May 12, 2015
This weekend saw Tottenham Hotspur Under-18s lose their final league game of the season – 3-2 to Aston Villa.
This means that, despite doing well in the group stage of the competition (finishing second in the South Group behind Chelsea, and going into Group 1 for the Final Stage), we will finish seventh or eighth out of eight in the Final Stage. Spurs, like several other sides, have changed their team for the Final Stage. A number of Under-18 players have been promoted to the Under-21 set-up, meaning that gaps have been filled by some Under-16 players. Having said that, the use of Under-16 players has been somewhat restricted by upcoming GCSE exams, meaning that there has been some rotation of players.
Now that the league season is over, the Under-18s will be embarking on two tournaments:
14-17 May, 36th International Terborg Toernooi, Netherlands.
21-25 May, Volksbank Cup – Stemwede, Germany.
The Under-18s have participated in a number of other tournaments throughout the season:
August: Eurofoot, Belgium. We finished fourth, and Tom Glover followed in Luke McGee’s footsteps by being named ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’.
September: Under-18 Champions Cup, held at Hotspur Way in, 2014. Kyle Walker-Peters won ‘Player of the Tournament’.
April: Torneo Internazionale – Bellinzona, Switzerland. We failed to qualify for the knock-out stage after dominating possession but failing to convert chances across all three games.
And, of course, we went out at the semi-final stage of the Youth Cup after a fantastic two-legged match against Chelsea.
Ismail Azzaoui and Marcus Edwards have been playing in the UEFA Under-17 Championships in Bulgaria this week, for Belgium and England respectively.
Azzaoui hit the post in a 2-0 defeat to Germany on Wednesday and then scored twice (one pen) for against Czech Republic Under-17s on Saturday afternoon. He played the whole of their 1-0 win over Slovenia on Tuesday to secure their place in the quarter-finals.
Edwards came off the bench to score England’s winning goal in their 1-0 triumph over Italy on Thursday, and then played 62 minutes in a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
On the subject of Spurs youth, I was asked a few questions by Twitter user (and all round nice guy), David Fouser (@journeymanhisto) and I thought my answers might be of interest to others.
David: Can you comment on the success of our loan placements this year? For example, Pritchard clearly had a great opportunity, but others have not.
There have been two outstanding loan moves this season, not including Dele Alli’s loan back to MK Dons. Alex Pritchard has stood out in a talented Brentford side under a manager, Mark Warburton, who knew him well and trusted him. Pritchard has been able to play in the centre of a 4-1-4-1, occasionally getting pushed wide on the left. He finished the season with 12 goals and 7 assists from 45 appearances, an impressive achievement. He won the Players’ Player of the Year, and finished as a runner-up in Supporters’ Player (which went to Toumani Diagouraga).
The other outstanding loan move was Grant Ward at Coventry City. Grant went to Chicago Fire as a right-sided midfielder who could also play at full-back. He has returned as a central midfielder, and he played every available minute for Coventry in that role, impressing their fans greatly.
Ryan Fredericks had some high points at Middlesbrough but the last few weeks of the season were blighted by injury. Dominic Ball had his first taste of league football at Cambridge United, where he eventually nailed down a starting role. However, it was at right-back – not really his position. Still, that move has to be seen as somewhat of a success. Likewise, Nathan Oduwa got some playing time at Luton Town, though he might have hoped for more.
Edit: inspired by an excellent point from ‘Mickster’ in the comments on this article, Nathan Oduwa’s recent interview illustrates clearly that it’s not all about playing time.
David: Sherwood arranged our loans before, right? Who’s job is this now – Paul Mitchell?
I believe that this was a part of Sherwood’s role as ‘Technical Co-ordinator’, although his exact role was always a bit of a mystery. I would imagine that this role is shared between various parties, and it must help having Ugo Ehiogu as Under-21 coach – he is someone who will no doubt have a network of contacts built up over a lengthy playing career, and this will help when it comes to arranging loans.
David: Do we know much about Pochettino’s and Mitchell’s history vis-a-vis loans and academy development. If they prefer one over the other?
In four years at Espanyol, Pochettino gave debuts to 23 players from their academy; a remarkable figure. At Southampton he built on that reputation, and the fact that he instantly took a shine to Ryan Mason on arrival with us was no great surprise.
