Spurs under 19’s 0-2 Porto: (match report)

Spurs under 19’s 0-2 Porto: (match report)

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Our under 19’s European adventure came to an abrupt end this afternoon, as Scott Parker’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat to FC Porto in the quarter finals of the UEFA Youth league. It was a sorry end to what had been such an exciting and impressive journey for our young lads. However, that fluent attacking football which had been so evident in their other youth league matches, was missing for the quarterfinal at Hotspur Way. It was a dull uninspiring performance from Spurs (and I’m not criticising them in the slightest!) we met our match albeit in a very defensive Porto side. Who strangled any creativity that we mustered, they set up like an ultra defensive Serie A side. Their physicality and off the ball intelligence proving too much for Parker’s side who found themselves 2-0 down at half time. Unable to trouble Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa, Spurs couldn’t break down the rigid Porto defence in the second half. The Portuguese club comfortably managing to see out the remainder of the game, to progress to the semi-finals. With the stakes so high both sides approached the game with caution, so it was unsurprising that the game started so quietly. The first real thing of note occurred just after the 10 minute mark, when TJ Eyoma managed to get a vital head on the ball to prevent Queta from running through on goal. Porto had a half chance moments later when Musa received the ball down the right flank, but the Nigerian’s low cross was well dealt with by Austin in the Spurs goal. The sheer competitiveness of the game made it hard for either side to take control, a brilliant crunching challenge from Jamie Reynolds followed a fine effort at the other end. After Paris Maghoma’s dipping effort deflected off a Porto defender, leaving Costa flapping frantically in the Porto goal to prevent it from going underneath the cross bar. Clear cut chances were becoming hard to come by.

George Marsh managed to get a good block in to prevent Bessa’s effort on the edge of the penalty area. After a dull opening half hour, the visitors took the lead dead on 30 minutes through a set piece. It was a disappointing goal to concede, Estrela’s corner kick wasn’t dealt with properly as Diogo Leite rose the highest towards the back of the box, to power a low header goal bound. The defenders effort took a nick off Oliver Skipp, deceiving Austin as it went in to the back of the net, it would later be awarded as an own goal. Spurs looked to respond straight from the restart, the so far quiet Shashoua managing to slip in Bennetts down the left flank. The speedy winger managed to get his cross away despite being under pressure, the ball was frantically cleared by a Porto defender. Ten minutes after conceding the opener, Parker’s side fell further behind when Porto doubled their advantage. Coming as the result of an unfortunate error at the back, Santiago Vera was played through on goal despite Skipp’s best efforts, his touch on the ball wasn’t enough to divert it. As the Paraguayan ran through before calmly slotting the ball underneath the body of Austin who did manage to get a glove to the ball, but to no avail as it squirmed over the line. Parker’s side now needed to risk conceding more in order to get forward more. To prevent it from being 3-0, Austin produced a good save to thwart Estrela’s strike shortly after the restart. Spurs were in desperate need of a reshape at half time.

Parker made two tactical substitutions during the interval as he brought on Dylan Duncan and Phoenix Patterson in place of Maghoma and Tanganga, to try and shake things up. The half had barely begun when the referee brought out his yellow card for Hinds after a cynical foul committed by the right back, McDermott could be heard from the touchline urging his side to move it quicker. And to their credit they did but it wasn’t enough to break past this ridiculously defensive Porto outfit. Fleeting chances came and went for Spurs, Hinds saw his effort from range fly wide. Whilst Samuel Shashoua’s free kick on the edge of the Porto box was bent over Costa’s crossbar. Tariq Hinds then had an effort saved by Costa at the back post, Porto weren’t interested in extending their lead. It was all about defending their two goal cushion. By this point in the game Porto had now started some amateur dramatics, exaggerating fouls with over the top wincing. This would have been to run the clock down. Substitute Patterson fired an effort well wide off the mark as the creativity from Parker’s side continued to prove ineffective. The Porto coaches and officials were left roaring after George Marsh fouled one of their players. Already on a yellow, the coaches wanted to see him receive another. The uninspiring nature of the game continued, Brandon Austin was forced into making a terrific save low down to deny Queta’s deflected effort, as Spurs continued to offer little of note.

Porto had another chance when Queirós received the ball at the back post from the resulting corner kick, but he could only head over. The relentless Samuel Shashoua did well to create a half chance after he managed to pick the ball up from the goalkeeper who failed to gather it properly. Shashoua then tuned sharply before aiming for Bennetts at the back post, but a Porto defender reacted quickest and managed to knock the ball out for a corner. And it was from the resulting corner kick that we had our best chance of the half, a decent delivery from Reynolds resulted in Costa spilling the ball. Nearest to it was Skipp whose effort was acrobatically cleared off the line by a Porto player. The problem for Spurs was that there was no space whatsoever to get a shot in, such was the Juventusesque 11 men behind the ball approach which had been incorporated into this Porto team. We were limited to efforts from range such as the one from Hinds which flew well wide towards the latter part of the game, Porto had got their tactics spot on. The last bit of action came deep in stoppage time with the game already won. Bennetts whipped in a free kick which was easily caught by Costa, and then for some reason or another George Marsh decided to go flying into him knocking him to the floor in the process, it was such a silly foul to make. And one that would result in the Bulgarian referee giving him his marching orders, it was a sad end to a sad game. As I l made my way out I crossed paths with the Spurs players such as Shashoua and Eyoma, dejected and down beat. They had their heads down, it was apparent how much the game had meant to the them. COYS

