March 1, 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.”
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.
February 15, 2014
Harry Voss (17)
Kane Vincent-Young (17) Cameron Carter-Vickers (16) Connor Ogilvie (18) Joe Pritchard (17)
Harry Winks (c) (18) Filip Lesniak (17) Will Miller (17)
Emmanuel Sonupe (17) Daniel Akindayini (18) Nathan Oduwa (17)
Anthony Georgiou (16) for Emmanuel Sonupe, 71.
Lloyd Ross (17) for Will Miller, 75.
Anton Walkes (17) Harry Winks, 75.
Liam Priestley (18)
Spurs were not far off full-strength for this match against the team second from bottom in the South group of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League. We were missing Joshua Onomah, Kyle Walker-Peters, Luke McGee and Christian Maghoma from the first choice XI. Lesniak played as the deepest midfield player, with Winks and Miller given more license to push forward – much like the formation that the first team played against Newcastle.
Leicester lined up in a 4-2-3-1, with the very tall Elliott Moore in the middle of midfield, and wingers Kyle Bailey and Andre Olukanmi supporting lanky forward, Simone Stankevicius. Danny Rowe, who scored the opener in the reverse fixture, schemed behind the striker.
The conditions for this match were exceptionally difficult – the wind was strong throughout, with occasional bursts of driving rain. The pitch was in good condition considering the amount of rainfall, and remained as such for the whole game.
The match started in what might have been a frenetic fashion, were it not for the regular whistle blows from the referee. Both teams were keen to establish themselves, but it was stop-start from the off due to some overzealous officiating.
John McDermott shouted ‘higher’ from the stands early on, presumably urging his defence to push forward and for the midfield to follow suit by pressing further up the pitch – a key tactic implemented by Spurs at this level.
The first action of note saw Ogilvie carry the ball forward and find Winks with a crisp pass. He played first time to Miller, but Akindayini got in Miller’s way and the momentum was lost.
Both teams were guilty of giving the ball away in the opening few minutes as they sized one another up. Spurs did manage to finally get the ball out wide to Sonupe in space, but his cross was over hit and cleared. The first shot of the game came from Harry Winks, but it was a somewhat tame effort from the edge of the box.
The referee spoke to Moore after a poor challenge on Lesniak in the middle of midfield. Leicester launched an attack down their left, but Carter-Vickers read the danger and beat Olukanmi to the ball. Not only that, but the strong centre-back held the winger off with ease, and played out from the back – immediately making himself available to receive the ball back in space. A little cameo showing what Carter-Vickers is all about.
Winks played a lovely ball into Sonupe but left-back Ben Chilwell did excellently and Sonupe couldn’t get round him. It was notable though, that Spurs’ high energy pressing – led by Akindayini from the front – was forcing Leicester to rush their passing and surrender possession.
An Ogilvie clearance was blocked and looped up – it seemed to land perfectly into the path of Bailey, but his touch was heavy and the chance was lost. Then Elliott Moore was late on Lesniak again, and the referee showed him a yellow card this time.
Nathan Oduwa ghosted past Dylan Casey at right-back, before cutting a cross back to Akindayini; he was unable to turn on it in a crowded area, though, and after he passed back out the opportunity was gone.
Oduwa picked the ball up on the left again, and this time ran across the edge of the box. He back-heeled perfectly into the path of Winks, whose sweetly struck effort was blocked by a defender.
Some good link-up between Kane Vincent-Young and Emmanuel Sonupe saw Sonupe win a corner which Winks took. Ogilvie came off his man at the near post and met the kick with a right-footed effort which the goalkeeper saved relatively comfortably on the line.
Akindayini managed to bring a ball down, turn, and get down the right, but his drilled cut-back wasn’t quite precise enough and was hacked clear.
Having struggled to make inroads at all, Leicester hit the woodwork twice in quick succession. First, Bailey ran clear on the counter and picked out a perfect cross which Stankevicius cushioned first time onto the post. Then, a free-kick form Chilwell was caught by the wind and changed direction almost at a right angle. Voss was back-pedalling but fortunately the ball came back off the bar.
