Spurs under 23’s 2-2 West Ham United: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 2-2 West Ham United: (match report)

56F4C05C-42FA-47C0-82F9-ECCEF23568DA.jpeg

Our under 23’s latest PL2 game took place on Monday evening, as Wayne Burnett’s inform side made the short trip across London to Dagenham and Redbridge’s Victoria road stadium to face West Ham United, in an important London Derby. I was in the away section for this game reporting from a bitterly cold Victoria Road. And I got to watch some great attacking football, in what was a fiercely contested end to end game. With chances aplenty for both teams. A couple of slightly interesting of the pitch stories/observations before I start my report. Once again Wayne Burnett was made to sit in the stands (at a ground he knows well) for this game, as John McDermott took his place inside the dugout. Former Spurs man turned West Ham coach Paul Konchesky was sat a couple of seats away from me watching the game, and I also noticed that there were a lot of scouts in attendance ranging from clubs such as Arsenal to Leeds United. And finally the referee and one of the linesmen got on my train at Dagenham East underground station after the game. Focusing on the game, it was a really enthralling affair with both sides going for it from the offing. In a frantic first half an hour Spurs had managed to take the lead. Concede the equaliser. And then shortly after regain their lead courtesy of a lovely finish from Shilow Tracey. The second half was a bit less frantic and despite some really solid defending from Burnett’s team, a late penalty conceded by Joe Pritchard. Was converted by Hammers player Marcus Browne to prevent Spurs from coming home with all three points. The home side got the game underway, and it didn’t take long for it to gather pace. As both sides went in search of the opener, Spurs centre back Jonathan Dinzeyi could count himself a little lucky at not conceding an early penalty after a trip on a Hammers player inside the first minute.

However, Burnett’s team responded well to the early pressure and they managed to take the lead with just three minutes on the clock. It was a good move from Spurs who had managed to catch the Hammers on the break, some great work from the powerful Shilow Tracey down the right. Resulted in him beating his man down the right flank before sprinting forward towards the byline, and whipping in a teasing low cross into the danger zone. The Spurs winger managing to pick out the unmarked Bennetts, who tapped home into the open goal to give Spurs a much appreciated lead. Straight from the restart West Ham tested the Spurs goal, first through Oladapo Afolayan whose powerful effort was kept out by Alfie Whiteman. And then through Domingos Quina who curled just wide of the Spurs goal. This exciting start to the game continued, Spurs almost doubling their lead when the lively Bennetts managed to find Roles in space inside the six yard box, only to see his effort deflected wide at the last moment. West Ham were still seeing more of the ball and they were looking to make this count. Some excellent defending from Dinzeyi, first to make a decisive challenge inside the penalty area. And then to block Browne’s effort on the line, managed to thwart the Hammers attacking side. Alfie Whiteman was busy inside the opening 20 minutes, having to make a comfortable save to stop Diangana’s curling effort from 20 yards out.

We were then dealt a blow in the 20th minute of the game when the hammers pulled level, through Portuguese youth international Quina. Marcus Browne managed to pick out Quina from the right hand side after a clever pull back, the winger who was in space, confidently managed to curl the ball past Whiteman to make it 1-1. Despite this thrilling start to proceedings, neither team had really managed to stamp their authority on the game inside this opening 20 minutes. It was becoming a really end to end game. Whiteman was busy in the Spurs goal and had to be alert to stop Diangana’s efforts straight at him soon after. Quina caused some anxiety amongst the Spurs defenders after he decided to run through towards goal, but both Whiteman and Maghoma managed to put him off just in the nick of time. I’d hardly finished noting down that chance, when we regained our lead through a lovely goal by Shilow Tracey. Spurs had once again caught West Ham by surprise, Keanan Bennetts defence splitting through ball set Shilow Tracey through on goal down the right side of the box. Tracey stayed composed and still with plenty of work to do, the winger managed to clip home with a nice finish passed the outrushing Trott, from a tight angle. Tracey went over to celebrate with the away fans. Come the half hour mark, the game had settled down a bit. But there were still plenty of chances for the home team. Alfie Whiteman did a good job palming away Browne’s deep corner kick, before managing to hold Afolayan’s low effort moments later.

The 19 year old was also alert to a promising West Ham free kick, as Spurs ended the half on the back foot despite being a goal ahead. Spurs got the second half underway, but it wasn’t long before the hammers had an early chance in front of goal. A good delivery into the penalty area from Haksabanovic managed to pick out Afolayan who got to the ball before Maghoma, but he could only jab the ball over Whiteman’s crossbar. We then had a glorious chance to extend our lead at the other end, when Joe Pritchard’s inviting corner kick managed to bounce all the way to the unmarked Dinzeyi a couple of yards out from Trott’s goal. Unfortunately Dinzeyi’s header lacked any real power and it was an easy catch for Trott to make. West Ham had begun to control the game and they posed far more of an attacking threat than our lads could muster. Substitute Rusa fired well wide on the turn for the home side, who moments later had a penalty shout waived away after Dinzeyi handled inside the area. A tactical change swiftly followed as Dylan Duncan swapped places at right back with Joe Pritchard. Whilst Spurs were playing a lot more cautiously than they did in the first half, they were looking solid at the back. The centre back pairing of Dinzeyi and Maghoma snuffing out any danger that came their way. A couple of half chances followed for both teams. Marcus Browne fired over wastefully from a promising free kick, whilst Shilow Tracey’s fine cross down the other side of the pitch seemed to evade any Spurs players inside the box.

The hammers were continuing to hassle our back four, substitute Hector-Ingram ran at the Spurs defence but to no avail as he powered an effort straight at Whiteman. We seemed to be defending comfortably that’s why it came as a massive blow, when we conceded a penalty after a trip committed by Joe Pritchard on Hector-Ingram was adjudged to be a foul by the referee. At the time, I thought it was a harsh decision. But since watching it back and looking at the Spurs players reactions it seemed like the right decision to make. West Ham’s Marcus Browne stood up to smash the ball straight down the middle of Whiteman’s goal, 2-2. Ironically we then had a penalty shout waived away after a challenge on Bennetts soon after (I would have loved to watch that back!). Both sides really went for the winner as the game entered its final stages, West Ham headed just over from a free kick. Before having a powerful effort well blocked by Duncan inside the penalty area. Christian Maghoma produced an excellent last ditch challenge inside the box before u23 debutant Maximus Tainio made a good block shortly after his introduction. Frustratingly in the dying seconds of the game, Bennetts went on a really promising long run with options up top. But a Hammers player cynically pulled his shirt. The final score from Dagenham in east London, Spurs 2-2 West Ham. COYS

