Farewell Keanan and good luck:
On Tuesday afternoon quite out of the blue, rumours started popping up on social media suggesting the imminent departure of our promising young winger Keanan Bennetts, to German club Borussia Mönchengladbach. The rumours came from a story on a website called footballinsider247.com, the title read simply ”Bennetts agrees move to Gladbach”. This sudden story startled me and many other youth followers on Spurs Twitter, prompting the question of why would one of our most promising youth players want to leave Spurs? After making such great strides for the development squad during the 17/18 season. Bennetts who recently turned 19, has been without a shadow of a doubt our most consistent and effective player in the under 23 side this season, Bennetts was able to carry on his fine form for the under 18’s the previous season, into the development squad. Where he has shone at both LW and LWB over the course of the season, his rapid progress made me convinced that he would have appeared on the bench at least once for Pochettino’s side, before the season ended. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition and today the club announced that they had reached an agreement with Mönchengladbach for the transfer of our young starlet, believed to be in the region of £2 million pounds. With a year left on his remaining contract, the club would have wanted to cash in on Bennetts rather then letting him leave on a free at the end of next season. Unlike the recent exodus of young English players who have made the move to the Bundesliga, the likes of Jadon Sancho, Reece Oxford and Ademola Lookman all springing to mind. Bennetts has strong ties with the country, his mother is German, Bennetts speaks the language and has previously represented the German under 15 side before later going on to represent England at youth level.
For those with long memories, you’ll remember back in 2015 when Bennetts was the tug of war between England, Germany and Nigeria as to who he would pledge his allegiances to. After being massively hyped during his first season as a scholar, Bennetts endured a bit of a difficult campaign as he divided his time playing for Ugo Ehiogu’s under 21 side and Kieran McKenna’s under 18’s. It was not until the following season that Bennetts began to show the confidence and flair which had been so prevalent at schoolboy level. A mainstay in the under 18 side, Bennetts proved to be a vital part of the side that reached the semifinals of the FA youth cup in 2017. Whilst he did lack a bit in consistency and decision making in the final third, the teenager from Borehamwood had shown great confidence at taking defenders on, on either flank, scoring some spectacular goals in the process. It was not until this season however, that Bennetts was able to make the permanent step up to the under 23’s and what a season it has been for Bennetts. Across the various youth levels for Tottenham, Bennetts has chipped in with nine goals and assists, his exceptional performances as both a fullback and as a winger, have won him many plaudits throughout the campaign. His ridiculously quick feet, unstoppable pace and fine eye for a cross made him an extremely difficult player to play against. Not only was he direct and tricky, he was also exciting and unpredictable. The amount of times he would cut inside on either foot, and totally outwit the keeper with a fizzing shot, was sensational.
If you go back and read my reports over the course of this season, you’ll see that 99.9% of the time I’ve written glowing reports of the teenager, as he divided his time as both a fullback and winger. Bennetts blistering pace, mercurial skill and unpredictably made him almost Zaha like in style. Not only does he have all the tools of a modern day wing back, he has more than just speed, skill and intricacy. Bennetts is an expert at dead ball situations and has managed to score many free kicks over the campaign, he is comfortable on corners and good at reading the game. A prime example of the wingers magic, came only a month ago at Stamford Bridge during a PL2 game involving Spurs and Chelsea’s under 23’s. Down to ten men against a Chelsea side who were leading comfortably at the bridge, Bennetts provided the impetus behind a remarkable comeback for Burnett’s side. Not once, but twice did he risk the fortunes of his team by driving at the Chelsea defence. On the first occasion he did excellently well to win a free kick on the edge of the box, he stood up comfortably to bend a sublime effort into the back of the net. Burnett and his coaching staff would have been more than happy with a point, but Bennetts had other ideas. A couple of minutes after scoring our equaliser he drove at the Chelsea defence once again, winning a free kick in an almost identical position to the first. He stood up once more, this time with little to aim at, before calmly tucking the ball around the wall and past the Chelsea goalkeeper into the bottom corner of the net, to ensure all three points for Spurs. His tendency to try his luck at the extraordinary has also resulted in a string of stunning goals for the young lilywhites this season, most of these goals come from his excellent ball control in tight spaces and two footedness.
Whilst many of us would have been focusing on the rumours regarding the Reo Griffiths contract saga, a player who has also incidentally been linked with the Bundesliga. I feel that losing Bennetts is an even greater loss for the club, especially as I’m confident that he will excel in Germany’s top division over the course of the next few seasons. The lure of first team football in a country he knows so well, will have been an offer far too tempting for Keanan to refuse. He becomes part of a group of young English players to make the move to the country over the last few seasons, to better their chances of playing first team football sooner rather than later. Another young English player who decided to make the move to Die Fohlen was Mandela Egbo, a promising right back who joined the German club a couple of season back from Crystal Palace. Bennetts will be hoping to emulate the path of players such as Sancho, Egbo and Lookman. And when you think about it from his perspective, it’s not difficult to figure out why he’s decided to leave. I would expect Bennetts to rack up at least a dozen appearances for the German club next season compared with playing the majority of the season for the Spurs development squad, tied in with maybe a couple of league cup appearances if he was lucky. Still, I feel that it is a great, great shame that we have lost one of our most promising youth prospects, a player who I have had the great pleasure of watching develop over the last couple of seasons. Whilst it is unknown whether or not Spurs have included a buyback clause as part of the transfer, I certainty wouldn’t rule him out from returning to Spurs in a couple of seasons time. I wish young Keanan all the very best of luck at Mönchengladbach and I look forward to following his progress over the coming seasons.