A piece on Spurs’ highly skilful and creative first year scholar Tyrese Hall:

Although I won’t be covering the Spurs Academy matches anymore, I will still be writing the occasional piece on the Spurs Academy players, especially as I’ve received so many nice and very kind messages in the past week from people. Tyrese Hall is a player who I saw live around a dozen times in matches for the various Spurs Academy sides, since the start of the 2021/22 season. A versatile player, who is capable of playing as a box to box midfielder, defensive-midfielder, CAM or as a winger. Tyrese is a very exciting, skilful and creative player, regardless of which position that he starts matches in. With his fine balance, vision for a forward pass and his excellent creativity, Hall is a player who I will very much be looking forward to following at Spurs during the future. Having featured for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, Tyrese signed scholarship forms with the club last summer, and only recently he signed his first professional contract with Spurs.

Impressing in the games that he featured for Spurs’ Under 18 side in last season while playing in a number of different positions, Tyrese was outstanding in a Premier League South fixture away to Reading, towards the end of last season. In that game, which Spurs won, he performed his role as the box to box midfielder with real maturity and skill. Providing an all important assist, it was Tyrese’s desire to receive the ball, take players on for skill and look to create chances for his teammates which really made the difference. In another game last season (this time for a Spurs Under 17 side in the Under 17 Premier League Cup final against Manchester City) Tyrese came on in the second half to make a good impression on the game, against a top Manchester City side. And only very recently against both Crystal Palace and Norwich City’s Under 18 sides, the 17 year old midfielder showed his class in midfield, and in the game against Norwich in particular, he was really, really impressive. And he really helped Spurs to win the midfield contest in that game.

A player with great ability on the ball. I’ve noticed in every game that I’ve seen Tyrese Hall involved in, that he is always very positive in his all-round play. Liking very much to receive the ball and go on long and very skilful surging runs, the Spurs Academy player is unpredictable with his dribbling on the ball, is more than capable of creating chances out of very little, and he with his consistently impressive weight and vision for a pass, he is also capable of making those all important forward passes. In fact Tyrese reminds me quite a lot of former Spurs Academy player Rafferty Pedder, in his style of play. Rafferty is a real talent and is now doing really well with QPR’s Under 21 side. Both having good pace, movement off the ball and a real desire to play the ball forward and create chances. Tyrese also has great ball control and the ability to evade challenges in tight spaces, similar to how Rafferty plays.

Tyrese Hall has goals and assists to his game also, and he likes to take efforts from distance. However, he is also a tenacious player who has a good defensive side to his game, and he demonstrated this really well in the recent league game with Norwich City, and also the game last season away at Reading. A player who from what I’ve seen has a big future at Spurs, the talented midfielder is a player whose style of play I am a really big fan of, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him earn a call-up to England’s Under 18 side/youth team in the near future. Along with other creative players in the Spurs Under 18 side, like Mikey Moore and Oliver Irow, Tyrese Hall will in my opinion be integral to Spurs’ Under 18 side doing well in the FA Youth Cup this season. I would like to wish Tyrese all the very best of luck for the rest of this season, and for his future at Spurs.

Looking back on my wonderful time following and watching the Spurs Academy sides, over the past seven or so seasons as a supporter:

On Wednesday I tweeted a thread on Twitter, pretty much just saying that I would no longer be able to attend the Spurs Academy matches (home and away), because of other commitments. However I’ll still be writing articles on my blog, with some being historical articles on Spurs, and others being about the Academy, but maybe just not as frequently as before. I’ve always been a very big Spurs fan. I’ve been going to Spurs matches for as long as I can remember. I absolutely love the club and it’s sides at all levels. However, following and attending all of the Spurs Academy matches in my spare time (the Spurs Under 18, Under 19 and Under 21’s matches), all really came about by chance. My father asked me one Friday evening whether I’d like to attend a match in the old Under 21 Premier League, between Spurs’ Under 21 side and Liverpool at White Hart Lane. I was interested to see the game, and so I met him at White Hart Lane, and we watched the game. There was maybe about a thousand or so fellow spectators at the ground. Spurs lost the game 3-1 to a very strong Liverpool side that evening. However, I really enjoyed the match, the experience and watching these players who had already come so far in their careers at Academy level.