Player reviews: – Alfie Whiteman: Good performance from the Spurs goalkeeper. Made a string of fine stops (particularly in the first half) and looked good all round, good decision making.
– Joe Pritchard: Did a fine job at right back for the majority of the game and also in the central of midfield when he switched roles with Duncan, looked nice and composed. Did however, give away a costly late penalty.
– Jaden Brown: Very energetic, liked to dart down the left flank, sound defensively.
– George Marsh: The skipper covered a lot of ground, and put in a fine performance in the centre of the park. Made some good challenges.
– Christian Maghoma: Yet another really impressive display from the centre half. Maghoma was commanding, incredibly vocal (he lead players all across the pitch, telling them to get in to position etc.) but most importantly of all he was decisive during key moments of the game. Continuing to show signs of real maturity in his game.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Impressive performance from Dinzeyi once again. Made some fine challenges and recoveries (caught up to speed with the West Ham forwards). However, there were a couple of nervy moments, particularly in the air, where he’d completely miss the ball whilst trying to clear it from the six yard box.
– Shilow Tracey: My motm, see below.
– Dylan Duncan: Strong on the ball. Tidy in his passing, adapted well to playing at right back for the last 25 minutes of the game.
– Kazaiah Sterling: A real workman like performance up top, but the centre forward didn’t really impact the game, hardly touched the ball in the opposition box.
– Jack Roles: Nice and tidy in the number 10 role, picked out some nice passes.
– Keanan Bennetts: Provided plenty of pace and creativity down the left hand side (particularly during the first half). Got into some good goalscoring positions (being rewarded with a goal). And liked to cut inside a lot of the time.
– Maximus Tainio: Very short cameo from the 16 year old, made an important late block.
– Rayan Clarke: N/A

My man of the match: Shilow Tracey. The winger continued his excellent form into the London Derby with the Hammers on Monday evening. He was really up for the game, providing plenty of power and pace as he surged down the right flank, whipping in some lovely crosses. An excellent performance from the 20 year old who scored one of our goals and created the other!

West Ham United: Trott, Johnson, Powell, Lewis, Pask (Ngakia 61), Akinola, Diangana (Rosa 83), Quina, Afolayan, Browne (c), Haksabanovic (Hector-Ingram 68). Substitutes (not used): Jinadu, Hannam.

Spurs: Whiteman, Pritchard, Brown, Marsh (c), C Maghoma, Dinzeyi, Tracey (Clarke 90+3), Duncan (Tainio 87), Sterling, Roles, Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): Austin, Lock, Mukendi.

Goals: West Ham – Quina 20, Browne 77 (pen); Spurs – Bennetts 3, Tracey 26.
Yellow cards: West Ham – Lewis 75, Ngakia 90+4; Spurs – Roles 90+3.

Referee: Sam Purkiss.

Attendance: 401.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-8
Loft-1
Duncan-2
Edwards-4
Tanganga-1
Pritchard-3
S.Shashoua-5
Bennetts-4
Tracey-3
Harrison-4
C.Maghoma-2
Roles-4
Walkes-1

Assists: Skipp-1
Miller-1
Sterling-2
Pritchard-5
Edwards-3
Tracey-5
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-3
Bennetts-5
Marsh-1
Harrison-1
Roles-1

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

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

Bournemouth U18 v Tottenham Hotspur U18: FA Youth Cup
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – JANUARY 16: Reo Griffiths of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his teams second goal of the game during the FA Youth Cup match between Bournemouth U18 and Tottenham Hotspur U18 at Vitality Stadium on January 16, 2018 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Our under 18’s will take to the pitch later this evening for the most important game of their careers thus far. When they take on FA youth cup holders Chelsea in the fifth round of the competition, at Broadhall Way. It’s a shame that the game clashes with our important champions league tie with Juventus tonight, (but as always I’ll be at the u18 game!) so that would suggest that there will be more Chelsea fans at this evenings game. This Chelsea side like the many before them are excellent, technically, tactically and athletically superb. Scott Parker’s lads will have to be at their very best tonight to keep the likes of Hudson-Odoi, Redan and Reece James at bay. Whilst also trying to break down the blues defence at the opposite end. Chelsea are not invincible and I have a good feeling that this will be the year when they finally get undone in this competition. COYS!

My predicted lineup: De Bie (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Reynolds, Skipp, P.Maghoma, P.Patterson, Oakley-Boothe, Richards, Griffiths.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Statham, Bowden, Bennett, A.Shashoua.

Doubtful: Moroyin Omolabi.

One to watch: Daishawn Redan, the speedy Dutch forward was a player that really caught my eye during the fourth round tie with West Brom. Signed from Ajax this summer, the highly thought of Netherlands youngster (17) is a player who likes to take on defenders, and he possesses frighteningly good pace, ball control and finishing in front of goal.

My score prediction: 5-3 Spurs.

Our last meeting with Chelsea ended in a thrilling 4-4 draw. I’m sure there will be goals in this one tonight!

For those unable to attend the match: It is being shown live on Chelsea TV, kick off: 7pm.

Spurs under 23’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

IMG_3270

Wayne Burnett’s development side will be looking to make it three wins in from three, when they make the short trip to east London to face West Ham on Monday evening in the rearranged PL2 fixture. Buoyed by successive victories over both Manchester United and Liverpool in their last two PL2 games, Burnett’s side will be feeling confident ahead of this important London derby. The game which kicks off at 7pm this evening, is being played at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Chigwell construction stadium (a new ground for me!) deep in West Ham territory. The Hammers, who sit five places above us in the table in sixth place have suffered a bit of a dip in form of late. Terry Westley’s side having only won two of their last eight league matches. Whilst Burnett’s side are still deep in trouble at the foot of the table, a win tonight would lift them all the way up into 9th position, making survival that little bit easier. We’ve already played out two thrillers with West Ham this season, a 3-2 defeat in the league back in August. And an emphatic 7-2 victory over them in the same month coming in the premier league international cup. In many ways these sides are quite evenly matched, but whilst West Ham have the likes of Toni Martinez, Domingos Quina and Sead Haksabanovic in their ranks, I still feel that we have much more attacking quality in the final third, and I’m confident going into this one. It is worth mentioning that our under 18’s face Chelsea in a massively important FA youth cup fifth round tie tomorrow evening, this means that Burnett won’t be able to field integral squad members TJ Eyoma and Oliver Skipp. COYS

My match report will be out later on tonight.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Marsh, C.Maghoma, Dinzeyi, Brown, Duncan, Pritchard(c), Tracey, Roles, S.Shashoua, Sterling.

Subs from: Austin, Lock, Bennetts, Tanganga, Georgiou.

Doubtful: Nick Tsaroulla (highly doubtful), Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp (youth cup involvement), TJ Eyoma (youth cup involvement).

Wayne Burnett makes a return to the ground where he served as a manager for whilst at Dagenham Redbridge from 2013-2015.

My score prediction: 3-1 Spurs.

Previous meetings: West Ham 3-2, Spurs 7-2.

One to watch: The Hammers prolific centre forward Toni Martinez is their main threat in front of goal. The Spaniard has found the net 9 times from 13 games in the PL2 this term.

