Playing professional football is one thing, but being able to play professionally alongside your twin brother is something else.
ElWriteBack speaks exclusively to the Olaoye twins, David and Daniel, who are both playing abroad despite being born in Goodmayes, London.
Daniel and David both started their professional careers in Greece with OFI Creta U20 before signing onto AO Tympakiou books in 2016.
Now going their separate ways, David is currently the only Englishman in Argentinian football, playing for El Porvenir.
Daniel has also left Greece and is now playing for Swedish side, Nordvärmlands FF.
Both born in Goodmayes, how did you get into football and was it something you have always done together from the start?
Daniel: Yeah, it is something we have always done from the start since a very young age, all the way through primary school until now! To be honest, we were playing in the primary school football team together with two years above us when we were in year four, playing with the year six team.
Also, we both got sent to the David Beckham Academy within that time and thankfully I was on the winning team so I’ve got a gold medal which I still have to this day. So, I believe throughout primary school and getting sent to David Beckham Academy made us fully get into football.
David: We started football at Elmhurst Primary School at a very young age, it was always something that me and my brother did together as we also went to the David Beckham academy several times via primary school.
We played for the school teams in a lot of matches and tournaments and it was always our aim to become professional as we always had a passion and desire for the game.
Who was the better player back then?
Daniel: Haha, I don’t really know how to answer that question, but let’s just say I was the better player! [Haha, I’m just joking.]
David: My brother played on the right and I played on the left but sometimes we switched. I’m not sure about who was the stronger player but we always encouraged each other on and off the pitch by giving feedback to each other after a game or training session, so we improved from each other which I believe is great. We also made the school and college team and always tried to put in strong performances. We are also very competitive when we play against each other in training for example which is good for us mentally as well.
So, this means that Daniel operating on the right and David on the left has also been your strongest positions?
Daniel: Yes, I would say these are both our strongest positions even though we can both operate either on the right or left but preferably those are our positions. Even positions like the number 10 or nine can be played in, but from the start, we have always been Wingers. I even remember when playing for junior Hammers the manager would say twins on the wings.
David: Well over the past few years it has always been especially playing together but we like to switch it up sometimes to confuse the opposition. We are very strong and comfortable in these positions. Years ago, I used to sometimes play right back with him at juniors Hammers and sometimes at Elite Pro Sports, we had a very good relationship on that side and was very strong. This helped a lot because we understood each other a lot. Now for years we have been playing right and left as our strongest position and we are always developing and learning it our position.
Who did you support and who was your idol growing up and why?
Daniel: From the start I supported Chelsea, but growing up my idol has been Cristiano Ronaldo. This is because I aspire to be like him and also due to the position I play I think he’s the best player I can learn from as he is the hardest worker on and off the pitch. He is just a great player and a good role model overall.
David: I supported Arsenal as my favourite club as they have had many great players before and some now but I loved the way they play football. My favourite player when he was at Arsenal was Thierry Henry as he was just an amazing player.
My idols growing up included: Ronaldinho, Cristiano Rolando, Brazilian Ronaldo and Messi! I love their style of play and the way they excite and entertain fans and all play to a similar position like me but they are great players.
Now my idol for the past few years has been Neymar. I always watch him and take things from his game to try to imply into mine, he has a wonderful style of play and I like his dribbling as well as his skills which as previously said, I try to implement in my game.
Off the pitch were you in the same friendship groups or did you have your separate friends?
Daniel: Off the pitch, I would say we have quite a lot of friends which are similar and then there are a few different friends here and there.
David: Yes, off the pitch we have the same friends, more or less most that play football, we were a close group of friends.
Were any of your friends talented footballers?
Daniel: I have a lot of friends who are playing professionally and also Academy football like Reiss Nelson (Arsenal), Charlie Colkett (Chelsea), Bright Osayi Samuel (QPR), Vashon Neufville (West Ham), Kevin Wright (Degerfors), Manny Agboola (Oxford United), Sean Clare (Sheffield Wednesday) and the list goes on.
David: We have a lot of friends playing professionally now, Sean Clare who I also went to college with is at Sheffield Wednesday, Emmanuel Agboola at Oxford United, Bright Samuel at QPR, Reiss Nelson at Arsenal, Kevin Wright (Degerfors), Vashon Neufville (West Ham) and then a few others.