From watching that game against Liverpool’s Under 21 side I really started to become interested in the Academy, and I remember the next morning I was checking the scoreline of the Spurs Under 18’s match, while on my way with my dad to the Spurs first team game. And so my interest in the Spurs Academy grew from there really. I was learning a lot about Academy football, following every result, but at that stage I was only really able to get to the occasional Academy games that used to be held at the old stadium. In time, possibly during the next season or so I started to attend more matches at Spurs Under 21 level, and then at Spurs Under 18 level. Going to watch an Under 18 league game at Spurs’ incredible Hotspur Way training ground for the first time was just amazing. It’s so very impressive, and it was without doubt the best training ground that I ever visited while reporting on the academy games. Fast forward and before I knew it I was attending and writing previews and reports on every Spurs Under 18’s and 21’s match, in my spare time. This would last around seven or so seasons, until very recently.

I quickly found out that getting permission to attend some of the away Academy matches at certain training grounds was very, very difficult. Also, getting to so many of those places where the games would take place, by public transport, was in many cases quite challenging to say the least. I’ve got to watch so, so many wonderful footballers play against Spurs at Academy level, who have gone on to achieve great things in the game, so far in their careers. And for Spurs, the Academy players who are currently at the club and who were once at the club, were and are so incredibly talented. The level of technical ability that these players have is just incredible, and you really get to appreciate that by watching the matches week in and week out. Players like goalkeeper and Spurs Academy graduate Brandon Austin, who was just brilliant, and who has got better and better by each passing season. Also, then there is the fantastic Oliver Skipp, and players who are technically unbelievable, like the Shashoua brothers – Samuel and Armando. 

Skilful and fast winger Anthony Georgiou was a player who I always really thought very highly of, and who I wrote a lot on. I thought that he was very unlucky with injuries during his time at Spurs. Without doubt my favourite season covering the Spurs Academy sides was in 2018/19. That season and under the tutelage of Under 18’s head-coach Matt Wells, Spurs’ Under 18 side played consistently outstanding football. The team consisted of players like Dilan Markanday, who is another outstanding footballer with such great potential, Harvey White, the captain Armando Shashoua, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Dennis Cirkin, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Maxwell Statham, Josh Oluwayemi, Luis Binks, J’Neil Bennett, Troy Parrott and Jubril Okedina. I could literally write piece after piece on that side, who during the leadership of Matt Wells and his time at the club during that season as head-coach of the side, were in my opinions the best Under 18 side in England. They seemed fitter than pretty much all of the sides that they faced, but the quality of the football that they played, was quite simply breathtaking. I reckon that Matt Wells will make a great manager one day.

I’ve been so lucky to build up so many wonderful memories of watching Spurs’ various academy sides, all over the country, and also in Europe at the pre-season and end of season Academy tournaments. I loved attending those tournaments, and so many of the players were so very friendly and thankful that I’d made the trip over to support them. Because at the end of the day I am a Spurs supporter first of all. Not all fellow Spurs supporters might have liked the fact that I was always positive in my reporting on the Spurs Academy matches. However, I very much appreciate the fact that these young Spurs Academy players are still at the very beginning of their footballing journey. Certainly I’ve always felt that I was never in a position to criticise players for their performances, after all I’m just a Spurs fan, not a coach or an analyst, or whatever. I would like to say a very big thank you to all of the fellow Spurs supporters who have so kindly followed my reports, updates, player articles, tweets and other writing on the Spurs Academy over the years. I would also like to say a special thank you to those Spurs Academy parents who have introduced themselves to me in the past, and who have been so kind to me. And also to the Spurs Academy players (past and present), many of whom were very kind to me and so willing to chat and introduce themselves to me. I only wish every Spurs player all the very best.

And so we come to the end of my rather long piece, in which I have reminisced rather a lot! I will greatly miss going to all of the Spurs Academy matches in person, although I will still be following every result, and also watching every game on SpursPlay. I think that I’m very lucky to have so many memories of watching so many great games of Spurs at Academy level, all over the country. Some of my favourites include 9-0 wins over Arsenal and West Ham United respectively, at Under 18 level, some big wins against top academy sides at Under 21 level, seeing some wonderful football being played, and overall just having a great time. I feel like  I’ve really got to learn so much about the game in this time. I truly think that Spurs fans should be feeling optimistic about the future of the Academy players who are on their own footballing journey. I still think that Troy Parrott will and can be a big player for Spurs’ first team in the future, and Oliver Skipp and Brandon Austin will only get better. Also, some of the younger players such as Dane Scarlett, Harvey White, Maxwell McKnight, Josh Keeley, Alfie Devine, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Tyrese Hall, Will Lankshear and Rio Kyerematen, are just some of the Spurs Academy players who I personally believe can have great careers at the club.

