Last week I wrote an update on the Academy squad, and I thought I would follow that up with this – an update on the slightly older players; the inbetweeners as I like to call them, or the Development Squad as the club refer to them.
The Under-21s finished 12th out of 22 teams in the Barclays U21 Premier League Group Stage this season – not too impressive, but to be expected. This year’s ‘crop’ did not have the same quality as last year, when we had the likes of Carroll, Mason, Bentaleb, Fredericks, Fryers, Ceballos, Falque, Obika, Townsend and Hall in the team regularly. Most of those players were either out on loan or involved with the first team for most of this season, and the players stepping up were simply not as good (I think many of them will be released in the summer).
On the positive side, the players who came up from the Under-18s towards the end of the season most certainly *are* as good as the previous crop, and the signs are good for next season – in both the 18s and 21s. The likes of Ogilvie, Winks, Onomah, Oduwa, Lesniak, etc, were absolutely ready to make the step up, but it was inevitable that there would be an element of ‘settling in’ to that level. Now that they have a few games in the Under-21s under their respective belts, next season should be far more straightforward.
So what of those who have contracts ending this summer? According to the very useful Spurs Player Contracts blog, run by ‘zin’ from the Fighting Cock forum the following have contracts that are due to expire:
It would not particularly surprise me if all of these players left in the summer, but I would expect Ward (who is on loan at Chicago Fire until the end of the 2014 season) and Ceballos, who has played 19 times for Arouca in the Portuguese Premier League this season, to sign on for a further year and, therefore, command fees if they were to move.
If pushed, I’d guess that Alex McQueen and Giancarlo Gallifuoco will get another year each too, but I’d certainly expect Lancaster and Obika to leave, and would not be surprised if they were joined by Tomislav Gomelt and Souleymane Coulibaly.
I am less sure on the future of Laste Dombaxe – at one point he was highly regarded, but he was in and out of the Under-21 side at the end of the season, and it would be no great surprise if he were released too, especially as he failed to land a full loan move to Bolton after a short ‘work experience’ loan in January.
We also know that goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux has re-joined Alex Inglethorpe at Liverpool. We can only assume that the club felt that Lawrence was no better than Archer, Miles and McGee; I can’t say I’m especially disappointed that he’s left, but he seemed a very nice lad and I wish him well.
Forward Darren McQueen – cousin of Alex – has signed for Ipswich Town, whilst Roman Michael-Percil has had trials with various clubs including Brentford. Kevin Stewart has had trials with Sheffild United but Nigel Clough (their manager) has suggested that he’s set to sign for a Premier League club.
I would expect the likes of Archer, Ball, McEvoy and Lameiras to be regulars for the Under-21s or out on loan if they can get suitable moves next season.
Digressing away from the Under-21s and back into the realms of Academy, we are sending a squad to participate in the Terborg Tournament in Holland at the end of May. It will be interesting to see whether Australian goalkeeper, Tom Glover, and Belgian attacking midfielder, Ismail Azzaoui, are in the travelling party. I also wonder whether 16-year old Nigerian, Musa Yahaya – who supposedly signed for us and then went immediately on loan to Celta Vigo – will be involved; it could be a good way to introduce him to life at Tottenham.
One player who will be going to the tournament is Josh Onomah. Onomah was part of the England Under-17 team that beat The Netherlands to win the UEFA European Championship this week, and Academy Manager, John McDermott has spoken about Josh’s progression:
“He’s had a magnificent games programme this season and hopefully he’ll benefit from that.
He’s also trained with the first team and been on the bench a couple of times. Another thing I’m pleased about is that he’s matured as a young man, not just on the football pitch, but off it. I’m really pleased with his overall development, not just his football development.”
Keep an eye on this site for updates from the Terborg Tournament when I have them.