Aston Villa came incredibly close to returning to the Premier League. Last Saturday they fell 1-0 to Fulham at Wembley and thus missed out on a return to the top flight of English football.
Steve Bruce turned to his bench as his side pushed for an equalizer late in the game. With 15 minutes to go he brought on Spurs’ loanee Josh Onomah. Onomah wasn’t able to help his temporary side find a goal, but he did make a noticeably positive impact on the match.
It was Onomah’s last game at Villa before he returns to Tottenham this summer. His performance on loan has garnered mixed reviews, and thus his future at Spurs is up in the air, but Onomah seemed confident in his improvement as a player when he recently sat down with Football London.
“The experience here has been excellent. I’ve learned a lot. There’s been a few ups and downs and I’ve just got to get my head around this result and come back for pre-season and start again.”
“I would say it’s mainly been a maturity thing and the physical side of things that I’ve added to my game. The Championship is a physical league and it’s all about playing men’s football. I think I’ve learned that side of my game and I want to thank Steve Bruce for helping me. He’s helped me on and off the pitch, he tells me where I’ve gone wrong and where I need to improve. That’s what you need from a manager. He’s an experienced man, as a manager and a player. For him to give me information you know what he’s saying and you just have to take it on board, just learn from him as much as possible.”
That’s a lot of praise from Onomah for Bruce, who does have a decent track record of developing players, especially at the Championship level.
When Onomah did play he was primarily deployed as an attacking central midfielder. At times he coped well with the physical style of the Championship, and at times he looked out of his depth and struggled to break into the team.
Mauricio Pochettino also has a reputation for developing players, but Onomah hasn’t improved like other young players at Spurs have in recent years. Less confident youngsters in a similar position might be doubting their ability to succeed at a big club like Spurs, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for Onomah. He is hungry for the new season in North London.
“I just want to get back to Spurs and make the most of my time there and see if I can break through. I need to take it step by step. I’m looking forward to the new stadium as well. It should be good. It’s exciting times.”
”They’ve done well securing that top four spot and playing in the Champions League. From the start of every season, we look to win trophies and hopefully we can do that next season.”
Onomah’s attitude is commendable, and his return to Spurs may be coming at just the right moment due to some uncertainty in their midfield.
Harry Winks has just had another surgery on his ankle after missing a lot of this past season, Victor Wanyama has also struggled with injuries, Mousa Dembele is rumored to be on the move to another club, and Moussa Sissoko is just not very good. It’s unclear if Onomah has what it takes to succeed at Tottenham’s level, but it seems likely that he’ll at least be given a chance to impress in preseason.
He has been around Spurs for a while, but he only turned 21 in April. Onomah still has plenty of room to grow, but he’ll have to do a good bit of growing if he wants to establish himself in Pochettino’s squad for the coming season.