Player reviews: -Brandon Austin: Showed very impressive communication skills, lead his defenders well. Made a couple of fine stops.
– Tariq Hinds: Had a good game, was sound defensively but he was most impressive going forward and managed to get into some good positions. Had a couple of decent efforts on goal, was good to see him getting forward so often.
– Jamie Reynolds: A tireless performance from the combative left back, whose crunching challenges and tight defending made a positive impact on the game from our perspective. Allowed Bennetts to have creative freedom going forward.
– George Marsh: It was a strange game for Marsh, who despite putting in a typically hardworking performance as a holding midfielder and also as a centre half in the second half. Undone all his hard work with a silly sending off, after already picking up a yellow card Marsh for some reason or another decided to plough into the goalkeeper in the last bit of action of the game, it was ridiculous. Sadly it’s another red card to add to his growing collection, he has got a bit of a Bartonesque streak to his game.
– Japhet Tanganga: Only played the first half, put in a sound defensive performance.
– TJ Eyoma: My motm, see below
– Samuel Shashoua: Worked harder than anyone on the pitch, had a quiet first half but grew into the game more in the second half. Tried desperately hard to create.
– Oliver Skipp: Not his best performance but you can’t expect a 17 year old to be on top of his game every single game, worked very hard but was a tad sloppy and made some risky decisions.
– Reo Griffiths: Spurs managed one shot on goal the whole game so it was of little surprise that Griffiths was living off scraps. Hence he was unable to make much of an impact.
– Paris Maghoma: There were quite a few things that Maghoma did which impressed me during the first half, those sharp turns being one of them. He offered us something different in a very defence minded midfield three. I was disappointed to see him substituted at half time as I thought that he could have provided that little spark to change the game for Spurs.
– Keanan Bennetts: Another played who tried to think outside the box in order to break past the Porto defence. Bennetts worked incredibly hard throughout, he was determined and eager to run at players. Gave a good account of himself.
– Dylan Duncan: Decent second half performance, kept things simple but got involved physically
– Phoenix Patterson: Tidy. Used the ball well.

My man of the match: TJ Eyoma. Brilliant performance from the 17 year old centre half, hardly put a foot wrong. Good in the air and decisive in the challenge, read situations well.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Reynolds (Brown 68), Marsh, Tanganga (c, Duncan 46), Eyoma, S Shashoua, Skipp, Griffiths, P Maghoma (Patterson 46), Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Dinzeyi, Lyons-Foster, Bowden.

FC Porto: Costa, Justiniano, Queirós, Leite, Bessa, Estrela (c), Romário Baró (Sousa 82), Queta, Musa, Rui Pires (Lameira 90+1), Vera (Maleck Robles 75). Substitutes (not used): Silva, Fidelis, Neto Lopes, Lutindo Lopes.

Goals: FC Porto – Leite 30, Vera 40.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Hinds 47, Marsh 66, 90+5, Eyoma 86; FC Porto – Bessa 63.

Red card: Spurs – Marsh 90+5.

Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bul).

Attendance: 173.

Statistics: Under 19’s: Goals: Edwards-4
Bennetts-2
Sterling-3
Roles-1
Tanganga-2
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Griffiths-1
Richards-1

Assists: Edwards-5
Tanganga-1
S.Shashoua-4
Sterling-1
Roles-2
Bennetts-1
Reynolds-1

Spurs under 18’s versus Swansea City: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Swansea City: (match preview)

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Whilst the attention may all be on our under 19’s crunch European tie with Porto on Tuesday afternoon, it’s worth remembering that our under 18’s have an important league game the following day. As Scott Parker’s side take on Welsh club Swansea City at Hotspur Way as they resume league action. Unbeaten in their last five league games, Spurs take on a Swansea team who sit in a comfortable fourth place in the southern league. The Swans have a fascinating mix of players which includes former Ajax academy player Kees De Boer, son of former Spurs player Eidur Gudjohnsen (Arnor) and a young Irish starlet by the name of Marc Walsh. Joint head coaches Anthony Wright and Jon Grey have had their side playing well over recent matches, recording four wins from their last five league games. The last time these sides met the game ended in a comfortable 5-2 victory for Spurs over Swansea at Landore. The Swans impressive form in the league this campaign surprises me a little, considering they struggled last campaign. And they still remain the worst team I’ve ever seen our under 18′ play against. But that was last season in the fixture at Hotspur Way, a game in which the now u23 player Samuel Shashoua tore them apart, quite literally. And I couldn’t even remember them having a clear cut chance, though undoubtedly this side is better. I will be at Hotspur Way once again for the visit of Swansea on Wednesday. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) De Bie(c), Clarke, Statham, Dinzeyi, Reynolds, A.Shashoua, Bowden, Markanday, Patterson, Bennett, Richards.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Hinds, P.Maghoma, Thorpe, Griffiths.

Doubtful: Charlie Freeman (unknown) and Moroyin Omolabi (currently trialing out with Reading) and Jubril Okedina (injured).

My score prediction: Spurs to win 4-2.

One to watch: The Swans Irish starlet Marc Walsh. The 16 year old forward who was signed from Irish side Finn Harps in the summer, is highly rated in his home country. And has been on my radar since before he made the move to Wales. A tricky forward, Walsh has chipped in with two goals this campaign. I’m looking forward to seeing him in action.

Spurs under 19’s versus Porto: (match preview)

Spurs under 19’s versus Porto: (match preview)

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We may be out of the UEFA champions league but that’s the not the case for our under 19’s who are into the quarter finals of the youth equivalent. The UEFA youth league. Scott Parker’s side will contest a hugely important quarter final against Portuguese giants Porto tomorrow at Hotspur Way. Another side who exited the champions league last week, the highly regarded academy side have produced some impressive performances en route to this stage of the competition. I don’t need to recap our lads impressive route to the quarter finals, after defeating AS Monaco on penalties in the last round Parker’s side will be hoping for a not too traumatic game tomorrow. Unfortunately, Porto are a better side than Monaco. Porto topped a group (with 15 points!) containing the French side as well as RB Leipzig and Besiktas en route to the last 16. Where they then came up against the holders of the competition Red Bull Salzburg who they beat 3-1, a result I certainly wasn’t expecting! A club with a lot more experience in this competition then us, the form sways in the Portuguese sides favour. However, I couldn’t be any more confident that Parker’s side will progress. This group of players are phenomenally talented and have a wide ranging skill set. They’ve already produced some outstanding performances in this competition this season, and if they all turn up then I think that we’ll overwhelm the Portuguese side with our attacking prowess and flare. Tomorrows side will include a lot of the players who played in our under 23’s spectacular 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the weekend.

I’ve never seen this Porto team play before but I’m anticipating a very tough tie, and I’ve read good things about their 19 year old forward Madi Queta. I have got my ticket for tomorrows game and will be reporting from Hotspur Way on this crucial European tie, with a place in the semi finals at stake. My report will be up later that night. And for those of you who can’t make the game, you can watch it live on BT Sport, kick off is at 3pm. COYS ⚽️

In different news: I am working very hard to try and gain access to next Sunday’s under 18 premier league cup final against Chelsea, at the blues Cobham training ground. I can’t underline the importance of this game enough, and having been to every game en route to the final, I would be absolutely devastated not to be able to attend the final and see our lads take on Chelsea!

