Cambridge United on-loan midfielder Jack Roles not surprised by long-time friend Japhet Tanganga's Spurs breakthrough
Jack Roles is unsurprised by Japhet Tanganga’s impact at Tottenham Hotspur.
While the 20-year-old is making waves on a loan spell with Cambridge United, his Spurs club-mate has just broken into the Premier League club’s first-team.
Roles and Tanganga are in the same age group and have known and played alongside each other since childhood, and this season has been a breakthrough for both.
Cypriot international Roles is on his first senior loan in the Football League, and has caught the eye with five goals at the U’s which earned an extension to his temporary stay until the end of the current campaign.
Meanwhile, back at White Hart Lane, Tanganga made his Premier League debut last week against Liverpool, drawing praise from manager Jose Mourinho, and was man of the match in the FA Cup win over Middlesbrough in midweek.
“Japh has always been a great player; a player who loves defending, hard tackler, wins all of his battles and all of his headers so it’s no surprise he is thriving in Tottenham’s first-team at the moment,” said Roles.
“We were together in the under-23s last year and I have played alongside him since we were nine or 10 so we’re good mates and I’m buzzing that he is doing well at the moment.
“I watched the Middlesbrough and Liverpool games and gave him a message afterwards, he’s doing really well.”
He added: “We’ve got a few boys out on loan at Tottenham and I’m quite close to a few of them so we always keep in touch to see how each other are getting on and how they are finding it.”
Roles’ parent club are happy with how things are progressing for the midfielder at the Abbey Stadium, as he strives to meet the targets set down.
“I wouldn’t say I’m bang on, there is always room for improvement,” he said, “but I keep in contact with the team at Spurs so they let me know how I’m getting on, what I should be doing, how I can be improving.
“It’s just all one big process really.”
One big learning curve has been how Roles’ body has adapted to the rigours of League Two, and the amount of games involved.
He was forced off in the 1-0 defeat at Macclesfield with a knock, and it also kept him out of last week’s 2-0 loss at Exeter.
“Coming here, I’ve been playing a lot of minutes and there are a lot more games than there are in youth football so it’s mainly just adapting and getting used to the load on the body,” he said.
“With all the work I’m doing, it will be good in the next few weeks. I’ve been working with the physio team, doing new things and getting help from everyone around me so everything is looking good.”
It has been a case of taking it all in his stride though, with the ups and downs of the season and the reactions to each from supporters.
“I got told before I arrived, and I have learned, that you can’t get too high when it’s going well and you can’t get too low when it’s going not so well. For me, it’s just about staying level and keep performing,” said Roles.
“I don’t tend to read a lot on Twitter or social media because it can play games with your mind. You can get fans telling you you’re the best and you can get fans telling you you’re the worst so I just tend to keep away to be honest.”
As for his high point of the campaign so far?
“The 4-0 win against Exeter, that was a great game,” said Roles. “The fans were behind us, the sun was out at the Abbey and I got on the score-sheet as well, so that always makes it sweeter.”