A piece on Spurs’ new first year scholars:
The club recently announced their new intake of first year scholars for the 2018/19 season. There were ten players listed on the official site and apart from Rafferty Pedder who had spent the majority of last season on the sidelines, none of the names were a surprise to followers of the youth team. The new scholars were all involved with the under 16’s last season and all will be hoping to make their mark on Matt Wells under 18 side over the course of the coming season. As I do at this time every season I have written an informative piece detailing some information on our new first year scholars. There styles of play and footballing careers to date, etc. I have seen a fair amount of these lads over the course of the last year or so, some more so than others. Matt Wells under 18 side are currently on a week long training camp in Belgium.
Kacper Kurylowicz: A talented and well rounded goalkeeper who hails from County Bedfordshire but is of Polish origin. Kacper Kurylowicz is a highly thought of goalkeeper who has represented Poland at u15 level, Kurylowicz was the first choice goalkeeper for the under 16’s last season. Kurylowicz also made the bench for Parker’s under 18 side on two occasions, I have seen the 16 year old play on a couple of occasions and I have been mightily impressed. He is like De Bie in some respects as you can’t really see any weaknesses about his game. He is a terrific shot stopper who impressed during our under 17’s involvement in the Torneo Internazionale last April. Kurylowicz will be competing with Joshua Oluwayemi and Charlie Freeman (overage gk) for a starting berth in the under 18 side this season.
Dennis Cirkin: An attack minded left back, Dennis Cirkin was one of the under 16’s key players throughout the 2017/18 campaign. The tricky fullback who has previously represented England at under 16 level and Latvia, is a really exciting prospect who reminds of former Spur Nick Tsaroulla. I haven’t seen a great deal of Cirkin but every time I have seen him I’ve been impressed. Cirkin was one of our best players when Spurs u16’s took on Ipswich in a showcase game at the end of last season, the fullback was directly involved in three of Spurs’ goals that afternoon. With exceptional close ball control and skill like Tsaroulla, Cirkin has a good burst of pace which makes him particularly potent going forwards. Cirkin terrorised the Ipswich fullbacks with his surging runs down the left flank, the nimble footed teenager caused a great nuisance to the Ipswich defence with his fine balance and clever twists and turns. He is also a sound defender and it speaks volumes that he has represented a talented pool of England players at under 16 level, I have a feeling that Cirkin will adapt really well to under 18 football over the course of this season.
Luis Binks: An exciting ball playing centre half who loves to ping Alderweireld like long balls to the wide men. England under 17 international Luis Binks is another of Tottenham’s young centre halves who loves bringing the ball out from the back. Binks who has previously represented Scotland at youth level is the son of Chatham Town legend Tom Binks. A cool and composed defender Binks shows extraordinary maturity for such a young defender, like Lyons-Foster he has a great passing range and manages to adapt well to pressure. He made his one and only appearance for the under 18’s in a league game against Aston Villa in 2017. Binks travelled to Qatar last season with the u17’s for the ALKAAS tournament putting in a strong showing. He also impressed in the two academy showcase games that our u16’s were involved in. He reminds me a bit of Lyons-Foster in his style of play, rarely does he make a rash challenges that put his teammates under pressure. Whilst his defending and trademark passing our impressive qualities to his game, another impressive aspect of his game is his aerial qualities. I would expect Binks to cement his place in the under 18 side this season and I am particularly looking forward to seeing him partner up with Lyons-Foster at the heart of the Tottenham defence.
Malachi Walcott: signed by the club in October 2015 from Norsemen youth, Malachi Walcott is a tall and tenacious central defender who has represented his country (England) at youth level. Walcott made two appearances for the under 18 side last season whilst still a schoolboy. Like his teammate Luis Binks he like to play out from the back, a strikingly composed figure Walcott also reads the game well and is quick at snuffing out danger. I first saw Walcott play for Spurs in an under 15 game against Millwall back in 2016, he impressed greatly against the lions. He was so calm on the ball and he had good balance bringing it out from the back. Most importantly he read the game so very well and effectively kept Millwalls lone striker out of the game on that day. Walcott continued to impress for Spurs and last season he became a key player for the under 16’s whilst also featuring prominently for Spurs in mid season tournaments. He is a defender with great ability and I look forward to seeing how he adapts to u18 football over the course of this season.
Harvey White: An industrious almost Scott Parker like holding midfielder, Harvey White made the step up on two occasions last season to feature for Parker’s under 18 side. I really like the look of White, he is an effective player who like some of his older teammates such as Jamie Bowden has a calming influence on proceedings. White who has represented England at u16 level put in a really strong set of performances during our u17’s involvement in the Torneo Internazionale, towards the latter part of last season. He quickly found himself making his debut for the under 18’s and only a couple of weeks later he appeared in a league game against Norwich which he impressed in, he then made a further appearance for Spurs against Fulham. He breaks up play really well and is good both on and off the ball, he is also a deftly accurate passer. I am intrigued to see how he gets on this season.
