March 1, 2014

Youth/loan update – March 2014

Jake Livermore’s loan at Hull City (Tigers) has to be seen as a huge success. Not only has he made 28 appearances in all competitions (scoring three goals and getting four assists), but Hull want to make the deal permanent.

Livermore implied that the January rumours suggesting that he might return to Spurs were the club playing hardball in an attempt to force Hull’s hand over a permanent deal.

“I spoke to people at both clubs and just stressed that I wanted to stay here and play football.

I think within that, Tottenham allowed me to stay until the end of the season.

I think it was just something to do with Tottenham wanting to push Hull’s arm. With what I said to Tottenham it became apparent it was the best for all three parties for me to stay.

Long term, I love the squad here. I love everything around here.

The gaffer’s great. I like the way we try to play football. It’s a big statement, the players he’s signed. To go and spend that money to bring in that sort of quality, it proves which way he wants the club to go.

For any young player signing, that’s a massive boost.

Personally I still feel like I’ve got a point to prove. I was in and out at Tottenham and it’s not a nice feeling when managers don’t come and talk to you and tell you what you’re doing wrong or why you don’t get the chance you feel you should be given.”

Source: Daily Mail

It did, of course, make sense for Hull to wait to see where they finish before finalising any deal, and I would expect the deal to be concluded in the summer.

Lewis Holtby joined Fulham at the end of the transfer window, after Tim Sherwood allowed him to leave in search of first team football.

“The last thing I want to do is to stop players who I don’t see featuring on a regular basis, and I think he’s a good lad who warrants a start. He’s certainly one that I sanctioned to be able to leave the club.

Has he got a future here? I think he has, yes. It will be great for him now at Fulham to play regular football.”

Source: Tottenham Journal

Holtby’s made four starts, three as a traditional ten, and once on the right in a 4-3-3, grabbing an assist against Manchester United.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto has made 25 appearances under Harry Redknapp at QPR, recently at right-back. He has generally impressed the Rs fans but, as their form dips, some are starting to lose patience – especially judging by this thread. On-pitch arguments with both Charlie Austin and Richard Dunne will have done him no favours, and this comment seems to sum up the sentiment of the QPR fans:

“I thought he was one of our best and most consistent performers earlier in the season, but his performances over the past 4 games have gone from bad to worse.”

Likewise, Tom Carroll’s star seems to be waning somewhat after a positive start. 15 starts in the Championship will certainly have helped build strength, but one wonders how much they will have helped his overall development. One poster on QPR forum Loft For Words seemed to describe his recent performance against Charlton more succinctly than others:

“I think he’s a tidy player and can keep things ticking over nicely in the centre circle, but he’s never going to win you a match.

This is the Championship and your midfielders need to either be able to break up play or drive it forward, I’m just not sure Carroll offers enough of that.

At one point in the second half he picked up the ball and had space in front of him to drive forward, however he ran a little bit and then looked for the sideways pass. It’s not a lack of effort from him that frustrates me, but a lack of ambition to really take a game by the scruff of the neck.

Michael Carrick, who is a somewhat similar player, would have driven at that point, run forward and created. Carroll is happy to show for the ball in areas where he can’t hurt the other team.

With someone like Jenas alongside him he has the ability and option to get forward more but he just doesn’t seem to want to.”

Bongani Khumalo has made an impressive 32 starts in all competitions for Championship side Doncaster Rovers. Now 27 (believe it or not!), Khumalo will surely move on permanently in the summer but, with Doncaster hovering around the relegation zone, perhaps it will not be to them.

Jon Obika joined Brighton & Hove Albion in the January transfer window, and has made one start and seven substitute appearances so far. He scored on his only start – against Port Vale in the FA Cup – but has not impressed the Brighton fans on the whole, with one fan tweeting:

“And is Obika the worst loan signing ever? Total waste of a blue & white shirt.”