My predicted lineup: (4-3-3)Austin, Hinds, Eyoma (c), Lyons-Foster, Brown, Roles, Skipp, P.Maghoma, S.Shashoua, Sterling, Bennetts.

Subs from: De Bie, Tanganga, Reynolds, Marsh, Oakley-Boothe, Duncan, Griffiths.

Doubtful: Nick Tsaroulla and Moroyin Omolabi.

My score prediction: Spurs to win 4-2!

One to watch: Porto’s 19 year old forward Madi Queta.

Statistics: Under 19’s: Goals: Edwards-4
Bennetts-2
Sterling-3
Roles-1
Tanganga-2
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Griffiths-1
Richards-1

Assists: Edwards-5
Tanganga-1
S.Shashoua-4
Sterling-1
Roles-2
Bennetts-1
Reynolds-1

Spurs under 23’s 3-1 Arsenal: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 3-1 Arsenal: (match report)

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Wayne Burnett’s development side put in the performance of the season to over come arch rivals Arsenal 3-1 this afternoon in the PL2. Burnett’s side were up against it when they travelled to Boreham Wood to face the high flying gunners, who sat in a comfortable third place in the league table. Whilst our lads battle it out with Man United and Sunderland for first division survival. Both teams put out strong sides, there was one surprise for our side which was the absence of the inform Shilow Tracey. Whilst talented u18 striker Reo Griffiths made the step up to u23 level to make his first PL2 start, replacing Sterling who is being rested for the Porto game in midweek. Spurs were exceptional today, they played fluid attacking football against an Arsenal team with a plethora of attacking players. After a difficult opening spell which saw them go 1-0 down, Burnett’s side fought back with a grit and determination. Getting the leveller soon afterwards, Spurs took control of the central areas. They utilised the creativity of the wide men, and asserted their authority on the game. Oliver Skipp made it 2-1 to the lilywhites eight minutes before half time. And the second half was even better, Spurs played with a flare about their game, they outplayed Arsenal and pressed them out of the game, Bennetts’ stunning free kick on 57 minutes deflated Arsenal. And Burnett’s side comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to record a precious victory over our old foes from down the road.

Christian Maghoma took the captains armband for the north London Derby (something which I predicted in my preview). Burnett’s side got the game underway at Meadow Lane against a very attacking gunners outfit. The first real piece of action came from Samuel Shashoua’s inviting corner kick which he whipped into the danger zone with less than two minutes on the clock. His delivery only just evading Christian Maghoma inside the box. Joe Pritchard tested Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Macey moments later. When his fierce strike from the edge of the penalty area was tipped just wide by the Arsenal man. The lively start to proceedings continued this time at the other end, as a good Arsenal move down the left saw Amaechi square for Dragomir in the penalty area. It would have been a certain goal for the Romanian but for a terrific piece of defending by Tanganga who managed to block his effort. The gunners were starting to get into the game, Emile Smith Rowe tested Whiteman with a thumping effort from range. Whilst Amaechi managed to outwit fullback Anthony Georgiou down the right flank soon afterwards. After getting the better of his man for pace, Amaechi was brought down from behind by Georgiou who conceded a free kick on the edge of the box. Steve Gatting’s side continued to threaten the Spurs goal when Dragomir’s effort stung the palms of the so far uninvolved Alfie Whiteman before Maghoma made the clearance.

Arsenal’s pressure was rewarded on 18 minutes when they took the lead courtesy of a header from defender Danny Ballard. The goal came from a free kick in exactly the same position as the previous one, after Shashoua conceded a foul on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Amaechi’s pin point delivery caught out the Spurs defence as Ballard rose the highest, to nod the ball past Whiteman and into the back of the net, 0-1. Burnett’s team struggled to get the ball out of their own half as Arsenal enjoyed the lions share of possession. A key tactical change was made shortly after we conceded the goal as Burnett made Bennetts and Shashoua switch flanks this proved to be a very effective move. The gunners lead lasted a mere 8 minutes, as Burnett’s side fought back to force the equaliser. It was an excellent reaction from the lads who managed to convert from a well worked corner kick. Whipped in towards the far post by Bennetts, met by Tanganga who managed to loop the ball across goal and into the path of Eyoma at the back post, to comfortably head home. The ecstatic Eyoma sprinted towards the corner flag to celebrate swiping it in the process, he certainly wasn’t going to forget his first goal at this level in a hurry. This had developed into a really competitive game of football, and that frantic end to end style continued. An astute piece of defending by Tanganga followed as he stopped a dangerous Arsenal break by pulling back his man, taking one for the team in the process.

Buoyed by Eyoma’s equaliser, Spurs began to assert there authority on the game and were now the side with the majority of possession, we were getting forward a lot more often. One such attacking foray came via a promising run by Bennetts who managed to win a dangerous free kick on the edge of the oppositions box. Unfortunately Samuel Shashoua’s bending effort was headed away by a player in the wall. The Tottenham fightback took a further twist on 35 minutes after Burnett’s side took the lead courtesy of a wonderful move. It all started with Shashoua’s disguised pass to Pritchard down the right flank, Pritchard advanced towards the byline, cutting inside his man. Before whipping a delightful ball into the danger zone which was brilliantly converted by Oliver Skipp, whose deft side footed effort flew into the top right corner of Macey’s net, it really was phenomenal stuff from Spurs. It was young Skipps first goal of the season. Spurs finished the half strongly, their high press proving too much for a now struggling Arsenal side. Reo Griffiths was unlucky not to be given a penalty after a challenge from behind, whilst the dominant Tanganga headed wide from Bennetts corner a couple of minutes later. On a different note, Ty from Arsenal fan tv had just entered the stadium. Arsenal weren’t really testing Whiteman, their one half chance came on the stroke of half time when Da Silva’s low effort was deflected out for a corner by Maghoma. Spurs had bounced back remarkably well and were now in the ascendancy.

