Update on our young players
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You can also hear me on The Fighting Cock podcast.
The following is a piece I have written for the magazine of a Norwegian supporters’ club called Tottenhams Venner (“Tottenham’s Friends”).
Jordan Archer, 18, Professional – He only played in the first NextGen Series and FA Premier Academy League (FAPAL) matches owing to his loan at Bishop’s Stortford, where he has been performing consistently well. He is also a recent call up to the Scotland U21 squad, and will be looking for a league club to join on loan in January.
Jonathan Miles, 18, 3rd year – He had a good game against Inter Milan in the NextGen Series, and was also one of the star men against Basel when he excelled with some great saves, especially one with his legs towards the end of the match. Jon seems to be getting more pro-active with age, and is always very vocal.
Billy Granger, 17, 1st year – Having played most of the Milk Cup matches, he initially found it hard to displace Miles and Archer for the FAPAL matches, but since Archer went out on loan, and Miles moved more towards the development squad, he has become more of a regular.
Jake Nicholson, 19, Professional – He has primarily played as a centre-back in NextGen Series matches, despite being a holding midfield player by trade. He has been a steadying influence at the back, and someone who constantly talks to his team-mates – he will certainly be looking for a taste of league football over the next year.
Jack Barthram, 18, 2nd year – Jack is becoming a very competent attacking right-back, with good recovery pace and a fantastic attitude. In the Basel home game he was up against a very physical opponent in substitute Sulejmani, but coped well throughout and made constant bursts forward when Pritchard tucked in (although was rarely picked out).
Kevin Stewart, 18, 2nd year – A versatile player who is often played at left back despite not being naturally left-sided. He can do a job anywhere along the back-line, although I personally think that he is best at centre back, and that it would do him some good to get a prolonged run there. I could see him going out on loan, as he seems to have the maturity to cope with league football.
Daniel Day, 18, 2nd year – A very enthusiastic and committed full-back, but he is occasionally reckless. He is one player who really helps to set the tempo, though, which is always needed at any level. He likes to make overlapping runs, which suits Tim Sherwood’s team shape.
Milos Veljkovic, 16, Unknown – A strong, composed centre half who plays like he is ten years older than he is; it is hard to believe that he is the youngest player in the squad. It was good to see him get on the score-sheet against his former club, Basel, when he headed in at the back post.
William Ekong, 18, 2nd year – He has unfortunately struggled with injury having initially been an under-18 regular, but is now fit again. A strong, imposing defender who is calm in possession – he will be hoping to gain more experience of playing for the Development Squad.
Ramil Sheriff, 18, 2nd year –I gather that he missed the start of the season through injury, but has come into the team from October on, playing either at centre back or right back. I think that is probably more a case of trying to keep him involved, rather than not being sure of his best position, as he seems much better at centre back to me.
James Yeboah, 18, 2nd year – Involved for both the under-18s and the Development squad this season, I get the impression that the club are taking a good look at him, trying to work out whether or not he will be offered a professional contract.
Thomas Gardiner, 16, 1st year – Having played most of the Milk Cup matches at centre back, he has only made two under-18 appearances (both at right back), so will be looking to push on during the remainder of the season.
Darren McQueen, 16, 1st year – Having missed the start of the season through injury, he made his comeback against Coventry in October, but sadly only lasted fifteen minutes before going down injured and being taken off. He is a promising player, though, and if he can put his injury problems behind him, he will be one to watch.
Oliver Modeste, 16, 1st year – One of the first year scholars who has really forced himself into the reckoning – he has been involved in most of the under-18 matches, either starting or coming off the bench. He has mostly played at left back, where he seems to be increasingly competent and reliable.
Alexander McQueen, 16, 1st year – A very quick player, who initially came into the under-18 side as an impact sub at full back or on the wing, but now tends to mostly play at centre back. I was really impressed with his use of the ball against Leicester City – he constantly stepped out from the back to attempt to play-make.
Massimo Luongo, 19, Professional – If you have read my reports before, you will know that I enjoy watching him play. Breaks up play, has good one and two touch passing, gets forward well, and is a strong, calm influence in the middle of the pitch. He made his first-team debut, coming off the bench in the League Cup game against Stoke, and unfortunately missed a penalty in the shoot-out. I think he will get more chances this season – an impressive player, and one to watch.
Alex Pritchard, 18, Professional – One of the stars of our NextGen Series campaign so far with some excellent performances, and he has also been an unused sub in two Europa League games. A clever, quick-footed, schemer who is very dangerous when cutting in from the flank. His set piece delivery has also caused teams a lot of problems.
Laste Dombaxe, 17, 1st year – A player who was used in various positions as a 15 and 16 year old in the Under-18s, but he now seems to have settled as a central midfield player. He has generally played more of a holding role, picking up the ball from the defence, and getting it into the feet of Pritchard and co. If he could add consistency to his performances, he could become a very useful player.
