Neil Warnock’s vague prediction about Spence appears to have been answered after a U21 debut in England as the right-back is targeted by a host of Premier League clubs
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Middlesbrough’s right-back is impressive loan to Nottingham Forest this season and has received rave reviewsincluding German giants FC Bayern Munich scouts him regularly. Spence, 21, is under contract at Middlesbrough until 2024 and the Teesside club have made Isiah Jones their first-choice right-back and one of their player of the season.
That has Spence weighing his many options that will likely result in a move to the top flight. Spence’s rise comes a year after his wish was questioned by former Boro boss Neil Warnock – and the episode Spence is determined to prove unfounded. At the time, Warnock said: “He could be playing at a top club in England or in a non-league in five years, I don’t know. There aren’t many players that you can say that how far they go is up to them personally – it’s what’s between their ears. Commitment, dedication, all these things are part of it. He has the tools, there’s no doubt about that.”
Spence made his U21 debut for England against Albania on Tuesday night and described the nomination as an honor and “a huge step forward” in his career. And after saying: “I always want to push myself and play with the best players and the best team. Of course it’s an ambition of mine to play there First League. I try to stay calm. I don’t read into it too much. At the end of the day, I’m just here to enjoy my football. I have to stay focused, have tunnel vision and play well on the pitch.”
Spence admits he nearly got fired several times on his journey to champion promotion with Forest. He said: “It was difficult. But I never worry, really. I know my abilities, I know what I’m capable of. I have a good family behind me that drives me and looks after me. I just have to keep going, and opportunities will always come. So I have to be ready to take her with me.”
He was plucked from the Fulham Academy of Boro in 2018 and now they appear to be turning a healthy profit this summer and helping fund Chris Wilder’s rebuild. Bayern Munich are following German rivals led by the search for young English talent but are understood to see him as a backup right-back at the moment. Spence has the racy sporting talent that is also interested in a top club with Manchester United.
His development was rapid under Forest boss and former England U17 coach Steve Cooper, and Spence said of him: “He says, ‘Just believe in yourself. Take to the streets with the right mindset to play. Do the right things first and then your talent takes over.” That’s the most important thing I’ve learned, just doing things right. Your talent will do the rest. It’s been a good season. The new coach did well with the group of players and we all believed in what he came for. It runs fine.”
Arsenal legend Ian Wright praised Spence during Forests FA Cup running after they played against Arsenal, and the youngster said: “Coming from a player like Ian it means a lot to him to say that. I just want to keep improving and show everyone on the pitch what I can do.”
Under-21 coach Lee Carsley was also impressed by Spence and gave his verdict after the 3-0 win in Albania on Tuesday night. Carsley said: “Djed is a player I visit often. I go and watch other players play Forest and Djed often catches my eye. In the season he’s playing at Forest it’s really important that he continues to do well and push himself. We’re really blessed with a lot of good right-backs in this position.
“I’m impressed with Djed on and off the pitch. He’s a nice kid, really good to talk to. Coops is obviously doing a good job with him at Forest. He’s another one we’ve now bled and capped. I wouldn’t think twice about screwing him.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/djed-spence-transfer-manutd-arsenal-26590612 Djed Spence confirms Premier League plan as Man Utd, Arsenal and Tottenham eye transfer