Some notes on Troy Parrott’s performance against the Netherlands under 17’s:

Some notes on Troy Parrott’s performance against the Netherlands under 17’s:

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It was an under 17 Euro quarterfinal unlike any other for Troy Parrott’s Ireland, who went out of the European championships in the most controversial of fashions in Chesterfield, on Monday evening. I was in Chesterfield solely to report on the performance of our young striking starlet but before I get going, I must explain what happened or what didn’t happen during the match. Ireland took on an extremely highly rated Netherlands side in the quarter finals of the European championships, in the warm evening sun at Chesterfields Proact stadium. The Dutch, who had won all three of their previous group games without conceding a goal, were heavy favourites for the tie. The first half was controlled from start to finish by Holland who kept onto the ball for fun, they knocked it about with ease and panache. And whilst Ireland stood resolute in defence they stood no chance of getting the ball off of them, it was to their credit that the Dutch had been unable to really test the Ireland goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran, such was the resolute defending from the Irish. In the second half the Irish opened up a bit more, but Parrott was still getting virtually no service from the wide men. It was only when the Dutch took the lead from a corner kick on 62 minutes, that the Ireland team were really sparked into like. Young Troy initiated a move only a couple of minutes later before clinically finishing it off on the edge of the area, to draw Ireland level. There was little between the two sides during the remaining 16 minutes, meaning that the tie would be decided by a penalty shootout. Despite Adam Idah having the first penalty of the shootout saved, both teams converted their remaining penalty kicks.

This ultimately meant that with the scores tied at 4-4, the Netherlands had the chance to win the shootout through Chelsea’s Daishawn Redan. This is how the controversy came about, Redan’s powerfully struck effort was excellent saved by the diving Corcoran. Irish players and myself were celebrating wildly, but only a couple of moments later that joy was turned to despair. The referee pulled out Corcoran’s second yellow card of the game and sent him off. In the most absurd set of circumstances the referee had deemed Corcoran to have come off his line as Redan took the penalty. Yet if you watch Ireland’s first penalty, you’ll see that the Dutch goalkeeper commits exactly the same ‘offence’. An outfield player (Oisin Mcentee) was forced to go in goal for the retake, but unsurprisingly Redan buried his effort this time round. The decision from the referee was utterly perplexing and infuriating from an Irish perspective, many of the Ireland players were in tears after the game, slumped to the floor and in total disbelief. Getting back to Troy Parrott’s performance, it was another excellent shift from the Tottenham youngster. Who made the most of his time as an attacking midfielder who was reliant on limited service. There was little to report of Parrott’s performance in the first half, he had been starved of service as the Dutch dominated possession. In fact Ireland had not even managed to have an attempt on goal. As Ireland opened up in the second half, so did Parrott. He embarked on a promising run through the middle shortly after the restart, before being involved in a meaty challenge which resulted in a minor scuffle between both sets of players. Parrott picked up a yellow card in the process.

After the Dutch had taken the lead through Van Gelderen in the 62nd minute, Colin O’Brien’s side were forced into changing their game plan. It took only a couple of minutes for the Irish to respond, due mainly to the intricacy of Parrott. After being picked out on the edge of the Dutch penalty area by Ledwidge’s cross, Parrott delicately poked the ball through to Barry Coffey inside the box. The young Celtic midfielder swivelled round before laying the ball back off to Parrott on the edge of the penalty area, the striker made no mistake as he clinically side footed the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, it was a brilliant finish from the Dubliner! There were to be no more meaningful chances for either side, and the game would eventually be decided by a penalty shootout. Parrott took Ireland’s second penalty of the shootout, he calmly slotted it into the far corner of the goal. It was another really impressive performance from the young centre forward. Despite not being played in his favoured position throughout the tournament, Parrott managed to score three goals in the four games that he played in. He has an attacking nous about his game which few schoolboys can rival. He shows great awareness to his surroundings, and one thing which is striking is his excellent ball control and movement. His fine scoring record for Ireland gives an indication as to what a clinical finisher he is. I’m already excited to see how he performs for the under 18’s next season, when he has players with the quality of J’neil Bennett and Rodel Richards out wide. Phoenix Patterson in behind him setting up chances, and the Winksesque Jamie Bowden sending precise passes over the defence for Parrott to chase onto.

I’m going to make a bold prediction about the Irishman, similar to one which I made about Oliver Skipp at the end of the 16/17 campaign. I think Parrott will excel at under 18 level during the first few months of the season, so much so that I think he’ll be a fully integrated member of the development side by January. I’ll end this piece by sharing an amusing story of Troy’s time spent on trial with Celtic, one which shows just how ridiculously talented the kid is. I was told up in Chesterfield, that Troy was on trial with Celtic a couple of seasons back. During the trial if you can call it that, Parrott scored five goals in the first half of a game. At halftime a coach (who I won’t name) decided to even things out a bit by putting Parrott in the other team, but young Troy only went and scored four more goals!

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Farewell Keanan and good luck:

Farewell Keanan and good luck:

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On Tuesday afternoon quite out of the blue, rumours started popping up on social media suggesting the imminent departure of our promising young winger Keanan Bennetts, to German club Borussia Mönchengladbach. The rumours came from a story on a website called footballinsider247.com, the title read simply ”Bennetts agrees move to Gladbach”. This sudden story startled me and many other youth followers on Spurs Twitter, prompting the question of why would one of our most promising youth players want to leave Spurs? After making such great strides for the development squad during the 17/18 season. Bennetts who recently turned 19, has been without a shadow of a doubt our most consistent and effective player in the under 23 side this season, Bennetts was able to carry on his fine form for the under 18’s the previous season, into the development squad. Where he has shone at both LW and LWB over the course of the season, his rapid progress made me convinced that he would have appeared on the bench at least once for Pochettino’s side, before the season ended. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition and today the club announced that they had reached an agreement with Mönchengladbach for the transfer of our young starlet, believed to be in the region of £2 million pounds. With a year left on his remaining contract, the club would have wanted to cash in on Bennetts rather then letting him leave on a free at the end of next season. Unlike the recent exodus of young English players who have made the move to the Bundesliga, the likes of Jadon Sancho, Reece Oxford and Ademola Lookman all springing to mind. Bennetts has strong ties with the country, his mother is German, Bennetts speaks the language and has previously represented the German under 15 side before later going on to represent England at youth level.

For those with long memories, you’ll remember back in 2015 when Bennetts was the tug of war between England, Germany and Nigeria as to who he would pledge his allegiances to. After being massively hyped during his first season as a scholar, Bennetts endured a bit of a difficult campaign as he divided his time playing for Ugo Ehiogu’s under 21 side and Kieran McKenna’s under 18’s. It was not until the following season that Bennetts began to show the confidence and flair which had been so prevalent at schoolboy level. A mainstay in the under 18 side, Bennetts proved to be a vital part of the side that reached the semifinals of the FA youth cup in 2017. Whilst he did lack a bit in consistency and decision making in the final third, the teenager from Borehamwood had shown great confidence at taking defenders on, on either flank, scoring some spectacular goals in the process. It was not until this season however, that Bennetts was able to make the permanent step up to the under 23’s and what a season it has been for Bennetts. Across the various youth levels for Tottenham, Bennetts has chipped in with nine goals and assists, his exceptional performances as both a fullback and as a winger, have won him many plaudits throughout the campaign. His ridiculously quick feet, unstoppable pace and fine eye for a cross made him an extremely difficult player to play against. Not only was he direct and tricky, he was also exciting and unpredictable. The amount of times he would cut inside on either foot, and totally outwit the keeper with a fizzing shot, was sensational.

