When he joined Fulham on a permanent contract in October, Tosin Adarabioyo had the weight of expectations on his shoulders.
The defender arrived from one of the best academies in the country at Manchester City, having spent time with Pep Guardiola’s first team. He also had two impressive loan spells at West Brom and Blackburn Rovers in the Sky Bet Championship behind him.
When he joined, Fulham was struggling on his return to the Premier League. They had lost their first five matches, conceding 12 goals and could only score in one game, despite it being a 4-3 thriller against Leeds United.
He has played in every Premier League game for Fulham since then. In that span, they’ve recorded eight clean sheets in his 23 games and have only been beaten by a two-goal margin on two occasions – once again his former team, Man City, and the top four pursuers. from Leicester.
Adarabioyo, 23, also recorded some of Fulham’s best defensive stats. He has achieved the most overall clearances (124) and header clearances (66) and is only second behind his central partner Joachim Andersen in aerial duels won (75).
While the move from the Championship to the Premier League isn’t always easy, Adarabioyo has made an almost seamless transition, rooted in his own self-confidence.
In an exclusive interview with Air sports ahead of Sunday’s game against Liverpool he said: “I had full confidence [to be able to perform in the Premier League]. I know the qualities that I have and I know that I am able to perform in this league and I am showing it now.
“I relied on great players at Man City. They gave me a lot of advice that has helped me move forward to this day.
“West Brom was a tougher loan period but Blackburn was a great platform to show myself and everyone what I’m capable of. I have gained confidence and it has helped me move forward this season. .
“While I know it’s a tough time for us as a team and the position we’re in, I feel like everyone on this team is learning and pushing to stay in this league. We are doing great performances right now individually and collectively. “
Adarabioyo joined Man City academy at the age of five, advancing through the youth ranks and making a handful of first-team appearances before the inevitable loans follow.
But rather than follow this well-mapped loan route, the defender made the bold choice to leave his childhood club and join Fulham on a permanent contract and was drawn to the possibility of working with Scott Parker.
He explained: “I just knew I had to go out and play football regularly and I knew this club was the right place to come to. I came to Fulham because the opportunity to work with the gaffer and his team was very positive. “
The former England junior international has also experienced a wide range of management styles during his short career. He performed under the guidance of the lifelong success of Pep Guardiola, the vast experience of Tony Mowbray, as well as two men at the start of their managerial careers – Darren Moore and Scott Parker.
“They all really have different ideas,” he reflected. “But I think from each manager I took something different.
“Obviously Pep’s tactical conscience, I would say goof him here [Scott Parker] have similar ideas and they have similar qualities in each other. Tony Mowbray and Darren Moore had been previous center-backs and there was also a lot to learn from both of them. “
“Fulham can survive relegation”
Despite all of Adarabioyo’s impressive performances, the prospect of relegation still hangs over Fulham. They remain in 18th place, three points behind Newcastle, but having played one more game.
With 11 games to go – including Steve Bruce’s side on the final day of the season – the stakes couldn’t be higher, but Adarabioyo and Fulham are confident they can beat the downside.
When asked, he replied: “Most definitely. I think everyone here is convinced that we are able to survive in this league with the quality that we have and then hopefully continue the season. next.
“But the goal this year is to survive in the Premier League.
“I think we performed really well as a team, pushing us in the right direction, hopefully, with the right results to push us just out of the relegation spots.
“We have to keep everyone fit and everyone looking forward to going. There are 11 games left and all games are going to be very important in deciding where we end up in this league.
“We will need results to follow our path, of course, because we have difficult games to come. Obviously, we also need results in our games, but we will also need results to follow our path.”
One of the keys to their success could be Adarabioyo’s defensive partnership with Andersen, who also joined Fulham on October 5 on loan from Lyon and became the team’s captain.
Adarabioyo said: “We both know what we’re here for. We both know we have to get the club out of relegation and survive this season, so our focus is entirely on maintaining good condition and about doing our best not to concede goals, which can help us move forward to try to score goals. “
Upcoming: Facing Liverpool
Next up for Fulham is a trip to Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports. The teams drew 1-1 earlier this season and although the champions have lost their last five home games in the Premier League, Adarabioyo is not taking anything for granted.
He said: “Liverpool are still the Premier League champions so you have to respect that. We have to go out there and put on a show and try to get a performance.
“I feel like we can get a lot of confidence from this game [the reverse fixture in December]. We went there and played our game, we had a lot of opportunities and the game really could have gone both ways.
“We won 1-0 for a long time in the game before it ended, which can give us a lot of confidence to go to Anfield and try to get a good result.
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“We know how offensive Liverpool are and what a great attack they have, so we are just trying to cancel them out.”
With the immediate focus on the relegation battle for Liverpool and Fulham, Adarabioyo hopes to play at a high level later in his career.
He said: “I would like to try to enter the international stage and try to win as many trophies as possible. I would like to try to get to a well located club, whether it is in the league with this club or a other club and play Champions League football. “
At 23, Adarabioyo still has a lot of time to continue his good progress and achieve his dreams. But it all starts by helping Fulham escape relegation to the Premier League.