Spurs under 23’s 1-0 Liverpool: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-0 Liverpool: (match report)

3F23B493-47D8-4FC8-93B4-3F9E88D21C73.jpeg

On one of the chilliest nights of the year our under 23’s took on high flying Liverpool in a crucial PL2 encounter at the Lamex stadium (Stevenage). Following on from that glorious away victory over Manchester United last Monday which boosted Burnett’s sides chance of survival. He would have surely snapped your hand off if he could get a point against top of the table Liverpool, a side who totally outplayed us earlier on in the season at Anfield. The task was made even more difficult by Liverpool’s decision to include four senior internationals in the squad that travelled down to Hertfordshire. Of those included were England international Adam Lallana (29) and forward Danny Ings (25). Although it was to end in tears for one of them towards the latter part of the game. Liverpool had on paper the far better side and I really feared that our lads were going to be on the end of a spanking. However, Burnett’s side showed maturity beyond their years, they dominated the central areas and were flawless at the back. Whilst being intelligent and diligent in the final third. The imperious defending of Jonathan Dinzeyi and Christian Maghoma at the back managed to snuff out the danger of Solanke and Ings up top. Whilst the excellent work of Roles and Marsh in the middle of the pitch forced the reds creative players into making errors. Jack Roles fourth goal in four games ensured a hugely important win for Spurs in front of a crowd mainly consisting of Liverpool fans. Unfortunately the game had an unsavoury end with two Liverpool players being sent off.

John McDermott and Justin Cochrane were in the dugout for this one as Wayne Burnett sat in the stands (I believe owing to a ban after an incident during the Man United game). The Spurs team included a couple of interesting changes, including an u23 debut for recently signed goalkeeper Luke O’Reilly. Liverpool enjoyed a good start to the game, and were trying to pull off some ambitious passes. Spurs centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi was forced into making a vital last minute interception in the six yard box to stop the advancing Solanke, early on. Before Spurs got let off the hook straight afterwards, when Solanke fluffed an effort from close range. Spurs’ first attempt on goal came after a good turn from Duncan from around 20 yards out, unfortunately he got his effort all wrong and it ended up flying well wide. Spurs were managing to hold their own, Jack Roles’ pass to Bennetts down the left flank resulted in the speedy winger firing an effort across the face of Grabara’s goal. Neither side were in control, though the reds were without doubt the more confident on the ball. And a lovely piece of play from Critchley’s side almost resulted in them taking the lead, after Ben Woodburn picked out Solanke in the area with a nice pass. Fortunately for O’Reilly Dominic Solanke flicked the ball narrowly wide of his goal after a lovely initial turn to outwit the Spurs defence. O’Reilly was forced into making his first save of the game shortly afterwards, when Woodburn’s floated cross was attacked from close range by Solanke. The England internationals header forcing a great save low down by the Spurs man. Who had to be alert once again to keep out Danny Ings clever back heel, moments later.

The heavily involved George Marsh made a brilliant block from a Liverpool free kick to thwart the danger, whilst Ings fired narrowly over O’Reilly’s crossbar. Liverpool were passing the ball around well and with good fluency and attacking intent as the game progressed. But Burnett’s side were not giving them a clear sight of goal, and there high press saw them catch the reds on the break on numerous occasions. A fine Spurs attack almost resulted in the lilywhites taking the lead around the 20 minute mark. Jack Roles done well with the ball in a tight space, opting to fire a low shot which was heading towards the far corner of Grabara’s goal, but for his own player (Kazaiah Sterling) getting in the way. Spurs continued to pressurise the Liverpool defenders, Jack Roles’ lovely lofted through ball set Sterling racing through on goal. Sterling burst forward down the left side of the area before trying to dink the ball over the outrushing Grabara, who managed to get a decisive touch on the ball to steer it wide of goal. The ball was kept in play by Tracey who whipped an inviting low ball into the six yard box. The ball found its way to Bennetts who missed an absolute sitter, after he blazed the ball over from close range. The game was a really even encounter, Spurs had so far managed to cope well with the reds attacking quality through the magnificent tight defending of both Maghoma and Dinzeyi.

Yan Dhanda hit a promising free kick straight at the Spurs wall, whilst Dinzeyi managed to do excellently to prevent a near certain goal for Solanke moments later. There was a really frantic edge to the game, it was impossible to predict which way it would go. The lively Shilow Tracey headed Sterling’s cross straight at Grabara at the back post, whilst O’Reilly had to be alert at the other end to head the ball away from the advancing Solanke. An excellent bit of attacking play from Spurs at the other end resulted in some good chances to open the scoring. An excellent powerful run from Tracey down the right hand side resulted in the winger crossing the ball to Bennetts, who quickly laid it off to Roles on the edge of the penalty area, the midfielders powerful strike being well saved by the diving Grabara. The skilful midfielder managed to work his way into the box a couple of minutes later, only to see his effort blocked, this had been a really good half from Spurs, who looked very assured and comfortable on the ball. The reds got the second half underway, and it was the away team who had to make an important piece of defending straight away. When Herbie Kane got in the way of Jack Roles’ thunderbolt. This had become a game where the defenders took centre stage, the flawless Christian Maghoma made an important block at the other end to stop Adam Lewis’ effort, as the tempo was raised by both sides, as the game intensified. Spurs were continuing to create chances, the influential Roles managed to play Sterling through on goal down the left flank. The Spurs strikers searing run ended after his powerful effort was stopped by Grabara, who made himself big.

Another golden chance came Spurs’ way after Sterling turned provider to pick out Roles with a nice pass into the six yard box. The Spurs midfielder only managing to fire the ball over Grabara’s goal and into the building site that is currently taking place behind where the old stand was. Spurs had managed to take control of the game and they were rewarded 10 minutes into the half when Jack Roles put them ahead. It was the midfielders fourth goal in consecutive games, it was a good counter attacking move from Spurs. As Keanan Bennetts burst forward from the half way line before playing in Roles down the right side of the Liverpool box. The Cypriot youth international strode forward before unleashing a powerful low effort towards Grabara’s near post. The Polish youth international managed to get a hand to Roles effort but it wasn’t enough to prevent it from flying into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. This was a really good spell for Burnett’s side who were in full control, Shilow Tracey fired over from a tight angle shortly afterwards, as we continued to push forwards. Then came the major talking point of the game, when Adam Lallana received a straight red card after an astonishing assault on George Marsh. It all happened after the Spurs midfielder appeared to clatter the back of the England internationals head after going for a header. Lallana got straight up off the floor and in a fit of rage put his hands round the startled Marsh’s neck, pulling his hair in the process. Lallana knew he was going to get a straight red and was already walking towards the tunnel when the referee brought out his red card. A short skirmish followed after both players were separated, as tempers flared. It’s worth noting that Marsh is by no means a saint on the pitch, and it’s perfectly possible that he could have provoked Lallana before hands.