If you go back and read my reports over the course of this season, you’ll see that 99.9% of the time I’ve written glowing reports of the teenager, as he divided his time as both a fullback and winger. Bennetts blistering pace, mercurial skill and unpredictably made him almost Zaha like in style. Not only does he have all the tools of a modern day wing back, he has more than just speed, skill and intricacy. Bennetts is an expert at dead ball situations and has managed to score many free kicks over the campaign, he is comfortable on corners and good at reading the game. A prime example of the wingers magic, came only a month ago at Stamford Bridge during a PL2 game involving Spurs and Chelsea’s under 23’s. Down to ten men against a Chelsea side who were leading comfortably at the bridge, Bennetts provided the impetus behind a remarkable comeback for Burnett’s side. Not once, but twice did he risk the fortunes of his team by driving at the Chelsea defence. On the first occasion he did excellently well to win a free kick on the edge of the box, he stood up comfortably to bend a sublime effort into the back of the net. Burnett and his coaching staff would have been more than happy with a point, but Bennetts had other ideas. A couple of minutes after scoring our equaliser he drove at the Chelsea defence once again, winning a free kick in an almost identical position to the first. He stood up once more, this time with little to aim at, before calmly tucking the ball around the wall and past the Chelsea goalkeeper into the bottom corner of the net, to ensure all three points for Spurs. His tendency to try his luck at the extraordinary has also resulted in a string of stunning goals for the young lilywhites this season, most of these goals come from his excellent ball control in tight spaces and two footedness.

Whilst many of us would have been focusing on the rumours regarding the Reo Griffiths contract saga, a player who has also incidentally been linked with the Bundesliga. I feel that losing Bennetts is an even greater loss for the club, especially as I’m confident that he will excel in Germany’s top division over the course of the next few seasons. The lure of first team football in a country he knows so well, will have been an offer far too tempting for Keanan to refuse. He becomes part of a group of young English players to make the move to the country over the last few seasons, to better their chances of playing first team football sooner rather than later. Another young English player who decided to make the move to Die Fohlen was Mandela Egbo, a promising right back who joined the German club a couple of season back from Crystal Palace. Bennetts will be hoping to emulate the path of players such as Sancho, Egbo and Lookman. And when you think about it from his perspective, it’s not difficult to figure out why he’s decided to leave. I would expect Bennetts to rack up at least a dozen appearances for the German club next season compared with playing the majority of the season for the Spurs development squad, tied in with maybe a couple of league cup appearances if he was lucky. Still, I feel that it is a great, great shame that we have lost one of our most promising youth prospects, a player who I have had the great pleasure of watching develop over the last couple of seasons. Whilst it is unknown whether or not Spurs have included a buyback clause as part of the transfer, I certainty wouldn’t rule him out from returning to Spurs in a couple of seasons time. I wish young Keanan all the very best of luck at Mönchengladbach and I look forward to following his progress over the coming seasons.

Spurs under 15/16’s 6-1 Ipswich Town: (match report)

Spurs under 15/16’s 6-1 Ipswich Town: (match report)

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A Spurs under 15/16’s side put in a sparkling performance at Portman road this afternoon to brush aside Ipswich town 6-1 in the annual academy showcase game, in front of a crowd of over 560 spectators. The game was held in memory of Ipswich’s Dick Parker who was an ardent Spurs supporter, the game was held as the Dick Parker trophy. The young Spurs lads shone throughout the game, totally overwhelming and out playing the tractor boys. Spurs were the stronger and more energetic side, they passed the ball around well and managed to carve open the Ipswich defence with intricate attacking football. Kieron Dyer’s side were unable to match the lilywhites high intensity, they also struggled to make much of an impact in the Tottenham half. This wasn’t helped by the fact that they were missing their star player Ben Knight, who missed out through injury. Mehmet Ali’s Spurs side included some of our brightest young talents, under 18 regular J’neil Bennett started the game on the right wing whilst highly thought of midfielder Harvey White started in the middle. Spurs lined up with Timi Lo Tutala in goal, Luis Binks and Marqes Muir as the centre backs with Kallum Cisse and Dennis Cirkin as the fullbacks. White and Aird Munn formed a tenacious pairing in the centre of the park whilst J’neil Bennett, Chay Cooper and Max Robson played behind the prolific Enoch Asante who was up top. It was an excellent team performance from the young Spurs lads who deserved to win by five goals at the very, very least. I was able to get a team sheet prior to kick off however, there were quite a few mistakes on the sheet, several players numbers were missing and incorrect. Whilst the most noticeable mistake was the listing of Arjunah Crighton who was in fact J’neil Bennett!

The home side got the game underway as they attacked the Sir Alf Ramsey stand. Spurs were passing the ball around well in the opening couple of minutes and it wasn’t long before they started to initiate some promising moves. The lively Chay Cooper passed the ball out to Cirkin on the left wing, the fullback crossed for Bennett in the box, his resulting effort on the turn flew narrowly over the crossbar. Cirkin did well a couple of moments later to make an important block at the other end to stop Zak Brown’s effort. The young lilywhites were looking very comfortable on the ball and were really taking the game to Ipswich. Chay Cooper managed to pick out Enoch Asante at the back post with a pin point delivery, but the Spurs strikers looping header went just wide of the mark. Spurs continued to impress going forwards and they were rewarded a couple of minutes later when they opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Harvey White did well to win possession in the centre of the park following Jake Alley’s free kick. The Industrious midfielder found Cirkin with a well timed through ball, the Tottenham fullback sprinted forward into the box before rifling an effort at goal. Cirkin’s powerful low effort forced Alley into making a fine save, but the Ipswich keeper could do nothing to prevent J’neil Bennett from tapping the loose ball home at the back post, 1-0. Spurs had been dominant in the opening stages and they were showing no signs of slowing down following their early opener. Cirkin continued to cause problems for the Ipswich defence when he whipped a menacing cross agonisingly wide of the approaching Asante who was ghosting in at the back post.

Despite their stranglehold on the game Spurs almost threw away their lead in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Luis Binks pacy back pass towards Lo Tutala almost caught out the Spurs keeper, who desperately scurried back to clear the ball off of the line. Sashon Aird Munn’s cross forced a panicked last minute clearance by Kabongolo. Whilst Zak Brown’s saw his deflected effort easily gathered by Lo Tutala at the opposite end of the pitch. Continuing to dominate possession Spurs were beginning to really pile the pressure on what was looking like an increasingly lightweight Ipswich defence. Ali’s side doubled their advantage on 27 minutes after capping off an intricate piece of attacking play. Spurs managed to work the ball out to Bennett on the right wing, the wide man whipped a deflected cross into the danger zone. Managing to pick out Asante at the back post, the Tottenham striker cooly volleyed the ball into the back of the empty net, 2-0. J’neil Bennett had an effort blocked shortly after the restart, before the potent Max Robson forced a good save out of Alley with a powerful driving effort from range. It had been sheer domination from Spurs who were showing no signs of lowering their attacking tempo. J’neil Bennett continued to cause problems for the tractor boys, Bennett managed to round his man sublimely before darting forwards through the middle. He eventually slipped the ball out to Cooper on the left, the former Southend lad pinged the ball into the danger zone towards Kallum Cisse, (also known as Cesay Kallum) but the fullbacks header across goal was well intercepted by the Ipswich keeper, who gratefully clutched the ball. Spurs were intent on extending their lead before half time, Bennett showed some lovely foot work before sliding the ball into Cisse inside the penalty area. However, the right back dragged his effort wide of the mark as Ipswich escaped danger once more.

