New faces in brief – Kane, Carroll, Townsend
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Harry is an England U19 international who, having only just turned 18, already has 5 league goals to his name after a successful loan spell at Leyton Orient last season. A clever striker, who can also play anywhere across midfield, Kane has good technique and a genuine eye for goal. He has the physical presence which should allow him to make a fairly instant impact for the first team.
Tom is a cultured ball-playing midfield player, who prefers to play in the centre, but can play on the left (and has played left back). He has excellent technique and looked particularly comfortable in a deep-lying playmaker role in his time at Leyton Orient last season. If we can play the one and two touch football this evening that we did in the first leg, Tom will be at home.
Andros is a tricky winger who loves to beat his man and get to the by-line. He had a fantastic end of season for Millwall last year, and they were keen to sign him up again for this season. He excelled on his Spurs debut against Charlton in January, scoring a goal and putting in a man of the match performance.
You will find more information/reports on these players in my previous articles (for example, this Academy report). I wish them all the best of luck for this evening’s game.
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[email protected] - makes it much more exciting than it would otherwise be, doesn't it?!
Anon @ 9:58 - I think Mason has really impressed everyone at Doncaster, and thankfully this injury was a knock sustained in a match rather than another niggle. He should be back soon, and hopefully he will pick up where he left off. Re: Kane - for a 17 year old, he did very well at Orient - some first team experience and then another loan spell will stand him in good stead. Kane is technically better than Barnard and Wickham IMO. Wickham is a good player, but I don't think he will ever be prolific - Kane is a natural goal-scorer.
Davspurs - Exciting times! I think our U18 side will learn quickly, but we have thrown the youngsters in again and will see some defeats early on.
Personally I'm on the fence as I've always felt managers need to watch the developement of players over a sustained period and remember the likes of Leeds and QPR that had managers bundle 4-5 kids in and after the initial buzz watch them struggle and be forgotten about. Now though I would expect Harry to be in a position where some youth is brought in but I fear apart from potential showboating match ups in cups he's reluctant to select them out of anything but last choice.
Having seen far more of our potential than me, how do you feel about it? is he holding back too much too long, are we lacking a little bit of the stuff it takes to make it in the premiership or can we expect this season to be the start of a new wave?
I agree with you about his reulctance. He has so far tended to wait until he absolutely had to use young players (Bale, Rose, Livermore), with only two exceptions - the Carling Cup match where he used Naughton/Livermore/Caulker/Sandro against Arsenal (you could tell he didn't want to be in the competition in the pre-match interview) and the Europa League match on Thursday when we were 5-0 up! Don't get me wrong - I was pleased to see some youngsters get a chance - but I just hope he doesn't essentially say "right, they've had their chance now" and give up on them.
What I would like to see is at least one place on the bench (given that we fought so hard to get the seven subs) given up to a younger player most weeks, and to slowly get them involved more and more. The more exposure at this point, the better the long-term prospects IMO.
We saw Carroll look really competent on Thursday - the danger is that he will now be out on loan and out of the first team picture until at least next season. He needs to be kept around the first team squad - training with them and occasionally playing with them IMO.
How did you think they did on Thursday?
Carrol looks the business to me, I was quite pleased that he came into the middle early on when Hudd was limping, whether that was his/hudd's initiative or Harry's I don't know, but it showed he could play. I quite liked the fact he dinked and jinked like Modric and snapped at ankles like him too, yet was quite happy to spray passes wide like Huddlestone. A big promise to live up to and worse, a position of the team it must be hard to break into when all are fit. I hope the ones that played are kept close but mostly I think we need to look at where our youngsters are being loaned to. Too many managers across the leagues mistake intimidation for motivation, the kids at Ipswich under Keane being a good example.
As a nucleus of a team I reckon what we saw on thursday has a future and hopefully will be kept together while they develop, however they have reached a point where to progress they need first team action in controlled doses.
When they were reviewing the subs situation a while back, I had an interesting conversation with an ex-referee about what he thought and he suggested that teams could have as many subs on the bench as they wanted, they could only use three and they all had to be current youth squad members, no 5 million 30 year old internationals. An interesting proposition, has down sides and upsides, but interesting as you follow it through.
I think Carroll's a cracking player - always wanting the ball, and always keeping the ball. Can't help but think that were he at Arsenal he'd have already have some late sub appearances at least by this point in his career.
Interesting comments on subs rule - I'm not sure that would work, as there are too many players who are pleased to pick up a bonus from being a late sub, etc.