November 29, 2009

Spurs loanee update 29/11/09

Currently we have the following players out on loan:

Oscar Jansson (18) – Exeter City (until 1st December 2009)
Troy Archibald-Henville (21) – Exeter City (until December 2009)
John Bostock (17) – Brentford (until 13th December 2009)
Sam Cox (19) – Histon (until 13th December 2009)
Calum Butcher (18) – Barnet (until 26th December 2009)
Andros Townsend (18) – Leyton Orient (until 31st December 2009)
Adam Smith (18) – Torquay United (until January 2010)
David Button (20) – Shrewsbury Town (until January 2010)
Jake Livermore (20) – Derby County (until January 2010)
Jamie O’Hara (23) – Portsmouth (until January 2010)
Tomas Pekhart (20) – Slavia Prague (until 2nd Feb 2010)
Adel Taarabt – QPR (until the end of the season)
Kyle Walker (19) – Sheffield United (until the end of the season)
Jon Obika (19) – Yeovil Town (until the end of the season)
Ryan Mason (18) – Yeovil Town (until the end of the season)
Steven Caulker (17) – Yeovil Town (until the end of the season)
Mirko Ranieri (17) – Ipswich Town (until the end of the season)

Now returned:

Adam Smith – Wycombe Wanderers
Ben Alnwick – Norwich City
Lee Butcher – Grays Athletic
Dean Parrett – Aldershot Town
David Button – Crewe Alexandra
Sam Cox – Cheltenham Town
Danny Rose – Peterborough
Lee Butcher – Leyton Orient

Not too many of our loanees were in action this weekend, but since I last wrote an update, there have been some notable performances.

Troy Archibald-Henville was a subtitute again for Exeter City, coming on in the 66th minute. He was actually involved in a goal:

Troy’s long ball down the right flank put the on-form frontman clear and Stansfield made no mistake and on 67 minutes City looked to be in that Third Round draw….

Oscar Jansson was an unused sub for Exeter, and has been for some time now.

John Bostock played 89 minutes for Brentford in their cup tie against Walsall, and it was his corner that lead to the winning goal. He was criticised by many after his performance last week, but there are some much more encouraging comments on one of the Brentford forums this week:

“Bostock was brilliant one minute then giving it away the next but he created a lot today.”


“Bostock- 6/10, fine, but too many tricks and end-result was rarely produced

“Thought Bostock was the creator of our best moves and with him, Legge and Price being our best performers.”

Jake Livermore played most of Derby’s match against Swansea last week, but this time round he was back on the bench again, coming on in the 82mind minute.

It was the opposite for Adel Taarabt, who played 80 minutes for QPR, having been a sub last time out. A few snippets from their official site:


Rangers were first on the attack when Watson played a beautiful, sweeping pass out to Taarabt on the left.

However, though the Tottenham loanee had time and space to shoot when free just inside the area, he could only drag his shot wide of Kieran Westwood’s left-hand post.

This was a fast-paced encounter, typified when play soon reverted to the other end and Taarabt played a delicious pass to Routledge on the right.

After great link-up play between Routledge and Taarabt, the former squared to Watson on the edge of the area, but he blasted just wide.

Taarabt drove at the visitors’ defence before unleashing a low shot on target, but Westwood got down well to claim the effort.

Soon after, Taarabt almost scored what would have been a goal of the season contender.

After a corner was deflected into his path, the Spurs loanee did what no-one expected when he dinked a speculative lob over the keeper – but his shot cannoned off the bar to safety.

This was becoming somewhat of the Taarabt show, and soon after he beat one man before dragging a shot inches wide.

Routledge’s driven effort from the edge of the area after a corner from Taarabt cannoned into the path of Buzsaky.

Jamie O’Hara played another 90 minutes for Portsmouth. He got 7/10 on Pompey Mad, who said that he was “outstanding first half but faded in the second.

