SN Blog 37 – The academy

I follow our U23 and U18 side often watching them live and I have been lucky enough due to rocking up at some random locations to watch them to have met a few of the young players.  Ryan Mason was always and remains a player very special in my opinion because it did not matter where the side were playing when he pulled on a Spurs shirt and stepped onto the pitch you could tell it meant everything to him.

Judging young players is so so tough as you must always keep in mind (a) the level of the opposition you are watching them against and (b) with young players especially what happens off the field can have as big of an impact on their career as what they do on the pitch.


Steven Caulker is a great example.  Anyone who watched our academy team at that time rated him as the next great graduate to come through, the heir to the throne of the King.  He went on loan to Bristol City and as many who listen to our podcast will know I live in Bristol – so I watched him a few times but I have many friends and colleague who were season ticket holders.  They loved him.  Future England captain was mentioned a lot.  He was immense for then and then he returned to Spurs.

What happened next shocked many.  He was sold for about £8m and the club signed a central defender called Chiriches (I think that was the spelling, you remember him).  To anyone who watched our academy it was bonkers and with every game where we watched our new defender struggle it was frustrating that we had let Caulker leave.

Things started to hit the press soon though as Caulker failed to cement a place at his new team and started to move around.  A problem with drinking, showing up late, general poor discipline behind the scenes and a reputation as a party boy caught up with him.

Kane Youth

Talk about a contrast.  Harry Kane was not really rated by anyone who watched him in our youth teams, in fact even at that level you get some idiots shouting abuse at the young lads.  I am quite proud of the fact I told more than one guy at Stevenage to shut the **** up when shouting at then coach Allen to take that “waste of space” Kane off.

His loans got him mixed reviews and sometimes he didnt really play much.  I would say his loan to Millwall got him his best results and they liked him there but none ever saw him to go on to the heights he has.  A season ticket holder for them once told me he felt he was going to join them and probably have a decent few seasons with them.

We all know what Kane has gone on to achieve but the point I am trying to make is although on the pitch at his age he was not showing amazing skills every week or scoring 30+ a season in the U18’s league he was working hard.  He would stay after training every day to work on finishing with Clive Allen and that work ethic has not changed, he is still as driven now to improve as ever.

Luke Amos

The latest young player Pochettino has brought into first team contention is Luke Amos.  Luke is part of the same group as Josh Onomah, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Harry Winks and Kyle Walker-Peters who Pochettino has already made a part of his first team squad.

He had a great loan last season and a host of clubs were after him on loan or looking for a permanent deal this summer but due to the World Cup and most of our squad being away Luke was able to go on the USA tour and greatly impressed the manager and the coaches with his play and also his pre-season work ethic.

The big thing for the players I have just mentioned above is to kick on this season and get first team football be it with us or on loan with a view to impressing.   The reason being is the next generation are coming and in that group there are players who are already pushing for first team chances.

Oliver Skipp

The name you may hear a lot is Oliver Skipp.  Like Amos he went on the USA tour and greatly impressed the first team players who were there and the coaches with Christian Eriksen taking time to single him out after a fantastic display against Barcelona.

He is just 17 years old and will get better, stronger and could be one the very best players to come through in recent memory (with Kane obviously).  Keep an eye out for him but like I always say, be patient, these lads need football and need to be managed.

The key thing I want to say about our academy is there are players in every position that are knocking on the door and that is what we have always wanted.  It is why the club invested so much money in the training centre all those years ago.

The future is bright, the future is Lillywhite.

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