I’ve loved every minute of going to all of the Spurs Academy games during recent years (barring of course the 2020/21 season, when no one could attend matches). I would like to wish the Spurs Academy players and Academy graduates of the club all the very best of luck for the future. I look forward to continuing to follow the progress of all of the players.

Spurs Under 18’s 3-1 Crystal Palace: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 18 side faced Crystal Palace on Saturday morning at their training ground in south London, in a Premier League South fixture. Spurs won the game 3-1, and they had a good game, from start to finish. Captain Luca Gunter started in goal for Spurs, as George Abbott, Alfie Dorrington, Archie Chaplin and Will Andiyapan started in defence. Rio Kyerematen and Tyrese Hall started in central midfield, and Damola Ajayi and Jaden Williams started the game out on the flanks, either side of CAM Jamie Donley. Will Lankshear led the line for Spurs. Crystal Palace got the game underway. Will Lankshear headed a cross from Will Andiyapan wide inside the Crystal Palace box early on in the game, before Spurs took the lead in the ninth minute of the match. Tyrese Hall’s low cross from the right side of the Crystal Palace box found Will Lankshear just in front of the goal, but the former Sheffield United player was unable to control the ball, as it came to Jamie Donley, who was able to finish from close range, 1-0.

After Rio Kyerematen went forward with the ball from midfield he passed the ball forward well to Will Lankshear, who had made a run in between the Crystal Palace defence. Lankshear passed the ball across the goal to Jaden Williams, who was able to tap home from close range, 2-0. Archie Chaplin did well to block Zach Marsh’s effort inside the Spurs box, before Crystal Palace managed to get a goal. Caleb Kporha skilfully worked his way into the Spurs box, before finding the bottom left corner of Luca Gunter’s goal, 1-2. Alfie Dorrington blocked Jake Grante’s effort well inside the Spurs penalty area soon after, before a long ball over the top of the Crystal Palace defence from Damola Ajayi, sent Will Lankshear through on goal. However, Crystal Palace goalkeeper Jackson Izquierdo came rushing out of his goal, and he ended up clattering into Lankshear, and after consulting with the linesman on the far side, the referee showed him a red card. Jamie Donley sent the resulting free-kick from distance over the goal.

The impressive Rio Kyerematen had an effort deflected just wide of the Crystal Palace goal, from the edge of their penalty area. George Abbott then had a curling effort which was pushed behind by Laurence Shala, just before half-time. Spurs got  the second half underway, and early on in the half Wales youth international Will Andiyapan had a low effort from distance saved by the Crystal Palace goalkeeper. Luca Gunter saved Freddie Bell’s effort from the edge of the Spurs box, before Spurs regained their two goal lead on 59 minutes. The influential Jamie Donley’s low cross from the left flank managed to find Will Lankshear in the centre of the Crystal Palace penalty area, and he finished well past the goalkeeper in clinical fashion, 3-1. Adler Nascimento hit an effort over the Spurs goal from inside their penalty area, as the home side tried to respond. Rio Kyerematen then hit an effort over from the edge of the Crystal Palace box, before having an effort blocked soon after.

Spurs continued to control the game, and after Jamie Donley’s effort inside the Crystal Palace box was blocked behind for a corner-kick, at the other end of the pitch Luca Gunter saved Adler Nascimento’s effort from a free-kick on the edge of the Spurs box. Alfie Dorrington then hit a low effort wide from distance, a couple of minutes before Oliver Irow and Yusuf Akhamrich came on for Damola Ajayi and Will Lankshear. The substitute Oliver Irow hit an effort just wide of the goal, from the edge of the Crystal Palace box. Kieran Morgan replaced Will Andiyapan soon after, before Dorrington did well to block an effort towards goal from Caleb Kporha. Luca Gunter saved another Crystal Palace effort, this time from a corner-kick, before then saving Eyimofe Jemide’s headed effort on goal. Jamie Donley had a late effort blocked on the edge of the box, with Tyrese Hall then departing the field moments later, after an impressive performance on his return to the side, as he was replaced by Riley Owen. Jaden Williams had an effort blocked, with Yusuf Akhamrich then hitting an effort over the goal, after getting on the ball following a Spurs free-kick. The referee sounded his whistle for full-time shortly after. Spurs’ next game (in the league) is at home to Norwich City on Tuesday.