Kyle Walker played another 90 minutes for Sheffield United. He’s having a really good run at the moment; in fact, last week, this was written of him in a fan blog on their official site:

Walker 7/10
For the most part he looked a class above the rest of the players on the pitch but that was also the problem with him too! Some lovely balls played down the line including the one that led to the goal and overall showed his touch, speed and strength. However, Walker has to ensure he does not do too much on occasions. One or two moments of over confidence saw him lose the ball in a similar situation to the Newcastle goal.

Calum Butcher was an unused sub for Barnet, having signed on for a month this week.

Sam Cox‘s Histon play on Wednesday. He’s played twice for them so far, but hasn’t yet made his mark.

Andros Townsend‘s Leyton Orient play on Tuesday. If you’ve not seen much of Townsend, it’s well worth watching these Leyton Orient highlights – he had a good game last week, and created plenty of chances.

Adam Smith‘s Torquay United play on Tuesday. He has been very impressive for them in his first two games, winning Man of the Match on his debut. Some comments after that match from a forum:

He was superb today. Caused them problems coming forward, determined and comfortable with ball at feet, got MoM.

“I thought he was outstanding and gave them alsorts of problems but its just his final ball tends to try and beat the world, but very good.”

“Cracking signing, so far! Their right back didn’t have a clue what to do when Thomson and Smith were both running at him in the 2nd half!”

Incidentally, Smith has played at left-back, but is primarily a right-sided player.

David Button‘s Shrewsbury Town play on Tuesday. He hasn’t played for them so far.

Tomas Pekhart‘s Slavia Prague play today. If anyone knows whether he’s injured, please let me know!

Jon Obika, Ryan Mason and Steven Caulker will hope to be involved when Yeovil Town play on Tuesday. A couple of comments after the Charlton game from Taff’s Gloversblog:


5. Steven Caulker: 7/10 – Another first-class display, particularly during that backs-to-the-wall second half.

13. Ryan Mason: 8/10 – As the second least physically-imposing player in the squad Ryan was always likely to struggle in yesterday’s conditions – except class will out. Ran the game in the first half, caused the visitors to go down to ten men and provided the pass for our goal. My only criticism would be that he should have taken the opportunity to shoot on goal more during the first half – Sodje showed after the break what might have been if Ryan had given himself the chance more often rather than trying to find that killer ball all the time. A wonderful player to watch however and one can only guess where he might be in a few years time. Spurs first team? At the very least, I would say.

26. Jonathan Obika: 7/10 – I said a couple of weeks ago that Obika needs to start upping his game and I’m pleased to say that he did that yesterday. Has a good understanding with Mason and took his goal clinically.

Yeovil highlights.

Mirko Ranieri has moved to Ipswich Town to play for their U18 side in the Youth Cup.

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November 17, 2009

Wigan Athletic (H) preview

After a drab international break, Spurs are back in action on Sunday, playing Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane. We stuttered to a 2-0 win against Sunderland – only our 2nd clean sheet in the league this season – but should be boosted by the return of Aaron Lennon for this one.

If Lennon starts, Redknapp will surely drop the narrow diamond that he started with against Sunderland, in favour of a more orthodox 4-4-2. It was a strange selection – we’re not blessed with the attacking full-backs that Chelsea have (well, we do have two, but they were both on the bench!), and it was clear to most in the stadium that it wasn’t working.

Roberto Martinez uses the 4-2-3-1 formation, and now seems to have settled on Jason Scotland leading the line, Hugo Rodallega playing from the left, and the left-footed Charles N’Zogbia playing from the right. Paul Scharner, initially unhappy at being left out the team (due to the relatively successful centre back partnership of Bramble and Boyce) has been one of their star men of late, playing in an unusually advanced position just off Scotland, with Hendry Thomas and the impressive Mohamed Diamé adding muscle and energy behind him.

Their last away game resulted in a 4-0 battering at the hands of bottom-of-the-table Portsmouth, but before that they beat Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor. Hugo Rodallega has already managed 5 goals this year and, now he’s settled, he looks a really decent player (and one that I’d love to see at Spurs in the future).

