The five Spurs youngsters who I’m hoping to see make the pre-season tour of the USA later this month:
We may be in the midst of one of the most exhilarating World Cup campaigns in recent memory, but it’s easy to forget that our beloved Spurs are back in action in just a couple of weeks time. Our first team kick off their pre-season tour of the USA on the 25th of this month, whilst our development side and under 18’s (some of whom have already resumed full training at Hotspur way) will travel to France to take part in the annual three day tournament in Brittany. I am hoping to report on that tournament. On top of that a Spurs youth side (u16’s) will take on non league team Bury town around that very same period. There has been a few interesting stories regarding the Tottenham academy since the 17/18 season came to an end. One of the most significant ones was the departure of under 18’s head coach Scott Parker who joined Fulham as a first team coach last week, a real shame for all at Spurs. Parker’s departure has resulted in experienced academy coach and former youth player Matt Wells taking over the reigns for the coming season. You may have also missed the news regarding talented Tottenham schoolboy Noni Madeuke who snubbed the offer of a two year scholarship at Spurs to join Dutch giants PSV. Madeuke is the latest in a line of young English players who are trying there luck on mainland Europe. On top of that, 19 year old fullback Jaden Brown was recently on trial with Dutch Eerste divisie side NEC Nijmegen, Brown only signed a new contract with Spurs the previous month. However, but the Dutch club have decided not pursue matters and after a week of training, the fullback has since returned to Hotspur way.
Due to the FIFA World Cup a whole clutch of first team players could be rested for our tour of the states later on this month. This would free up more spaces for our academy players to take up. As many as eleven of our youngsters could make the trip across the pond. Last season saw players such as Anthony Georgiou, Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Kyle Walker-Peters get pitch time over in the very same pre-season competition. Providing some invaluable experience with the first team in the process. In the following piece I have selected five of our academy hopefuls who I hope to see included in the squad which travels to America with the first team, in just over two weeks time. I haven’t listed youngsters who have already made numerous appearances for the first team. Players such as Onomah, Walker-Peters and Carter-Vickers.
Anthony Georgiou: It was at this time last year when Anthony Georgiou introduced himself to the Spurs faithful. The speedy young winger was brought on at half time by Pochettino during our chaotic ICC friendly with Roma in Minneapolis. After enduring an injury hit campaign the following season, Georgiou seized his chance with both hands, putting in an electric performance against Roma’s Bruno Peres out on the left wing. Direct and positive with a flare about his game, the young Georgiou won many plaudits off of fans for his bright performance. This resulted in him appearing in two more games for the first team before the start of the 17/18 campaign. Where he would go on to make his senior debut for Spurs in our UEFA champions league game against APOEL Nicosia. Anthony spent large chunks of the season training with the first team, whilst dividing his time playing matches for our development side. As you’ll all know from reading my reports over the last few seasons, I’m a massive fan of the Cypriot international. He is in my eyes the perfect winger. Strong, fast, incredibly hard working (tracks back) and to cap it all off he has a wand of a left boot. After enjoying a memorable 2017/18 season, Georgiou will be hoping to push on even more next season. With pre-season providing him with another brilliant opportunity to catch Pochettino’s eye, before he picks his squad for the forthcoming tour of the states. Georgiou who appeared 13 times for the under 23 side last season scoring once, was impressive throughout his time in the development side. That burning ambition and hunger to take players on from both LW and LWB, provided Burnetts side with an all too often creative spark down the left wing .
The oldest academy player that I have included on my list, I would be very surprised if the Lewisham born player doesn’t travel to the states once again this summer. Pochettino is a big fan, and I’m sure he’ll be keen to have another look at Anthony in a big game environment. The tour of the states will provide that perfect platform for Georgiou. Whether or not he will go out on loan this season is yet to be seen but I have seen a couple of rumours on twitter which have linked him with loans moves to both Leeds United and Millwall (I don’t know how reliable they are). Regardless, he thoroughly deserves his place in the squad.