Burnett’s side almost got the second half underway with a bang following an incisive team move straight from kick off. Good awareness from Skipp resulted in the influential midfielder playing Griffiths through down the right side after a good pass. Instead of shooting Griffiths opted to square the ball to Pritchard inside the box. The midfielder left it for Bennetts but the winger got his feet all wrong and the chance amounted to nothing. The potent Pritchard curled an effort over Macey’s goal soon afterwards, as Spurs continued to dominate the central areas of the pitch, through the tenacity and guile of Oliver Skipp and the decisiveness of Marsh. The decisive moment in the game came in the 57th minute following a foul on Reo Griffiths around 28 yards out from goal. Bennetts stood up confidently to take the resulting free kick, his shoulders laid back, he confidently steadied himself before making a Ronaldoesque run up, the effort that followed was sublime even for Bennetts standards. He had managed to generate both the power and curve on the ball needed to beat Macey from such a distance, the ball curling magnificently into the top right hand corner of the goal, leaving the Arsenal players and fans alike stunned. Spurs were in total control. Whilst the tireless defending from both Maghoma and Tanganga continued to thwart a lack lustre Arsenal front line. However, they did come close to pulling a goal back through Smith Rowe who fired just over, in what was a rare Arsenal attack. Then followed a special moment for TJ Eyoma who was joined on the pitch by his older brother Aaron who he would be playing against for the first time at this level.

Burnett’s side were playing fluid football and continued to dictate the tempo of the game, whilst also managing to defend resolutely against a desperate Arsenal side. One such important piece of defending came from George marsh who did excellently to win the ball off of Dragomir inside the penalty area. Spurs then initiated another nice move at the other end, after the alert Skipp managed to get to the ball after receiving Maghoma’s pass. Under pressure from Gilmour, Skipp managed to get the ball to Shashoua down the right wing despite being taken clean out by the Scotsman who would later receive a yellow card. Shashoua then threaded the ball down to Pritchard, who fired inches wide of Macey’s goal from a tight angle. One thing that was striking from the game was the difference in stamina between the two sides, with 70 or so minutes on the clock Spurs looked as if the game had just begun whilst Arsenal struggled to deal with their high energy levels and tigerish pressing. Dragomir fired into the side netting shortly afterwards but Arsenal never really looked like a threat going forwards. Bennetts tried his luck at a speculative effort from range which flew wide following a lay off from Griffiths. And the young striker who had been mostly involved in hold up play, tried to get on the scoresheet himself! after hitting a low effort towards goal. But Macey dealt with it comfortably. Christian Maghoma made an important block before Spurs went at Arsenal again at the other end. Courtesy of another well worked move, Griffiths did all the hard work up top as he held the ball up before passing to Skipp. The midfielder immediately slipped substitute Jack Roles through inside the penalty area. The Cypriots powerful effort unluckily cannoning off of Macey’s crossbar, as Arsenal avoided further embarrassment.

With the game in the bag for Spurs, Arsenal had one more frantic go at our defence as we entered stoppage time. First through goal scorer Ballard who forced a good save out of Whiteman, and then through Balogun whose delightful curler flew inches wide of the far post. The final score from Boreham Wood, Spurs under 23’s 3-1 Arsenal. Our lads best performance of the season sees them bolster their already strong chances of beating the drop whilst also denting Arsenal’s title ambitions, that’s now six games unbeaten for Burnett’s side. Whose next game comes on April 7 against Derby county. This game has really helped me to forget about the Juventus result in the week! COYS

 

Player reviews: – Alfie Whiteman: Believe it or not he was a spectator for the most part. Was forced into making a couple of decent saves in the first half. And to my knowledge he only had to make one more in the second.
– TJ Eyoma: On the scoresheet for the first time at u23 level, Eyoma made it a day to remember on a day to remember for the Eyoma household. Apart from his goal I thought he did a really good job at right back, he was dominant and aggressive. Composed with the ball at his feet and crisp in his passing, Eyoma was decisive and he did a good job at keeping out danger down the left flank.
– Anthony Georgiou: Put in another good performance, this time at left back. Whilst it did limit the offensive side of his game, Georgiou managed to do a good job at defending and remained solid throughout.
– George Marsh: Tireless performance from the midfield anchor man, whose relentless pressing and tenacity in the central areas allowed the more creative players to play their game. Didn’t go unnoticed.
– Christian Maghoma: I’ve said it many a time, but the defensive partnership between both Maghoma and Tanganga is always so strong and effective whenever they play together. Both centre halves complement each other and that was certainly the case today, rock solid from the offing. The skipper put his body on the line for the team making many important blocks and interceptions, whilst dominating in the air. Maghoma was good on the ball and played some nice passes forward. Showed good anticipation.
– Japhet Tanganga: Tanganga was absolutely exceptional against the gunners. Forceful, decisive and intelligent in his defending, the heroic Tanganga made a much welcome return from injury for the NLD. His presence at the back was immense, as was the way he dominated Dragomir and got in front of him on numerous occasions, it was sheer class. As were the many terrific challenges and blocks that he made, range of passing and movement. Couldn’t sing his praises high enough! The complete performance.
– Keanan Bennetts: Another impressive performance from the wide man, Bennetts tested the Arsenal fullbacks with his mazy runs and trickery down the flanks, as well as his tendency to cut inside. The real moment of magic from the game came from Bennetts who only turned 19 yesterday. A phenomenal match winning free kick from over 25 yards out, I hope you all get to see it at some point.
– Oliver Skipp: My motm see below.
– Reo Griffiths: Really impressed me after making the step from u18 level to make his full PL2 debut against Arsenal. Whilst he didn’t have that many chances in front of goal himself, Griffiths impact came via his excellent hold up play, silky skills and lung bursting forward runs. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in the u23 team.
– Joe Pritchard: Really influenced the game operating in the ’10’ role, quietly creative and hardworking throughout. Pritchard kept things simple but wasn’t afraid to try his luck from range (was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet). Created a lovely assist to set up Skipp’s goal.
– Samuel Shashoua: One of our main creative outlets, Shashoua’s intricate passing and disguised Lamelaesque through balls created many an opening. His ridiculous work rate and eagerness to get back and defend really helped out the team.
– Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Decent cameo, creative with the ball.
– Jack Roles: Brief cameo, came with in an inch of scoring soon after coming on.

 

My man of the match: Oliver Skipp. Domineering, creative, decisive and tireless. They were all words you could use to describe Oliver Skipp’s performance against Arsenal, complete is an understatement. Skipp controlled the game from start to finish, out powering the opposition players with his unbelievable stamina, reading of the game and ability to pick out a key pass. Skipp played like a 27 year old not a 17 year old. He was always alert, looking over his shoulder constantly even when the game was already won, he dictated play and showcased his wide ranging skillset. Not to forget he also scored a superb goal!

Arsenal: Macey, Osei Tutu, Bola, Da Silva (c), Ballard, Medley, Coyle (Eyoma 62), Gilmour (Balogun 81), Dragomir, Smith Rowe, Amaechi. Substitutes (not used): Keto, Olowu, Smith.

Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Georgiou, Marsh, C Maghoma (c), Tanganga (Brown), Bennetts, Skipp, Griffiths, Pritchard (Oakley-Boothe 66), S Shashoua (Roles 77). Substitutes (not used): O’Reilly, Duncan.

Goals: Arsenal – Ballard 18; Spurs – Eyoma 25, Skipp 33, Bennetts 57.

Yellow cards: Arsenal – Da Silva 31, Ballard 56, Gilmour 66; Spurs – Georgiou
14, Tanganga 28, S Shashoua 60.

Referee: Simon Barrow.

Attendance: 381.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-10
Loft-1
Duncan-2
Edwards-4
Tanganga-1
Pritchard-3
S.Shashoua-5
Bennetts-5
Tracey-3
Harrison-4
C.Maghoma-2
Roles-4
Walkes-1
Eyoma-1
Skipp-1

Assists: Skipp-1
Miller-1
Sterling-2
Pritchard-6
Edwards-3
Tracey-7
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-3
Bennetts-5
Marsh-1
Harrison-1
Roles-1
Tanganga-1

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

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

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After a bit of a break from action (owing to the bad weather conditions) our under 23’s return to action tomorrow when they travel to arch rivals Arsenal in an all important PL2 clash. Originally scheduled to take place at the gunners emirates stadium, the league match will now take place at Meadow Lane the home of Vanarama national league side Boreham Wood F.C. Both clubs couldn’t be in any different situations coming into this hugely important game, the gunners are near the top of the table fighting it out with league leaders Leicester City, second placed Liverpool and reigning champions Everton for the league title. And you’d have to fancy there chances, Steve Gatting’s side have been in scintillating form this campaign. Picking up 32 points from 17 games, the gunners have been lethal in front of goal scoring 39 times, the most of any team in the league. And it’s not hard to see why with players like Eddie Nketiah (potent striker), Reiss Nelson (mesmeric dribbler), Emile Smithe Rowe (De Bruynesque midfielder) and Tyrece John Jules all on their books. It also helps when you’ve got senior players such as Rob Holding and Mavropanos to choose from on occasions. With four league games to go, Burnett’s side will have there work cut out big time to win this one. Despite their late season renaissance, Burnett’s side who sit one point above the relegation zone, really need to be getting something from this game if they are going to survive relegation.

With both sides expected to field strong teams, this north London Derby will undoubtably have a competitive edge to it, with the stakes so high for both sides. It’s worth remembering that we did beat the gunners 3-2 in the reverse fixture at Hotspur Way earlier on in the season, though due to Europa league involvement the gunners fielded a side consisting mostly of first and second year scholars on that occasion. One of the key players that day was winger Samuel Shashoua, having just recently returned from injury the creative force will be key to unlocking the gunners defence once again during tomorrows meeting. I will be reporting on the game from Boreham Wood and will have my match report up later that evening. COYS Lets make it three wins over Arsenal this year!

A side note: Some of you may have noticed me saying that our u18 midfielder Moroyin Omolabi had been out injured for some time, and that he was unlikely to be the Omolabi currently turning out for Reading (something which I spotted a couple of weeks ago). It turns out it is Omolabi and he appears to be on the way out from Spurs at the end of the season, I had confused Omolabi with another player. Mistakes happen!

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

Subs from: Austin, Marsh, Brown, Roles, Griffiths.

Doubtful: Nick Tsaroulla.

Previous meetings: 3-2 Spurs, 2-0 Arsenal, 2-0 Arsenal.

My score prediction: 2-2.

One to watch: The gunners 18 year old centre forward Eddie Nketiah. It was just over a year ago that I was stood watching the young striker turn out for arsenal under 18’s against Spurs at Hotspur Way. A year and half on and the highly regarded England youth international has already made 8 appearances for the Arsenal senior team scoring twice, Nketiah was on the bench against AC Milan last night. A poacher who is clinical in and around the six yard box, Nketiah has 9 PL2 goals to his name this season and will prove a major goal threat if involved tomorrow.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-10
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-7
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-3
Bennetts-5
Marsh-1
Harrison-1
Roles-1

Spurs and Italy a short history:

Spurs and Italy a short history:

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Following on from my piece on Spurs and Ireland, I thought I’d do another one of these articles as I really enjoyed the last one, this piece was requested by a supporter and it’s quite fitting considering that were just days away from facing Juventus in the champions league. This time it’s a shorter piece, as I go through all of the players of Italian descent to have been on the books of Tottenham Hotspur football club either at senior or youth level. Sadly there isn’t that many, but I will be happily corrected if someone lets me know if I have missed anyone out. Once again I have done in-depth research to make this as accurate as possible.

The first player to play for Spurs who was of Italian descent was local lad Tony Marchi, a familiar name amongst Spurs fans. The Edmonton born wing-half/ midfielder joined Spurs a youth player back in 1948, Marchi would begin a 17 year relationship with the club albeit via a two year spell in Italy. Tony became one of the youngest players to play for the club, when he made his debut as a 17 year old against Grimsby in 1950 under the legendary Arthur Rowe. Tony would go onto make 131 appearances for the lilywhites before taking a path less traveled. After he left Bill Nicholson’s side in 1957 to play for Italian side Juventus. Never making a senior appearance for the club, Tony spent the two seasons in the country of his ancestry playing for both Torino (Juventus arch rivals) and Vicenza on loan. In fact it was Nicholson himself who made the trip over to Italy to bring Tony back to north London in 1959. Tony would go onto become a part of the famous double winning side of 1960-61, playing a further 101 times for his local side, captaining them on many an occasion. His greatest moment came in the spring of 1963 when he started for Nicholson’s side in the final of the 1963 European cup winners cup as they famously thrashed Atletico Madrid 5-1 in Rotterdam to become the first English side to win a European trophy. Tony eventually left Spurs in 1965 after retiring from the game. Marchi then entered the world of management the same year when he took charge of Cambridge United for two years. Before taking charge of Northampton town for a solemn season during the 1967-68. Tony recently celebrated his 85th birthday and was presented with a special shirt by club legend Gary Mabbutt, courtesy of the club.