The two deep-lying holders will mean that Keane won’t find as much space as he may normally expect and, therefore, it must be tempting for HR to start with Crouch and Defoe. However, we then have the question of whether our centre backs will resort to lumping the ball long every time they are under the slightest pressure. I’d personally start with Keane and Defoe up front, but ask Keane to play a more advanced role than usual.

The other main selection headache is central midfield. Fresh from England duty, Huddlestone and Jenas will both expect to start, whereas Palacios has played poorly of late in my opinion, and can perhaps expect to be on the bench. I still think Wilson has an awful lot to offer us – he has attributes that no other player at the club has, and his partnership with Jenas was, for me, the best thing to come of last season. However, whilst he’s on this run of form, I see no harm in dropping him (it’s just a shame that O’Hara, probably his most natural replacement, is out on loan). Another option, given that Wigan tend to play with one up front, is to accommodate Huddlestone at centre back, and use him as a libero.

So long as we try to play our natural game, keep the ball on the deck where possible, and get Lennon on the ball in advanced areas, I fancy us to win convincingly.

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November 15, 2009

Spurs loanee update 15/11/09


Currently we have the following players out on loan:

Oscar Jansson – Exeter City (until 1st December 2009)
Troy Archibald-Henville – Exeter City (until December 2009)
John Bostock – Brentford (until 13th December 2009)
Sam Cox – Histon (until 13th December 2009)
Andros Townsend – Leyton Orient (until 31st December 2009)
Jake Livermore – Derby County (until January 2010)
Jamie O’Hara – Portsmouth (until January 2010)
Tomas Pekhart – Slavia Prague (until 2nd Feb 2010)
Adel Taarabt – QPR (until the end of the season)
Kyle Walker – Sheffield United (until the end of the season)
Jon Obika – Yeovil Town (until the end of the season)
Ryan Mason – Yeovil Town (until the end of the season)
Steven Caulker – Yeovil Town (until the end of the season)
Mirko Ranieri – Ipswich Town (until the end of the season)

Now returned:

Adam Smith – Wycombe Wanderers
Ben Alnwick – Norwich City
Lee Butcher – Grays Athletic
Dean Parrett – Aldershot Town
David Button – Crewe Alexandra
Sam Cox – Cheltenham Town
Danny Rose – Peterborough
Lee Butcher – Leyton Orient

The headline-grabber this weekend is, undoubtedly, John Bostock, who scored two goals in the first 25 minutes of his Brentford debut. Brentford manager Andy Scott has already lavished praise on Bostock:

John Bostock is a special player, we are delighted Tottenham have allowed him to come here and it is an opportunity for him to play.

It is first team, competitive football.

He will have a great career.

We need to get him on the ball, we did that today, although not all the time.

His first goal was a neat finish into the bottom corner after a good turn, and the second was somewhat wind-assisted, and came direct from a corner! Bostock’s debut.

It’s pleasing to see Bostock fully recovered from injury and now finally out on loan, as U18 football didn’t seem to be doing him any good; despite his obvious technical ability and physical presence, I’ve never seen him have a particularly good game at U18 level. Hopefully being pushed up into league football will help his development.

Another debutee this weekend was Sam Cox, who played his first game for Histon. No sign yet of a match report, but I wish Sam well – he had a tough league debut for Cheltenham Town (as mentioned in my previous loanee update).

Goalkeeper Lee Butcher wasn’t involved for Leyton Orient yesterday, and I believe that his loan expired this weekend without him getting a game. I’m sure we’ll now look to move him to another club, as he searches for league experiences.

21-year old Troy Archibald-Henville was an unused sub for Exeter City, having found himself demoted to the bench several weeks ago. Oscar Jansson wasn’t involved at all, as Exeter didn’t name a goalkeeper on their bench. These are another two players that we must be considering recalling.