I have no knowledge as to his attitude on loans vs Under-21 development, but we did send a lot of players out in January. That said, two players that have had first-team involvement – Harry Winks and Josh Onomah – did stay ‘in-house’, which could be telling.
David: Who’s the next Harry Kane?
We have some real talent ready to burst onto the scene. Central midfielders Winks and Onomah are close to the first-team now, and Kyle Walker-Peters is a fantastic talent at right-back. Cameron Carter-Vickers has been called up to the United States Under-20 squad recently – he is the youngest player in the squad at 17. There are three or four others who could easily become first team squad regulars, not least Milos Veljkovic, who I saw as on a par with Nabil Bentaleb when they were playing together in the Under-21s.
Predicting who will be the next Kane is tough, but I can see Veljkovic making a positive impact next season, if trusted. He can play in defensive midfield or at centre-back. He was sent out on loan to Charlton Athletic in January – personally I was hoping that he would stay with us and see some playing time as a defensive midfielder.
Thanks for the questions, David, I hope that’s been of interest!
April 1, 2015
Our U18s are participating in ‘Torneo Internazionale U18 Bellinzona’ in Switzerland over the next few days. It’s a competition we’re familiar with – we actually won it in 2009. There were some familiar faces in the team that won the final against Sporting: Jansson, Smith, Nicholson (Ekim, 55), Cox, Butcher, Caulker, Byrne, Parrett, Oyenuga, Mason, Kasim (Kane, 65).
We are in Group A with Atletico Madrid (Spain), Team Ticino (Switzerland – a local team) and Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia).
Our schedule is as follows (local times shown):
Atletico Madrid – Thursday, 19:00
Team Ticino – Friday, 19:00
Lokomotiv Moscow – Saturday, 14:00
Group B consists of:
Inter Milan (Italy)
FC Midtjylland (Denmark)
SK Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)
Club Tijuana (Mexico)
We are taking an 18-man squad and are allowed to include three overage players. Matches are 60 minutes until the final, which is 80 minutes.
The official tournament website lists the following players, although there are 22 names, which contradicts with the 18-man squad mentioned on our official site. Given that Pritchard has been injured for most of the season, and Sonupe is on loan at St Mirren, I would guess that neither would be involved. Georgiou has also missed several weeks through injury, so he could be another that has not actually travelled.
We’ve participated in many tournaments over the years and I tried a while ago to create a list – I’m sure this isn’t even close to compete, but it shows how far the Academy go to ensure our young players get every opportunity possible to test themselves against other types of teams.
January: Viareggio – Tuscany, Italy.
January: Nutifood Cup – Vietnam.
February: Riga Cup (U16) – Latvia.
April: Spartak Cup (U17) – Moscow, Russia..
April: Torneo Internazionale – Bellizona, Switzerland.
April: Champions Trophy – Düsseldorf, Germany.
May: Tournoi de Football de Talence – Talence, France.
May: Le Tournoi International de Football de Monthey – Monthey, Switzerland.
May: Terborg Toernooi – Gelderland, Netherlands.
May: Volksbank Cup – Stemwede, Germany.
August: PSV Otten Cup – Eindhoven, Netherlands.
August: Santiago tournament, Spain.
August: Eurofoot – Oostduinkerke, Belgium.
March 10, 2015
I’m getting asked a few times a week (normally when the U21s are about to play!) where DeAdre Yedlin is, so I thought I’d post this so I’ve got something to refer to when I’m telling people I don’t know where he is!
DeAndre made his debut for Spurs U21s in the 3-1 win against West Ham on 9th January. He played an hour at right-back in that match.
After the match Ugo Ehiogu said: “I thought it was quite tough for him today… the wind… he won’t be used to that. The pitch, although it looks flat, is quite bobbly and it took him a little while to come to terms with that. No injuries; I always say that on my watch. We got him through 60 minutes. Definitely stuff to work on but pleased he’s had a little taste. We’re going to have to give him a reasonable period of time to settle in and get used to everything and then you’ll see the real reason why the club signed him.”
Here’s the interview. He didn’t exactly sound enthused with the performance, but he also acknowledged that it’ll take time for him to adjust.
On 25th January, DeAndre went back to the US for friendlies against Chile and Panama (match against Panama was in California on Sunday, February 8). Details.