It would be a further 33 years until the next player of Italian descent played for Spurs, this time it would be the first native Italian to play for the lilywhites. It was a famous transfer at a bleak time for the club, after Christian Gross managed to acquire the services of renowned Italian midfielder Nicola Berti on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract at Inter Milan. A tenacious box to box midfielder, Berti joined Spurs during a difficult campaign. A campaign which saw Spurs fight for their premier league status, Berti provided steel and energy to the side and helped the lilywhites secure a comfortable 13th placed finish, before departing for Alaves at the end of the season. The Italian international who was a runner up with his country during the 94 World Cup, Berti enjoyed a distinguished career for both club and country. And despite only playing for Spurs for one season, he is still considered a bit of a cult hero by fans. Which may have something to do with a certain song that the fans still sing to this day, I needn’t get it started! The next Italian to make the move to north London was defender Paolo Tramezzani who joined the lilywhites from Italian club Piacenza in 1998. Tramezzani only ever made six senior appearances for the club during a two year spell. Many fans will remember the defenders debut for the club which came in a friendly against Peterborough in 1998, in which Tramezzani scored in. The defender departed Spurs for Pistoiese in 2000. Tramezzani who is now a football manager was most recently in charge of Swiss side Sion.

Signed to the club the season after Tramezzani joined, Italian youth prodigy Luca di Giuliautonio would become the third Italian to join the club when he signed as a 16 year old in 1999. Spotted by Spurs scouts in a schoolboy tournament in Italy, di Giuliautonio made the trip to London with a fellow team mate in Maurizio Consorti who also impressed the Spurs scouts. Both players would only ever play in the youth ranks for Spurs, midfielder di Giuliautonio returned to Italy in 2001 to play for Monturanese. Whilst Consorti who had impressed for the u17’s, even being given a senior squad number for the 2000-01 campaign. Was released by the club the following season and would return to Italy where he signed for Castel Madama. Around the same time we had a goalkeeper on our books by the name of Angelo Galetti who had previously been playing for Empoli. Galetti had been capped by his country at u15 level. Italian Spurs fans would have to wait a further ten years until the club signed another Italian player but it was well worth the wait. I remember being ecstatic at finding out that we had signed experienced goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini in January of 2009 from rivals Chelsea. It was yet another major coup by then manager Harry Redknapp. The highly regarded Italian who had spent many years as a number two to Petr Cech at the blues. Was a welcome addition to the club during a difficult time, with his razor sharp reflexes and speed. Cudicini enjoyed a good time at Spurs, fluctuating between being a number one, two and three during his three year spell at the club. Cudicini would go onto play 19 times for the lilywhites before joining MLS club LA Galaxy in 2012. Cudicini who has now entered the world of coaching, is currently an assistant coach to Antonio Conte at Chelsea.

The next player I’m going to mention wasn’t born in Italy but still has strong connections to the country. Souleymane Coulibaly emigrated to the country from his native Ivory Coast as a 13 year old to join his father. It was during his teenage years that the skilful forward would take his first steps into making it as a professional, signing for local side Siena. It was after his impressive performances for Ivory Coast at the 2011 u17 World Cup that Coulibaly First came to the attention of the club. Dubbed the new Drogba after scoring nine goals in five matches for his country. Despite rumoured interest from both Manchester United and Real Madrid, Coulibaly made the switch to Spurs in 2011 where he joined the clubs youth set up. After spending three seasons at the club, playing for both the u18’s and u21’s and after scoring some spectacular goals in the process. The one time wonderkid joined Italian Serie B side Bari for a sum of £2million pounds. Since then Coulibaly has played for a whole host of clubs including the likes of Peterborough United and Kilmarnock. Now 23 years of age Coulibaly finds himself without a club having last played for Egyptian side Al Ahly. Since Cudicini’s time we have never had an Italian player play for us, though there have been numerous cases of first second and even third generation Italians playing in our youth set up.

Starting with midfielder Mario Noto who was a part of the Spurs academy set up during the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Noto who operated in the centre of midfield went onto play for Crystal Palace and Reading before entering the world of non league football where he has represented sides such as Boreham Wood. Noto is currently playing for Enfield Town in the Bostick premier league. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Mario last month for my blog, he talked about growing up watching the great Milan side of the 90’s amongst all other things Spurs. Going back to the 1980’s we had a couple of players with Italian sounding names such as Leo Lisanti but I was unable to verify this. Since Mario Noto’s time in the academy we have had the likes of Giancarlo Gallifuoco (now of Dover) who have played for the Spurs youth teams. Though Australian born Gallifuoco is of Italian descent. As is a certain Massimo Luongo(once a highly rated academy midfielder) Luongo who is now a fully fledged Australian international, currently plays for QPR. Luongo did make one senior appearance for Spurs during a league cup third round tie against Stoke. Slightly before Luongo’s time was highly rated goalkeeper Mirko Ranieri. A former youth international for Italy at u16 level, Ranieri was brought to the club from Perugia by sporting director Damian Comolli in 2007. Comolli spoke at the time of Ranieri s great intelligence and shot stopping ability. After various loan spells at lower league sides Ranieri was released by the club in 2012. He was last seen playing for Italian side Gubbio. And that brings an end to this article, hopefully it’s been an informative and interesting read as we prepare for our all important second leg with Juventus on Wednesday evening. COYS

 

Spurs and Ireland a short history:

Spurs and Ireland a short history:

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Few countries have had more of an impact on the history of Tottenham Hotspur then the island of Ireland. Apart from having a huge fan base in Ireland which consists of many supporters clubs little has been written on the importance the country has had on our football club from first generation to second and third generation players, many have put on the lilywhite shirt from first team level to youth level and right up until the present day. As an Irishman myself I thought I’d write a short history about Spurs and Ireland and the role it has played, and whilst I have tried my best researching the lists of players from season to season, I may well have missed out a few players with Irish connections and I would welcome any corrections from supporters of our club.

The early years: To my knowledge the first Irishman to represent Spurs was Jack Kirwan. An outside left who joined the lilywhites in 1899 from Everton the county Wicklow man played for Spurs for six years and was involved in their most early success, FA cup glory as a non league team in 1901. Kirwan was an accomplished Gaelic footballer and after a brief spell at the toffees it didn’t take the wide man long to adapt to the English game. An integral part of John Cameron’s cup winning side, Kirwan was the last surviving member of that side up until his death in 1959. He kept both the match ball and medal right up until his passing. After a successful spell with Spurs which saw Kirwan become the first Tottenham player to represent his country, Kirwan subsequently went on to play for Chelsea, Clyde and Leyton Orient. And his footballing career didn’t stop there in fact it took an even more fascinating turn. After he entered the world of coaching, becoming the manager of a certain AJAX Amsterdam in 1910. Kirwan would go on to become the first person to guide the Dutch club into the first division. The former Spurs man had later spells as manager of both Bohemians and Livorno. A fascinating career, Kirwan is certainly worth a google.