Spurs continued to dominate possession and played with even more confidence after the sending off. The disgruntled Danny Ings reacted furiously to Spurs defender Dinzeyi after the latter climbed on Ings to win a header, the Liverpool forward screaming right in the face of the Spurs man. Neil Critchley’s Liverpool side were not threatening our goal at all. That being said Jonathan Dinzeyi was forced into making some brilliant challenges alongside the commanding Maghoma. Keanan Bennetts had an effort deflected just wide at the other end after a good attack from the lilywhites, as the clock wound down. Things got even better for Spurs when Liverpool received their second red card three minutes from time. George Johnston received his marching orders after making a cynical foul on Eyoma, to receive his second yellow of the game. Roles was then denied a second after some fine defending from the depleted Liverpool defence. It was a thrilling end to end finish to the game, our lads were defending frantically as the reds launched the ball forwards into the danger zone. Kazaiah Sterling was denied a route through on goal after a crunching challenge from the reds goalkeeper Grabara. And there was a late scare for Burnett’s side when Solanke was found at the far post following a long throw in. Fortunately for Spurs, Solanke failed to generate the power needed to trouble O’Reilly. Spurs managed to see out Liverpool’s late attacks, to record a precious and thoroughly well deserved victory. Can Burnett’s side make it 3 wins in 3 when they travel to Dagenham next Monday to face West Ham? COYS

 

Player reviews: – Luke O’Reilly: Really Impressive debut. Whilst he wasn’t hugely busy, O’Reilly did make some really important stops. Looked very assured, his distribution was impressive, looking forward to seeing more of him.
– TJ Eyoma: Tenacious and flawless as both a right back and in the latter part of the game, as a centre back. No nonsense approach, decisive when it mattered, and kept things simple, no silly passes.
– Jaden Brown: Very assured performance at left back, solid and composed. Was quick to danger.
– George Marsh: Not a night he’ll forget in a hurry. Marsh was Industrious and effective in the centre of the park, worked tirelessly throughout.
– Christian Maghoma: Another superb performance from the DR Congo international. Kept the likes of Solanke and Ings out of the game with his astute defending. Dominant in the air and commanding throughout. Made some vital interceptions and blocks. Formed a really good centre back pairing with Dinzeyi.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: My motm, see below.
– Shilow Tracey: Another good performance from Tracey down the right flank, was too powerful for Lewis. Ran at players nonstop. Good decision making in the final third, and good at whipping in a cross.
– Dylan Duncan: Dominant and tidy in the central areas. Very strong on the ball, was difficult to shrug off.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Forced the Liverpool defenders into making a string of errors due to his high pressing. Did a good shift up top (i.e: hold up play) despite not getting a great deal of service.
– Jack Roles: Continues his fine goalscoring form. Had a great impact in this game, operating as a number 10. Made brilliant runs towards the edge of the area. Was tidy with the ball. Also Roles was very skilful and effective in the final third. He is playing with great confidence at the moment.
– Keanan Bennetts: Influential out wide, cut inside on numerous occasions. And fed some nice passes into Sterling, Bennetts also set up Roles’ goal, that his fourth assist of the campaign.
– Tashan Oakley Boothe: Good cameo, looked good on the ball and created some nice passages of play.
– Samuel Shashoua: Great to see him return from injury. Nice little cameo, done his defensive duties very well.

My man of the match: Jonathan Dinzeyi. It was a terrific performance from the 18 year old defender on Monday night, Dinzeyi formed a rock solid defensive pairing with Christian Maghoma. Some of his last ditch challenges were top class, but it was also Dinzeyi’s anticipation and decision making which really impressed me. A great all round performance, he was good on the ball and in the air. Dinzeyi is a player who seems to be really kicking on this season after an injury hit 2017.

Spurs: O’Reilly, Eyoma, Brown, Marsh, C Maghoma, Dinzeyi (Skipp 78), Tracey, Duncan (Oakley-Boothe 62), Sterling (S Shashoua 84), Roles, Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Pritchard.

Liverpool: Grabara, Masterson, Lewis, Johnston, Gallacher, Kane (c), Dhanda (Millar 72), Lallana, Ings, Solanke, Woodburn. Substitutes (not used): Kelleher, Camacho, Gomes, Williams.

Goal: Spurs – Roles 55.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Tracey 38, Marsh 46, Brown 84; Liverpool – Johnston 36, 87, Lewis 69.

Red cards: Liverpool – Lallana 63, Johnston 87.

Referee: David Rock.

Attendance: 891.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-8
Loft-1
Duncan-2
Edwards-4
Tanganga-1
Pritchard-3
S.Shashoua-5
Bennetts-3
Tracey-2
Harrison-4
C.Maghoma-2
Roles-4
Walkes-1

Assists: Skipp-1
Miller-1
Sterling-2
Pritchard-5
Edwards-3
Tracey-4
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-3
Bennetts-4
Marsh-1
Harrison-1
Roles-1

Spurs under 23’s versus Liverpool: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Liverpool: (match preview)

Football - Under-23 FA Premier League 2 - Division 1 - Liverpool FC v Tottenham Hotspur FC
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Friday, September 22, 2017: Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster scores the fourth goal during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Our under 23’s are involved in league action on Monday night when they host Liverpool at the Lamex stadium in the PL2. Fresh from their dramatic 3-1 league victory over Manchester United last week, Burnett’s side will be hoping to carry the momentum into this game, as they look to climb out of the relegation zone. However, getting even a point from Monday’s game will be a very tough challenge indeed. Top of the table Liverpool have been in excellent form this season, the league leaders have managed to score 33 goals from 15 games, and their open attacking football has certainly caught the eye of youth football enthusiasts. The reds Impressive start to the campaign combined with their plethora of talent on the pitch, will make it a tough game for Wayne Burnett’s men. It was a thrilling encounter when these sides met up in Anfield earlier on in the season, Liverpool’s fluent attacking play proved too much for us on that occasion, in a 5-2 defeat. And whilst the reds still have plenty of quality in their side with the likes of Ben Woodburn, Ovie Ejaria and Bobby Adekayne to choose from. Neil Critchley won’t have the quality of Harry Wilson, Rhian Brewster Cameron Brannagan available, players who they relied heavily on during the first half of the season. If this evenings game is anything’s like the meeting between both the senior sides on Sunday, then we’re in for a treat! COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Eyoma, C.Maghoma, Tanganga, Brown, Skipp, Pritchard(c), Tracey, Roles, Georgiou, Sterling.

Subs from: Austin, Lyons-Foster, Marsh, Duncan, Bennetts.

Doubtful: Samuel Shashoua (Highly doubtful), Nick Tsaroulla and Jonathan Dinzeyi.

Other news: Japhet Tanganga is back to full time training with the development squad after returning from a leg injury.