Jon Obika (19), Ryan Mason (18), and Steven Caulker (17) each played 90 minutes for Yeovil, with Ryan winning the Man of the Match award. Meanwhile, Steven Caulker has won Yeovil Town’s Player of the Month on a fan-site. Some comments on Caulker:

The partnership that he has formed at the heart of the defence with Terrell Forbes is arguably one of the best in the division. What I like most about Caulker is his fantastic ability to read the game and it is this ability that in both my opinion and those that I speak to that make us believe that he has a future at the very top level of the game – Mr. Redknapp this lad is for keeps. He looks assured on the ball, is quick and despite his slight build is strong, I don’t think I’ve seen him lose to many headers or 50/50s. We are very lucky to have this lad for the rest of the season and we should enjoy his undoubted talent whilst we can.

Ryan Mason was fourth in the vote – probably not helped by the fact that he has been shifted around this month, often playing from wide areas.

Some positive comments from the Yeovil Town forum on Mason’s performance yesterday:

[Ryan Mason] IMO just looks leagues above anyone else in our side, with regards to general quality, on and off the ball.
I thought his contribution today, and throughout the season so far has been vital in us grinding out results.
With the exception of Mildenhall (who i think runs close) Mason was superior to any other out there today, and at such a young age, I’m starting to wonder how far he can go in the future…

The three of them have extended their loans for the rest of the season, which is great news for both clubs in my opinion.

Yeovil highlights – well worth watching as Obika and Mason are very involved. Some encouraging signs from Skiverton in the post-match interview too, seems to know his stuff.

Andros Townsend came off the bench on 83 minutes for Leyton Orient, as they searched for an equaliser. Having started the previous Orient game, Andros was taken off at half-time, and is clearly struggling for form. Interestingly, though, Spurs didn’t give him permission to play in Orient’s FA Cup tie last week – whether this means we’re considering playing a young side in the early rounds of the FA Cup, I’m not sure.

Mirko Ranieri, our U18 goalkeeper, has moved to Ipswich Town in order to get some regular games for their U18 side (and in particular, to play in the FA Youth Cup). He conceded three on his debut yesterday.

Tomas Pekhart wasn’t involved yet again for Slavia Prague, despite the fact that they couldn’t name a full bench – he must be injured, as he’s yet to feature this season.

20-year old midfielder Jake Livermore should be back in action next Friday, but has found himself on Derby’s bench since Paul Green returned from injury. He’s had a mixed time at Derby so far, but will undoubtedly have learnt a lot under Nigel Clough.

Jamie O’Hara is in fine form for Portsmouth, and scored a long-range effort against Blackburn last week. He has played all sorts of roles for them – wide left, attacking midfield, and as the deepest-lying midfielder, and it’s this position which they seem to have settled on. This encourages me, as I remember him playing this role for us on his first start (against Arsenal) and doing a really decent job – I’ve often said that I’d like him be used primarily in this role.

Adel Taarabt is another player who has had a mixed time. His recent form at QPR, though, has been excellent – in his last three games he has scored a goal, won them a penalty, and got an assist. He has made it clear, however, that he sees his future away from Spurs.

Kyle Walker played for Sheffield United last week having returned from an injury which he sustained against Newcastle. It was a shame, because he had a really excellent match that day, with a solid defensive display coupled with some attacking forays and, as ever, plenty of his dangerous Delap-style long throws. He was called up to the England U21 squad (joining Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton), but didn’t make it off the bench.

Speaking of Danny Rose, he has been recalled from Peterborough – partly, I presume, because of the managerial situation there, and partly because he was having a bit of a torrid time. He did, however, manager to score with an excellent finish for England U21 yesterday, and picked up the Man of the Match award – congratulations to him.

Click the image below for information about our loanees appearances so far.

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November 8, 2009

07/11/09 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 6-0 MK Dons U18s, Spurs Lodge

Another small crowd (made up mostly of parents and friends) at Spurs Lodge for this game. On paper, it looked like a simple game for Spurs – MK Dons’ record before this game read P10WOD3L7. Last season we beat them 6-0, with Obika, Townsend and Mason, now all out on loan, getting on the scoresheet.