Spurs said: “DeAndre started the game at right-back, but was forced off through injury 18 minutes from time.” They didn’t give any further detail.
In terms of U21 football, he missed the 0-0 vs Leicester on 26th January as he was away on international duty. He was presumably back in time for the following two matches – the 0-0 draw with Southampton on the 23rd February and the 4-0 win against Everton on the 2nd March.
We play Manchester United U21s tonight and Yedlin is not in the squad for the match.
It is assumed that he is considered part of the first team squad, and so would not be included in Under-21 matches.
March 5, 2015
Tom Glover (17)
Kyle Walker-Peters (17) Cameron Carter-Vickers (17) Christian Maghoma (17) Anton Walkes (18)
Charlie Owens (17) Luke Amos (18)
Zenon Stylianides (17) Josh Onomah (c) (17) Ismail Azzaoui (17)
Shayon Harrison (17)
Kazaiah Sterling (16) for Charlie Owens.
Marcus Edwards (16) for Ismail Azzaoui.
Joe Muscatt (17)
Alfie Whiteman (16)
Armani Daly (17)
I was unable to attend this match, but fortunately ITV4 broadcast the tie.
Spurs were without goalkeeper Harry Voss as well as winger Anthony Georgiou (who was missing through injury) and had to make changes to the line-up from the previous round.
Australian Tom Glover started in goal and Charlie Owens came into the centre of midfield after a string of good performances. Zenon Stylianides played on the right, with Josh Onomah behind Shayon Harrison.
Spurs kicked off and immediately Luke Amos got Kyle Walker-Peters free down the right, but Chelsea’s left back did well to get himself between man and ball and draw the foul.
Charlie Owens picked out Shayon Harrison for the first chance, but his low effort was straight at the goalkeeper, Collins, who saved at the expense of a corner.
At the other end, Tom Glover came out to sweep up as Solanke ran in behind. Solanke was the 2014 England Youth Player of the Year.
Chelsea wanted a penalty when Musonda drove forward and his attempted pass hit Walker-Peters’ arm, but the referee waved away protests. Maghoma then put an end to a Brown run with a strong challenge.
Azzaoui briefly switched over to the right and beat his man easily, before overhitting his cross significantly!
Some expert pressing from Spurs led to Chelsea struggling to play out from the back early on, with Maghoma and Carter-Vickers mopping up long balls well.
Onomah led a charge forward and fed Walkes, but his cross was easily blocked, and Owens was forced to concede a free-kick as Chelsea looked to counter.
“Get in the game, Josh”, McKenna instructed Onomah, as the game went a bit ‘cat and mouse’ as both teams played conservatively during a quiet spell.
Owens went down clutching his ankle, hurting himself in trying to tackle Musonda, who was too quick. He limped off to the touchline gingerly but was soon back on.
Tomori put in a bone-shaking challenge on Onomah, winning the ball but upsetting Josh who gave away a foul in trying to win it back.
Solanke cut in from the left but scuffed his shot well wide, before Dasilva was next to put in a tough challenge, going to ground and winning the ball from Harrison.
Walkes defended well when up against the talented Abraham, not letting him past when cutting in from the right.
Aina darted down Chelsea’s right and whipped across a fine cross which Abraham couldn’t get to on the stretch.
Azzaoui picked out Walker-Peters with a lovely low pass. He charged down the right and fed in a cross, but it was cleared relatively easily, with Harrison then unable to get on the end of an Amos ball.
Spurs went 1-0 up on 40 minutes. Onomah lost possession but won it back when a clearance ricocheted kindly into his path. He took a couple of strides forward and powered a low shot which crept under the Chelsea goalkeeper, Collins, who was clearly at fault.
Walker-Peters made a superb saving challenge on 44 minutes – the ball bobbled through to Solanke, but Walker-Peters came round on the cover to rescue Spurs.
Chelsea switched to a back four at the start of the second half, and immediately got on the front foot as a cross was cleared by Walkes straight onto Solanke but wide.
Azzaoui got into a great position on the left channel after a Stylianides pass, but he attempted a difficult ball to Harrison and it was intercepted.
Carter-Vickers did brilliantly to force Solanke wide after he’d beaten Mahoma, and when Solanke passed back to Brown, we got bodies around him.