The game was briefly paused by the referee after Asante and and Kabongolo clashed in the centre of the park. Soon after the game was back underway Spurs were back at it again. Cooper and Asante almost managed to cap off a sublime move after combing in and around the danger zone. And that illusive third goal was never far away from Spurs, who extended their lead moments later courtesy of a wonderful Pochettino-esque move. Cooper passed the ball to Cirkin who burst into the box from the left wing, the England u16 international wrong footed Harry Knock with a sublime piece of skill, before squaring it for Asante to tap home from close range, 3-0. After a dominant first half Spurs got the second half underway, hoping to build on what was an already impressive lead against a fine Ipswich outfit. However, it was the home side who came close to pulling a goal back shortly after the restart when Teddy Baker managed to put Dylan Ruffles through on goal with a clever defence splitting pass. Ruffles sprinted forward down the right before dragging an effort across Lo Tutala’s goal in what had been yet another missed opportunity for the home side. Soon afterwards, Dennis Cirkin sent a teasing cross into the danger zone which was well snuffed out by Jake Alley. It was soon back to business for Spurs who netted their fourth of the game on 49 minutes through J’neil Bennett. The move started with Robson whose through the eye of a needle pass set Asante racing through on goal, but the Tottenham striker was closed down by Alley who came rushing off his line before making a decent stop from Asante’s effort. Thankfully for Spurs Bennett was there to pick up the loose ball on the edge of the danger zone. The winger steadied himself before calmly tucking the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, to put Spurs 4-0 up.

Shortly afterwards Mehmet Ali’s rampant Spurs side netted their fifth of the game through Chay Cooper. After receiving Robson’s pass, Cooper embarked on a jinking run before sharply cutting onto his left foot and curling a beautiful effort into the top left hand corner of the goal, forcing jubilant reactions from his teammates. We made our first substitution of the game shortly afterwards, as Aird Munn replaced number 15 (not on the team sheet!). The game was quickly becoming a training game for the Spurs lads, who were continuing to open up the increasingly faltering Ipswich defence. Spurs made it 6-0 on 56 minutes courtesy of a stunning strike from the impressive Cirkin. Harvey White’s long forward pass was headed away by Kabongolo, but only straight into the path of Cirkin on the edge of the box. The fullback let fly with a first time effort that rifled into the bottom right hand corner of Alley’s goal via a slight deflection off an Ipswich defender on the way in. Harvey White had a free kick saved a couple of minutes later as Spurs looked to extend their lead. Something which was striking from the game was Spurs’ ridiculously high pressing, every time Ipswich were on the ball you’d have two Spurs players chasing them down, this ultimately led to some costly errors from the tractor boys. Despite our overwhelming stranglehold on the game we conceded a penalty during the midpoint of the half. Tyreece Simpson had managed to get the wrong side of the Spurs right back Kallum Cisse who pulled the Ipswich forward back as he surged past him in the box. Zak Brown stood up to take the resulting penalty kick, the brother of Chelsea’s Charlie Brown struck a powerful low effort at goal which was excellently saved down to his left by Lo Tutala. Unfortunately the ball came straight back to Brown who tapped home for Ipswich, 6-1. Lo Tutala was furious that he had conceded a goal.

Ipswich almost pulled another goal back shortly afterwards, Tommy Smith’s long ball was excellently brought down by Brown inside the box. Brown opened up his body before forcing the Tottenham keeper into making a fine reflex save. The ball came back out to the Brown on the left wing, he whipped the ball into the danger zone towards Simpson, who controlled it before poking it inches wide of the Spurs goal. Following a double substitution Spurs winger Chay Cooper had now been reverted into playing as a right wing back. After a short blip Spurs began to reassert their authority on the game, Cirkin sent a lovely pass to Bennett down the right side of the box. The 16 year old forced a fine diving save out of Alley with a thumping effort. Harvey White’s resulting corner kick was beaten away by the Ipswich keeper but only into the feet of Asante whose quick fire effort was blocked by Brown. The lively Bennett forced another good save out of Alley soon afterwards as the game drew to a close. Then the former QPR schoolboy was able to find White in the box with a sublime rabona cross. There was a late flurry of action for both sides, White saw his free kick deflected wide after Bennett had won it in a dangerous area. Tottenham’s number 16 (u14) gave the ball away to Knock who fed it through to Brown, who then tested Lo Tutala with a strong effort at his near post. Luis Binks wanted to get on the scoresheet, the young centre forced a good stop out of Alley with an effort from over 30 yards out. It was becoming an end to end game, Ipswich’s Liam Gibbs doing well to round our number 17 before forcing Binks into making an important clearance inside the box.

Spurs saw out the game with a flurry of meaningless passes across the park the last notable piece of action came from a J’neil Bennett free kick, which was hit straight at the wall. The young Spurs lads held on to record a hugely impressive 6-1 victory over Ipswich at Portman road. It was an excellent team performance from Spurs whose attacking prowess managed to totally overwhelm the tractor boys over the course of 80 minutes. After the game an Ipswich official gave a moving speech about the late Dick Parker before awarding Spurs with the trophy. Tottenham fullback Dennis Cirkin was also given the Spurs player of the match award for his excellent performance. It was a real pleasure to report on the game and I look forward to following this group of players progress over the next few seasons.

Player reviews: – Timi Lo Tutala: After a quiet first half the Tottenham goalie put in a magnificent second half performance. Lo Tutala who appeared on the bench for our u18’s back in January, made many a fine save. Most notably his diving save to prevent Zak Brown’s penalty going in, but also from a wide range of situations. He was alert and showed good reflexes, Lo Tutala remained vocal throughout the game.
– Kallum Cisse: The former West Ham teenager put in a fine performance at right back, he was powerful going forward but managed to maintain good defensive discipline with the exception of conceding a penalty in the second half. Cisse also showed good positioning throughout.
– Marqes Muir: The 15 year old put in an impressive showing at centre half, cool and composed on the ball Muir read the game well and like Binks he loved to play it out from the back. Whilst he is still quite small Muir looked at home in his role, his anticipation second to none. He remained ice cool during moments of great pressure.
– Luis Binks: Assertive, intelligent and good at passing the ball out from the back. Once again I was left extremely impressed with England u17 international Luis Binks who skippered Spurs today. Binks was flawless and decisive in the challenge and assertive across the back line leaving Brown with little space to run through. His eye catching long forward passes were on show throughout, Binks showed that he is more than ready to make the step up to under 18 football.
– Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
– Sashon Aird Munn: Aird Munn did a good job in the centre of midfield, he looked good on the ball and embarked on some eye catching weaving runs but it was his neat passing and tidy play which were so effective.
– Harvey White: The tenacious Harvey White put in an excellent performance in the midfield. Industrious as always, White impacted play from the very start with his deftly accurate passing. He was everywhere, chasing players down and getting back to cover for the more adventurous defenders. His challenge lead to the opening goal for Spurs. White also shows good two footedness. I like him a lot!
– J’neil Bennett: Our number 14 certainly wasn’t Arjunah Crighton as the team sheet suggested, it was u18 regular J’neil Bennett. Bennett played the entirety of the game out on the right wing and my word was he influential. He oozed quality and confidence, he caused mayhem for the Ipswich defence with his weaving and menacing runs down the flank. But it was the 16 year olds decision making which proved most effective, he didn’t even have to run at full power to trouble the Ipswich defence (he appeared to be carrying an injury to his left arm). He showed exceptional ball control and balance and was able to produce some magical moments throughout the game. Bennett chipped in with two goals and an assist.
– Max Robson: I liked the look of the cam, Robson linked up well with the forwards combining well with Asante, he also showed good movement.
– Chay Cooper: It was my first look of Cooper in the flesh and I was left mightily impressed with the former Southend United teenagers performance. Cooper was tricky and intricate and showed plenty of flair out on the wing. Cooper filled in well at right wing back for the latter stages of the game and worked hard for the team. The winger scored a terrific and well deserved goal during the second half.
– Enoch Asante: Asante put in a top performance up top, clinical and hardworking the centre forward held the ball up well and showed good movement in and around the danger zone. Asante was rewarded with two goals in the first half, he is very much a fox in the box kind of striker.