Inglethorpe again went with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Nicholson sat just in front of our defence. It was good to see Durojaiye back in the side after suffering a head injury that required a medical helicopter to land on one of the other pitches the last time he played (againt Birmingham). Just the one “overage” player this week (Blackwood). Presumably we felt that we had enough to win against MK without the likes of Smith, Cox, Butcher, Parrett, and Bostock being involved (or perhaps there are loans pending/behind-closed-doors friendlies this week?).

Butler (17)
Waller-Lassen (16) Durojaiye (17) Byrne (17) Francis-Angol (16)
Nicholson (17)
Fredericks (17) Carroll (17) Kane © (16) McBride (17)
Oyenuga (16)

Subs:
Blackwood (18) for McBride, 58.
O’Neill (18) for Nicholson, 67.
Pritchard (16) for Fredericks, 73.

Not used:
Ranieri (17)
M’Poku (17)

Spurs started slowly and, whilst we struggled to find a pattern of play, the passing was generally neat and tidy, and MK Dons weren’t exactly threatening in their 4-5-1 formation. Tom Carroll, getting a start in central midfield, was inititally getting totally bypassed, and he looked nervous. He had a chance to settle those nerves early on when put through on goal, but he fired well over with his right.

Spurs started to get a foothold, and carved out a couple of chances – the ball was flashed just beyond Harry Kane in the box, whilst Paul McBride was put in down the left, but couldn’t find a finish. Carroll started to show some nice touches and a good weight of pass with his left foot, and began to demand the ball.

Zaine Francis-Angol was getting some joy on the left, coming forward frequently, and was basically untested defensively. The right-winger for MK Dons, Igor Coronado, had a few nice touches, but is very small and slightly built, and struggled to get the beating of our strong left-back.

The opening goal came after some good play down the right from Fredericks. The ball eventually broke to Kudus Oyenuga in the box, and he smashed the ball in low to the right of the keeper with his right foot – a crisp finish.

From then on, it was all Spurs, and we hit the post shortly afterwards when Oyenuga’s header from a corner beat the keeper. The second goal came when Francis-Angol took on his man and was fouled in the box. Captain Harry Kane stepped up confidently, and planted the ball high into the keeper’s right-hand corner. He is becoming known for missing penalties, so it was nice to see him score one.

Jesse Waller-Lassen, predominantly a midfield player, linked well on the right with Fredericks and, after some good interplay between the two, he brought a good save out of the MK Dons keeper. Fredericks was then played in by Kane, but he couldn’t finish with his weaker left foot.

The third goal came at the start of the second half. Oyenuga beat the offside trap, confidently rounded the keeper, and cockily chipped the ball into the top of the net from about 2 yards! His finish was the equivalent of bending down and heading it over the line.

Paul McBride picked up a knock, and limped off, with Anton Blackwood coming on. He moved to right-back, with Jesse Waller-Lassen pushed out to the left of midfield.

Tom Carroll, who had grown into the game and showed plenty of nice touches, got a well-deserved goal shortly after. Fed by Oyenuga, he cut back on to his left, beating a defender with ease, and curled a firm finish over the keeper’s shoulder from just inside the box. All of his team mates celebrated with him – a popular guy it seems.

Harry Kane then won himself a penalty but, this time, his strike was far too predictable, and the goalkeeper saved it. Perhaps he should have given the ball to Oyenuga, who was on a hat-trick. I believe Kane has now missed four penalties this season!

A worrying moment minutes later – a loose ball prompted a 50/50 challenge, which Nicholson certainly didn’t shirk. Both players seemed to have good intentions, but the MK Dons player went over the top of the ball and caught Nicholson in the face. He was clearly in agony, and the physios sprinted on shouting “stay still”, and there was an ominous silence as it seemed he could be seriously injured. He was substituted, but thankfully was on his feet and holding an ice pack to his cheek on the bench after a few minutes.