The referee failed to show a yellow card for Sonupe when he ran the ball out for a throw and showed his frustration by booting it back towards his own goal.
A weak Voss kick caused us problems, but Lesniak dropped into centre-back and nicked the ball, shepherding it away from danger and playing out from the back.
Miller then got Sonupe in down the right but he couldn’t beat Moore, who tracked back responsibly and showed good strength.
Vincent-Young was penalised for a foul throw, which the referee followed up by offering advice on how to throw the ball.
Sonupe won another corner (taken by Winks) which Ogilvie attacked again at the near post; this time his header was just over the angle.
At the other end, Carter-Vickers’ excellent positioning resulted in a vital interception after an industrious run from Rowe.
Winks showed quick feet to beat a man in deep midfield which drew some cheers, before Sonupe nutmegged Chilwell on the right.
Spurs took the lead on 40 minutes after Oduwa and Sonupe had switched wings. Sonupe had struggled to beat Chilwell, and Oduwa was quite lucky to do so too – initially it seemed like Chilwell had done well to stop his mazy run, but the ball squirmed past the defender and the ever-tricky Oduwa did really well to pick out Akindayini to slot home.
There was a little more action before half-time – first, Oduwa took on three men on the right and won a corner. This time Ogilvie made a dart to the back-post, with Carter-Vickers coming to the near, but he fouled his man as Winks’ kick came in. Then, at the other end, Voss palmed a Leicester corner away before Carter-Vickers blocked a firmly struck shot from Bailey and then also cleared the resultant corner kick.
The second half started well for Spurs. Inside a minute, Bailey sold midfielder Matt Miles short with a pass – Oduwa nipped in and charged forward. He waited until the perfect moment before finding Akindayini who had the simple task of tapping home for 2-0.
Spurs slowed the game down a bit and took control, playing some nice football. Winks found Sonupe, who flicked on first time for Vincent-Young. His persistence got him into a crossing position, but his cross-cum-shot flew wide – it was always moving away from goal.
Stankevicius was put through on the hour, but his shot went well over the bar and, shortly afterwards, Ogilvie made a solid block from Rowe’s effort. The ball looped up, and Voss fumbled it, but Spurs managed to clear the loose ball.
Miller had a fairly quiet first half, but was far more lively in the second. He was playing some nice pass and move football, and a move that he instigated resulted in his own shot being dragged just wide from the edge of the box. Miller then played a delightful pass in behind for Sonupe but Akindayini mis-controlled his cut back and a defender came across and saw him off.
Akindayini had the first of four opportunities to complete his hat-trick when Miller – at the heart of everything now – slipped him in, but he weakly hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper, Sharpe.
Winks was booked for a foul on halfway, before Leicester City brought on Chris Dusabe for Stankevicius.
Ogilvie’s shot after a fine run caught the wind and gave Sharpe a few issues, before Spurs made their own change – with Georgiou coming on for Sonupe, and Oduwa switching over to the left.
Miller couldn’t quite angle Oduwa’s cross goalwards, before both he and Winks came off to be replaced by Anton Walkes and Lloyd Ross.
Spurs sealed the win when Georgiou slid a pass into the advancing Ogilvie, he cut back onto his weaker right foot, and found the bottom corner with a neat finish.
Ogilvie launched yet another charge forward from the back, and was fouled outside the box. Oduwa stepped up, but the wind caught his effort and it zipped over the angle.
Leicester won a soft penalty when Vincent-Young pulled Olukanmi back right on the edge of the box, but Voss went the right way, and his strong hand saved the spot kick. Spurs immediately countered and Lloyd Ross picked out Akindayini, only for the striker to hit the post.
Georgiou and Akindayini linked up well, but Georgiou’s right-footed effort was straight at the goalkeeper.
Another fine pass from Lloyd Ross found Akindayini again but, as he looked to seal his hat-trick, he scuffed his shot horribly wide.
