Poch great for young players a myth?

Let me start by saying I am not aiming to be critical of Pochettino, I believe his record for bringing through players at both Southampton and Spurs speaks for itself however I want to address a few things that I am reading time and time again in both the press and amongst fellow fans.

It seems, due to his record with younger players getting games, people now deem Pochettino as the “youth master” and any and all young players should see him as the coach for them.  I myself have even said it a number of times when discussing the young lad at Fulham, Sessegnon.  Why would he look at joining another club, Spurs surely the only team with the only manager a youngster would want to be at!?


BUT is this a perception brought about by his early years in England and do the facts of his most recent seasons support this?

At Southampton the squad was not at a good level, in fact most predicted they would be relegation fodder but Pochettino looked at what was in the academy there and saw young players who were ready and able to perform at the same level as the senior pros but with two major differences.  Due to their age they would be willing to follow his instructions and work hard AND they were 100% committed to the club.

The players he developed as youngsters at Southampton was a comprehensive list and the older players who did buy his system and way of doing things also suddenly looked like world class players; one example being defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.  He looked so good Manchester United paid big money for him and he has been a flop ever since, now at Everton and still not looking even a shadow of how good he looked under Pochettino at Southampton.


So young players displacing older professionals and looking damn good down to good coaching and a solid tactic system.  They won many plaudits and as Southampton fumbled behind the scenes the players and of course the manager left – unlucky for the Saints but good news for Spurs.

Pochettino arrived at Tottenham and inherited a squad that was a mish-mash of three previous managers failed dreams.  It was a mess (think Everton squad right now).  There were groups of senior players who didn’t talk to others within the club or squad.  You had players refusing to train as “didn’t need too” and some who told the manager on his first day; “I don’t care who you think you are, I was here before you and will be here when you’re gone”  Tottenham was a mess!

So he tried to bring these senior players around to his way of thinking, training and playing.  Spurs are a big club and he felt he needed to adjust what he was doing to accommodate the players but after just a month Poch and his coaches were done trying to do things different and they went back to what worked at Southampton.


Knowing if this did not work he would likely be sacked by Daniel Levy (a man with a reputation) Poch set about replacing more established senior players with academy graduates.  Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, Ryan Mason and although he joined us from Leeds as a youngster Danny Rose can be included here.

These players bought into the philosophy, style, work ethic and the team started to take shape.  Away from games behind the scenes these young players also got stuck into the senior pros with Ryan Mason recently revealing he would often square up to established players in training if he felt they were not giving everything.

From these seasons the Pochettino youth reputation was born and it was true.  Is it still true?

As Spurs have progressed the standard has improved.  Andros and Ryan moved on to other clubs as they were no longer getting games and young players in the academy may have been good enough to replace Kaboul, Stambouli, Adebayor but now our levels have gone up – these same players are not good enough to replace Vertonghen, Dembele or Kane.

This is not saying our youth players are not good.  I am putting this on record now Walker-Peters and Onomah are fantastic players and Oliver Skipp is a future England and Spurs captain for me (I also said once Lee Barnard was a 20 goal a season striker in the Premier League… so take my opinion with a grain of salt).

However with expectations now through the roof Pochettino has turned to seasoned and experienced players to add to his squad and provide cover over the young players.  Llorente, Sissoko and just because I dislike the Gooner supporting sod Aurier are three players who in reality we could have promoted from within this season and it would not have affected any outcomes or had an impact on our season except it would have given our young player valuable minutes and experience.

If young Kaz Sterling had been on the banch as back up to Kane would anyone consider his last season as rubbish as we all think Llorente’s was?  How about if Onomah had been given as many minutes as Sissoko; would he have been worse…. maybe better…. and if Aurier had not been signed, would Walker-Peters have let us down at all?

Mauricio Pochettino

This like every blog I write is all just my opinion and at the end of the day Pochettino is the boss, he knows the pressures and he watches training every day.  He makes the decisions and he has earned my trust 100% BUT do I think he is the great ‘youth developer’ that everyone believes he is… I am not so sure.

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