Previous meetings: 4-2 Liverpool, 3-2 Liverpool, 6-2 Liverpool.

My score prediction: 2-2.

One to watch: The reds young centre forward Ben Woodburn. The Welsh international has 2 goals in six appearances for the reds development side this season.

My interview with former Spurs academy player Mario Noto:

My interview with former Spurs academy player Mario Noto:

31792A65-D3E6-4B63-8781-F547B80F4725

In the latest of my series of interviews with former Spurs academy players I had great pleasure of interviewing former Spurs youngster Mario Noto, about his time at the club during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. A talented central midfielder, Mario went on to play for a host of other sides following his departure from the club, going on to forge a successful career in the non league, where he is still playing today at Bostick premier side Enfield Town.

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

Mario: It must be Dick Moss a local Tottenham scout bringing me across to training at Spurs lodge. He scouted me playing for my local Sunday league club Winchmore Hill. I had a successful 6 week trial and then signed for the club, one of the happiest days personally. A few other things stick in my memory about that day 1. Was Dick big scout coat with the Spurs badge when he first approached my coach and then parents 2. Driving down luxborough lane and entering the training ground was special.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Mario: It’s was great and loved every minute of it. Training and playing everyday, working to become a footballer and fulfil your dream. It was a great club to be at just a shame it did not work out for me. I haven’t got a sob story or bad injury that stopped me. I was honest and very realistic, I done really well in my first year but was not good enough in my 2nd year. Had the opportunity to train with some great players and watch Tottenham every week. Got to learn my trade under George Graham, Glen Hoodle, Jimmy Neighbour. And Pat Holland. I remember the gaffer George Graham at the time giving me a lift down the lane as I walked into training one morning, it was a long walk lol. It was a great place to be and got treated really well.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Mario: I could not pick just one player, Beckham would be up there as I played right midfield, Bergkamp as I was an Arsenal fan and Ginola from my time at the club. I loved technical players and players that could change the game.

I grew up watching lots of football and with my Italian heritage a lot of serie A and following AC Milan players like Baggio, Boban, Savićević Milan side of the 90’s. I just appreciated good players.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Mario : Jimmy Neighbour who sadly is no longer with us, most definitely. He was my U15 and U16/17 coach, he understood me as a player and taught me a great deal, how to be a good player on the pitch but also a good person off it. He had a great humour about him but you knew when it was time to work.

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

Mario: We were always told watch the first team so Jose Dominguez, Ginola and those above I have mentioned at the time. I like technical players Anderton was very talented watched him pass the ball for fun. I feel that people don’t appreciate players like him or others that are not the top stars but they are so technically gifted.

What was the toughest thing about being a young up and coming player during that time?

Mario: I guess that there were so many of us trying to show that we were of the level required to progress and break into the first team. It was not only within your group that you had to compete and show everyday that you were the best. You had to deal with the competition of the players from the age group below and try to compete or leap frog the players from the year above. Players came from abroad and you had to stand out as we were all good players.

Were there any youth players at Spurs who you were particularly close to and are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?

Mario: Jamie Slabber, Daniel Perry, Marcel McKie and Danny Foster were from the same area so it was easy for us to become close friends.Slabs made his debut against Liverpool and I was singing his name from the Park lane end at WHL. We’ve played against each other on the non league circuit and still chat to him. The others I would say mainly on social media Mark Yeates and Danny Foster I catch up with from time to time along with Jonny Black, Daniel Perry, Paul Ruderford, Nick Wettner, Nick Eyers, and Owen Price. Lee Barnard (who played for the first team and went on to play at a high level), Ben Bowditch, Rob Burch and Mark Hughes from the year above again bump into in non league.

What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?

Mario: I could not just single one out if I made my debut then I guess that would be it but unfortunately I didn’t.

1.Going to the Milk Cup in Ireland on tour and reaching the latter stages

2. Being involved in the FA Youth Cup run to the semi final against Everton and seeing Wayne Rooney score a wonder goal

3.Scoring the 2-1 winner against Arsenal at under 15/16 level we all went mental.

4.A bit of a controversial one was when I returned after being released and signing for Reading FC. I curled a free kick into the top corner against Nicky Eyres in front of all the academy coaches in an academy match at Spurs lodge. (It was a kind of see what I can do moment)lol felt good though

But genuinely loved my time at the club and was so fortunate.

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

Mario: Wow OK.

From Spurs I signed for Reading FC and played under Brendan Rodgers and Alan Padrew. I was involved with the first team squad regularly but did not make an appearance for the 1st team. Which I was gutted about as thought I deserved to be and I firmly believe if Alan Padrew did not depart for West Ham then things may have been different.

After Reading I had a 3 month trial with Crystal Palace which again I thought I was a tad unlucky not to get a deal but they had just been promoted to the prem and were able to sign players with more experience.
I went to Italy for a period of time after Palace to 1. Clear my head as I was disillusioned with the game as I was always an honest player that worked hard and had ability but just didn’t have that bit of luck needed. Looking back it wasn’t the right move but at least I got to spend time with family.
I came back and had a successful trial with Nationwide conference club at the time Canvey Island and began my non league journey.
I then signed for Chelmsford city as Canvey Island manager Geoff King took charge and brought me with him. I left Chelmsford after promotion to the conference south and signed for Boreham Wood also gaining a coaching role at the clubs academy and spent 8 years there that included promotion from Ryman Premier and conference south to the National League.

Due to a change in my work commitments I was not able to fulfil my role as the club became full time so had to move on. I signed for Harlow Town in the Ryman Division one North got promoted to the Ryman Prem. This year I signed for my local club Enfield Town in the Bostick Premier (Ryman or Isthmian league) looking to build and help the club progress.

 

Mario: What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Signing for Spurs is defo one.
Promotion to the National League with Boreham Wood would have to be the other one.

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Mario: I played in a few reserve games and got to play alongside Darren Anderton/Gus Poyet but mainly I would have to say Jeff Minton at Canvey and Chelmsford. Technically brilliant Abby always was involved in the game

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

Mario: I would say that they need to work extremely hard even harder then they think they are and devote themselves to the game, be a scholar of every aspect of the game. Take every opportunity they get to improve and work at their game as they have all the facilities and support to do so. Continuously ask questions on how to improve. But to also be realistic as they may not make it at the top level but they could have a great career at any of the levels Prem to league2 or National league. The most important thing is to remain balanced my motto for young player is ‘never to high never to low’ as in football one day you can experience great highs scoring the winner in game or making your debut but the next game some serious lows, an injury or poor performance. Young players that do drop out of the systems my advice to go and play games at any level and continue to work hard as now more than ever the non league status of the game has so much exposure and you have the opportunity to make it at a higher level.

Are you still involved in the game?