The match ball clearly wasn’t meant to go home with him today – when the goalkeeper kicked the ball weakly straight to him, he seemed sure to finally grab a third. However, his second touch saw the ball bounce up off his knee, and straight back to the grateful Sharpe.
Harry Voss 7 – a cracking penalty save and a couple of pro-active punches from corners were positives; his kicking was the negative.
Kane Vincent-Young 6 – let himself down by giving away a penalty on a day when he was otherwise pretty solid.
Cameron Carter-Vickers 8 – every time I watch this colossus of a player, I’m more and more excited. Not only does he swat strikers off the ball with ease, but he constantly pushes up into midfield to get involved. So impressive.
Connor Ogilvie 9 – the biggest compliment I can give to Ogilvie is that I don’t think this level is appropriate for him anymore. He is dominant defensively, but his *constant* charges forward mean that he’s a genuine attacking weapon too – from left or centre back. Took his goal well to boot, hence I make him my man of the match.
Joe Pritchard 5 – was ‘filling in’ at left back, it’s clearly not a position he’s too comfortable in.
Harry Winks 7 – buzzed around with intent, particularly in the first half. Plays mostly one and two touch football, and has a real maturity to his game. His set pieces were good today.
Filip Lesniak 7 – gave the ball away so seldom that I actually noted the one time I noticed him doing so, early in the second half. I like the way that he takes responsibility and drops into the back line when one of the centre-backs goes forward (as they do frequently)
Will Miller 7 – had a fairly quiet first half, but in the second half he was top class, very creative.
Emmanuel Sonupe 6 – not his best game, mostly due to being up against a decent full-back in Chilwell and not having his partner in crime, Walker-Peters, behind him.
Daniel Akindayini 7 – scored two, missed another four. Worked hard, but does lack quality with his back to goal.
Nathan Oduwa 7 – two assists and could have had more. Like Ogilvie, he now needs Under-21 football or a loan to test him, as this level can sometimes look too easy for him.
Anthony Georgiou – got the assist for Ogilvie’s goal and was a good outlet with his pace.
Lloyd Ross – played some very intelligent passes.
Anton Walkes – lots of positive runs forward without the ball, but lacked a bit of patience in possession.
This week Will Miller, Nathan Oduwa, Emmanuel Sonupe and Harry Winks will be linking up with the England Under-18s, while Josh Onomah is in the Under-17 squad. I’m very surprised that the superb Connor Ogilvie is not in the squad, as well as right-back Kyle Walker-Peters.
As a slight aside, it was announced in the week that the Under-21 league will be restructured, and made into an Under-23 league. This decision has been made in order to bridge the gap between Academies and first teams, and is a positive move in my opinion.
For me, too many clubs don’t take the Under-21 league too seriously – arguably ourselves included (particularly this year). These changes should result in more experienced professionals being involved, and a higher quality of football being played.
One of the problems I have with the Under-21 league is that there aren’t regular enough matches – players are often looking to impress to get loan moves, but don’t get the opportunities to show what they can do. This is because matches get postponed frequently (often due to poor quality pitches) ending in lots of fixtures played in quick succession once loan windows have closed. Moving the matches to better stadia can only help with this.
January 3, 2014
I realise that with a NLD tomorrow, blogging about an Under-19 tournament in Vietnam seems somewhat irrational, but I was intrigued to see earlier that we are late entrants to the Nutifood Cup.
Participation in this tournament means that we’ve had to postpone two Barclays Under-18 Premier League fixtures – the game at home to Southampton this Saturday and another away to West Bromwich Albion next weekend. To do so, John McDermott and his team must see this opportunity as incredibly worthwhile. McDermott’s belief in tournament experience as an important part of the development of young players has been well documented, and in an interview on the official site he seemed enthused:
“We’re going as a replacement for another European side so everything’s been a little bit last minute, but we just thought it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
We play against the Japanese and Vietnamese national sides as well as Roma so they’ll be three really tough games in heat and humidity. It’s a really invaluable lesson for our lads to go through.”
