Interview: MK Dons defender Jordan Spence talks faith & football

Cross The Line caught up with MK Dons defender, Jordan Spence, about his Christian faith and football career.

Formerly of Chelsea & West Ham, Jordan Spence is now plying his trade in the Championship with newly promoted side, MK Dons. The defender is a first team regular for the Dons and Ollie Baines caught up with the 25-year-old to discuss his career and his Christian faith.

Ollie – Jordan, how did you get into football?

Jordan – “Probably like most people to be honest. Going round to mates houses and having a kick around in their gardens. Then a friend invited me to a soccer camp in the summer, and I went along and that began the process from there to be honest.”

Ollie – What was it like to play for West Ham?

Jordan – “Yeah, it was awesome! To play for West Ham and to be educated by them, coming through their youth system was amazing. Growing up as a London boy and then to play for West Ham was a huge dream of mine which I achieved to some level; obviously I would have liked to have played a few more games for them. But overall, it was a very good experience for me.”

Ollie – Congratulations on promotion last season, what is the aim for MK Dons this season in the Championship?

Jordan – “I think fundamentally, the aim is to ensure we are a Championship football team next season. However, that does come with the internal belief that we are a good footballing side, that we play the game in the right way. We play good attractive attacking football which has so far boded quite well for us and we hope that will pay dividends at the end of the season.”

Ollie – What’s Karl Robinson like as a manager? What’s it like to play under him?

Jordan – “He’s very close to his players. He puts a lot of trust in us and I think he has to in the way that we play, but that takes bravery at times. He’s incredibly tactically astute and for me personally, he’s put a lot of faith in me after being a free agent. He’s instilled a lot of belief into me and I have nothing but respect for him.”

Ollie – What’s the best thing about being a professional footballer?

Jordan – “I think the best thing for me is doing something I love. To begin that journey at 7-years-old at Chelsea and turn it into a full-time profession. To see my God given talent and take it as far as I can is amazing. I don’t see my talent as my own, I am merely a steward of it. I’m always trying to maximise my potential and it’s something I enjoy doing.”

Ollie – Can you tell us how you became a Christian?

Jordan – “God really revealed himself to me through a journey. I was brought up in Church as it were, a Sunday-school boy and all my family predominately on my Dad’s side are all Church-goers.  My first real encounter with God was when I was around 14, I gave my life to the Lord when I was 15 and I was baptised not long after that. There wasn’t necessarily one moment for me, it was more a series of moments in my life and it’s just awesome to see how God had his hand on my life.”

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Ollie – Is it easy to live out your faith in professional football?

Jordan – “It’s a question I’ve been asked quite a few times and my answer is quite honest. With regards to playing and in life, I see my faith as my driving force. I wake up everyday trying to work as hard as I can. When I play, I want to win and I want to play to the best of my ability and hopefully I can give the glory back to the big man!”

Ollie – Is there any support for Christian footballers?

Jordan – “Yeah, at West Ham there was a Chaplain who was an ever present. I’ve had support from Christians in Sport and they’ve been great, visiting me wherever I am in the country and they always pop in with a word to share or a voice down the phone. Obviously, I’ve also come across other Christian players too who have shared a similar faith. So there is a support network but also for me, I’ve had a great Church support which has really helped me. They always cover me in prayer which is amazing.”

Ollie – Best career moment?

Jordan – “I have 2! First, making my debut for West Ham, I came on as a substitute against Manchester City; it was awesome! The other has to be getting promoted last season with MK Dons.”

Ollie – Best player you’ve ever played with?

Jordan – “I would have to say, Craig Bellamy when he was at West Ham. He was a phenomenal player and was sometimes just unplayable.”

Ollie – Best player you’ve ever played against?

Jordan – “I played against a 40-year-old Ryan Giggs and he was the best player on the football pitch.”

Ollie – Final question, Messi or Ronaldo?

Jordan – “I would have to say Ronaldo. To be honest, they are pretty inseparable, but I just feel like Ronaldo could play in any position, in any country in any league you put him in. He can score all different types of goals too; poacher’s finish, long range, penalties, free-kicks, headers, the lot. Messi has the natural ability, but for me, Ronaldo is just a better all-rounder.”

A huge thank you to Jordan Spence for taking the time to speak to us here at Cross The Line.

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