Mario: As I said above I am still playing for Enfield Town in the Bostick Premier, in the middle of midfield . I have been lucky enough to have experienced the coaching side of the game and would one day like to try my hand in front of the dugout and see if I could help some young players progress

 

Spurs under 18’s 1-1 Southampton: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 1-1 Southampton: (match report)

CD543189-472C-4126-B61B-4F8CF152AB6F.jpeg

Our under 18 side returned to league action when they hosted Southampton at the training centre on Saturday morning. The spoils were shared between both sides in a highly competitive match, Southampton who sat in third place in the league table, were in excellent form of recent. The saints talented pool of youngsters really testing us in the first half, with their well organised defending and tight marking. The high pressing side from the visitors and slick passing managed to create openings, in which the alert centre back pairing of Maxwell Statham and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had to be alert to. After taking the lead inside 19 minutes, Spurs looked to fight back. Some fine attacking football won them a penalty shortly after the beginning of the second half, from then on we looked the better and more creative side, but despite creating some good chances late on we couldn’t quite break down a resolute Southampton defence, it was still a good point nonetheless against one of the leagues best teams. The visitors got the game underway, some good vision from the prominent Jamie Bowden early on almost played Reo Griffiths through on goal as Spurs looked to attack. But Southampton were seeing more of the ball, Sean Brennan’s cross from the left hand side was flicked straight into the arms of De Bie by Benni Braithwaite. Before wide man Jonathan Afolabi tested the Belgian from close range with a low effort at goal. The game was very much ‘end to end’ both sides passed the ball around well and with pace. A thumping effort from Sean Brennan was tipped over well by De Bie during a dominant ten minute spell for the visitors. Harry Hamblin then glanced a header across goal from the resulting corner. Before the saints took the lead on 19 minutes through an unlikely source.

Right back Kayne Ramsay was quickest to the loose ball after De Bie decided to punch clear the following corner kick. Ramsay executed his finish to perfection, acrobatically pulling off an overhead kick which sailed into the top corner of De Bie’s goal, really catching him by surprise. Southampton went in search of their second straight after the restart, Klarer headed Will Smallbone’s free kick straight at De Bie. The saints defence was extremely tight and this made life hard for the Spurs forwards to break down. Parker’s side felt aggrieved when the referee waived away a penalty claim around the half hour mark. In my eyes it was a blatant penalty, a Southampton defender had taken Bennett clean out inside the box without getting to the ball, Reo Griffiths was vocal in his protests to the ref. The lilywhites showed some good attacking initiative in the following minutes. Bennett was testing Ramsay with his surging runs down the left, whilst Maghoma tried to test the so far uninvolved Adam Parkes with a curling effort from an acute angle. Unfortunately the midfielders attempt sailed well wide of the mark. We then had a slight scare at the back after Jamie Bowden lost possession to Smallbone on the edge of the penalty area. Fortunately the Irishman’s deflected effort was parried to safety by De Bie. The game was quickly gathering pace, Griffiths fired an effort inches wide of Parkes goal. Whilst Bowden’s perfectly timed delivery into the six yard box was only missed by a matter of centimetres from the sliding Richards. Then, moments later Kornelius Hansen forced a good save out of De Bie at the other end of the pitch.

The Belgian was called into action once again on the stroke of half time, comfortably stopping Braithwaite’s effort. A frantic second half ensued, early dominance from Parker’s hungry side reaped it’s rewards early on. When Reo Griffiths won a penalty in the 48th minute of the game. Griffiths done well to win the penalty after being clipped by Klarer with his back to goal, the 17 year old stood up to convert it with a powerful finish straight down the middle. The Southampton goalkeeper Adam Parkes wasn’t at all happy, he shouted ‘lucky’ as soon as the net bulged. After finding the equaliser, Parker’s side really upped their tempo and from there on in, they dictated play. Klarer done well to head wide Patterson’s menacing free kick shortly after the restart. Before a Balesque forward run from Hinds down the right channel almost resulted in us taking the lead. The lively fullback advanced on a surging long run from just inside the Saints half, his blistering pace saw him breeze past a Southampton defender, before entering the penalty area. Hinds’ resulting effort flying inches wide of Parkes far post. Despite putting the visitors under a huge amount of pressure, our open attacking football still left us susceptible to Southampton on the counter. One such instance occurred after Hinds was robbed of the ball by the powerful Jake Vokins. The left back went on a brilliant run, charging forward down the left flank, Vokins cut inside. Only to be stopped by a perfectly timed sliding challenge from Lyons-Foster, who took him clean out.

Reo Griffiths’ continuous moaning at the referee caused him to become annoyed, in what was a quite comical moment in the game. Parker’s team were dictating the central areas, the creative passing of Bowden managing to unlock a rigid Southampton defence. Paris Maghoma curled over Rodel Richards free kick, in what was a good opportunity for Spurs to take the lead. By this time in the game, the rain was now lashing down making things harder for both sets of players. As well as for me, my notebook having been soaked in rain. The decisive Lyons-Foster managed to make a brilliant block, before Will Smallbone drilled the ball across the face of De Bie’s goal. Southampton were mostly trying their luck through long balls and set pieces. De Bie who had had an impressive all round game, managed to deal well with a deep cross from Harry Hamblin. As Spurs looked to run at the opposition down the other end, Phoenix Patterson’s precise cross towards the back post was only narrowly missed by Griffiths. Spurs were almost left to pay for squandering those second half chances when Maxwell Statham had a lucky escape late on in the half. The danger arose through the potent Vokins outwide, his pacy cross was unintentionally nodded goalwards by Statham, leaving De Bie rooted to his spot. It clipped the underneath of the cross bar before bouncing out to substitute Taymar Fleary. Whose first time effort was saved well by the Belgian goalkeeper. Spurs really went for the win in the dying stages of the game, the newly introduced Rayan Clarke caused panic amongst the saints defenders with a good delivery. Whilst the ever attacking Paris Maghoma had a promising effort blocked from inside the area. And there was almost a dramatic ending, when Phoenix Patterson’s thumping effort down the left side of the penalty area was saved by Parkes, but ultimately the game was to finish all square. Another fine attacking performance from Parker’s lads who extend their unbeaten run in the league to four matches. Spurs were probably the better side going forward on the day, but the defensive might of Southampton was extremely tough to break down. I was very happy with the teams performance and it’s encouraging to me ahead of the all important youth cup fifth round tie with Chelsea . Our under 18’s next game is in 12 days time, that all important FA youth cup fifth round tie with Chelsea. COYS

