Tosin Adarabioyo reveals reason for Fulham’s decision, admits he’s being watched by Manchester City as he seeks career
It is not easy to come out of an English academy no matter how talented you are. Most boys can’t do it.
So when someone does, pride is involved. This is what made Tosin Adarabioyo’s cell phone vibrate one morning this week.
“I got a text from one of the Manchester City staff this morning saying I was doing really well, and it was really nice to receive,” I know they are all watching.
The 23-year-old, who prefers to wear his first name as it appears on the back of his shirt, spent 18 years on City’s books but had to leave to make a name for himself in the Premier League.
Tosin now plays the role of center-back in Scott Parker’s Fulham squad as they struggle to resist the pull of gravity and stay in the Premier League. Last Sunday, Fulham beat Liverpool at Anfield. Saturday night is City at home.
Without a doubt, defensive resilience has been at the heart of Fulham’s improvement. Tosin’s partnership with Dane Joachim Andersen has helped their side set up a run that sees only City showing better defensive records in the last 14 games.
When asked if it was emotionally difficult to sever ties with his hometown club last September, Tosin replied, “No, surprisingly.
Well I guess some people would say it’s surprising. But I was really good with it. Ultimately my goal is to be a top player. This was never going to happen to City, so I knew I had to get out of there.
“It wasn’t the same club I grew up in. Much of the staff had left so it was an easy decision. I felt very comfortable making the decision and coming here and it works. I love it in Fulham. ‘
Tosin’s progress from a young Coltish footballer to a defender strong and astute enough to play in the Premier League has been helped by league loans. First it was West Bromwich Albion, then Blackburn Rovers.
Mentally, the football played in the streets and parks near his south Manchester home as a child didn’t hurt him either. Tosin is the youngest of three brothers and all of them were talented players.
“I was playing with my brothers’ pals, bigger and better boys, so they weren’t going to pass me, were they?” ” he smiles. “You have to go get the ball for yourself. So I learned to tackle.
Unlike many top defenders, Tosin has always wanted to play at the back. Taken over by City playing for their club Chorlton Sports at a very young age, he was sped up in their age group setup after just one practice session.
“All I really remember are the spotlight,” he recalls. “Before that, most of my football had been played on the streets outside our first home in Whalley Range or in the park. We just used to climb over the fence.
The staff of Tosin’s time in City remember a humble and pleasant child with tremendous talent. By the age of 14, he was already well over six feet tall. The only little mystery is why City manager Pep Guardiola has finally decided he doesn’t need him.
Last January, as City battled for defenders and forced to play midfielder Fernandinho at the back, Guardiola could have reminded Tosin of his loan spell at Blackburn, but chose not to. It was then that the player realized that it was time to look for a different path.
At the start of last season, my goal was to perform as well as possible to potentially come back to City, ”says Tosin. “But from January to the end of the season, I was playing just for myself and getting to the level I needed and wanted to achieve. Despite the fact that City didn’t want to call me back at the time, I thought it was Pep’s choice and that’s good. We haven’t talked about it but it’s not a problem either.
‘Joleon Lescott [City’s loan manager] was in regular contact and his advice was always good and appreciated. He also helped me with my acting. But I knew I had to find a new place where I could go and perform. That’s what I did.’
The Anfield outside locker room last Sunday was a rare place. Large enough to accommodate all of Fulham’s players in these days of social distancing, it was a scene of celebration. Fulham looked adrift earlier this season, but now they’re anything but. They have lost just one of their last seven league games, winning three.
“I thought our confidence was at its peak before the Liverpool game, but it has increased even more now,” he said. “We’re very confident after that. We have all been very positive throughout. We know that things can change. It is never fair to put things aside because anything can change in two or three games.
Fulham manager Parker discovered Tosin while working as a youth coach at Tottenham. He calls him “an adorable footballer”.
Certainly Tosin would like to be known for more than just nuts and bolts of defense.