Rafferty Pedder: An energetic CM/CAM who missed the majority of last season through injury. The former England youth international will be hoping to kick on after a difficult and frustrating season for the under 16’s. I must confess I haven’t seen a great deal of Pedder but from what I have seen he is very much a creative midfielder who initiates passages of play. Though he is small in stature Pedder has drawn comparisons with a certain Luka Modric for his style of play and passing ability. Having not seen him play since u15 level I won’t say much more but with the quality and depth of next seasons side I fear he may struggle for game time.
J’neill Bennett: A rapid Zaha-esque winger who is adept at playing on either wing, Camden lad J’neill Bennett was one of last seasons breakthrough stars into the under 18 side. Featuring on over 20 occasions for Parker’s side, Bennett chipped in with two goals and six assists after making his debut back in November 2017. Signed from fellow London club QPR in the summer of 2017, J’neil Bennett has been quite a hit for the young lilywhites. He put in an electric showing for our u16’s in a showcase game against Cambridge United back in October and from there he has seized his opportunity with both hands. After that impressive performance at the Abbey stadium the north Londoner quickly found himself in Scott Parker’s under 18 side, and it didn’t take long for him to make an impact. Bennett was superb for the 18’s last season he was often seen galavanting down the left wing with speed and craft, I often compared him to Zaha in my reports last season. Having already established himself in the u18 side Bennett now has an advantage over his fellow first years which will leave him in good stead. I would expect Bennett to become a key player for Matt Wells and he will be one of our main attacking outlets. I would also expect the former QPR teenager to feature for our u19’s in Europe at some point. He is a very exciting prospect indeed.
Chay Cooper: An intricate forward who primarily operates as a CAM, Chay Cooper was signed from Southend for a fee at the beginning of last season. Cooper featured heavily for the under 16’s last season and impressed me with his silky skills in the Torneo Internazionale last April. He is a clever almost Samuel Shashoua-esque forward with a fine eye for a pass, the former shrimper starred in our under 16’s end of season win against Ipswich at Portman road. Scoring a sublime goal after cutting inside on his left foot before burying the ball into the postage stamp of the goal. Whilst it was a massive loss to see Noni Madeuke sign for PSV it works both ways, as Spurs have been able to pick up both Chay and J’neill from lower league sides presumably for a small fee. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Cooper over the coming campaign.
Enoch Asante: A menacing and alert centre forward, Enoch Asante had a fine season for the under 16’s last term. Making his debut for the under 18’s as a substitute on their opening game of the 17/18 campaign, Asante cemented himself in the under 16 side scoring over 40 goals in all competitions. He is very much a ’ fox in the box ’ centre forward. He is always on the move, looking to slot into bits of space inside the danger zone. The former Riverhawks player is good in the air and is a clinical finisher, he is also good at holding up the ball. He stood out during our u16’s showcase games with Cambridge and Ipswich last season. The Londoner who is also eligible to represent Ghana also appeared in the ALKASS tournament, Asante will be competing with Troy Parrott and Rodel Richards for the centre forward role this season.
Troy Parrott: Just about every Spurs fan has heard of young Troy Parrott, the Dubliner made headlines when he joined Spurs as a 14 year old back in 2015. However, he had to wait until his 16th birthday last February before he could appear for our under 18 side. The Summerhill native appeared four times for our u18’s last season (featuring all across the frontline) finding the net on one occasion. The Ireland u17 international who won the player of the tournament at the Torneo Internazionale also featured for our u19’s during the annual post season tournament in Terborg. Parrott has the highest ceiling out of all the players in his age group. He has excelled for Ireland at youth level and was extremely impressive during the recent u17 Euros (where I travelled up to watch him play on two occasions). He has also impressed the coaches at Spurs who are lucky to have him on their books, as many top clubs were looking to secure the Irishman’s signature when he was banging goals in for fun, for Dublin side Belvedere. He trialled with Celtic and top clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Southampton were all eager to sign him up.
He even played for the Saints in the Milk cup a couple of years ago. He is an excellent young centre forward who is able to adapt effortlessly to a whole range of situations. He has a sublime first touch, peels off defenders shoulders well and above all else he knows where the back of the net is. He is an extremely clinical finisher who scores all types of goals, from bullet headers to 30 yard free kicks, this lad is special! People have likened him to Kane and I would agree to an extent but he is more advanced then Kane was at the same age. He is stronger and better at holding up the ball, he is feisty and loves a sliding challenge. It is also worth mentioning that he doesn’t lack in confidence by any means. I reckon he’ll take like a duck to water to u18 football this season, making a couple of appearances for the u19’s in the process. And I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him clock up half a dozen appearances for the u23’s, watch this space! If I was to compare him to one single centre forward I would have to say Robert Lewandowski.