On 55 minutes, Chelsea replaced Kyle Scott with Kasey Palmer. Spurs responded by replacing Owens with Kazaiah Sterling on 57 minutes. Sterling is still an Under-16 and had been at school today. He went up top with Harrison moving to the right. Stylianides dropped into midfield.
Almost immediately after the substitution, Glover saved well from a Solanke snapshot after Brown crossed well. The ball came back off Carter-Vickers before Glover pounced on it again. In crossing the ball, Brown was propelled over the advertising hoardings and took a nasty tumble. It wasn’t long before Brown limped off, replaced by Boga.
Onomah won a free kick on the left which was taken by Stylianides. His kick was nicely shaped into the near post, but Palmer got to it before Sterling, heading it up on the air, before Maghoma put the second ball well wide.
There was a big penalty appeal for Spurs, as Sterling was sent tumbling having been set through by a lovely scooped pass by Onomah.
Marcus Edwards replaced Ismail Azaoui on 74 minutes. He headed to the right with Harrison moving back to the centre and Sterling went out to the left.
Luke Amos picked up a yellow card for a late tackle on Kasey Palmer and hurt himself in the process.
Sterling and Edwards linked well to set Walker-Peters through on the right, but his cross was a little behind the intended target, Harrison, and two Chelsea defenders got in the way.
Spurs had another opportunity to break, but Edwards took a few touches too many and was dispossessed easily this time.
With ten minutes to go Carter-Vickers and then Glover defended superbly as Dasilva put in a couple of cross-shots, as Chelsea started to turn the screw. Glover’s low reflex save was impressive given how little he had had to do throughout the match.
Luke Amos showed fine composure once again in the middle of the pitch as Spurs tried to bring an element of calm back into the game.
Onomah found Harrison with a fine first time pass. He held onto the ball and intelligently won a free kick which was taken quickly. Edwards tried to work a yard in the box but was crowded out.
Walker-Peters put in a fantastic cross towards Sterling which was well defended by Aina in the six-yard box. That came after a lovely run and pass from Harrison.
Spurs made it 2-0 when Walkes dispossessed his man in midfield, the loose ball fell to Harrison who strode forward and timed his pass to Sterling who finished superbly with the outside of his right foot.
Then, Stylianides’ free-kick should have been cleared at the near post, but Colkett awkwardly hacked it behind for a corner, which Colkett cleared.
Carter-Vickers made a fine clearing header as Chelsea threatened on the counter, before Stylianides showed a burst of pace in midfield to win a free kick.
For Chelsea’s last clear cut chance, Boga ghosted into the box but kicked thin air as Carter-Vickers slid in.
Glover was glad to grasp a bouncing ball after he made a mess of his punch from a long throw-in, and it was all over minutes later – the whistle going as Harrison looked to break through having held the ball up well.
Glover 7 – didn’t have a great deal to do, and made a good reflex stop late on.
Walker-Peters 9 – a fantastic attacking first half performance and a solid defensive performance in the second. I say it all the time, but his balance is phenomenal.
Maghoma 7 – very solid performance from Christian, who also used the ball sensibly.
Carter-Vickers 9 – utterly dominant display with some fantastic positioning and also plenty of bravery.
Walkes 7 – did superbly for the second goal and was resolute throughout.
Amos 8 – another very tidy game in the middle of midfield. Disciplined, selfless, hard-working.
Owens 7 – some nice passing, a few tackles and got through plenty of work.
Stylianides 7 – not in his best position for some of the evening but gave a good account of himself.
Onomah 8 – after a relatively quiet first half, he came into his own in the second and showed his great close control and strength when breaking from midfield.
Azzaoui 6 – a quiet performance from one of our Youth Cup stars.
Harrison 7 – worked hard in two different roles, and timed his pass perfectly for Sterling’s goal.
Sterling – took his goal wonderfully and might have had a penalty too. He had been at school all day!
Edwards – made one lovely pass on the counter and made the wrong decision on another counter moments later.
January 25, 2015
Tom Glover (16)
Chris Paul (17) Luke Amos (17) Anton Walkes (17) Lloyd Ross (18)
Zenon Stylianides (17) Charlie Owens (17) (c)
Armani Daly (17) Marcus Edwards (16) Kazaiah Sterling (16)
Ryan Loft (17)
Anthony Georgiou (17) for Lloyd Ross, 62.
