I played against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in the FA Cup… what he asked from me after the game left me shocked

TOTTENHAM loanee Djed Spence has opened up about a shock interaction he had with Jose Mourinho while playing for Middlesbrough.

The incident occurred when Mourinho’s Spurs played Middlesbrough in the third round of the FA Cup in 2020.

Djed Spence has spoken of an incredible interaction he had with Jose Mourinho while playing for Middlesbrough

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Djed Spence has spoken of an incredible interaction he had with Jose Mourinho while playing for MiddlesbroughCredit: EPA
The former Spurs boss had a special request for the right-back

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The former Spurs boss had a special request for the right-backCredit: PA

Spence, currently on loan at Serie A side Genoa, was speaking to Italian outlet Gazzetta Dello Sport about his interactions with ‘The Special One’, who was recently sacked by Roma.

He said the gaffer had a surprise for him after Spurs beat Middlesbrough 2-1 in a third round replay, saying: “Mourinho came in [To the dressing room]. He came to me and asked for my shirt to take to his son, who was a fan of mine.

“I was quite surprised, I’ll admit. I gave him my shirt. We’re talking about one of the greatest coaches in the world.”

Spence was 20-years-old at the time and seen as one of English football‘s most exciting full-back prospects.

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After a successful loan at Nottingham Forest the following year, he was signed by Tottenham to play as a right wing back under Antonio Conte.

But things turned sour for Spence virtually the day he signed for Spurs, with Conte dismissing the transfer as a “club signing” rather than one he had hand picked.

He featured irregularly for Spurs under Conte before being loaned to Rennes in January 2023.

Speaking on his difficult time at Tottenham, where he has made just six appearance, Spence said: “This is football, I can’t explain the reasons. What is certain is that when you don’t play, it’s difficult to demonstrate your value. There is no point in asking too many questions.

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Jose was impressed with Spence's performance

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Jose was impressed with Spence’s performanceCredit: The Sun

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“But I believe that even in difficulties there’s always something to learn. Whoever the coach, it makes you richer inside.”

Conte’s successor, Ange Postecoglou similarly could not find a use for Spence and he was loaned to Championship side Leeds at the beginning of this season.

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Despite starting regularly for Leeds after returning from injury in December, his loan there was cut short in January after Daniel Farke became unimpressed with the player’s attitude.

The player spoke of how he hopes his loan to Genoa will revitalise career and might even lead to an England call-up, saying: “I knew Genoa had already been looking for me in the summer, now there were evidently the right conditions to close the deal. I’m satisfied, it’s an important opportunity.

“I hope that this can be the beginning of a long journey at a club that are growing. I found a nice company and a pleasant city. I settled in quickly, they supported me in everything.

“Of course, it’s a dream and an ambition for anyone [To get an England call-up], I hope that Genoa will give me a hand.”