was subsequently sent on loan to Nottingham Forest, where he made 42 Championship appearances in the 2021-22 season.
The England Under-21 international impressed as Forest earned Premier League promotion to return to the highest level for the first time in 23 years, and also shone in the FA Cup against top-flight opposition.
Spence was a threat at both ends of the pitch, scoring two goals and assisting four, and will likely suit Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 system as a right wing-back, competing with the likes of Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal for a place in the side.
“It’s been a long journey in my career so far; it’s been hard at times, but it’s been good as well, and I’ve been working hard to get to where I am now.
“I try to bring excitement, skill and speed when I play – I just want to excite the fans and to play well. That’s the most important thing – when you excite your team and your fans and play well, it breeds confidence, and confidence is one of the biggest things in football.”
Forest were reportedly interested in signing Spence on a permanent deal, but the lure of Champions League football helped secure the defender for Conte’s side.
Spence will hope to play with freedom down the right side for Conte, having attempted (187) and completed (76) the most dribbles among Championship defenders last season.
Asked what he thought when he hears the words Tottenham Hotspur, Spence replied: “Attacking football, exciting football and obviously with the new manager coming in, a winning mentality.”
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