It’s an Under-19 tournament and is so-called because one of the co-organisers (along with Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), HA.GL Group and Eximbank) is the ‘Nutifood Nutrition Food Joint Stock Company’. The winning team receives $100,000 in prize money.
The fixtures are as follows – times are local times, which I believe are GMT+7.
15:40: Tottenham Hotspur v Japan
18:00: Vietnam v AS Roma
15:40: AS Roma v Tottenham Hotspur
18:00: Vietnam v Japan
15:40: Japan v AS Roma
18:00: Vietnam v Tottenham Hotspur
I would guess that the squad is something like the below, but there is no official squad list available as yet.
NB: Some squads appearing online included Veljkovic and Michael-Percil (who definitely haven’t travelled), and didn’t include Dombaxe or Alex McQueen (who have), so are inaccurate.
Look out for more news on the official site from Monday morning, and keep an eye on Wiziwig for potential streams, as the matches are being televised in Asia.
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.
November 26, 2013
Jake Livermore has started ten games for Hull City (and made one substitute appearance) and has become a firm favourite. He’s impressed so much that the majority of Hull’s fan-base want Livermore to sign permanently. When questioned on whether he’d consider signing for Hull permanently, Livermore said
“I’m prepared for anything in football. I’m enjoying my time here, I love the lads, the manager and the fans. Everyone here is brilliant and I’m getting a run of games so it’s so far, so good.”
He gave The Telegraph a very interesting interview on young, English footballers in which he spoke a lot of sense:
“I don’t think the biggest problem facing English football is producing players, I think the biggest problem is giving young players enough experience in the Premier League.”
Steve Bruce has admitted that he’s worried about Livermore returning to Spurs in January, saying: “There is a possibility that Jake and Danny [Graham] will be going back to their parent clubs, and that is something we just have to live with. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened, and we have to be ready for it. It’s a concern.”
Most Spurs fans were surprised to see Benoit Assou-Ekotto sent on loan to QPR at the end of the transfer window. There were rumours of an off-pitch incident with Andre Villas-Boas, and you’d have to think that this was the case, given that Assou-Ekotto is so far beyond Kyle Naughton in terms of left-back competition; it can surely only have been a breach of discipline or a falling out that triggered the move. Assou-Ekotto insists that playing for Redknapp was the reason that he was tempted to QPR:
“I’m enjoying being here. I love working with Harry. He was the main reason I came. The fans have been great to me too.”
He’s made nine starts and one substitute appearance so far, and the fans seem to have taken to him judging by this thread.
Tom Carroll played four matches for QPR before being struck down by an ankle injury. The fan verdicts were mixed, but the players seem keen, Karl Henry saying:
“We’ve missed Tom Carroll since his injury, because he’s done fantastically well for us.”
The good news is that Carroll is due to return to QPR early next week after recovering from injury.
Whilst the fans don’t love him (yet), his statistics look mighty impressive. Across his four appearances, he’s averaging 13 more passes (82.3) than the next player in the Championship (Joey Barton, 68.9), which is remarkable (NB: I’m ignoring George Thorn, who has played one game for Watford, but made 84 passes). Impressively Carroll’s also averaging the most tackles per game (4.5) in the division.
Adam Smith has started nine matches and been brought on as a substitute in one as he attempts to establish himself as Derby’s first-choice right-back. He has been in and out of the side, and has been an unused substitute in their last four.
Smith is now competing with another loan signing, Andre Wisdom, and new boss Steve McClaren commented on the pair after the recent game against Birmingham:
“Adam Smith has done very well for us and I have no qualms with Adam, but Andre Wisdom came in and adapted very well. He showed his quality, his strength and he was good on the ball. All the qualities you expect from a player from Liverpool.”
For me, it would make sense to recall Smith at the earliest opportunity and move him somewhere where he’ll be guaranteed starts.
Simon Dawkins recently joined Smith at Derby County, where he’s made five appearance so far on the right of a front three; four as a starter, and one off the bench. He’s managed one goal so far (at 20 seconds here).