Tomislav Gomelt, 16, Unknown – He had the most bizarre match in the home fixture against Inter, scoring three excellent goals and showing some good touches, movement and passing, but then unfortunately getting a harsh red card for the trip which lead to the penalty. He wasn’t so effective in the away leg, and was withdrawn at half time. He was apparently wanted by Manchester City, but chose to come to Spurs.
Lee Angol, 17, 2nd year – Having been involved in the majority of the FAPAL games (mainly starting), Angol has not played a part since mid-November, so I suspect that he may have picked up an injury. I think he suffers a little from not really knowing his best position – is he a striker, or is he a midfield player?
Ronnie Hawkins, 17, 2nd year – He is a natural ball-player in the middle of midfield, so a little different in style to Luongo and Dombaxe. I could see Luongo going out on loan and, if he does, Hawkins could benefit with more games in the NextGen Series and for the Spurs XI.
Jack Munns, 18, 2nd year – One of the senior members of the team now, Munns is a very reliable midfield player who, somewhat like Scott Parker, gives everything in a game. His short passing game is good, and he is not afraid to put himself about. I gather that he has been one of the most consistent performers this season.
Roman Michael-Percil, 16, 1st year –He has been used as a bit of a utility player so far this season, starting either at right back or on either flank. He possesses pace and the ability to beat a man so has been a very useful impact sub. I would expect him to become more of a regular starter during the rest of the season.
Dominic Ball, 16, 1st year – Having been one of the stars of our Milk Cup campaign in pre-season, he started the opening game of the season, and has been in and out of the team since. He played at centre back in a couple of matches, using his passing ability to play-make from deep. He is clearly a talent, and will be looking to become a mainstay in the side during the rest of the season.
Mason Bush, 16, 1st year – He was getting the occasional start at the beginning of the FAPAL campaign but has not been involved since mid-October, so I presume that he is injured.
Ruben Lameiras, 17, 1st year –He has recently forced himself into the reckoning with some important contributions from the bench, including a leveller against Leicester. His quick one and two touch passing is a good fit for the brand of football that Inglethorpe likes to play, so I can see him really establishing himself in the second half of the season.
Samuel Smith, 17, 1st year –Yet to start an FAPAL match, but used as a substitute late in games. He is not the most creative of midfield players, but does seem to use the ball well and keep things simple, so he is ideal to bring on when winning a game. I am sure that he will get more chances in the remaining games.
Kenneth McEvoy, 17, 1st year –He won acclaim during the Milk Cup, and has been involved in the majority of the FAPAL games, scoring a hat-trick against MK Dons and starting on the right wing in all of the matches from mid-October. He is also the youngest of the players called up to recent Ireland under-19 squads. He is quick, skilful, and full of energy – I expect him to finish the season strongly.
Grant Ward, 17, 1st year –Predominantly a right winger, he has played across midfield, and also in both full backs positions for the under-18s, as Inglethorpe likes his full backs to offer width.
Harry Kane, 18, Professional – Often playing in midfield in the NextGen Series, Kane has been quietly effective without uprooting any trees. He has an ungainly style, but his touch is deceptively good and he has plenty of strength for one so young. He has scored goals at youth and reserve level, and also had a reasonable scoring record for League One side Leyton Orient last year. I think a lot of fans were expecting more from him in his Europa League showings, but it is important to remember that he is still very young and inexperienced – time is on his side.
Kudus Oyenuga, 18, Professional – Involved in some of the NextGen Series games, and some Spurs XI games, Kudus will be looking for more league experience after he only got a few brief appearances at Bury. He is hard-working and strong, but for me he still does not quite know when to release the ball, and he does make some odd decisions – Sherwood and Ferdinand both seem to focus a lot of their attention on him throughout matches!
Souleymane Coulibaly, 17, Professional (?) –For one so young, scoring three in the under-19 NextGen Series tournament so far is impressive. He is a work-horse, who does not stop running for the team, but often chooses to shoot when he has better options. In the Basel match he struggled a little against the impressive Kofi Nimely, but he did well to force the equaliser in the match away at Inter Milan.
Shaquile Coulthirst, 17, 1st year – He is in the first year of his scholarship, but he has the advantage of already knowing this level well, having played a lot as an under-16 player. He seems to have come on leaps and bounds this season, partly thanks to often playing from the left and cutting in. He has scored goals throughout the season, and seems to be one of the most important players in the side now.
Victor Zapata-Caicedo, 17, 1st year – He started most of the Milk Cup games (as a lone striker), but has found starts in the FAPAL hard to come by, mainly being used as a substitute. He may well get some more starts in the second half of the season, especially since Coulthirst has generally been playing from the left (although he may face competition from Coulibaly, who has now made his under-18 debut).
If you’re interested in following the progress of our young players, here are some people to follow:
@RayLo18 – goes to every U18 game and writes staggeringly detailed reports.
@spursodyssey – publishes said reports, and has fantastic Spurs knowledge.
@SamRooke89 and @therhinospeaks – both attend U18 matches.
@englandyouth – a superb tweeter and blogger on young English talent.
Also, listen out for my weekly segment on the youth and loan players on The Fighting Cock podcast.