August 26, 2012

Analysis of the goal conceded against West Brom (25/8)

James Morrison’s goalAfter a goal-mouth scramble, the ball is played back in, and it falls to Morrison who is unmarked on the penalty spot; he guides his shot low into the corner.
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August 26, 2012

25/08/12 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 3-4 Manchester United U18s, Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre

This was my first visit to the club’s new training ground in Enfield, and it is certainly impressive. It is, as yet, not totally finished – there are still dugouts to be built and certain areas are taped off – but the eleven pitches look immaculate. It is a pretty different environment to watching at Spurs Lodge in Chigwell, which always had a “village” feel; there’s a burger van where tea and coffee are also available, the pitch has a fence around the perimeter, and you can overlook the U16 game with ease at the same time as taking in the U18s.
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August 20, 2012

Analysis of the goals conceded against Newcastle (18/8)

Ba’s goalNewcastle string some passes together, leading to Simpson hanging a ball up for Ba at the far post. Walker manages to stretch to head clear, but there is not enough pressure on the ball, and Ba has time to bend a shot into the far corner.

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August 14, 2012

NextGen Series – Spurs squad preview

Tottenham Hotspur took a lot from the inaugural NextGen Series – having a good tournament and qualifying for the semi-finals (before eventually withdrawing due to a technicality – ‘an accidental breach of a competition regulation’) – and it will surely only be a matter of time before we see the effect it will have had on the players involved. It could be argued that Harry Kane has already shown how much the pressure and exposure helped him, as he settled so quickly at Championship club Millwall in the second half of the season. Likewise, Massimo Luongo – one of Spurs’ most consistent performers in the tournament – has now secured a loan move to Ipswich Town for the coming season.

The tournament high point for Spurs last year came with the 7-1 demolition of Inter Milan, with Alex Pritchard and Luongo absolutely outstanding throughout. It was a breathless first-half performance (6-1 at half time!), with the team passing and moving to perfection, and it will be down to Tim Sherwood to try to get the balance right to recreate that level of performance.

We start this year’s tournament away at Wolfsburg, before we play Barcelona at White Hart Lane on 13th September – a match which will surely be one to remember for our young players, hopefully for the right reasons. Anderlecht make up our group, and we will play all three teams home and away. The two top teams from the six groups, plus the four third-placed teams with the best records will progress to the knockout stages.

Our squad this year shapes up as follows:

Jordan Archer, 12/04/1993, Overage

Jordan is one of nine overage players submitted by Spurs, and will presumably not start the majority of games. A talented goalkeeper, he accompanied the first-team in their pre-season tour of America, having had a very impressive stint on-loan at Bishop’s Stortford in 2011/12, and he will be looking to build on that with either another loan spell, or regular games in the U21 league.

Dominic Ball, 02/08/1995

Dominic is a defensive-minded midfield player by trade, frequently filling in at centre back. He has been capped at various youth levels for Northern Ireland, and was a regular in the U18 team last year – he will be looking to get plenty of NextGen Series games under his belt.

Jack Barthram, 13/10/1993, Overage

Deservedly awarded his first professional contract this summer, Jack is an attacking full-back who was one of our most consistent performers in the tournament last year. He has a small frame, but his tenacity and work-ethic mean that he is rarely exposed. He loves to get forward, and has a reputation for scoring from distance.

Nabil Bentaleb, 24/11/1994

A talented, ball-playing midfielder, Nabil joined the club last year and was a late substitute in the match against Liverpool, in which we fielded an ineligible player. He seems to prefer to play centrally, and likes to get his head up and look for clever passes forward.

Mason Bush, 20/01/1995

An attacking midfield player who can also play up front, Mason has a decent physical presence as well as a bit of trickery on the ball. He had several injury problems last year that prevented him from progressing in the way he would have hoped, but he will be looking to put together a run of games in this year’s tournament.

Soulemayne Coulibaly, 26/12/1994

A high-profile signing last summer, Soli is a livewire striker who is a natural finisher. His weakness at the tender age of 17 is that he sometimes finds himself on the periphery of matches, but he will be looking to build on an impressive scoring record in last year’s tournament, and is definitely one to watch.

Shaquille Coulthirst, 02/11/1994

Shaq is a striker who often plays on the left of a three – cutting in and getting shots away. He has an excellent scoring record at U18 level, and will want to translate this into regular goals in the NextGen Series this year.