Ryan Fredericks has had a strong start to his spell at Millwall, starting seven times and, indeed, scoring on his debut. Fredericks’ goal was a cross which was overhit and went in at the far post, but it has done him no harm, and his performances have led to Millwall extending his loan until the end of the season. Fredericks has spoken of his concerns that reserve football wasn’t offering him enough of a challenge:

“It’s a tough, tough league, but I couldn’t get the experience I’m gaining by playing reserve football at Spurs, even though I was playing with good players.

You never learn until you go out and play competitive football. At Millwall, we set out to win games, take three points and that’s all that matters.

That pressure isn’t quite there in reserve football. I am loving the pressure and I think it’s bringing out the best in me.

I was at the stage where I felt I had learned enough from the coaches at Spurs to put what they’d taught me into practice.

I am picking things up from more experienced players all the time, it is a constant learning process for me. I’ll make mistakes but the key is to learn from them.”

Source: News At Den

Cristian Ceballos had a fantastic weekend last week for Arouca in the Portuguese Premier League, where he got a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win at Braga. The assist was a raking pass from deep, which fell perfectly into the path of his teammate, and the goal was a lovely half volley over the goalkeeper after a neat piece of chest control. He’s made 10 starts and four substitute appearances in all competitions, equating to 869 minutes of football.

Centre-back, Grant Hall, has made 33 appearances for Swindon in all competitions, but has been absent since mid-January after being stretchered off with a calf injury. Hall has mostly played as a traditional centre-back, but was also used as an emergency left-back on occasions. I’m told that he can be a little slow, and would benefit from playing alongside a quicker partner who can compensate for this. He hasn’t excelled, and I would expect for him to be released or sold to a League One club in the summer.

Alex Pritchard has come to the fore for Swindon over the past three months. He has shown a good work ethic, and scored some important goals, including some fairly spectacular strikes – this free kick included. He has now made 36 appearances in total, managing to score seven goals and get eight assists. There were lots of rumours in January that he would be sold if Spurs got an offer in the region of £1m, and Swindon’s manager, Mark Cooper, revealed that “there was quite a bit of interest from Championship clubs earlier in January and fees spoken about with Tottenham.” I would suggest that were we to receive offers in that region in the summer, Pritchard might move on.

Ryan Mason has had yet another injury hit season. He has amassed 22 appearances across the season – approaching his career best (29) – but it most be so frustrating for the player. Mark Cooper recently spoke of Mason’s talents, suggesting that he could be in the Spurs first team were it not for injuries:

“The kid deserves a period of injury-free time so he can show how good he is on a football pitch instead of worrying about where his next one is coming from.

He’s been really unlucky. He’s had his injuries and they’ve stopped him. I think if he hadn’t been injured he’d be playing in Tottenham’s first team now. He’s that good technically.

I know Tim [Sherwood] rates him really highly and if he hadn’t have had these injuries he could be in their first team. If we can get him ready and right for 15 games we’ve got a hell of a player on our hands.

He’s still a young lad, he’s got plenty of time and seasons and I’m sure that somewhere along the line he’ll have an injury-free spell where he can really show his amazing talent.”

Tomislav Gomelt has managed just three appearances totalling 95 minutes for Royal Antwerp in the Belgian Second Division. This has been partly due to injury, and partly due to not being able to force his way into the side.

Iago Falque has made 15 appearances (13 starts) for Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, scoring twice. In early February he had an extraordinary performance against Malaga, where he scored two goal of the season contenders in a 4-1 win. You can watch the goals on Inside Spanish Football.

Simon Dawkins joined Derby County permanently for an undisclosed fee in the January transfer window. I’m pleased that his rather unusual career path has finally landed him a permanent contract at a club where he will get regular games – although he’s recently found himself on the bench.

Adam Smith returned from Derby County after his loan was cancelled by mutual consent. It wasn’t an easy time for Smith – he was signed by Nigel Clough, who was later replaced by Steve McLaren. McLaren brought in Andre Wisdom from Liverpool who became first choice. However, Smith got a permanent move to Bournemouth in the January transfer window – a good move for him, although as yet he’s yet to come off the bench.

