November 28, 2013

Spurs youngsters to make debuts this evening?

Will we see some Spurs youngsters making debuts this evening. As you may know, we have a few young professionals in the Europa League squad:

Archer
Miles
Fryers
Fredericks
Stewart
Dombaxe
McEvoy
Kane
Coulthirst

Some of these were only added to the squad in the last week – Miles, Fredericks, McEvoy and Coulthirst.

Harry Kane has a back injury, and Kevin Stewart hasn’t travelled, but we know that Coulthirst, McEvoy, Dombaxe, Fredericks and Miles are in Norway. I would presume that Archer and Fryers are also there.

Nabil Bentaleb, who is training with the first team squad regularly, is unfortunately unable to be included as a List B player as he’s not been at the club long enough.

In case you are unaware of those players likely to be in the match-day squad, here’s a line on each:

Jon Miles – 20-year old goalkeeper who started two games on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge on loan last year. You may recognise him from some of the Spurs TV online videos.

Laste Dombaxe – an 18-year old central midfielder from Angola. Came into the Under-18 side very early (at just 15), and has progressed to the Under-21s since then. A midfielder who is a good all-rounder – has a decent short-passing game, but good defensively too.

Kenny McEvoy – 19-year old winger, who mostly plays on the right. Good pace, decent delivery, and a goal threat too.

Shaq Coulthirst – 19-year old forward, who often plays on the left, cutting in and using his right foot. A tenacious player with a bit of a spring in his step – puts defenders under pressure, and knows where the goal is.

It would be excellent to finally see some of the younger players getting an opportunity – even if it’s just being included on the bench, it can really motivate our youngsters to want to get back there again.

I’ve personally been a little disappointed with the lack of opportunities for young players on the whole. Some would argue that the involvement of Rose, Fryers, and Kane shows a willingness to play them, but I personally take issue with:

– Not using Kane more after he made an impact against Cardiff City in the league, and Aston Villa/Hull City in the League Cup.
– Sending Carroll on loan when we really lack a passer in deep midfield – I personally think that just the occasional few minutes at the end of last season could have seen him fully integrated by now. And even without that, he could have been a useful impact sub (at least) this season.
– Selling Luongo. A decision I think we’ll regret at some point.

Levy fought so hard to have an extra two substitute spots added, citing the option of involving young players as one of the reasons… yet we hardly ever have youngsters on the bench.

The Under-18s are going along pretty nicely, but the Under-21s league is a shambles, not helped by the lack of NextGen Series (at least partly thanks to the UEFA Youth League, I think). Our Under-21s have not played an official match in November. In fact, they’ve not played a competitive fixture since 21st October (one was scheduled but postponed).

The development squad play infrequent friendlies (apparently McEvoy impressed in one last week), but the issues are:

That the matches aren’t regular enough.
That means that scouts don’t get to see the players often.
It also means that players lack match sharpness.
Which means that scouts don’t get to see them at their best when they do see them.
Culminating in a lack of loan opportunities for our 3rd year scholars/trainees – and there are plenty of them.

I think the big emphasis on nurturing youngsters is paying off to an extent. We made great money on Caulker, and of course we got £400k (+ a sell-on clause) for Luongo. We’ve also got Townsend who is now worth a considerable amount of money, Livermore who we could sell for upwards of £4m in Jan should we want to, as well as Kane and Carroll who are turning heads. Bentaleb’s probably next in line, with Veljkovic hopefully not far behind. But obviously we need to be aiming to bring through first team players rather than bringing them through to sell them; that has to be the ideal.

For me we have so much talent bubbling under the surface that we could be doing even more. I look at Ryan Mason and I look at players like James McCarthy at Everton or Tom Cleverley at United, and I don’t see much difference. For me, if Mason had been given a few opportunities earlier in his career he’d be an established squad member by now. He’s a real talent. Injury prone, but a real talent. Check out what a Swindon fan thinks of he, Pritchard and Hall.

Good luck to our youngsters this evening.

As an aside, the Emergency Loan window closes for Football League clubs at 5pm today, so there is a chance that we could see young players leaving on loan.

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  • SP says:

    Good write up, and I agree with most of what you say – especially about Tom Carroll (who I seem to have been raving about for years). Providing the type of through balls Soldado is crying out for is a role he was made for.
    But I do slightly disagree on one thing and have a question:
    Firstly, I am not sure that you should be categorising success, in terms of youth product, either by selling players or in producing players for the team/squad. I think it should be a bit of both. Team squad players and making money from the ones we don’t keep, would be the ideal. Maybe you meant that and it just doesn’t read like it.
    Secondly, you mention that we have a sell-on clause for Luongo (and I, too, was surprised we sold him). I have asked this for a while, nice to have it confirmed. But what I have asked and got no answer to is, do we have a buy-back clause? If DL is getting all of these ideas from Real, surely that is an idea he should have picked up on.

    • WindyCOYS says:

      I was basically saying what you’ve said there – yes. I probably didn’t explain myself well! Overall aim is to develop PL players for us, but as soon as it becomes clear that they aren’t quite there, best to sell for good of player and balance sheet.

    • WindyCOYS says:

      On Luongo – apparently no buy-back clause, sadly.

  • bonse says:

    With you on Mason, was very impressed with what i saw of him, even if it was largely an understudy to townsend in the europa league a couple years ago, always felt he had slightly better awareness than Townsend but can see that his injuries are a concern.

    Anyway, one thing i do hope is that we dont see a return of dumping 11 kids into a game no one cares about a la Rednapp’s youth policy, win or lose it doesnt help anyone, they need to be integrated two or three at a time, no more. You learn more from playing with good players than playing against them.

    • WindyCOYS says:

      Mason’s awareness is top class, he’d be a great option as a 10 for us by now if he’d been integrated sooner.

      Agree on second point – desperately wanted the three youngsters to come off bench into otherwise strong team in midweek.

  • Tom says:

    I actually think AVB would be under a lot less pressure now had more of our youngsters been integrated.
    Look at Brenton Rodgers last year – playing the kids got the fans off his back whilst he was integrating the system but not getting results on the pitch.
    That said, the Lane’s general reaction/opinion of Livermore goes to show that perhaps there’s not many fans who actually care about developing our own players.

    On a separate note, the two or three times I’ve seen Veljkovic he’s looked very assured and gets good reviews from those in the know. Part of me therefore thinks that intergrating him in early, ahead of someone like Stewart, who might be a bit better now but less of a prospect, makes sense.

    Windy, or anyone else in the know – do you believe AVB views Fryers as genuine long term left back cover or is his role in the squad more down to lack of alternatives?

    • WindyCOYS says:

      I totally agree, it buys you time.

      Veljkovic is fantastic, a real talent. Can’t wait to see him break through!

      I can’t see Fryers as a long-term option, can you? For me, he’s just not quite good enough and I was surprised when we signed him – I’d never been overly impressed when I’d seen him for United.

      • bonse says:

        As a rule of thumb the other positions seem to have a player, a player to cover and pressure, a player from another position that can cover and a youth so imagine Walker, Naughton, Kaboul, Smith for example. on the left however we have Rose, No-one, Vertonghen, Fryers, and because of injury and absence he looks closer to the first team than he actually is. If Fryers has a fault it’s that he has found himself in this position and (seemingly) not taken advantage of it.

      • WindyCOYS says:

        Well said. He’s not done anything wrong as such, Fryers, but nor has he done especially well.

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