My man of the match – Alfie Dorrington. Showing his quality on the ball throughout the entirety of the match, central defender Alfie Dorrington made some good defensive decisions and blocks against Crystal Palace. The England Under 18 international also read the game impressively, and his overall performance was once again of a very good quality.

Spurs Under 18’s versus Crystal Palace: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side travel to south London to face Crystal Palace on Saturday (the game starts at 11:00am), in a Premier League South fixture. Spurs were very unlucky not to have picked up at least a point against Chelsea in their last league fixture, as it was a game that they lost 2-1. However, were it not for two great goals from Chelsea in that match, then Stuart Lewis’ side would have got something from the game. Crystal Palace have picked up 14 points from their opening eight Premier League South games of this season, and they are currently in second place in the league table. In the last game it was great to see Rio Kyerematen, Will Andiyapan and Alfie Dorrington return to the Spurs Under 18 side squad. This should be a great game of football, but it will also be a tough game for Spurs, with Crystal Palace winning both league fixtures with Spurs at this level last season. I would like to wish Spurs all the vey best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Gunter (c), Abbott, Chaplin, Dorrington, McKnight, Kyerematen, Willhoft-King, Williams, Donley, Akhamrich, Lankshear.

Subs from: Krasniqi, Andiyapan, Hall, Owen, Ajayi.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-4.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Junior Dixon (18). The Crystal Palace second year scholar has scored a very impressive total of eight Premier League South goals from seven appearances this season for the Crystal Palace Under 18 side.

Spurs Under 18’s 1-2 Chelsea: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 18 side welcomed Chelsea to Hotspur Way for a Premier League South fixture on Saturday morning. Head coach Stuart Lewis saw his side lose the game 2-1, but it was still in my opinion a good performance from his side. Spurs lined-up with captain Luca Gunter in goal, as George Abbott, Alfie Dorrington, Archie Chaplin and Maxwell McKnight started the game in defence. Rio Kyerematen and Callum Olusesi started in central midfield for Spurs, as Jaden Williams and Mikey Moore started the game out on the flanks, either side of CAM Jamie Donley. Will Lankshear led the line for Spurs, who got the game underway. The game started at a good pace, and early on in the match Maxwell McKnight made a good headed clearance at the back post of the Spurs goal, to clear away Frankie Runham’s good cross. Travis Akomeah had a headed effort from a free-kick saved by Luca Gunter, before Archie Chaplin made an excellent sliding challenge to take the ball off of Tudor Mendel-Idowu, who was through on goal inside the Spurs penalty area.

After receiving Mikey Moore’s good pass inside the Chelsea box, Jamie Donley had a powerful effort saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Ted Curd. After going on a good run into the Chelsea box, Mikey Moore had an effort saved, before then having a low effort from distance saved a couple of minutes later. Louis Flower headed over Somto Boniface’s cross, and then he had a header saved by Luca Gunter shortly after. Jaden Williams headed wide Maxwell McKnight’s good cross into the Chelsea box, before Chelsea took the lead. After Frankie Runham had got past George Abbott on the left flank, the Chelsea winger found Michael Golding inside the Spurs box, and the midfielder curled an effort past Luca Gunter and into the Spurs goal, 0-1. Spurs tried to respond before half-time. After receiving Callum Olusesi’s pass inside the Chelsea box, Will Lankshear had an effort blocked, before Maxwell McKnight also had an effort blocked, with Jaden Williams then having an effort saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper.