You both played for OFI Careta and AO Tympakiou what was it like playing abroad together?
Daniel: Well since playing together at OFI Creta and AO Tympakiou it was going well to be fair on and off the pitch. Being together made us settle in easily and also playing a lot on the pitch was a good experience as both of us normally started as well which I would say brought more confidence to both of us individually when we played on the pitch! As well as training sessions going well.
David: It was very good, it was a totally new experience with new people, new culture and a new style of football, everything was new! It made us settle in there quickly and I believe because both of us were there, in Greece we were welcomed like family and we were very comfortable there. We learnt a lot and experienced a lot of things including: people, style of football, different training compared to England, I believe it has helped us improve our game and move to a better level.
Having your brother at the same club must have helped you settle in quicker than if you’d gone alone?
Daniel: As I mentioned some of that in the above question it was much easier together especially as it was our first time going abroad. Lucky our first time was in Greece and we spent it together. I would say this was good as being together for the first time for a long while will make it easier in the future if we moved away to different countries it would be much easier settling in as our first experience abroad was together.
David: Yes, definitely I believe because we know we had each other there which made us more comfortable! We supported and encourage each other all of the time as well.
I believe going alone is a bit more difficult and it depends on the type of people, for instance in Slovenia was a bit difficult cause of the people, if I had my brother there I’m sure it would have been a lot easier to settle in, but in Argentina I had no trouble settling in because they welcomed me here like I am a part of them which was great for me as I settled in very quick and got comfortable with my companions.
You both went your separate ways with David joining NK Bravo and then El Porvenir and Daniel joining Nordvärmland. Was it strange playing without your brother?
Daniel: I actually wouldn’t say it was strange, we both knew it wouldn’t be a problem as we both know how to adapt to be abroad even by ourselves. Also, we discussed this situation before so for it to have risen wasn’t an issue at all so it was all good and everything is fine. We keep in contact every day and that’s the good thing about it.
David: It was a bit strange but we spoke about it before we made our decisions for certain reasons, I had his support and he had my support so it was all fine as we would face a different life without each other, so we can learn and also experience new things.
I believe it is important for us to go different ways sometimes to find a different route to the top and hopefully meet each other there one day. We are very supportive of each other, we are always speaking which keeps the relationship there which is the main thing for us.
You are both eligible to play for Nigeria, is this something you are considering?
Daniel: Yeah, I wouldn’t mind playing for Nigeria but of course my main goal is to play for England, I can’t say much about it but around two weeks ago a guy did contact my agent about getting me to Nigeria Under 23’s squad, as the guy from national selectors really liked me but it is something in process so I can’t say that it will definitely happen but hopefully something comes out of it.
David: Yes, I would definitely consider playing for Nigeria, it just depends on who would call me up first I would definitely love either one. Nigeria or England would be a great honour.
An International call-up is what I am definitely working towards.
Some footballers have special shirt numbers due to the day they were born etc. With you both being born on 18th October 1996 is there a shirt number you prefer?
Daniel: To be fair I haven’t really thought about using any number from my birth date at all but maybe now that you have said that I might consider it haha! The numbers I like are seven, nine, 17, 27 and 28.
David: My favourite number is 11 as my favourite player is Neymar and I always have liked this number because it’s related to my position as well. I also like 10 because of the month I was born in October which is the 10th month of the year!
Finally, what is it like having the same profession as your brother and what do your family think of this?
Daniel: I think it’s great to be honest, as from the start this has always been our goal so I guess the only way from here is up. Our family are really happy with this and proud of us as from the start they weren’t too keen on us going abroad or maybe even from college or secondary school I didn’t think they would have allowed it but eventually they decided that it would be a good idea and everything has turned out as it was planned to be.
It is good though because now they are really supportive and want us to become the best we can be in the profession! Also, having my twin brother helps in terms of talking about the game in general so that’s a big plus side because if anything he will be one to understand me.
David: I think it’s very good that since young we always had a dream and now we are fulfilling it and working hard to reach the top in our profession. Also, my family are very happy about it, they have always supported us along the way with decisions we have made, I believe it’s having this backing and support is very important for us to grow in our profession.