The next Irishman to play for Spurs was Donegal man Charles O’Hagan who joined the club in 1904. The inside left spent two seasons in north London before joining Middlesbrough in 1906. But the fascinating part of his career came as a coach when he managed Spanish side Sevilla in the early 1920’s! After O’Hagan left Spurs there seems to be quite a gap before the next Irishman donned on the Tottenham jersey. However, in the meantime there was a Welshman by the name of Taffy O’Callaghan who would go on to become a legend at the club during the late 1920’s and early 30’s. The forward played over 250 times for Spurs and made such a positive impact that he would later be named on the clubs hall of fame list. Why an earth am I mentioning a man from the Ebbw Vale, well he was the son of Irish parents. Next to fly the flag for Ireland was Enniskillen man Richard Rowley, who spent a solemn campaign at the lilywhites during the 1930-31 season. Once again there appears to be a big gap before the next Irishman would appear at White Hart Lane, in fact you have to wait until 1954. When Limerick man Johnny Gavin joined the lilywhites. The winger only played for Spurs for one season yet he made a big impact on the side scoring an impressive 15 goals from 32 appearances. Gavin enjoyed the greatest spell of his career at his next club Norwich City who have him listed on the clubs hall of fame. Gavin passed away in 2007.

Captain fantastic and beyond: The next player I’m going to mention is without a doubt (in my eyes) the most influential player in the clubs history. A personal hero of mine, Danny Blanchflower. A man who needs no introduction, the legendary Ulster man became a legend for the club over a 10 year spell between 1954 and 1964. Initially signed by Arthur Rowe from Aston Villa, Blanchflower spent a tumultuous spell under next manager Jimmy Anderson where he was made to play in the reserves for a period. But the right half’s fortunes changed significantly following the arrival of Bill Nicholson as club manager in 1958. It was during his later years that the visionary (a man long before his time) would flourish in north London. A club who he always wanted to play for ever since hearing the name as a young child in the streets of Belfast. Blanchflower was the on the pitch brains behind the historic double winning side of 1960-61, captain fantastic as he became known would further captain Spurs to more cup glory. With the 1961-62 FA cup final success preceding the following season, Blanchflowers final game for Spurs came against Atletico Madrid in the final of the 1963 European cup winners cup. Where he captained the side to a historic 5-1 victory over the Spanish club in Rotterdam. It was the perfect ending for Blanchflower who would later go onto become manager of both Chelsea and Northern Ireland only missing out on the Tottenham job because of the Tottenham chairman’s instance on appointing Terry Neil despite Nicholson’s advice. If your interested in finding out more about Blanchflower, then Ken Ferris’s book ‘The Double: The inside story Spurs’ triumphant 1960-61 season’ is essential reading.

This followed another hugely important player in the clubs history in County Down man Pat Jennings. The legendary goalkeeper (one of the greatest of all time) played over 470 times for the club following his arrival from Watford in 1964. Ask any Spurs fan who remembers big Pat and they’ll tell you that he was the greatest keeper to play for Spurs. With his cat like reflexes and freakish ability to catch a ball with one hand (without gloves!) Jennings successful time at the club sees him considered as one of our all time greats. Jennings connection with the club continues to the present day where he coaches the academy goalkeepers at the clubs training ground. The Northern Ireland star also does hospitality work for the club on match days, and is a regular guest of honour during matches. Dubliner Joe Kinnear became the next Irishman to play for Spurs, the right back became an important player for Spurs over a ten year spell which started in 1965 following his arrival from St Albans. You then have the second Belfast man to play for Spurs in Chris McGrath who played for the lilywhites from 1972-75, the winger was a part of the side that was runners up in the 1974 UEFA cup final.

Then comes a name that most of you won’t have heard of in tricky winger Noel Brotherston. After coming through the youth ranks at the club the winger from Dundonald would go on to become a key player in the youth teams historic FA youth cup win in 1974. Brotherston did make one appearance for Spurs in a league cup game against Aston Villa in 1975. Brotherston left Spurs the following year and went on to enjoy a successful career at Blackburn Rovers where he made over 300 appearances. Brotherston returned to the town a couple of years later. Tragically the Northern Ireland international passed away at the age of just 38 in 1995. Continuing in chronological order, Jimmy Holmes was the next Irishman to play for the club, the defender who hails from Dublin represented Spurs over three seasons. At the same time Spurs had another lad from Belfast on their books by the name of Gerry Armstrong. The hero of the 82 World Cup for Northern Ireland, the forward spent five years at White Hart Lane scoring 10 goals from 84 appearances before moving to Watford in 1980, and then to Real Mallorca of Spain. A country that he knows well, Armstrong is a familiar voice on Sky Sports and regularly commentates on La Liga matches. Huddersfield born Tony Galvin was the next one to turn out for Spurs, qualifying for Ireland through the grandparent ruling. Galvin went on to enjoy a hugely successful career for both club and country. The winger was a part of one of the greatest Spurs teams of the 20th century and Galvin was a part of the team when they won two FA cups and the UEFA cup in 1974. Fluent in Russian, Galvin turned his hand to teaching following his retirement from the game in 1990.

The legend that is Chris Hughton was another Irishman to represent Spurs during this period. The right back who is now doing an excellent job as manager of Brighton, was one of the finest fullbacks in the clubs history. Over a 13 year spell and after many successes Hughton turned out over 290 times for the lilywhites. Still regarded as a legend by Spurs fans to this very day, Hughton always gets a rapturous reception whenever he returns to Spurs as a manager. Hughton won 53 caps for Ireland. Pimlico born Tim O’Shea who represented Ireland at youth level, was another to turn out for Spurs during this period in time. The defender who joined Spurs from Arsenal at youth level! Went on to appear three times for the club before joining Leyton Orient in 1998 after a loan spell with Newport County. Belfast man Phil Gray joined Spurs the following season, joining as an apprentice in 1986, Gray who operated as a striker made only 9 appearances over four years. Of which the majority of the time was spent out on loan with various clubs. Gray did go on to represent Northern Ireland and scored a total of six goals for his country. It would be a couple of years before Woolwich born Irishman Andy Turner became another to add to the ever growing list of Irish Spurs. From 1992-96 the midfielder made 21 appearances for the first team after making his way up the youth ranks. Turner became the premier leagues youngster scorer when he netted against Everton on 5 September 1992. Aged just 17 years and 166 days, Turner only ever went on to appear at u21 level for Ireland.