Tudor Mendel-Idowu’s effort from the edge of the Spurs box was saved by Luca Gunter, before Spurs went forward with the ball. Maxwell McKnight brought the ball forward at pace, and he then played a one-two pass with Mikey Moore, before having an effort blocked. Archie Chaplin was shown a yellow card, and shortly after Frankie Runham’s free-kick delivery to Louis Flower resulted in the Chelsea forward having his good looping header well saved by Luca Gunter. Callum Olusesi was then shown a yellow card, just before Spurs managed to get an equalising goal. Rio Kyerematen managed to get on the ball, before passing it out to Mikey Moore on the left flank. The Spurs winger then found Jamie Donley on the right side of the Spurs box, and he was able to finish low past Ted Curd, 1-1. Louis Flower then hit an effort wide, across the Spurs goal from the left side of the Spurs box, just before the referee sounded his whistle for half-time.

Chelsea got the second half underway. A good turn inside the Chelsea box by Mikey Moore resulted in the Spurs winger having his effort deflected just wide of Ted Curd’s goal. Lankshear had an effort blocked on the left side of the Chelsea penalty area, with Alfie Dorrington’s lofted pass to Mikey Moore on the left flank seeing him take the ball into the Chelsea box really well, before having an effort saved by the goalkeeper. Alfie Dorrington blocked an effort inside the Spurs box at the other end of the pitch, before Luca Gunter managed to save Frankie Runham’s effort from inside the Spurs box. Spurs made a double change shortly after, as Han Willhoft-King and Damola Ajayi came on to replace Jaden Williams and Callum Olusesi respectively. Tudor Mendel-Idowu headed Harrison McMahon’s cross wide form inside the Spurs box, and then Frankie Runham hit an effort over the goal from the edge of the penalty area.

After receiving Tudor Mendel-Idowu’s pass just outside of the Spurs box, Josh Acheampong hit a powerful and quite unstoppable effort into the top left corner of Luca Gunter’s goal, 1-2. Luca Gunter then tipped over Tudor Mendel-Idowu’s headed effort from a cross into the Spurs box, before at the other end of the pitch Rio Kyerematen won a free-kick on the edge of the Chelsea box, which Jamie Donley then hit over the goal. A pass from Donley to Lankshear on the left side of the Chelsea box, saw the former Sheffield United player have his effort blocked by Harrison Murray-Campbell. Lankshear then had an effort from the right side of the Chelsea box tipped over by Ted Curd, before Rio Kyerematen had an effort on goal blocked. After receiving Damola Ajayi’s pass on the left side of the Chelsea box, the impressive Mikey Moore went past Frankie Runham, before having an effort saved by Ted Curd. Yusuf Akhamrich came on to replace Rio Kyerematen, and soon afterwards the winger went forward down Chelsea’s left side at pace, before crossing into the Chelsea box, but Jamie Donley’s header was saved. The referee sounded his whistle for full-time not long after. 

Spurs’ Under 18 side face Crystal Palace (away) next Saturday, in what is their next league fixture.

My man of the match – Maxwell McKnight. Playing out of position at left-back for the game against Chelsea on Saturday, second year scholar Maxwell McKnight continued his impressive start to the 2022/23 season by putting in a very good defensive performance against Chelsea, in my opinion. The player from Colchester in Essex, kept very good positioning throughout the match, and he defended really well against the talented and very creative Tudor Mendel-Idowu. Maxwell also got forward well, but it was his very good reading of the game and decision making, which impressed me most today.

Spurs Under 18’s versus Chelsea: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side face Chelsea in a Premier League South fixture at Hotspur Way on Saturday morning (the game starts at 11:00am). Spurs won 5-1 against Charlton Athletic in their last competitive match at this level, with that game being in the Under 18 Premier League Cup. The game on Saturday against Chelsea is the first meeting between the two sides at this level this season. Chelsea won both fixtures against Spurs last season in the league, and they are currently in third place in the Premier League South, with 10 points from their opening six league matches of the season. They are of course a very good side and this will be a difficult game for Spurs, but it will also be a very competitive game. I would like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for the game. Spurs’ Under 18 side today found out that they will face QPR, at home, in the third round of the 2022/23 edition of the FA Youth Cup.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Gunter (c), McKnight, Chaplin, Morgan, Linton, Abbott, Moore, Williams, Donley, Irow, Lankshear.

Subs from: Krasniqi, King, Hall, Owen, Ajayi.

Injured/unavailable: Thomas Bloxham (on international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under 18 side).