 

My man of the match: Dennis Cirkin. It was a day in which the young fullback won’t forget in a hurry, awarded the official Spurs man of the match in a presentation after the game, Cirkin has also been awarded the slightly less prestigious Superhotspur man of the match, for his performance against Ipswich. An England u16 international, Cirkin wowed the crowds from left wing back with his perfectly timed surging runs. He was able to get back and put in a fine performance at the other end. But it was Cirkin’s offensive qualities that really caught the eye, he was nimble footed and quick thinking. Like a young Nick Tsaroulla he burst forward down the left causing multiple problems for the Ipswich defence with his trickery and pin point crossing ability. Cirkin claimed two assists and also netted our sixth of the game courtesy of a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area.

Spurs under 15/16’s versus Ipswich Town: (match preview)

Spurs under 15/16’s versus Ipswich Town: (match preview)

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I will be reporting on an academy showcase game this Saturday involving our under 16’s and an Ipswich town u15/16 side, in the Dick Parker trophy at Portman road. A regular event over the past couple of seasons the last showcase game involving both these sides came back in April of 2016 when our under 15’s took on the tractor boys at Portman road. Links are strong between both academies due to former Spurs coach Bryan Klug now being involved with the Ipswich senior team, whilst this particular game is being in held in memory of Ipswich’s Dick Parker who supported Spurs. A number of showcase matches have been held in recent seasons and our links with the East Anglian club has also seen a handful of their players guest for us in youth matches. With the most recent being the quartet of Ben Knight, Zak Brown, Nyan Mesuria and Liam Gibbs who played for our under 15’s during last seasons surf cup in San Diego. The season before that saw Zimbabwean international Kundai Benyu represent our under 19’s in a tournament in Amsterdam. Tomorrow afternoons showcase game will provide the young Spurs players with the rare chance of playing in front of a big crowd at a large and world renowned stadium. It will also give me a greater indication as to who is likely to be part of next seasons group of first year scholars. As for who will play tomorrow, well your guess is good as mine. There will likely be a variety of under 16’s involved which will include the likes of u18 regular J’neil Bennett and goalkeeper Kacper Kurylowicz. There will also be a fair few under 15 players involved, players such as Nile John and Tarrelle Whittaker. There could also be a few under 14’s in action such as England under 15 international Khalon Haysman, who played for our under 16’s during the previous showcase game against Cambridge United earlier in the season. My in-depth match report of tomorrows showcase game will be out on Saturday evening. COYS

Possible starting 11: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz(c), Muir, Walcott, Binks, Cirkin, White, Craig, John, Cooper, Bennett, Asante.

Unavailable: Troy Parrott (international duty).

Doubtful: Rafferty Pedder (injury) and Noni Madeuke (Madeuke has recently been turning out for Man United).

One to watch: Highly rated England under 16 international Ben Knight is considered as one of the most exciting young footballers in the country. The highly touted number 10 who has previously guested for Spurs’ under 15 side will provide the tractor boys with a major attacking outlet.

 

Some notes on Troy Parrott’s performance against Belgium under 17’s:

Some notes on Troy Parrott’s performance against Belgium under 17’s:

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I was at the Loughborough University stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch Ireland under 17’s take on Belgium in their opening group game of the under 17 European Championships. I was there to watch our very own Troy Parrott represent his country, the 16 year old centre forward is the only Spurs player involved in the tournament. Parrott played the full 80 minutes of Ireland’s 2-0 defeat to Belgium in the warm evening sun on Saturday. Operating mainly as a wide man Parrott impressed me in what was a frustrating game for the boys in green. The following notes are from my observations of Parrott’s performance during the game, a game in which he was forced into playing out of position in tough and testing conditions against a very good Belgium team. Ireland played with one striker up top, their top scorer during the qualifying campaign Adam Idah. Meaning that Parrott was forced into playing in the unfamiliar role of left wing. Ireland started brightly and Parrott was involved in an early attacking foray, advancing on a surging run down the left flank in the opening 30 seconds showing good ball control and speed. Ireland saw more of the ball during the opening stages of the game, but despite being tigerish and finding himself in a fair amount of space on the left Parrott was being played quite deep by the Ireland coaches. Interestingly the Ireland head coach Colin O’Brien had him on corner and free kick duties. Ireland were marginally the better side during the first half despite going behind four minutes before the break to Sekou Sidibe’s tap in from close range. Parrott’s hard work and tracking back didn’t go unnoticed, the schoolboy making a vital last ditch block inside the box to prevent Vandermeulen from getting his curler on target during the dying stages of the half.

Parrott switched to right wing for the start of the second half and it didn’t take long before the Summerhill native was involved in a promising move for the Irish. Parrott provided the potent Adam Idah with a glorious chance inside the Belgium box, after whipping in a menacing low cross towards the Norwich striker. Idah’s jabbed effort towards goal forced Belgium goalkeeper Nick Shinton into making a vital reflex save at his near post to prevent Ireland from drawing level. Despite his obvious graft down the right flank Parrott was frustratedly being played very deep. Parrott was involved in another promising move for Ireland around the hour mark as they continued to push for an equaliser. However, Ireland’s chances of getting anything from the game were severely dented on 68 minutes, when the Belgians doubled their lead through Yorbe Vertessen. After falling further behind Ireland manager Colin O’Brien decided to play Parrott in a slightly more central role behind Idah. As Ireland tired so too did Parrott who pulled up twice with cramp during the latter stages of the game, and was clearly struggling to continue. Ireland came desperately close to pulling a goal back in stoppage time but the Belgians were able to comfortably see out the remaining minutes, to dent the chances of Troy Parrott’s country progressing to the knockout stages. Despite suffering defeat I was impressed with what I had seen from Troy and his teammates. I thought that the Tottenham schoolboy had played his part in the game. He was feisty, hardworking and powerful going forwards. He didn’t shy away from getting involved in defensive duties and once again he roamed all over the park. It was frustrating to see him play out of position as I felt that it restricted his impact in around the six yard box, especially during set pieces.

