Reo Griffiths: A short piece on Spurs’ prolific academy striker
The star of our under 18’s 3-0 victory over Bournemouth in the FA youth cup fourth round last week, forward Reo Griffiths has been one of the most impressive and consistent performers within Scott Parker’s under 18 side this season. Griffiths who is 17 has scored 17 goals at all levels this campaign and the versatile forward looks like he has plenty more in his tank from now until the end of the season. Compare that tally of 15 goals and 5 assists in all competitions, to last years total of 15 goals and 6 assists it would suggest that the 17 year old has vastly improved his game. And that is correct, Griffiths has become more clinical in front of goal and the experience of last season has clearly helped his development as a centre forward. I have watched the young forward play extensively over the past year and a half for our under 18’s, so the following are just some my thoughts on Reo’s style of play, traits and overall ability. Griffiths joined our academy set up from Leyton Orient and since then he has played in a variety of different roles. Including as a fullback and as a winger which is where I first heard of him, when he was banging in over 30 goals for the under 16’s in the 2015/16 season. Following on from his time as a schoolboy, his time as a first year scholar saw him compete for the centre forward spot with the older Kazaiah Sterling and for a time Aramide Oteh (now of QPR). This resulted in him playing out wide for a fair chunk of the season, still managing to chip in with an impressive goal tally. Whilst he impressed me a lot last season, it’s the current campaign which has really made me appreciate how good a centre forward he is, and the great potential that he has.
The adaptable Griffiths is a powerful and pacy centre forward who loves to press the opposition defenders, whilst also looking for pockets of space. He is very much a ‘fox in the box’ kind of striker who is good in the air and excellent at holding up the ball. He is rapid over a long distance and in someways he is Vardyesque and direct. But it’s the versatility from playing in so many different positions that gives him a different edge to fellow academy centre forwards, Kazaiah Sterling and Shayon Harrison in front of goal. I am not saying that he is the better player, but he has a nous as a striker that the others don’t have. An awareness and a physical side to his game that allows no defender to bully him inside the box. His style of play is lively, he is excellent with his back to goal and good at scoring from acute angles. He is by no means the finished article, his touch can be erratic at times and he can be quite sloppy when he receives the ball. In addition, his decision making can cost him in the final third, he is still very raw and unpredictable. What I like a lot about Griffiths is his motivation to his team mates during matches, he is a charismatic figure on the field who is always communicating with and encouraging his teammates. He is one of the best strikers in the u18 league and he will prove vital in our quest for the fa youth cup glory this season. The next test for the young centre forward will be adapting to u23 football which he will be a part of from next season, that will be very interesting indeed to see how this talented young player adapts. COYS