Oliver Skipp: The domineering central midfielder (17) is one of our most exciting academy hopefuls. Skipp had a remarkable season during the 17/18 campaign, the then first year scholar cemented his place in the development side right from the offing. Putting in many a masterful performance against far older opposition. Skipp is the best (English) 17 year old midfielder in the country, with his wide ranging skill set and fine footballing brain, ‘ Skippy ‘ has the ability to dictate games from the centre of the park. He plays with eyes in the back of his head, he anticipates the game like nobody else in Burnetts side and he has an understanding which is light years ahead of anyone else in his age group. A key player for the under 23’s, Skipp also played starring roles in the Spurs u19 and u18 sides. Equally as adept at playing as a centre half (which he often filed in at for the 18’s) the teenager from Hertford made close to 40 appearances for the various youth sides last season. His calming and effective impact on the game is something which should all but guarantee him a place on the US tour. He is the complete midfielder who doesn’t play about with the ball. He is an accurate passer and a subtly creative midfielder, who likes to sit in front of the back four where he recycles possession and breaks up play. Skipp demonstrated his ability to perform consistently on the u23 stage last season and whilst it is unlikely that he will go onto break into the first team over the course of next season, he could still be blooded into the senior side our pre season tour. He would slot in seamlessly.
Samuel Shashoua: A tricky and astute forward who endured a frustrating, injury hit campaign last season. 19 year old Samuel Shashoua is another youngster who should be travelling with the first team squad to America. After a sparkling 16/17 season for the under 18’s, Shashoua initially struggled to get game time for Burnetts side during the early stages of last season. This, coupled in with a series of frustrating injuries throughout the season halted his progress. However, when Shashoua did play for the under 19’s and 23’s he played exceptionally well. Due to it being a more physical game Shashoua wasn’t able to run rings around opposing teams defenders as frequently as before. But I felt as if he had adapted his game. Hardworking and difficult to shrug off the ball, the highly intelligent forward reminded me more and more of Christian Eriksen as the season progressed. His weight of pass and off the ball and on the ball movements are all so similar to that of the Danish star. Samuel clocked up six goals and five assists at youth level last season despite his injury troubles, he also went onto win the player of the tournament at the Volksbank cup in Germany after the end of the domestic season. The immensely talented teenager who has already appeared on the bench for the first team (back in May of 2017 against Leicester) is more than ready to get his first real taste of first team football. If Marcus Edwards was able to adapt to it back in 2016 then Samuel is more then capable of following suit.
Tariq Hinds: A mainstay in Scott Parker’s under 18 side last season, Hinds was one of the teams most consistent performers, making more appearances than anybody else. The incredibly versatile right back played in a variety of positions throughout the campaign (LB, CDM and CB). Hinds is very much a defensive right back who rarely seems to stray past the halfway line despite his explosive pace and good close ball control. However, the 18 year old very rarely gets beaten by his man down the wing, two of his finest qualities are his positioning and concentration. Whilst I don’t expect Hinds to make a significant push for the first team next season, I do expect him to become an important player for the under 23 side. Hinds has only ever featured on two occasions for the development side. However, his impressive performances for the under 18’s and 19’s in a wide range of positions over the last couple of seasons will have caught the eye of Pochettino and his coaching staff. The former England u16 international is yet another exciting fullback and an accomplished centre half and central midfielder too. It would be great to see him involved in the ICC cup later this month. After all Kyle Walker-Peters made his first team debut around the same time.
Reo Griffiths: After a summer of speculation and many a cryptic instagram post, Tottenham’s prolific young forward appears to be staying at Spurs for another season at least. After signing a one year extension to his scholarship last month the 18 year old who scored a remarkable 34 goals last season, was strongly linked with a move to German club RB Leipzig. But with that now all behind him us Spurs fans can now look forward to seeing how he does for the under 23 side next season. Having only made a handful of appearances for them before. Will he translate that form into the development side? His physical prowess at u18 level allowed him to bully defenders and let him express himself as a centre forward. Take nothing away from the former Leyton Orient schoolboy though, who was exceptional for Parker’s side scoring a whole range of goals throughout the season. But despite being our most effective young forward his biggest test will be replicating that form at PL2 level next season. I hope that Griffiths travels with the first team to the states as not only will it be a great experience for him but it will also provide the young striker with a far more challenging platform to test his mettle. For somebody who used to be a centre half just over three years ago, Reo’s rapid development is extremely impressive.