His replacement, Chace O’Neill came over to the right of midfield, with Fredericks moving into the centre. Kane dropped back into the holding role.

Kudus Oyenuga wrapped up a fine hat-trick, with a powerful finish into the top of the net with his left from the left hand side of the penalty area. It was an excellent goal, and displayed a good variety of finishing for the 16-year old.

Alex Pritchard, a debutant and by far the smallest player on the pitch, came on for Ryan Fredericks, who had had another good game. Pretty much his first involvement was a shot that cannoned off the bar.

Oyenuga seemed to pull a thigh muscle, but struggled into the box as an attack developed down the left. The ball eventually broke to Harry Kane, who tried an overhead kick. The ball looped up awkwardly, and landed sharply over the goalkeeper to make it 6-0.

Spurs finished the game with nine and a half men! Oyenuga limped off, and Carroll was struggling on with a knock from an earlier tackle. However, we still carved out chances, and O’Neill had an excellent opportunity one-on-one, which the keeper did well to save. MK Dons couldn’t take advantage of the numerical advantage, and lacked an attacking edge without top scorer Charlie Collins.

Butler – was barely tested, but never seems to take the ball cleanly, and has issues with his kicking. A very vocal goalkeeper, who gives plenty of encouragement to his team mates. 6/10

Waller-Lassen – the first time I’d seen him play at full-back, and he got forward very well. Difficult to judge his defensive qualities, as they were rarely tested, but he wasn’t beaten too often. Looked equally lively when he moved over to the left. 7/10

Durojaiye – tends to rely on his physical attributes a little too much for my liking, and needs to work on his reading of the game. 6/10

Byrne – quiet afternoon for Nathan, and I do feel sorry for him playing at centre back regularly. He seems to have all the necessary qualities of a right-back, but he’s playing here due to lack of numbers. Brought the ball out well several times, but also got caught ball-watching on a couple of occasions. 6/10

Francis-Angol – another promising game for a player that seems to be steadily improving. Still capable of defensive errors, but is keen to get forward in support. 7/10

Nicholson – steadying influence who is showing signs of becoming a very useful holding player. Good distribution. 7/10

Fredericks – constant threat, more through pace than tricks, though, and could do with adding that to his game (he should spend some time with M’Poku!). Puts in some useful crosses, favouring to feed them in in front of defenders. 8/10

Kane – another steady game with plenty of good passes and neat touches. 7/10

Carroll – after a slow start he showed plenty of good technique. At one point he brought down a difficult ball before curling a beautifully weighted reverse pass with his left foot in the same movement. Will struggle physically as he’s very small, but deserves another start in midfield on this showing. 7/10

McBride - very quiet, struggled to have an impact on the game. 6/10

Oyenuga – excellent finishing, but needs to work on showing more aggression when battling with defenders. He also seems to be really quite negative (and grumpy!) in the way he talks to his team-mates, and I noticed that he celebrated his hat-trick goal on his own… Compare this to the likes of Byrne and Butler who are constantly shouting advice, praise and constructive criticism. 8/10

O’Neill – showed some reasonable touches, but also missed a one-on-one and had a bit of a naughty “coming together” with an MK Dons player.


Blackwood – keen to get forward, and untested defensively.

Pritchard – showed signs of promise, although he’s very small. Hit the bar with a good chance.

Overall, it was good to see such an inexperienced side win so convincingly, but MK Dons looked very poor. Strangely (given the scoreline), their goalkeeper Ashley Harrison looked their best player, claiming corners well, and also shot-stopping on a number of occasions.

Worth mentioning the referee at this point. He was very fair with the players, giving them plenty of warning and often shouting “keep it clean” when it looked like a tackle was about to come in. At one point it looked like he could lose control, but generally he did an excelleny job.

Spurs Od report.

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November 2, 2009

Two Halves newspaper

I’ve just got a pdf copy of the Two Halves newspaper that was handed out prior to the NLD on Saturday: Spurs half, Arsenal half.

Enjoy!

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