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-3.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Tudor Mendel-Idowu (17). The second year scholar has been starting matches on the right flank as a winger, in recent games, and he is a very skilful and creative player who has impressed me whenever I have seen him play for Chelsea in the past.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Maurizio Pochettino:

Maurizio Pochettino was a hardworking and skilful winger during his days in the Spurs Academy set-up. The son of former Spurs head-coach Mauricio Pochettino, Maurizio signed scholarship forms with Spurs during the summer of 2017, having previously been with Southampton’s Academy set-up. With good technique and skill on the ball, Maurizio is a clever player who got stronger and quicker during his days in the Spurs Academy set-up. Although he wasn’t always a regular for the Spurs Under 18 side during the 2017/18 season (his first year of scholarship), the player who was born in Barcelona would impress when he started matches. However, he continued to make good strides during the following season, a season that he started more matches in for the Spurs Under 18 side, and he made his FA Youth Cup debut during the same season. Progressing up to the Spurs Under 23 side during the 2019/20 season and also playing for the Spurs Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League, Maurizio had some really good games for Spurs during that season.

The now 21 year old professional footballer would start the 2020/21 season with the Spurs Under 23 side, before moving to Watford on a permanent transfer in the January of 2021. During his time with Watford, Maurizio would spend the majority of his time there with their Under 23 side, and during his first season with the club his teammates included former Spurs Academy players Maxwell Statham and Phoenix Patterson. Maurizio made his one and only appearance for the Watford first team as a substitute against Brentford in the Championship during the 2020/21 season. During the following 2021/22 season he would score three goals for the Watford Under 23 side. He left Watford at the end of last season, and after a short time without a club Maurizio Pochettino signed for Spanish third tier side Gimnàstic in July of this year. Maurizio has so far made five competitive appearances for Gimnàstic. His most recent appearance came against Racing Rioja CF in the Copa del Rey, on Saturday. I would like to wish Maurizio all the very best of luck for the remainder of this season. 

Spurs Under 21’s 0-1 West Ham United: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 21 side faced West Ham United at the Rush Green Stadium on Friday evening, in their final Premier League 2 fixture until January. Spurs lost the game 1-0 to a resolute defensive West Ham side. Spurs lined-up with Josh Keeley in goal, as Kallum Cesay, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and captain Matthew Craig started in defence for Spurs. Pape Matar Sarr and Harvey White started the game in central midfield, and Jamie Donley and Romaine Mundle started the match out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine. Yago Santiago led the line for Spurs, who got the match underway. Will Greenidge blocked Jamie Donley’s early effort inside the West Ham penalty area, before Malachi Fagan-Walcott blocked Kamarai Simon-Swyer’s effort inside the Spurs box, a couple of minutes later. Spurs were starting to control the game, and after exchanging passes with Alfie Devine on the right side of the West Ham box, Kallum Cesay curled an effort over the goal. Matthew Craig received a yellow card, before Harvey White hit a good effort just over the West Ham goal, from distance.

After receiving Yago Santiago’s pass on the edge of the West Ham box, Romaine Mundle hit an effort over the goal. Then a couple of minutes later Brooklyn Lyons-Foster made a good and important clearance from Kamarai Simon-Swyer’s cross into the Spurs box. After Harvey White had conceded a free-kick and was shown a yellow card for a foul on the edge of the Spurs box, West Ham’s Oliver Scarles stepped-up to curl a really good effort into the top right corner of Josh Keeley’s goal, leaving the Spurs goalkeeper with no chance. The referee sounded his whistle for half-time shortly after. West Ham got the second half underway. Nile John had replaced Pape Matar Sarr at half-time. And the Spurs midfielder headed wide an early cross from Kallum Cesay, soon after the second half had started. Romaine Mundle was fouled by Michael Forbes inside the West Ham box, shortly after, resulting in a penalty kick for Spurs. Jamie Donley stepped-up to take the penalty, but his effort was saved really well to his left, by goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi. 