Shaquile Coulthirst’s loan at Leyton Orient in League One lasted for just one month, but he did make a couple of substitute appearances, scoring once. Orient signed the experienced Chris Dagnall, who was always going to get more games so it made sense for Coulthirst to return.

Lawrence Vigouroux made 11 starts for Hyde in the Conference National – a move which will have done him no harm at all. If he’s kept on for next season, he will be looking to progress to League Two football.

Laste Dombaxe briefly joined Bolton Wanderers on a work-experience loan, where he was able to play for their Under-21 team. This was thought to be with a view to a full loan move, but that move never materialised, so we’ll have to assume that he didn’t do enough to impress.

Grant Ward has been on trial with Chicago Fire in the MLS. His 2-week trial was a success and their manager, Frank Yallop, who was previously at San Jose Earthquakes, where Simon Dawkins was on loan, seems very positive about securing a deal for Ward:

“He had a wonderful two weeks with us. We’d love to be able to keep him, but it’s obviously up to Tottenham. We have a great relationship with them. I feel like we can get that done, but at the same time, you never know.

Grant’s very committed to coming back and working this out. He’s done well enough that we’re in that spot. We’ll see how it goes. I won’t put a percentage on it, but I’m hoping that it works out and we have Grant available for us because he’s a good young player.

We’re hoping to get it done now. I’ve seen enough of Grant. I saw him when I was in England, watching him in training and playing games. I saw enough of him to prove that he can come over here and really excel.

For us, hopefully we can get a deal done with Tottenham. Again, I don’t know what we’re thinking over there, but I have a good relationship, and in the end, I hope we can get it done.”

Source: MLSsoccer.com

Roman Michael-Percil and Darren McQueen have both played on trial for Ipswich Under-21s. There is no confirmation as yet whether these trials are with a view to loan moves, or whether both players have been told that they will not be kept on at Spurs.

There are a number of young players who are out of contract at the end of the season: Jonathan Miles, Kevin Stewart, Milos Veljkovic, Alex McQueen, Cristian Ceballos, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Grant Ward, Jon Obika, and Cameron Lancaster.

The contract situations of the following other young players are unclear: Lawrence Vigouroux, Roman Michael-Percil, Laste Dombaxe, Kenneth McEvoy, Tomislav Gomelt, Darren McQueen, Dominic Ball, Ruben Lameiras, Shaquile Coulthirst, and Souleymane Coulibaly (source: Spurs Player Contracts).

My gut instinct is that at least half of these players will be released – along with some of the second year Academy players – but that the likes of Veljkovic, Ceballos and McEvoy will get contract extensions.

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  • Koko61 says:

    good to see someone like you Windy is researching our development players.
    Feel sad for young Carroll, as I thought he will be like the next Modric for us. Few games that I did see him play life for us, I felt that he had good vision for a killer pass to open up a game.
    Ryan Mason is another one I had high hopes for and sad to hear he is held back because of niggling injuries .

  • Paul King says:

    Good read Windy, thanks for the write up.

  • Alaric says:

    Thanks for the thorough, update Windy.

    I’m pleased for Jake, always liked him, but I don’t think he’ll make our midfield now. I’m glad if he has found a club that suit him and hope we get a good fee for him. I still remember him having a great game against Everton the season before last.

    Sorry to hear Carroll may have hit a wall. I thought he had looked good in the opportunities he got last season

  • bonse says:

    Sounds like Carrol’s problem is the league he’s in, wasn’t that specific problem raised at the end of last season at the loan review? I’m sure I remember something along those lines.

    Hope something happens for Mason everytime he played in Europa he looked a step up form the other lads in the youth setup.

    Not sure about Dawkins, he seemed happy in America and America seemed happy with him, dunno why we didn’t just let them have him rather than drag him back for a year and not do anything with him.

    Shame about Khumalo, he looked that absolute blx in the tournament all those years ago, similarly Falque, he was the only guy on the team that could comfortably link up with Dos Santos, which shows how long his career has stuttered.

    I hope Mason, Carroll and Holtby don’t have similar career deteriation.

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