November 28, 2013
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:
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.