Shayon Harrison (17) for Ryan Loft, 62.
Cy Goddard (17) for Armani Daly, 70.
Tom McDermott (16)
Firstly, apologies for a slightly more brief report this time around. It was a very cold afternoon and I forgot my gloves – as a result, I can barely read my notes, and there are far less of them too! Secondly, to put this match into a bit of context: we were playing the second-placed team (before this match they were two points ahead of us having played two more games) and we were playing our second match in less than 48 hours. We made nine changes from the side that beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 in the FA Youth Cup, with just Anton Walkes and Luke Amos keeping their places.
Walkes and Amos – both of whom turn 18 in February – made up the most experienced element of the team, whilst Marcus Edwards (making his first start) and Kazaiah Sterling (making his second start) were promoted from the Under-16s.
We set up with a back four made up of four central midfielders, although Anton Walkes seems to now play at centre-back more than anywhere else, so perhaps it’s sensible to start thinking of that as his main position. Amos, Lloyd Ross and Chris Paul had all filled in in these positions before, but the full-backs did struggle pretty much throughout this match.
Former Spur Kodi Lyons-Foster was playing at centre-back for Villa, who had a front pairing of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Harry McKirdy – both of whom have consistently scored goals throughout the season so far. England Under-16 winger Andre Green lined up on the left with Swedish 16-year old Moustafa Zeidan on the right.
Spurs started off kicking into the strong wind and it was immediately clear that Villa’s game plan was to press high and trap us inside our ownhalf. The away side won two early corners – Tom Glover came to claim the second, but didn’t get near to the ball as the wind the conditions difficult.
Andre Green signalled his intentions after five minutes, beating Chris Paul and putting in a cross which Amos anticipated well and blocked. Spurs went up the other end and got some respite as Loft made the ball stick and went on a dribble which won a corner, but Owens’ kick was cleared. Edwards then showed his ability with some early touches, linking with Loft and feeding Sterling before Villa got on the attack again.
Green beat Paul for a second time, and this time the full-back absolutely scythed him down from behind, drawing a strong response from the Aston Villa bench. The referee did Paul a big favour and resisted the temptation to show a yellow card.
Villa took the lead minutes later – Owens (I think) made a loose pass, McKirdy picked up possession and came forward before getting a shot away. It hit the inside of the post, went back along the line, and seemed to go in off the unfortunate Luke Amos, who had got back onto the line to try to clear. The linesman flagged frantically to confirm that the ball had crossed the line.
Paul did well to chase down a high ball over his shoulder and come away with the ball, but Green came back at him and won it back – fortunately for Paul, Glover came out to smother as Green advanced into the box. A minute later and Green was beating Paul again but Glover got the ball out for a corner. Spurs didn’t organise quickly enough and a short corner created a shooting opportunity far too easily. Glover got down very smartly to save the low, deflected effort, before bellowing out to his team that he had told them about the space that the shot came in from.
Spurs made a rare foray into the Villa half – Stylianides broke forward and picked out Sterling, who used the ball intelligently to find Ross on the left. He fed a cross into Loft at the near post, but it was under-hit and Loft couldn’t come off the near post quickly enough to get to the flight of the ball.
On the other side, Armani Daly beat two men and won a throw, but it was feeling like a real struggle – having to use tricks to wriggle past two just to win a throw pretty much summed up how the first half had gone for Spurs.
25 minutes in Glover saved a stinging shot as Spurs started to get a little foothold and began to restrict Villa better.
Luke Amos went down after a poor challenge from McKirdy; the physio rushed on and there was a brief stoppage. Pretty much as soon as Amos was on, it was 2-0. Walkes’ clearance held up a little in the wind, Lyons-Foster helped it forward, and Hepburn-Murphy broke through between Walkes and Ross with a clear run on goal. Glover came out but perhaps would have been better off staying on his line, as the forward lifted it over his legs and into the unguarded next – an excellent finish.
Spurs had a little injustice 34 minutes in – Edwards got away from his man with some skill and was brought down from behind, but the referee did not even award him a free-kick. A few minutes later and Rory Hale was booked for dragging Daly back by his shirt as he looked to get in down the right.