Nile John hit an effort over from distance, before then having a curling effort from the edge of the West Ham box saved by Hegyi. After meeting a good through-ball pass, Kamarai Simon-Swyer continued with the ball into the Spurs box, but his effort from a difficult angle went wide of the goal. Harvey White had an effort saved from the edge of the West Ham box, and then the midfielder delivered a cross for Jamie Donley, inside the West Ham box, but Donley’s effort was saved by Hegyi. Damola Ajayi came on to replace Romaine Mundle, before Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to block an effort from Keenan Appiah-Forson. Malachi Fagan-Walcott then received a yellow card. Spurs were trying hard to find that equalising goal. Kallum Cesay hit an effort over from the edge of the West Ham box, and then Malachi Fagan-Walcott had a headed effort cleared inside the West Ham box. 

Harvey White’s late effort from the edge of the West Ham box was saved, before West Ham went forward with the ball. The move ended with Brooklyn Lyons-Foster making a great sliding block, to stop Gideon Kodua from testing Keeley, on the right side of the Spurs box. The referee sounded his final whistle shortly after. Spurs’ Under 21 side now don’t have a competitive game until early January, when they face Liverpool away.

My Spurs player of the match – Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. The left sided central defender had in my opinion another very strong defensive game. Lyons-Foster defended really well I thought alongside Malachi Fagan-Walcott, and his reading of the game and overall decision making was good. He also made some good defensive interventions.

They came close to signing for Spurs (Trialists who played for the Spurs Youth team/Academy or reserves) – Graeme Philson:

In an occasional series of articles I’ll be looking at some of the trialists who came close to joining Spurs at Academy/youth team and reserve team level during the last 50 or so years. Northern Irishman Graeme Philson was a talented and very tenacious defender who started his footballing journey with Coleraine, having previously played for some of the top youth sides in his local area. Graeme had already played for Coleraine’s first team on a good number of occasions as a teenager, but his footballing career saw him attract the interest of some English sides. Robert Walker was Spurs’ former Northern Ireland scout, and he would have been well aware of Graeme Philson, when he was playing for Coleraine, and most probably before he had joined them. Robert recommended Graeme to Spurs, and so he traveled to London to trial for them, with the hope of earning a contract at the club.  

I met Spurs’ former Northern Ireland scout Robert Walker in 2021, and have previously interviewed him about his time at Spurs. He mentioned Graeme well, and you could tell that he was proud of what he would go on to achieve in the game. After joining Spurs on trial around the summer of 1993, Graeme played maybe one match for the club at youth level, plus a number of games for the reserves (he scored for them on his debut against Aylesbury United) and from what Robert remembered of Graeme’s time at Spurs, he was close to being offered a contract at the club. Not too long after Graeme’s trial with Spurs came to an end however, Robert Walker had left his role with Spurs, and would instead work for West Ham United manager Harry Redknapp as their Northern Ireland scout. He had recommended the now 20 year old Graeme Philson to the club, and so he did very well and earned a contract with West Ham. 

The one time Spurs trialist and former captain of the Northern Ireland Under 18 side, who came close to joining Spurs at one time, would become a regular for the talented West Ham United reserve side during the mid 1990s. Graeme would even captain them, and he would surely have many great memories from his time at the club, and he would share a pitch with some fantastic players. After a time out on loan from West Ham with Wigan, Graeme would later return to Northern Ireland, where he would play for clubs such as Linfield, his local team Insitute and also Lisburn Distillery. Although he didn’t sign for Spurs, Graeme is someone who like all of the former players who either signed for the club or who came close to jointing them, should be proud of all that he has achieved in the game.

Spurs Under 21’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

In what is their final Premier League 2 fixture until January 2023, Spurs’ Under 21 side face West Ham United at the Rush Green Stadium on Friday evening (the game starts at 19:00pm). Spurs lost 3-0 to Chelsea on Monday, but there were moments in the game when they were unlucky not to have scored goals at important times. West Ham United are currently in bottom place of Division One of the Premier League 2, but they got their first league win of the season in their last Premier League 2 match at home to Wolves, which they won 3-1. West Ham are a good and talented side, and this will be a difficult game for Spurs. I will be reporting on the game tomorrow, and I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Keeley, Paskotši, Fagan-Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Cesay, Craig, John (c), Mundle, Devine, Santiago, Donley.

Subs from: Maguire, Muir, Sayers, Robson, Mathurin.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-3.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-1.

My one to watch: Divin Mubama (18). The West Ham United forward and second year scholar who has already featured for the West Ham first team this season, has scored two goals from seven Premier League 2 games this season.