Despite his positional change I thought that Parrott did a fine job in a variety of positions, his quality and awareness was plain to see. He is a classy player who uses the ball resourcefully. Despite his inclination to be a natural centre forward tactics dictated where he played, e.g the wing. Hence less involvement in direct play. Up next for Parrott and Ireland is Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday, in what will now be regarded as a must win fixture for the boys in green. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend that game as it has already sold out. On a different note I was once again impressed with Ireland and Norwich centre forward Adam Idah’s performance. He was sharp and his physical and aerial presence really managed to unsettle the Belgium defence. Idah is a very intelligent and clinical goalscorer who has always impressed me for both club and country since I first saw him play as a 15 year old. If Reo Griffiths is to go at the end of the season then I know which young striker I’d like us to replace him with! I wish Troy and co all the very best for their remaining group games. COYS/COYBIG

Spurs under 23’s 0-5 Manchester City: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-5 Manchester City: (match report)

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A surprisingly strong Manchester City side ended our under 23’s eight match unbeaten run on Wednesday evening, with a dominant display at Broadhall Way. Wayne Burnett’s side were played off the park by the sky blues, whose sharp possession based football managed to overwhelm the Spurs players. City’s excellent regrouping, movement and counter attacking football proved to be one challenge too many for our development squad who ended the PL2 campaign with a 5-0 thumping from the technically much better Man City. I feared the worst after looking at the team sheet prior to kick off, the likes of Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz and Lukas Nmecha all started for City. And from their performances against Spurs it was easy to see why all three have been involved with Pep Guardiola’s senior side this season, the trio managed to cause major problems for the Spurs defence. Burnett’s side saw the inclusion of under 18 full back Tariq Hinds in the starting lineup whilst first year scholar Dilan Markanday was named on the bench. Also included in the starting 11 was Samuel Shashoua who has recently recovered from injury. Spurs got the game underway at a sunny Broadhall Way for our development squads final game of the season. Almost immediately after getting the game underway, George Marsh ran over to Nmecha to prevent him from running forward. However, he ended up looking a little startled after the Man City striker forced him to the ground with his sheer strength. The visitors would have the first attempt on goal of the game, after Ian Poveda surged forward after pouncing on a loose ball. The winger continued on to the edge of the box before curling an effort narrowly wide of the Spurs goal.

City were enjoying a bright start to proceedings, soon after Poveda’s effort Man City threatened the Spurs defence again. Brahim Diaz managed to trick his way across the Tottenham penalty area before sliding the ball out to Luke Bolton on the left. The wide man swept a low ball into the danger zone which Nmecha decided to leave (due to being in an offside position) it ended up squirming agonisingly wide of Whiteman’s left post. Head coach Wayne Burnett could be heard roaring to Anthony Georgiou “Where are you going?” As Spurs struggled to adapt to the high intensity start from the visitors. The dominant Manchester City were knocking the ball about for fun as they continued to unsettle the Spurs defence with their Guardiola-esque attacking football. Shortly after forcing Oliver Skipp into making an important block inside the penalty area, the visitors took a deserved lead through Lukas Nmecha. The Man City forward had managed to cap off a wonderful attacking move from Simon Davies’ side. A move which started from the heart of the city defence, Adarabioyo passing the ball forward to Nmecha who combined well with Foden before rifling a low effort into the back of Whiteman’s net from an acute angle, on the edge of the Tottenham penalty. Although it was a fine strike from Nmecha, Whiteman’s chances of saving it were severely hampered by a massive deflection off of the sliding Dinzeyi which caught out the Spurs keeper. Man City almost doubled their lead a couple of moments later through Brahim Diaz. Ed Francis sent a lovely ball over the top of the Spurs defence to Diaz inside the penalty area. Diaz tried to catch Whiteman out with a thumping effort on the half volley, but the Spurs keeper reacted well with an excellent save at his near post. Spurs were being totally outplayed in the opening stages!

Stifled by the high pressing of the Manchester City players, Spurs were prevented from launching any meaningful attacks on the City defence. Continuing to blossom under the evening sun, City produced another fine move when Adarabioyo picked out Bolton on the right wing with a lovely lofted pass. Bolton sent in a dangerous looping cross towards the far post which in all reality wasn’t a million miles away from totally embarrassing Whiteman and nestling inside the far corner of the goal. City continued to dominate and there was little that Spurs could do to prevent it. Jonathan Dinzeyi managed to prevent Nmecha’s effort with an important goal line block. However, Burnett’s side could produce no such heroics to stop City from doubling their lead only a couple of moments later. City punished us after being allowed to break forward through a sloppy pass from George Marsh which gave the ball straight to Diaz in the centre of the park. The Spaniard drove at the Spurs defence before shifting the ball out to Bolton on the right. He swept the ball into the box which the pacy Diaz managed to get forward and meet, flicking the ball past Whiteman to cap off a sparkling move. Spurs managed their first attempt on goal of the game shortly afterwards through Kazaiah Sterling, who fired wide of Muric’s goal after receiving Tracey’s pass. The latter forced a comfortable save out of Muric a couple of moments later after hitting a weak effort on his left. Samuel Shashoua conceded a free kick on the edge of the Spurs box after bringing down Nmecha, as Spurs continued to be frustrated.

Nmecha’s resulting under the wall effort flew wide of the mark as Spurs managed to escape further embarrassment, in what was turning out to be an all too easy game for the away side. With three on two City burst forward towards Whiteman’s goal before Nmecha’s over hit through ball narrowly deceived Foden inside the box. We then managed to produce our finest chance of the half, Tariq Hinds lovely floated cross from the left was well attacked in the air by Sterling. Muric spilt the ball which came out to Oliver Skipp on the edge of the box, but he fired the ball straight at the chest of the Montenegrin keeper. Anthony Georgiou had a promising effort blocked shortly afterwards. Burnett’s side were showing more positive signs going forward as the half came to a close, Georgiou had a menacing cross cleared by Ed Francis. Whilst Samuel Shashoua did well to win a dangerous free kick on the edge of the penalty area. The same player stood up to test Muric with a fine effort over the Man City wall, which was heading into the top left hand corner but for a fine acrobatic stop from Muric to tip the ball over. Burnett desperately needed to shake things up during the interval. Man City got the game back underway, but it was Burnett’s side who were able to create the first chance of the half. Samuel Shashoua managed to turn his man brilliantly before floating in a cross from the right. The ball eventually came out to Georgiou on the edge of the box, the Cypriots powerful low effort flew inches wide of the goal after taking a nick off of a City defender. Despite improving their attacking play danger was never far away for Burnett’s side.

The impressive Dinzeyi was forced into making an important block before the newly introduced Dele-Bashiru saw his low effort deflected out for a corner kick by Skipp. Thankfully Tanganga was on hand to prevent Bolton from the finding the danger man inside the box. Manchester City’s dominance on the game continued and they reflected this when they managed to find their third of the game on 52 minutes. Once again it had been all too easy for Davies’ side to carve open the Tottenham defence, Diaz’s precise through ball managed to pick out Luke Bolton down the right hand side. He continued into the Spurs box before calmly tucking the ball past Whiteman and inside his near post despite Dinzeyi’s desperate lunge, 0-3. Straight from the Spurs kick off came another golden chance for the visitors who came so close to making it 4-0. Diaz caught the Spurs defence by surprise, threading a nice pass through to Nmecha inside the box. The tall centre forwards first time effort came off of the underside of the crossbar before bouncing high enough for Whiteman to claim, goal line technology would have come in handy! Spurs responded down the other end through Kazaiah Sterling who ended up getting his ambitious effort all wrong soon afterwards. Frustrated by a lack of openings in the City defence Spurs needed to use the ball wisely, that’s why it came as a great waste when Shashoua chose not to play Georgiou through on goal, after embarking on a good attacking foray of his own, instead opting to shoot. His effort would go out for a Tottenham corner kick. Sterling rose well to nod the resulting corner wide at Muric’s near post.