This fans seems impressed by Dawkins so far:
Derby though dominates, Simon Dawkins, always an option, gets better with each match, he excites the crowd and promises so much.
Bongani Khumalo has turned out 18 times for Doncaster Rovers so far (16 in the Championship). I asked local journalist Paul Goodwin (of the Doncaster Free Press & Doncaster Star) how he’d done so far – Paul’s impressed:
Excellent Chris, slotted in seamlessly – very calm, good in air. Big test for him now fellow CB Rob Jones is injured though.
It’s also worth pointing out that Khumalo played for South Africa as they stunned Spain to win 1-0 in the international break.
Centre-back Grant Hall has played 23 matches for Swindon Town (17 in League One) thus far. He’s played mostly in a back four, but more recently in a three.
Alex Pritchard has played 21 times (20 starts) for Swindon, and in his 15 league appearances, he has two goals and five assists – the most assists of all of Swindon’s players.
Ryan Mason has had yet another injury-hit season, playing 12 matches in total for Swindon Town, eight of which were starts. He has scored four goals and got one assist in those matches, playing mostly as number 10, but dropping deeper more recently.
Swindon fan Nigel has been pretty pleased with the Spurs players so far – his latest update for me at the start of November reported the following:
Ryan Mason returned from injury two weeks ago and has started twice since then. Played superbly in a deeper role of CM rather than CAM.
Alex Pritchard played as perhaps a second striker (No.10 sort) and played very well. Had great work rate and moved the ball on the floor quickly. Did get booked, in the end, for diving though.
Grant Hall doesn’t look like he suits a 3-5-2 formation (been playing it last 4/5 games) makes a few mistakes but has the ability to make up for them going forwards.
EDIT: Today I’ve received a further update from Nigel:
Alex Pritchard: Played in a number of formations, playing most effectively as a no.10 just behind a target man. Has shown great technical ability & can beat a player.
Ryan Mason: Although slightly injury prone he has arguably been our best player this season when fully fit. Passing & skill on the ball is on another level to most players in L1. Has a goal or two in him.
Grant Hall: Very good on the ball for a league one CB, however lacks strength, composure & pace. He may look better next to a quicker/better defender, but he does not get that playing alongside Darren Ward. Has slightly improved as a centre back as the season has gone on, but his rather frequent mistakes, which unfortunately are usually punished, has overshadowed this.
Lawrence Vigouroux joined Hyde of the The Skrill Premier (Conference Premier) for a month at the end of October, and has so far made five appearances. Unfortunately four of those have been defeats – 2-1, 4-0, 3-2 and 2-1 – but they managed to draw one 2-2. After his debut the Manchester Evening News reported that he made “a string of excellent saves”. Fans on their forum seem very pleased with his performances so far.
Tomislav Gomelt has only played 39 minutes across two appearances so far for Royal Antwerp in the Belgian Second Division (for comparison, John Bostock – at the club permanently – has made 16 appearances). He has had a number of injuries that have disrupted his season, and he was also away representing Croatia U-19s in October. It’s worth noting that Antwerp are now managed by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
Yago Falque has played 492 minutes across eight starts for Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, including a start against Real Madrid at the beginning of November where he actually had the ball in the net (although it was ruled out). Despite being involved from the start a lot, he has been substituted in seven of his eight appearances.
Cristian Ceballos has managed 336 minutes across five appearances for Arouca in the Portuguese Premier League. He’s made four starts, one substitute appearances, and has also been an unused sub three times.
The loan window for Football League clubs closes at 17:00 on Thursday, 28 November. I would not be expecting a mass exodus of Spurs youngters going out on loan, because they’ve simply not had the opportunities to showcase their talents.
The Under-21 fixtures – where scouts get an opportunity to watch our young talent – have been few and far between. This means not only that there are fewer opportunities to impress, but that when they do have opportunities, they are not match sharp.
I gather that there was a behind closed doors friendly last week in which Ken McEvoy impressed – if any players are to go out on loan, perhaps he will be one.