Tottenham Hotspur youth goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi admits Bukayo Saka was his most challenging youth opponent, as much as that pains him.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on March 07, 2020 in London, United Kingdom.
LONDON, ENGLAND: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during a Premier League match on March 07, 2020. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Speaking to Team Nigeria UK on Instagram, Oluwayemi named Bukayo Saka as his toughest opponent.

“I don’t want to give him the satisfaction, but you know Bukayo Saka, he is too good,” Oluwayemi said (via All Nigeria Soccer). “I can’t forget him. We told our defenders to watch out for him, we tried everything but he was exceptional.”

I watched the two face off against each other in their one shared season of u18 football, so it’s not hard for me to see why.

Oluwayemi played one match against the Arsenal u18s without Saka involved, and he was probably Man of the Match that day. Though he conceded twice, he also saved two penalties as Spurs won 3-2.

It was a different story in their next clash the following January, in the FA Youth Cup. This time, Saka converted a penalty and scored a youth goal of the season contender. Arsenal ran away with a 5-2 win.

After that, the two teams faced off again in another league match. Honestly, that game is probably an even more painful memory for Oluwayemi.

Arsenal and Spurs were vying for the u18 League Title with three games left. The North London derby would essentially decide who lifted the trophy. Spurs raced into a 2-0 lead, but with half an hour to go, Saka came off the bench.

The Gunners applied the pressure and eventually, Saka pulled a goal back with 5 minutes to go. The teenage winger then put in a dangerous cross two minutes later which a defender turned into his own net for 2-2. Arsenal won the game in injury time.

You can understand why Oluwayemi has a grudging respect for Saka after that.