A flurry of chances came the visitors way, first through Luke Bolton who breezed past Hinds down the right before whipping a menacing ball in to the box, thankfully Tanganga was on hand to make a timely clearance. Brahim Diaz bent an effort inches wide of the mark a couple of moments later, before Phil Foden sliced an effort well wide after going on a promising forward run. Wayne Burnett made an attacking double substitution to change things up for his struggling side, when he brought on Bennetts and Markanday (u23 debut) for Georgiou and Shashoua. Georgiou looked particularly sad as he made his way into the dugout. Man City were showing no signs of lowering their high energy tempo as the clock ticked down, Latibeaudiere squared the ball to Foden inside the box but the England under 18 internationals improvised back heel was somehow cleared on the line by Dinzeyi, much to the relief of Whiteman. Then the Tottenham goalkeeper did well to come out of his box and get to the ball before the advancing Nmecha could punish him. Burnett’s team couldn’t seem to string a couple of passes together, they were sloppy and overwhelmed by the dominant possession based football being played by the visitors, it wasn’t nice to watch. In a rare attacking move from the lilywhites Shilow Tracey fired an effort narrowly over the Man City goal. However, Man City would go at our defence again a couple of moments later. The sky blues punished Spurs for losing possession, Nmecha was slipped in down the left channel. The leagues top scorer forced Whiteman into making an important save with his feet after unleashing a ferocious strike. Somehow Brahim Diaz was unable to tap home the rebound, instead blasting it high into the Austin stand behind the goal.

One thing which was striking from City’s performance was their regrouping, for a side so young they were just as organised and well drilled as Guardiola’s seniors, it was quite remarkable to watch a team of teenagers play football in such a way. Once again Manchester City threatened the Spurs goal, Foden managing to find Nmecha inside the box. Somehow Nmecha couldn’t sort his feet out in time and Whiteman was able to gather the ball from under his feet. Phil Foden embarked on a surging run down the left hand side a couple of moments later before forcing Whiteman into making an important stop with his legs. The frustration with in the side was plain to see, Sterling was evidently annoyed that he wasn’t being given support up top as he singlehandedly pressed the City defenders, he could be heard shouting “why aren’t you there?” To his team mates. Alfie Whiteman was alert to make an important save down to his left to prevent Luke Bolton’s thunderbolt as Man City pushed for a fourth goal. Limited to long range efforts such as Oliver Skipp’s ambitious volley on 85 minutes, Spurs looked flat and lethargic. City’s fourth goal of the game duly arrived in the 88th minute, another incisive attacking move had undone the Tottenham defence. The creative spark which was Phil Foden saw the starlet from Stockport thread a peach of a through ball in to Lukas Nmecha who was allowed to run through on goal. Whiteman made the decision to come running off of his line but soon regretted it as the pacy centre forward rounded him with ease before calmly slotting the ball into the empty net, 0-4. Spurs had hardly been given enough time to get back in position before City rounded the game off with a fifth deep in stoppage time.

After being allowed to carve open our defence with ease Phil Foden was able to get a well deserved goal of his own. Ed Francis passed the ball to Nmecha who drove forward before slipping the ball out to Foden on the left wing. Foden continued into the box before powering an effort past Whiteman and into the top left corner of the net, the Spurs goalkeepers touch on the ball was not enough to thwart the ferocity of the strike. The final score from Stevenage Spurs under 23’s 0-5 Manchester City, it was a disappointing end to what has been an excellent season on the whole. We were missing quite a few players for the final league game of the season whilst City went full strength. The quality of Diaz, Nmecha and Foden was a class above any of our lads. We end the season in ninth place with 26 points, I will be doing an end of season review in due course of which will include a detailed review of every players season. COYS

Player reviews: – Alfie Whiteman: It was a decent performance from the 19 year old in between the sticks. Whiteman made a string of fine stops to ensure that the scoreline wasn’t by a far greater marginfor the visitors. Although he will have been disappointed to have been outdone by Nmecha, for the citizens fifth goal of the game. He must have made at least nine saves.
– Tariq Hinds: He did ok on his first u23 game of the season, playing at left back Hinds looked solid for the most part. However, Bolton was allowed to beat him for pace and guile on many occasions and did give him a tough game.
– George Marsh: Not his finest game by any means, the midfielder was overwhelmed by the likes of Diaz and Foden, struggling to assert his authority on the game Marsh looked sloppy and out of place, such was the energy provided by the sky blues front line.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: My motm, see below.
– Japhet Tanganga: It was a very tough game for the skipper but all in all he gave a decent account of himself. Tanganga made a couple of really timely interventions and also did a good job in the air. However, he did struggle to marshal his defence,
– Shilow Tracey: Struggled to make much of an impact going forward, remained pretty anonymous throughout the game.
– Oliver Skipp: Like Marsh, Skipp struggled to contain the attacking threat of City’s central players and was unable to get forward. He did however make a couple of really important blocks.
– Kazaiah Sterling: It would be unfair to judge Sterling’s performance up top as he was living off hardly any support from the wide men. He pressed the City defenders very well.
– Samuel Shashoua: It was great to see our very own David Silva back on the pitch after enduring an injury hit campaign. Shashoua impressed on the ball and went on some fine forays through the middle. Came within an inch of scoring from a free kick on the stroke of halftime.
– Anthony Georgiou: He was one of the players who was eager to run at the City defence despite the risks involved. He was positive and direct and managed to go close to finding a goal of his own on a couple of occasions. Georgiou made some intelligent runs down the left hand side.
– Keanan Bennetts: He gave a good account of himself out on the right wing during his 25 minute cameo, Bennetts was tricky and direct.
– Dilan Markanday: A positive cameo from the u23 debutant who looked bright going forwards.
– Jaden Brown: N/A

My man of the match: Jonathan Dinzeyi. No one from the Spurs team really stood out but my man of the match has to go to 18 year old centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi on his sixth league appearance of the season. He was by no means perfect nor was his partner Tanganga, but it was Dinzeyi’s persistence which really impressed me. His positioning throughout the game wasn’t excellent but it was his committed defending which proved so effective. He was always on his toes, alert to danger and quick in to making a challenge. His excellent goal line clearances saved us on a couple of occasions. In a sense he is still quite raw, he is a risky but exciting centre half who loves to play it out from the back, it’s also worth considering that he is still a relatively recent convert to CB. Soon after coming off late on in the second half Spurs conceded two goals!

Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Hinds, Marsh, Dinzeyi (Brown 83), Tanganga (c), Tracey, Skipp, Sterling, S Shashoua (Markanday 65), Georgiou (Bennetts 66). Substitutes (not used): Austin, Duncan.

Manchester City: Muric, Humphreys (Dele-Bashiru 46), Adarabioyo, Latibeaudiere, Francis, Smith, Poveda (Garre 46), Diaz, Nmecha (c), Foden, Bolton (Gonzalez 83). Substitutes (not used): Scott, Kigbu.

Goals: City – Nmecha 19, 88, Diaz 30, Bolton 52, Foden 90+1.

Referee: David Rock.

Attendance: 411.