Next came Dubliner David McDonald the right back going on to appear three times for Spurs in the early 90’s before joining Peterborough in 1993. Like Turner, McDonald only ever appeared at youth level for his country. Wonderkid Gerry McMahon became hot property after being scouted extensively for local side Glenavon in the early part of the decade, eventually joining Spurs in March of 1992. The talented midfielder never really reached his full potential and after just 16 appearances for the north London side, he joined Stoke on a permanent deal in 1996. McMahon won 17 caps for Northern Ireland. Come the 1993-94 campaign a young Stephen Carr burst on to the scene beginning an 11 year spell with the club who he signed for at youth level. Carr would go onto become a star for both Spurs and Ireland, the consistent right back was one of the finest in the premier league and despite heavy interest from Manchester United. The Dubliner stayed at Spurs and went on to make 226 appearances for the lilywhites despite a number of injuries, before joining Newcastle in 2004. Carr (now retired) lives in Spain. Another player to appear during the 93-94 season was Lisburn born midfielder Stephen Robinson (now manager of Motherwell). Robinson made two appearances for the club before joining Bournemouth in 1994. There were a number of talented young Irish prodigies on Spurs’ book in the mid 90’s, some of whom never made it into the first team fold.

Donegal man Owen Coll was one of these, Coll went onto make three Intertoto cup appearances including that infamous 8-0 defeat to Koln, Coll is still an avid Spurs fan. Edmonton born Neale Fenn was another highly rated youngster, Fenn who played as a forward for Spurs only ever made 11 appearances for the club during a six year spell, before moving to Peterborough United in 2001. Fenn is now the manager of Irish first division side Longford Town. Another three young Irish players who were on our books at this time were Ross Darcy, a talented centre half whose career was plagued by injuries, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ross a couple of months ago. In addition we had midfielders Peter Gain and Kevin Maher, neither of whom ever appeared for the senior team. There was also academy graduate and Belfast born midfielder Paul McVeigh who made three appearances for Spurs scoring one goal, during a four year spell. The later Norwich City man went on to appear 20 times for Northern Ireland. You also had youngster Ciaran Toner (Craigavon born) who for those who read the programme for the Rochdale game would have known played for both clubs. The now retired striker who won two caps for Northern Ireland never made a senior appearance for Spurs.

Another Donegal lad Gary Doherty (aka the ginger Pele) was the next Irishman to play for the senior team. The Tottenham cult hero who played as a defender/forward for Spurs between the years 2000-2004. Playing over 60 games and scoring four goals. Doherty won 34 caps for Ireland. At the same time there were a couple of Irishmen in the youth team at Spurs, their names were George Snee, Andrew Burke and Stephen Kelly a player who I’ll touch on shortly.

Robbie Keane – a new star, the years of absence and the beginning of a new dawn in Troy Parrot: The latest Irish super star to sign for Tottenham was a certain Robbie Keane who was signed to the club in 2002 by then manager Glenn Hoddle. Following his arrival from Leeds United, the skilful quick thinking striker or number 10 became a fan favourite in no time. With his almost maverick style and unpredictability, the Tallaght born Ireland international began what would become a hugely successful 8 year love affair with the club. Albeit coming via an ill fated big money move to Liverpool. The talented goal scorer whose panache and stylish cartwheel of a celebration still makes him a fan favourite to this day. Was one of the clubs most creative and prolific goal scorers, scoring over 100 goals for the lilywhites. ‘Keano’ as he is affectionately known by the Tottenham supporters is currently playing for Indian super league side ATK aged 37. Keane was a personal hero of mine. The last real star to play for Spurs we did still have a fair few Irish players in our side throughout the noughties. Such as highly rated right back Stephen Kelly (currently without a club) and young forward Mark Yeates who now plys his trade for Eastleigh in the national league. For those who followed the youth team during that time you will remember a certain Ulster man called Mark Hughes. Another Ireland international to play for the senior side during this time was midfielder Andy Reid who had a short spell at the club.

During the same period we also had second generation Irish man Jamie O’Hara in the academy set up. The midfielder who would later turn out for the senior side, never chose to represent his fathers country. Keen followers of the youth team will also remember a certain young striker Terry Dixon fondly. Tipped for stardom, Dixon who qualified for Ireland through his Cavan born mother was a star for the youth team, described by many as one of the most talented young strikers in the country. Dixon was even drafted into the Ireland squad by then manager Steve Staunton. But after suffering three serious knee injuries before turning 19, Dixon’s career failed to take off. And after spells at West Ham and Dover he was last seen playing for Aylesbury. Dixon also played in the same team as Chris Hughton’s son Cian, who was also eligible for Ireland. As was midfielder David Hutton. And future Spurs under 18 head coach Kieran McKenna. Since the days of Robbie Keane and Stephen Kelly no Irish man has played for Spurs, it’s been too long especially after having so many talented youth prospects at the club. But things are looking up and it may not be too long before a player is flying the Irish flag for Spurs again. Stylish Irish schoolboy Troy Parrot who plays as a striker for the u16’s, is the later Irish lad to come over the Irish sea. Described as a sensation by Irish reporters, the former Belvedere player will make the step up to the u18’s next season where I will be seeing him regularly. I have also noticed whilst reporting at u18 games that there is frequently a scout from the FAI in attendance and I know for certain that there are definitely eligible players in that side. Hopefully this has been informative and interesting for you Spurs fans and I’d like to end it if I may on a rarely mentioned note. That of our talisman Harry Kane, son of a Galway man who came so close to playing for Ireland, how different things could have been. COYS 🇮🇪

Other Spurs youngsters that were all eligible: Dominic Ball, Paul O’Donoghue (later GAA player), Ciaran Duffin, Baby bale also known as Kenny Mcevoy, Roman Michael-Percil, Derry lads Aaron McEneff and Tom McDermott both of whom now play for Derry, Darren Grogan and last but not least defender Tom Heffernan. A player who would later join Bournemouth, Heffernan’s party trick was heading cricket balls.

Senior players that were eligible: Aaron Lennon, Kyle Naughton and Harry Kane.

Rumoured eligibility: Paul Gascoigne.