Born: 31 March 1999 (London, England)
Academy graduate Japhet Tanganga stormed onto the first team scene with his Premier League debut against Liverpool in January, 2020.
Once again hampered by unfortunate, niggling injuries, Japhet made 19 appearances in all competitions in 2021/22, 11 in the Premier League, taking him to 43 appearances in total.
Japhet started seven of our first 11 fixtures during that campaign, and was outstanding up against Raheem Sterling as we toppled champions Manchester City on the opening day of the season, his front foot defending and physical presence at right-back keeping the England forward quiet. However, he only started another seven matches between 26 September and picking up an injury that would ultimately end his season in January.
Born and raised in Hackney, Japhet attended Greig City Academy and joined our youth set-up at the age of 10. He has developed an excellent ability to leap high in the air and uses this to his advantage when he ventures forward for corners.
A regular with our Under-16s in 2014/15, he made the step up to Under-18s football in a 3-0 win over Norwich City in November, 2014. He played four league games at that level and also featured in our FA Youth Cup fourth round win over Wolves during that campaign.
The 2015/16 season saw him play 15 games at Under-18 level in the league, plus two in the FA Youth Cup, and make his Under-21s debut with a start at left-back against FC Schalke 04 in the Premier League Under-21 International Cup in November, 2015. He stepped off the bench against Southampton for his league debut at that level the following month.
He scored three times in our run to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals in 2016/17, starting every game, while also making 17 appearances in the Under-18 Premier League, scoring twice. He also played four times during our debut campaign in the UEFA Youth League and five times for the Under-23s in the Premier League 2, in addition to winning the IMG Cup in Florida with our Under-18s in December, 2016.
He put in some excellent displays in the UEFA Youth League during 2017/18, starting seven of our eight games and scoring in home wins against Real Madrid and APOEL. Despite suffering an injury mid-way through the campaign, he made 15 starts for the Under-23s in the Premier League 2, scoring in a 3-0 home win over Manchester United in August, 2017, while he made two further appearances in the EFL Trophy.
Japhet made 25 appearances in all competitions at development level in 2018/19, including three against senior Football League sides in the EFL Trophy, and was captain for much of the second half of the Premier League 2 season. Having made his senior debut in a first team pre-season friendly match away to Girona in August, 2018, he impressed in further pre-season outings in July, 2019, against Juventus, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter.
Having made his full debut at Colchester in the League Cup in September, 2019, the powerful right-sided centre-half or right-back went on to make 11 appearances in all competitions in that breakthrough season, 2019/20. He continued to add to that first team experience in 2020/21, where he made 13 appearances in all competitions, six in the Premier League - it might have been more but for some niggling injuries.
Voted MVP at the South Korea Cup in August, 2014, he has been capped by England at Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 and Under-21 levels, and was part of a young England Under-20 side that won the Toulon Tournament in June, 2017. He was selected for the European U21 Championships in March, 2021, playing in two of three matches as England went out in the group stage.