Spurs under 23/21’s statistics 2017/18:

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-11
Loft-1
Duncan-2
Edwards-4
Tanganga-1
Pritchard-4
S.Shashoua-5
Bennetts-7
Tracey-3
Harrison-4
C.Maghoma-2
Roles-4
Walkes-1
Eyoma-1
Skipp-1
Georgiou-1

Assists: Skipp-1
Miller-1
Sterling-2
Pritchard-7
Edwards-3
Tracey-7
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-4
Bennetts-8
Marsh-1
Harrison-1
Roles-1
Tanganga-1

Spurs under 23’s versus Manchester City: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Manchester City: (match preview)

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After an exhilarating first league campaign under head coach Wayne Burnett, Spurs under 23’s will play their final game of the PL2 season on Wednesday evening, when they host Manchester City at Broadhall Way. A campaign of many ups and downs, from staring relegation right in the face to going on a remarkable run which all started on a chilly evening at Old Trafford in January that saw them beat Manchester United 3-1. Burnett’s side who after beating Chelsea 2-1 in their previous fixture have secured their first division status for another season, will be able to experiment a bit more with his squad for the visit of the sky blues. Man City sit one place above us is in the table in eight after being in and around the middle of the table for the majority of the season, but a win for Spurs would see them leapfrog City in the table and finish the campaign in an impressive eight place, particularly impressive when you consider the fact that we were rock bottom in January. Despite leading by two goals during the reverse fixture up in Manchester in November, Spurs were pegged back by Simon Davies’ side and would go on to lose 4-2. Now looking to avenge that result and finish the season on a high, Burnett will be eager to maintain Spurs’ impressive eight game unbeaten. The visitors who have won their last three away matches, boast a plethora of talent with the likes of U17 World Cup winners Joel Latibeaudiere and Phil Foden on their books, City also have players such as Ian Poveda. A ridiculously skilful winger who they signed from Brentford in 2016, I saw Poveda play for England under 16’s a couple of years ago and was left amazed at what he could do with a football.

In addition to Poveda Man City also have the leagues joint top scorer in Lukas Nmecha who has scored 14 goals this season, as well as the mercurial talent that is Brahim Diaz. It will be a great experience for Burnett’s side who will likely be much changed from their 2-1 win over Chelsea, with game time for a number of under 18’s likely. There are also a fair few of our players out on trial with other clubs. Surely the prolific 34 goal as season Reo Griffiths will be given some game time? My in-depth match report will be out on Thursday. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Eyoma, Dinzeyi, Tanganga (c), Georgiou, Skipp, Duncan, S.Shashoua, Roles, Bennetts, Griffiths.

Subs from: Austin, Hinds, Edwards, Tracey, Sterling.

Doubtful: Tom Glover.

Injured/unavailable: Nick Tsaroulla, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Christian Maghoma and Joe Pritchard.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-4.

One to watch: Due to his recent involvement in Pep Guardiola’s senior side it’s quite unlikely that the Stockport Iniesta will travel down to London for Wednesday evenings PL2 encounter. But if Phil Foden does travel with the City squad down to Stevenage, then the England youth starlet is bound to cause problems for Burnett’s side. A skilful midfielder with a great passing ability and eye for goal Foden is a special, special player.

My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:

My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:

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I caught up with former Spurs youth player Andy Theodosiou, a familiar name for those of you who followed the football league during the 1990’s. Andy who operated as both a centre half and holding midfielder is fondly remembered for his stint with the now defunct Hereford United, but also enjoyed spells with the likes of Norwich, Brighton and even Cypriot giants APOEL Nicosia. I had the great pleasure of talking to the tenacious and tough tackling Theodosiou about his time in the Tottenham Hotspur youth set up and resulting years in the game.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Andy: I remember my first day at Spurs training, it was on a ‪Monday evening‬. I
turned up thinking I had been invited down but was told I shouldn’t have been
there. They let me train and afterwards I asked the coach if he wanted me to
come back? He said there was a match next week (October half term) and he
only had 11 players & I could be sub. The previous season I was at Arsenal, they had released me at the end of that season when I was 13. A number of the boys in my Sunday team were training at Spurs and thats how the mistake happened (that I thought I’d been invited down to spurs). I went to the match and I was a sub… I can’t remember who we played but at half time it was 1-0. The Coach put me on centre midfield (one of the first things I learnt, if you are going to look at a player ask him where he wants to play to give him the best chance to show what he can do). We went on to win 7-1 and I scored a hat trick. The next training session I was called into an office and signed associate schoolboy forms for Spurs. That week I played in a district match at Arsenal (on the astro behind the clock end) and scored 4 in a 4-2 win. Arsenal then asked me to go back. NO WAY!

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Andy: To play at a club like Spurs was an honour. I had 3 years as a schoolboy & 2 years as an apprentice…..brilliant experience and memories.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Andy: I didn’t have any footballing heroes. I just loved to play football as much
as possible and watch at every opportunity.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Andy: My biggest influence was Keith Walden. He took us from u15s and ended up youth coach in my final season taking over from Keith Blunt. An excellent coach and I owe him a huge thank you. If I had listened to him a bit more I would have been a much better player. He was coach when they won the FA youth cup in 1990.

Were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?

Andy: I wouldn’t model my game on anyone but I would watch and try to pick things up from other players. I found the best way to learn was playing alongside someone. So at Spurs I was very lucky in the central defensive partners that I had. In the youth team playing alongside Guy Butters. Reserves Neil Ruddock, John Polston, Brian Statham and Chris Hughton. Chris Hughton was excellent with us young players, always helping  and giving advice. I can see why/how he has become a top manager. People forget what a top player he was.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?

Andy: Toughest things to deal with: Having a bad game or training session. The
coach would tell you if you messed up in training often shouting his abuse at
us. Worse if you made a mistake on a matchday or had a poor game. You had
to deal with it and not let it affect your next training session or match. I think
it toughened me up. As I went through my career I could bounce back from a poor performance or bad defeat.

How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Andy: Answered a bit in previous question. Add to that, knowledge of how to play yours or any position on the pitch. In my first year I played right back,
centre back, right & centre midfield and was used on a few occassions as a
striker. I enjoyed playing different positions, I think it really helped my understanding of the game. You were expected to give a decent performance
wherever you were played in the team.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Andy: So many good memories on and off the pitch. Start with a bad one leading 4-0 at swindon in a youth game with 20 mins to go. We end up hanging on for a 4-4 draw & Dave Mcdonald scored one of the best own goals I’ve ever seen, it was like Dowie’s famous og for the hammers. A bullet header into bottom corner. Winning league in both seasons I was there. Scoring 2 in reserves 2-0 win over Chelsea. The highlight was winning league cup v Southampton in final over 2 legs. They had a really good side with Shearer upfront, the Wallace twins, Steve Davis [played for Burnley] plus a few others who had pro careers. We won at home 2-1.  2nd leg was a brilliant match, we went 2-0 up early 2nd half [4-1 on aggregate]. They came back 2-2 with about 15 mins to go. We hung on for a 4-3 win but last 10 mins we hardly got out of our box.

We lost a FA youth cup semi final v Doncaster which was a huge
disappointment….losing 1-2 away then after leading 1-0 and going into extra
time conceding in last minute to lose 2-3. Arsenal won the final which was a
disappointment for us because we all felt we would beat them as we had done so in the league twice that season.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Andy: Norwich 2yrs, Hereford utd 2 yrs, 2 yrs in Cyprus playing for APOEL Nicosia & AEL limassol. Dover conference 2 yrs. After Dover I played for a number of non league clubs; Billericay, Harlow, Windsor, then player coach at Arlesey Town & Hemel Hempstead.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Andy: I wouldn’t say I had a pinnacle but highlight was playing Nottingham Forest away in the FA cup 4th round in 1992. Clough manager, Roy Keane, Des Walker, Stuart Pearce & I marked Teddy Sheringham (never got near him all day) all played. We lost 0-2.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Andy: From the match above Roy Keane. After he put in a nasty challenge on one of our players, our captain said to him “no need for that Roy you’re a better player than that”. I dont think he took too much notice of that comment.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Andy: To try and improve everyday, listen and take in as much as possible from your coaches. Always be willing to do extra training….don’t wait to be asked go and do the extra training yourself.

Are you still involved in the game?

Andy: I coached a few non league clubs up to a few years ago. I did enjoy it but
non league is tough and takes up a lot of time with little reward.

