When we signed Sheyi Ojo on a loan deal in the summer, I was really excited about what he could bring to the squad. His success this summer with the England U20’s can give us a real indication about his talent and how well he is thought of within the England set up. This is another in series of loans for the Liverpool youngster as his parent club want him to get as much experience throughout the leagues as possible in the hope that at some stage he will be able to play a part for them.
Unfortunately, Ojo’s Fulham spell didn’t get off the best of starts, with a host of indifferent performances before dislocating his shoulder in the victory over QPR at Loftus road at the end of September. I remember the criticism that the young player had received that night before his injury, in what some had described as his worst performance since joining but I actually thought differently. He spurned a few chances, yes, but I thought over all that he was getting into the positions that he should be and that he did had been doing more running than anyone on the pitch. Improvements were needed, but overall there was a lot that I liked about his game.
While his injury was unfortunate, I think that it has actually benefitted him in some way. When he made it back to first team action two weeks ahead of schedule, it was a real sign of intent from the young man and shows his determination to do well and to contribute to the team. His motivational tweets before each game alongside his fully committed performances have gained him a lot of fans in the Fulham camp. He came back from injury much sharper than he was before which has allowed him to chip in with four goals and an assist in the seven games that he has had since his injury return. We didn’t win a single game while he was out, while we have won five out of seven since he came back against Sheffield United in November.
The thing I like most about Sheyi Ojo the most is his attitude. He could have quite easily given up after his injury, given that his spell at Fulham at that stage hadn’t really gone that well, but he really did bust a gut to get back. I thought that he was the best player in the Fulham shirt in Sunderland purely because he didn’t stop, but he had pretty much no support that day. He has the sort of hunger that we often only see in a young player and it is allowing him to shine at the minute. We are a better team with him in it and I am fully confident that he is just going to keep getting better and better.