Hepburn-Murphy made inroads down the right for another effort which won Villa a corner, before Edwards went on a run which opened Villa up. He fed Daly who had a shooting opportunity if he hit it first time, but he cut back – a tee-up for Edwards was on, but he dallied and the defender got a vital foot in.
The second half started with an early booking for Lloyd Ross as he tackled Zeidan but Spurs were far, far better from the off. Sterling beat his man on the outside and put in a left foot cross that was slightly too high for Loft. Loft returned the favour, crossing for Sterling, but this one was just over-hit too.
Stylianides volleyed inches wide from a Ross cross, before another cross towards Loft evaded him slightly on the stretch
Glover was called into action again, making a very good low stop to his right after Hepburn-Murphy had advanced on the left and had a crack.
Captain Charlie Owens made a bit of a mess of a free-kick after Edwards had been fouled, hitting it well over the bar from a decent position.
Spurs replaced Ross and Loft with Harrison and Georgiou – two of the best performers in Thursday night’s cup match – and they had an instant impact. Sterling did well out on the left, Georgiou overlapped from full-back and his cross fell to Stylianides. He found Harrison who turned neatly and finished well with his left foot.
Cy Goddard was introduced for Daly, and he and Edwards schemed away trying to create, but Villa were holding firm.
Edwards somehow kept the ball with the most audacious turn, which saw him on the ground swivelling and leaving defenders in his wake, before teeing up Sterling who himself turned well and got a shot away which right-back Ryan Strain blocked.
Villa had a rare breakaway from which Green fired across goal, but Georgiou was in command and helped it out for a corner.
I had to leave a bit early to get to White Hart Lane, but I’m told that Goddard and Sterling had half-chances but we were unable to get an equaliser.
It was a tough, tough match for what was effectively (at least at this stage in their careers) a second choice eleven, but I felt quite proud of the way that the players battled back in the second half. We beat Villa 1-0 earlier in the season with our first choice team, and I think we would have made it a double had we not had the Youth Cup match this week.
Tom Glover 6 – made some solid saves and was vocal throughout – not an easy day for a keeper with the wind being so strong. I felt he perhaps made the wrong decision for the second goal, but it’s easy to say that in hindsight.
Chris Paul 4 – Andre Green gave Paul an absolutely torrid time in the first half, and had it been a first team match he’d have been walking a tightrope as we would undoubtedly have been booked for an early challenge. Credit to him for coming out and improving as the match went on – he showed a lot of determination and perseverance, and won a few more of his battles.
Luke Amos 7 – despite not being the biggest (he’s tall but slim), Amos filled in admirably, exhibiting his ability to read the game, and putting himself on the line when necessary. His passing out from the back was vital for controlling possession in the second half.
Anton Walkes 7 – a calming presence at the back, but occasionally vulnerable to a ball over the top. Carried the ball out of defence with confidence and won plenty in the air.
Lloyd Ross 5 – he’s not a full-back and never will be, but he stuck to his task relatively well.
Zenon Stylianides 6 – struggled in the first half when we didn’t have the ball, but was good in the second, helping to control possession and break forward when necessary.
Charlie Owens 5 – as with Stylianides he was poor in the first half, but got a lot better as the game went on and as we had more of the ball.
Armani Daly 6 – was often left isolated and so struggled – not through a lack of trying, though. I think had he had a more natural right-back behind him, he’d have had far more success.
Marcus Edwards 7 – my first proper look at the much-hyped midfielder. The ball sticks to him, and he showed some glorious touches too – one in particular where he cushioned a pass first time to a teammate from a firm square ball from Sterling stood out. As he adapts to playing against more physical players he’s going to be a hugely important player in this team.
Kazaiah Sterling 6 – tried hard throughout but didn’t get much change from a good full-back (Liam Hailey). Looking forward to seeing more of him as there’s lots to admire in his game.
Ryan Loft 6 – the first half was very difficult for Loft, but he tried to make the ball stick and had some joy. He looked far better as we started to see more of the ball.
Anthony Georgiou 7 – came on in an unfamiliar left-back role and showed plenty of tenacity and attacking intent.
Shayon Harrison 7 – you can’t ask much more than coming off the bench and scoring!
Cy Goddard – was creative and lively off the bench.