Are you still in contact with any of your former Tottenham team mates?

Andy: Over the years I have come across quite a few old Spurs boys. Danny Hill, Jeff Minton, Dave mcDonald plus a few others. Paul Moran when I see him we always have a chat. Trevor Wilkinson I played with at Harlow and Arlesey. Steve Smart I speak to occasionally. Continue reading “My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:”

My interview with former Spurs man Wayne Van Hughf:

My interview with former Spurs man Wayne Van Hughf:

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I had the pleasure of catching up with former Spurs youth player Wayne Van Hughf. A regular in the reserve team during the turn of the 21st century, the former midfielder reminisces about his time at the lilywhites in the following interview.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Wayne: I was a schoolboy at Middlesbrough but wasn’t offered a Y.T.S (scholarship) as there was no age groups for 15-18 I started playing in a semi professional adults league, a scout from Durham spotted me and I went on trial at Crystal Palace and Spurs, after one trial Spurs offered me a professional contract, Middlesbrough also came in with a contract but I declined.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Wayne: I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Tottenham and although I got a bad injury against Southampton reserves (in the 90th minute too!!!) I have no regrets and look back proud and with fondness!

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Wayne: My footballing hero was Stuart Ripley a flying winger for Middlesbrough who won the premiership with Blackburn and got some England caps, and then went to Southampton where I had the privilege of meeting him when I played against their youth team for Spurs.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Wayne: Chris Hughton was a great influence selecting me for reserve games and showing confidence in me and calling me during my hospital stay to check up on me etc! A true gentleman and so pleased he is doing so well now.

Were any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?

Wayne: I loved Maldini and Franco Baresi but at the club I was in awe of Darren Anderton and David ginola, their talent was off the scale.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?

Wayne: Toughest thing was being away from home at a young age… and the cooper runs!

How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Wayne: I think football or sport in general prepares youngsters for later on in life if they can learn to listen to coaches and take on board instructions it puts them in good stead for almost anything in life.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Wayne: Playing against Southampton reserves although we got beat and I sustained an injury but getting to play against a real strong side including Matt Le Tissier, Wayne Bridge, Chris Marsden and ex spurs man David Howells was a great experience.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Wayne: I got selected to represent England in a tournament in Denmark when I was 13 which was pretty special but signing a professional contract and playing reserve team football was my biggest achievement.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Wayne: Anderton/Ginola and Le Tissier was special.

Are you still involved in the game?

Wayne: No not since having my first child 7 years ago I couldn’t find enough time with work commitments, I’m now a scaffolder on Didcot power station.

Are you still in contact with any of your former Tottenham team mates?

Wayne: Destin Makumbu and Johnnie Jackson.

My interview with former Spurs academy player Shaun Murray:

My interview with former Spurs academy player Shaun Murray:

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I caught up with former Spurs academy player Shaun Murray who played at the club during the late 80’s. Described as the star of the England Schoolboys’ midfield, the now retired Murray shared some of his memories with me, from being at Spurs to playing further down the footballing pyramid.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Shaun: From about 14 Spurs showed interest the scout at the time was John Moncur. He travelled up to Newcastle quite often, he was a lovely guy and the family and I felt comfortable with him. Spurs treated us well, it was amazing going down in school holidays and weekends to train and play matches. It was such a special place. I loved White Hart lane and the training ground at Cheshunt was special too. On occasions Peter Shreeves used to invite me to train with the first team, that was so nerve racking training with the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Ardilles and the likes. I was fortunate at that age there were quite a few clubs wanting to sign me, so it was difficult to come to a decision.I felt alot of pressure and it wasn’t nice turning clubs down. But I had a good feeling about Spurs, they made me feel welcome and I loved going down and playing for the juniors. There was something about the strip aswell, loved the colours.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Shaun: Mixed emotions to be honest. There were so many enjoyable times, playing two years in the youth team and winning the league both years and reaching the semis of the FA youth cup both years was a good achievement. It was quite difficult at times living away from home, when training was done you had a lot of spare time and it got lonely at times. Looking back now if I looked for more support and guidance it might of turned out different. Maybe a bit premature to leave Spurs, I had a contract up to 21. Should of maybe held on a bit.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Shaun: From a very early age I loved football and I felt very lucky that all the schools I attended the PE teachers were so inspiring. They encouraged me, helped me and made sport fun and interesting. All the staff at England schoolboys were great too. That gave me a lot of good times and great memories.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Shaun: Greatest influence at the club was Keith Waldron juniors manager at the time, I felt he had time for me and he was always enthusiastic about the game. Doug Livermore was a good coach and nice man.

Were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?

Shaun: There were so many great players at Spurs. The reserves was full of talent too, so even getting an occasional game with them was an honour. Chris Waddle was class and also Gazza. One player I also admired was Mickey Hazard.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?

Shaun: Toughest thing being an apprentice which to be honest was not that hard was being on kit duty. Sorting out all dirty kit after training. To be fair we had it quite easy at Spurs compared to a lot of clubs.

How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Shaun: At Spurs you had to be at your best, expectations were high. Hard work and fitness was important but quality and finesse on the ball was what I thought you needed at a good level. So when I moved on to different clubs that was always my main aim, try and play the game skilfully.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Shaun: Favourite times at Spurs. I used to enjoy playing on White Hart lane in the cup games and other 1st team grounds. I remember scoring a hatrick at Reading and Terry Venables was watching and he passed a message down saying make sure I get the match ball. Used to love playing against the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, we had some great encounters. I remember beating Arsenal 1-0 at their ground and I got the goal.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Shaun: After I left Spurs I joined Portsmouth, I played quite regular in my second season there under a manager called Tony Barton. I was getting established then unfortunately a new manager came in and I was out of favour. I spent a couple more seasons there on the fringe then moved onto Scarborough. I loved it there, really enjoyed the football and the manager Steve Wicks was great with me. I was there a season then moved to Bradford City. They were a great club, I was playing regular and enjoying my football. I was there for 4 seasons, won promotion to championship via play offs on second season and avoided relegation on last game of season the following year. I then moved on to Notts County and had 3 years there. Sam Allardyce signed me and first season I played most games, after that I played partly under new managers. I was 30 then and moved to Kettering Town in the conference. Another lovely time spent there, enjoyed my football and lots of lovely people associated with the club. I then went onto play with other non league clubs but stayed in Bingham which is a lovely little town near Notts.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Shaun: Pinnacle of career would probably be returning to side after Chris Waddle left Bradford and we had 10 games remaining and relegation threatened but we managed to avoid going down after beating QPR on last game. Also Chris Kamara promised a new two year contract if we stayed up and gratefully he kept his word. Also winning promotion with Bradford via the play offs. Unfortunately I missed final as was recovering from operation on achilles tendon but was still there at Wembley. Winning patrons player of year on first season at Notts County was a nice personal touch aswell. Winning promotion with Kettering Town was great too. It meant so much for the supporters and people connected to the club.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Shaun: After a lot of contemplation I’ve picked Georgia Kinkladze of Man city. He was amazing to watch, his speed with the ball at his feet when dribbling was top quality.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Shaun: Advice for youngsters starting off would be when tough decisions need to be made, have a moment and don’t react too hastily. Try and enjoy every moment as it goes very quickly.

What was the toughest moment of your career?

Shaun: Toughest moment would be the reality of it all finishing and getting prepared for a new chapter in life. Luckily I’ve got a gorgeous wife who’s been such an enormous support throughout and two beautiful sons who I still pester to have a kick around with me at any given chance.