Player reviews: -Jonathan De Bie: Made some really decent stops, was heavily involved during the first half.
– Tariq Hinds: Played excellently at right back, Hinds was defensively sound. Did his job well, really showcasing his offensive qualities. With some lovely runs attacking down the right hand side.
– Jamie Reynolds: So tidy and efficient, looked so composed at left back. Whilst often drifting into central areas.
– Jamie Bowden: My motm, see below.
– Maxwell Statham: I was really impressed with Statham’s performance against Southampton, the centre half had a really solid game. Excellent in the air and strong in the challenge, he imposed himself well on the Southampton forwards, though he was a tad sloppy in his passing and overall decision making.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Excellent as always. In the right place at the right time (think Toby Alderweireld!), the calming presence of Lyons-Foster at centre half really steadied the Spurs back line. I’ve said it many times before, but the ball playing centre half is just so decisive in everything he does. Especially when it comes to making those vital last minute interceptions. One such piece of defending occurred in the second half after we were caught on the counter, Brooklyn timed his sliding challenge to perfection to brilliantly bring the move to an end. I’m going to write a piece on the centre half in the coming weeks.
– Rodel Richards: A little quieter than usual, but still created some magic moments from out left. Worked his socks off tracking back.
– Paris Maghoma: Dominant in the central areas, carried the ball so well. His attacking forays were also impressive.
– Reo Griffiths: Another game, another goal for the inform Reo Griffiths. Had a fine game, despite limited service. Held the ball up well, and did well to win and score our penalty.
– Phoenix Patterson: Creative and tidy performance from central midfield.
– J’neil Bennett: Went on some great runs down the left hand side, switched sides with Richards in the second half.

My man of the match: Slick, efficient and creative. Jamie Bowden was superb for Tottenham in the holding midfield role during our 1-1 draw with Southampton. Bowden initiated countless move for Spurs with his sumptuous long balls, which would often set forwards running through on goal. He was dominant and intelligent in his play, showing great technical ability both on and off the ball. His crisp passing, firm tackling and creativity from deep in midfield was top notch. He showcased the defensive no nonsense approach of somebody like Harry Winks. Whilst also showing that creative side to his game with some defence splitting passes and lofted balls, that was the Jack Wilshere side of his game.

Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-17
Phoenix Patterson -8
Dilan Markanday- 5
Jamie Bowden- 1
Moroyin Omolabi-1
Rayan Clarke-2
Maurizio Pochettino-1
Paris Maghoma-2
Rodel Richards-10
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-1
TJ Eyoma-1

Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Jamie Bowden-1
Matt Lock- 2
Jeremie Mukendi-2
Jamie Reynolds-3
Reo Griffiths-8
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-4
Rayan Clarke-2
Rodel Richards-1
Dilan Markanday-1
Oliver Skipp- 1
Tariq Hinds- 1
Paris Maghoma-2

 

Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Hinds, Reynolds, Bowden, Statham, Lyons-Foster, Richards (Clarke 80), P Maghoma, Griffiths, Patterson, Bennett (Markanday 70). Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, A Shashoua, Okedina.

 

Spurs under 18’s versus Southampton: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Southampton: (match preview)

IMG_3392

Our under 18’s return to league action on Saturday morning when they host Southampton at the training centre. Parker’s side return to action after a two week break due to the u17 ALKAAS tournament which saw a host of first year scholars in action. On that note I’ve noticed that one of the schoolboys that I expected to be part of that squad, has in fact been released by the club. Right back and Scottish youth international Kane Patterson who is the brother of u18 forward Phoenix, is one player who hasn’t signed scholarship terms for the coming season. I was also surprised that talented centre forward Troy Parrott didn’t travel with the squad, I haven’t heard of or seen him in action for some time now, though he’s probably just injured. Focusing on our u18’s game with Southampton tomorrow, Parker’s side have enjoyed some good form over the past month and they really seem to be adapting to u18 football. And Parker’s side will have to replicate that good form when they face the saints if they want to get all three points. Southampton who sit in third place in the table, have been one of the most technically impressive sides I have seen this season. An attacking outfit with a good structure to their side. The saints play some really intricate attacking football and are also strong at the back. Having won their last six consecutive league games they’ll fancy their chances when they come to Hotspur Way on Saturday. It was quite a miracle how our lads managed to win the reverse fixture down on the south coast. After dominating the first half, Spurs were absolutely outplayed by Southampton in the second half. I remember wide man Jonathan Afolabi played an absolute blinder down the left flank, and on a another day he could have had a hat-trick.

A side with plenty of flair and attacking prowess, the likes of Jonathan Afolabi, Michael Obafemi and Sean Brennan (all Irish youth internationals!) will be a handful for our defence. COYS

My predicted lineup: De Bie(c), Hinds, Statham, Lyons-Foster, Reynolds, P.Maghoma, Patterson, Mukendi, A.Shashoua, Richards, Griffiths.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Lock, Markanday, Bowden, Bennett.

Doubtful: Jonathan Dinzeyi and Moroyin Omolabi.

My score prediction: 4-3 to Spurs.

One to watch: Ireland under 19 international Jonathan Afolabi is unplayable on his day. The tall and physical centre forward who is also comfortable playing out on the left hand side, is a player of immense potential. Pacy, powerful and clinical in the six yard box, the Irishman also poses a real aerial threat. Afolabi has already featured on numerous occasions for the clubs development side this season, is a player who I know very well. Loves a long shot!

 

 

My interview with former Spurs academy player Neil Le Bihan:

My interview with former Spurs academy player Neil Le Bihan:

4B846837-65DB-4009-A89C-2F723907B493.jpeg

Neil Ernest Le Bihan came through the Spurs academy in the 1990’s after joining the lilywhites youth set up from fellow London rivals Wimbledon. The talented midfielder was in the same age group as the likes of Quinton Fortune and Stephen Carr. After captaining the Spurs youth team on various occasions, Le Bihan went on to enjoy a successful career in the game, at the likes of Peterbrough united and Dover Athletic before retiring from the game at the age of just 29 due to injury.

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

Neil: I went to school and was spotted whilst playing for Wimbledon by Spurs scout Ted Powell. Now departed sadly. I was extremely glad for his input in my early career. As I remember he was part of the management team with Sol and Robbie Fowler who won the Under 18’s with Darren Caskey as Captain. I left school and 16 and lived in digs for my time with them in Bush Hill Park with a family there. My first memory was being a bit overwhelmed by it all. Being so close to working with class players, and occasionally getting to train with them was a far cry from a few months earlier studying hard for my GCSE’s.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Neil: My experience at Spurs made my career. They taught me how to play football properly. It served me well throughout my career afterwards, and always gave me a level of respect from the outset with most new team mates when I arrived at a new club. I will be forever grateful to Spurs, and the memories. I still talk now about some of the players I used to train with for a couple of years when I left school.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Neil: I was brought up a Chelsea fan (although cannot even bear to talk about them now, so I no longer have a team to follow). …But back then my idols were Kerry Dixon, closely followed by Pat Nevin. Outside of Chelsea I used to look forward to watching Glenn Hoddle. I got to play against him in a friendly with Spurs once which made a dream come true for me.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Neil: Pat Holland I remember a lot and was always really helpful with me. When we used to train in doors at White Hart Lane he used to really get on at me about my accuracy volleying into blue circles on the wall. I scored a couple of volleys later in my career and always used to put them down to Pat’s help. He had respect immediately too because of his playing career. Keith Walden made me captain in my second year and we got along well, I was grateful for his trust in me with the captaincy. It made my Mum and Dad proud. As players I liked watching Nick Barmby as I’d shared a training pitch with him a little bit, and to see him up close, his desire to win always struck me. Sol was absolutely amazing and I still say to people that he was the best player I ever played with. He was inspiring to me.

