Getting to know John Bostock: A profile of Doncaster Rovers' latest signing

John Bostock has become Doncaster Rovers’ third signing of the January window with the former Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder joining on an 18th month deal.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 7:28 pm
Updated Monday, 25th January 2021, 8:05 pm

The 29-year-old has endured a storied journey from arguably the hottest prospect in English football to looking to prove himself on the continent and now to the Keepmoat.

Here, we take a look at the career so far of Rovers’ newest addition.

Name: John Joseph Bostock

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

John Bostock

Born: January 15, 1992, Camberwell, London

SPOTTED EARLY

Bostock joined Crystal Palace at the age of five! And from there he thrived, often playing above his age group against opponents several years his senior.

Being scouted early did not end there however. At the age of 14 he was offered a ten year contract by Barcelona, while the biggest clubs in Europe had kept close tabs on the gifted youngster.

AND A VERY EARLY DEBUT

Bostock still holds the status of Palace’s youngest ever first team player having made his debut against Watford in the Championship in 2007 at the age of 15.

He managed five appearances in total in the 07/08 season, including two starts - all of which came before his 16th birthday.

A DIFFICULT DEPARTURE

In the summer of 2008, Bostock joined Tottenham Hotspur. It brought an acrimonious end to his time at Crystal Palace as, with no fee agreed between the two clubs, the cost to Spurs was decided by a tribunal. The deal decided upon was a package rising to a reported £2m but it is understood the initial cost was just £700,000 which was criticised for being too low for a player with such potential. Then-Palace chairman Simon Jordan led the backlash against Bostock and his family, and the player himself has spoken since of death threats being made from Palace fans.

THE FIGHT BEGINS

Bostock made his Spurs debut at 16, becoming the club’s youngest ever player when he featured in the UEFA Cup against Dinamo Zagreb. But his path to the first team was not clear, and he faced a setback when told Spurs thought a return to the youth set up would be best for him.

CHANCES TO IMPRESS

With opportunities at senior level limited at White Hart Lane, he began departing the club on loan. Spells at Brentford, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon Town and Toronto FC followed between 2009 and 2013 - none of which brought more than 13 appearances. He admitted recently that he was so desperate to impress during these spells that he often ‘overplayed,’ while his confidence was badly hit with every move that did not pay off.

LIFE AFTER SPURS

In the summer of 2013, he departed Spurs, having made only four senior appearances for the club. Bostock joined Belgian second tier side Royal Antwerp, who were managed by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. He spent one season with the club, scoring one goal and assisting 16 others in 31 appearances before joining OH Leuven who were looking to secure an immediate return to the top flight.

Bostock helped them do just that in a brilliant season personally, scoring 13 and assisting 19 on his way to the player of the year award.

FRENCH ODYSSEY

Bostock moved to RC Lens in the French second tier in the summer of 2016 and won the division’s player of the year award in his first season.

He moved to Turkish side Bursaspor in January 2018 but left after six months and eight appearances to return to France with Toulouse where he linked up with his former Lens boss Alain Casanova.

BACK HOME

He returned to English football with a loan at Nottingham Forest in August 2019. He managed only nine appearances, despite proving to be a very popular player at the club.

BACK HOME….FOR GOOD?

Bostock came to terms on his release from Toulouse last October and was keen to return to England with his wife and young son.

IMPORTANCE OF FAITH

Bostock is a Christian and his faith has been a big part of his life since the age of 15. He has overseen a collective of more than 100 professional footballers across Europe who meet for prayer and Bible study, as part of his organisation Ballers In God.

*

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.