Laste Dombaxe, 15/05/1995

Another player who suffered injury problems last year, but Laste was involved in several NextGen Series matches, including the 7-1 win vs Inter, where he played in deep midfield. He can also play a more attacking role, so it will be interesting to see where he is used in this year’s tournament.

William Ekong, 01/09/1993, Overage

A commanding centre half, William just needs to add consistency to his otherwise impressive game. He will be competing with Veljkovic and Stewart (amongst others) for the centre back spots and, as an overage player, it is unlikely that he will play every game.

Giancarlo Gallifuoco, 12/01/1994

An Australian defensive-midfielder who joined the club last year after a successful trial, Giancarlo is a tall, composed player who will be hoping to be a regular in the competition which his friend and compatriot Massimo Luongo did so well in last year.

Thomas Gardiner, 14/03/1995

A centre back who can also play on the right, Thomas has yet to gain much experience in the U18s – he will be hoping to force his way into the team and stay there.

Billy Granger, 03/12/1994

Young goalkeeper Billy seems to be making positive progress year-on-year, and he will be hoping to get as many games under his belt as possible in this year’s competition. He could be helped by Miles potentially being out on loan.

Harry Kane, 28/07/1993, Overage

I wouldn’t expect too much involvement from Kane, who has arguably now progressed beyond this level, and will be looking for first-team experience following a terrific spell at Millwall last year.

Ruben Lameiras, 22/12/1994

A technical and intelligent central midfield player who plays one and two touch football well. Will likely be competing with Bentaleb and Dombaxe for a central midfield spot.
Kenneth McEvoy, 04/09/1994

A quick right midfield player, Ken will be looking to start all of the NextGen Series matches. He is a traditional winger who likes to beat his man and get to the by-line.

Alex McQueen, 24/03/1995

A versatile player who has played across defence and also on the wing. I personally think his strongest position is right-back, but with Barthram still around, he may struggle to get starts there.

Darren McQueen, 08/05/1995

Another player who has been ravaged by injury and who therefore hasn’t played as much football as he otherwise would have. Darren is a sharp and athletic striker and is the cousin of Alex.

Roman Michael-Percil, 28/02/1995

Roman primarily plays on the right of midfield, but has also been used at full back. He has good pace and ability, and I foresee him being used as an impact sub.

Jonathan Miles, 29/03/1993, Overage

With rumours that goalkeeper Jon will go out on a season-long loan, it seems unlikely that he will see much NextGen Series action.

Oliver Modeste, 14/01/1995

A promising young defender who can play anywhere across the back four, Ollie missed a large chunk of last season after suffering a serious head injury in an off-pitch accident. It will be great to see him back in action this year.

Jack Munns, 18/11/1993, Overage

A midfield player who generally plays as one of the “3” in a 4-2-3-1, due to his ability to keep the ball in tight spaces. Jack has good feet and surprising strength for his size.

Alex Pritchard, 03/05/1993, Overage

A skilful attacking midfield player who generally plays on the flank, but looks to come inside. Alex is also a set-piece specialist, and was my man of the match in the 7-1 thrashing of Inter, where he scored twice, including one excellent free kick.

Sam Smith, 27/09/1994

A versatile player who often fills in at left back, but is more comfortable in central midfield. It is a big season for Sam as he was in and out of the U18 team last season.

Kevin Stewart, 07/09/1993, Overage

A reliable and intelligent defender who, again, has played all across the back four. Kevin is most impressive at centre back, but has often found himself playing on the left.

Milos Veljkovic, 26/09/1995

At just 16, he is the youngest player in our squad, but he has a strong physique and plays like a player of far more experience. Milos will expect to start at centre back throughout the tournament.

Lawrence Vigouroux, 19/11/1993, Overage

A goalkeeper signed last season, it will be interesting to see whether he will get games in the tournament or whether he has been included in the squad as a back-up.

Grant Ward, 05/12/1994

Another versatile player – Grant has played in both full back positions, and right across midfield. With his pace and trickery, he is best suited to an attacking role.

Victor Zapata-Caicedo, 29/09/1994

A striker who has been converted into a wide midfield player, Victor will be looking to get games on either flank. He was a regular for the U18s last season, and will hope to impress in the tournament this year.

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August 3, 2012

Eurofoot 2012 update – defeat in opener

We lost our first game 4-1 to Brazilians Atlético Paranaense (who have an older squad on average), with Shaq Coulthirst getting our goal, and Douglas Souza scoring a hat-trick for our opponents.
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RT @JamesOlley: Southgate says Harry Kane is "the best goalscorer in the world, frankly - you are always loathed to take a player like that…
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