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

Neil: I was playing in Division 1 for Peterborough soon after when the likes of Keane, Vierra, Gerrard and Keane used to mix it up, so they were utterly amazing to watch, and I certainly used to wish I had their attributes at times.

What was the toughest thing about being a young up and coming player during that time?

Neil: I don’t really remember it being tough really. My friends were studying back at school or something else, so I felt like I was living the dream.

Were there any youth players at Spurs who you were particularly close to. And are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?

Neil: I went into digs with Gareth Knott, Glynn Hurst, and Simon Brown the goalkeeper a year younger. We had Stephen Carr and Garry Brady around the corner, and Quinton Fortune, who we used to hang out with fairly regularly. Garry and I used to play Chess together, he was a tough Glaswegian as I remember. We were probably closer as a group just because we lived together, but our group was tight. Stephen Carr (Freddy then) I used to remember as a very strong lad, with an ability to ping a football accurately like I had not seen before. The group one year above us as part of the same apprenticeship group had Sol, Caskey, Barmby, Chris Day, Danny Hill and others in a very strong set. Facebook means that we know largely where each other has ended up, or could find if we wanted. Knotty and Hursty always send a happy birthday message still. I’ve not seen them for over 10 years now probably.

What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?

Neil: Playing with Paul Gascogne a few times when training, I was always awe struck. He was crazy good too, as well as totally mad. I’d seen him on the telly and always loved him so to actually even have a few times playing on the same training pitch and exchanging passes was amazing. I remember once being asked with a couple of other larger youth team players on a Friday once to help Ray Clemence prepare Ian Walker for the next days game against Wimbledon. They had Fashanu and the crazy gang mentality still. He was throwing balls in the air and telling Ian to catch them…..and we’d have to run and jump into him heavily with elbows imitating what was coming the next day. I remember Ray Clemence just kept shouting…’hit him’….he’s got this all game tomorrow…’hit him’. Captaining the Youth Team remains always special.

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

Neil: I got taken on by Peterborough on a 1 year initially contract by John Still, their new manager. After pre-season he said I need toughening up for men’s football, and I went on loan to Yeovil and Bishop’s Stortford, for 3 month stints, before coming back that season, being given a run out, making my debut, playing a few games after, doing well, and consequently being offered a new 2 year contract. From then on in, I was in the squad either starting or coming on lots. I scored a few key goals in cup game there, and we had a couple of nice cup runs which I was part of. At the end of my final season there with Barry Fry we were relegated from Division 2 (division 1 now), I had not played a great deal, and was given a free transfer. I had started studying at this time, and was offered deals by a couple of teams nearer Peterborough, but Dover in the conference contacted and offered me a 2 year deal with them, only training twice a week but in a league then where half the teams were full time, so the standard had felt high when I thought of times at Yeovil out on loan. I managed to get a place at Kent University to study for my degree, so moved to Canterbury. 5 years with Dover Athletic in the Conference I think in the end were my most enjoyable years when I look back. I was a regular starter, we nearly made it up one year, and had a great run in the trophy too. I ended up with Crawley town for a year after that, and then packed football in shortly after, after turning out for a few games with my then local team Carshalton Athletic. I had a deteriorating back injury at the time which was increasingly impeding my fitness. I’d started work in the non football world too by then, so the decision to quit was made a little easier, but I stopped playing at 29 in the end, and have not really kicked a ball since.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Neil: Coming off the bench and scoring the winner against Wrexham in the FA Cup at London Road for Posh in the 3rd round. Back then the FA Cup still had meaning, and especially the 3rd Round. That first Saturday in January had been in the calendar since I was a child. My Dad used to come in those days and he’d had £5 on me to score first at 16/1.

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Neil: Quinton Fortune or Sol Campbell.

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

Neil: It has to be hard work really, and focus. And show respect, but don’t be scared.

Do you still follow the clubs progress?

Neil: ….I don’t have much choice really seeing as one of my best pals is a hard core Spurs fan, so I’m always updated regularly. I lived in Norwich a few years back, not far from Carrow Road, so went to watch Spurs then. Kane and Alli were amazing that night.

My interview with former Spurs apprentice Kevin Worsfold:

My interview with former Spurs apprentice Kevin Worsfold:

Signed by Spurs as an apprentice for the 1970/71 season Kevin Worsfold went on to play for Spurs during the early 1970’s. Before going onto play for Brighton and a whole host of other lower league clubs, I caught up with Kevin to chat about his memories of his time at the lilywhites.

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

Kevin: l was spotted playing for Lea Valley district schools football team by one of Spurs’ scouts,Dick Walker,who invited me to train on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the club and at the end of the season there were 3 trial games and l was one of nine apprentice’s signed on for the start of season 70/71.My earliest memories was pre-season training at Cheshunt which was hard graft and seeing close up those players who l used to watch from the terraces.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Kevin: Very enjoyable most of the time but didn’t like the jobs that apprentices had to do like cleaning dressing rooms,treatment room,boot room and sweeping the gym.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Kevin: Steve Perryman as he was a player who had come through the ranks.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Kevin:Ron Henry who was the junior youth team coach.

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

Kevin: Martin Peters was a player l loved to watch.

What was the toughest thing about being a young up and coming player during that time and what were the training facilities like in those days?

Kevin: Not seeing many of your old school mates as you couldn’t socialise because of strict training schedule and training was either in the gym or under the stands at White Hart Lane which were pretty basic or at Brookfield lane Cheshunt.

Were there any youth players at Spurs who you were particularly close to and are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?

Kevin: We were all a close group of lads but I suppose Gary Mabee and Julio Grato were my closest, lm still in contact with Julio and have met up a few times over the Years.

What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?

Kevin: Going to the league cup final 70/71 against A.Villa and attending the celebration banquet afterwards at the Savoy hotel.

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

Kevin: After being released by Tottenham I signed for Brighton, stayed there for a season before going on to play for Bletchley Town who were in the Southern League, had 3 seasons there and stopped playing semi pro and played for a few teams in the South midland league.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Kevin: I would say my time at Tottenham.

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Kevin: At Brighton, a player called Tony Towner.

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

Kevin: Watch as many players who play in your position as you can, always listen to your coach and as Bill Nicholson used to say “When your not in possession,get in position.“

Do still you follow Spurs’ progress?

Kevin: I was born in south Tottenham so of course I still follow the Spurs. COYS !!!