James Debayo, the leggy England schoolboy international of Nigerian parentage has made the decision to leave Watford FC and join Leeds United, despite interests from a number of Premier League big names including Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.
Brighton and Southampton were also mooted as teams who were taken in with the abilities of the youngster, but he settled for Leeds where he’s been assured of game time and a better pathway to the first team squad.
Debayo, who started out as a midfielder, is a defender who’s been described in flowery terms by Watford’s Head of Academy, Barry Quin:
“He likes to play and bring it out from the back. We like that and would never curtail that. That will be a super strength for him. He’s a cultured centre-half – not the old-fashioned stopper type. He’s done very well. He’s not been here as long [as the others] but he’s a product of our scouting and has done really well in our programme. He’s been under the radar for a while. He’s good technically and he is coming along nicely. He’s got another year so it’s important he doesn’t change his ways ahead of the decision we make when it comes to scholarships. I’m pleased for him.”
Whilst at Watford, the England Football Association took the first pre-emptive steps to beat Nigeria to the future of Debayo by inviting him to attend an England U15 training camp in 2019 where he excelled.
James is the son of Lola Idris Debayo, the CEO of Lolo Foundation which has a record of dedicated bi-monthly feeding some of London’s homeless in nearly two decades.
Lolo Foundation is also on ground in Nigeria where they are invested in humanitarian assistance for some of the most vulnerable destitutes in Lagos.