Feature

Jordi Osei-Tutu

In Young Guns, featured first in the official matchday programme, we find out about the next generation of Arsenal youngsters, in their own words.

This time we spoke to defender Jordi Osei-Tutu:

This last year or so has gone really well for me and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to keep improving and stay injury free. We have suffered a lot of injuries to the right backs in the first team and it is an unlucky spell. It’s been suggested that full backs can be vulnerable to injuries because of the physical demands. It’s a job that needs you to get up and down the line, often having to burst into sprints both when attacking and defending. Being in defence the role inevitably involves physical challenges and I suppose it all adds up.

For all its physical demands and the mental element too, it’s the position I enjoy the most and it’s definitely the role in which I feel most comfortable. To make myself the best right back I can be, I’ve worked a lot on my heading in the last year, oneon-onesand passing and I feel I have improved and that has given me more confidence which has helped my improvement.

I have been involved with the under-19s UEFA Youth League and was in Basel thisweek, which was a great experience. Being together helps us become stronger as a team but also gives us time to really prepare and analyse the opposition and develop our tactical approach. Also we travel with the first team and being around them you see how they prepare, how they stay focused but relaxed at the same time.I play regularly for the under-18s but I’m working hard to step up and become a regular starter with the under-23s before the end of the season.

That will help me continue to improve because it is even more physical and faster and you play against more experienced players. 

I also hope to train with the first team more as the season progresses. I have ‘gone up’ five times now and I feel better for it. It’s a glimpse of where we have to be and I enjoy being involved. When I play in training games I tend to have Alex Iwobi up against me. He is unusual in his style and while I have played with and trained with Alex a lot when he was on his rise to the first team, he has improved tremendously over the last year.

My pace is normally enough to help me deal with speedy wingers, but with Alex you have to have a different approach. He has fantastic close control and is clever in the way he exploits any mistake and so you have to be concentrated, stay on your feet, slow him down and block off all avenues. It’s a very helpful learning process.

I’ve not played against Sanchez yet which would be a different challenge. He is on fire and his performance against West Ham made me feel a bit sorry for their defenders!

THE LOWDOWN

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?My dad. 

What's the best aspect of your game?Pace and strength.

And what do you still need to work on?Crossing.

Which team did you support as a boy?Arsenal.

Who did you pretend to be in the playground?Ronaldinho.

Which current player would you most like to play against?Lionel Messi.

If you could score any goal from history, which one would it be?Zidane's volley in the UCL final.

What's been the greatest moment in your careeer so far?Signing pro for Arsenal.

If you had to sing one song to save your life, what would you sing?Mario - Let Me Love You

What other sports are you good at?Tennis.  

TEAM-MATES

Best sense of humour?Eddie Nketiah.

Best engine?Chiori Johnson. 

Best turn of pace?Nathan Tella. 

Best with the ladies?Joe Willock.

Worst at FIFA?Reiss Nelson.

Worst ball skills?Tolaji Bola. 

Worst dressed?Kostas Pileas.

Worst taste in music?Tolaji again!

Worst dancer?Another for Reiss!