Spurs under 18’s versus Brighton: (match preview)
After a long summer our under 18’s return to domestic action tomorrow when they host Brighton and Hove Albion at Hotspur Way (11:30 AM KO), in their first under 18 league game of the new 2018/19 season. It’s fair to say that it’s been an eventful summer of outgoings as far as the Tottenham academy is concerned. We’ve lost some of our most promising youth prospects this summer to overseas clubs with Keanan Bennetts, Reo Griffiths and Noni Madeuke all opting to try their luck on mainland Europe. Madeuke was one of our most promising under 16’s, a skilful midfielder the former Crystal Palace schoolboy was extremely highly rated at Spurs. That’s why it was a major loss for Spurs when he decided to join Dutch giants PSV earlier on this summer. Another high profile departure was that of our under 18’s head coach Scott Parker. Parker linked up with his former club Fulham where he is now a first team coach. Former youth team player and long time academy coach (former u23 assistant manager) Matt Wells has taken Parker’s place and will be in charge of the under 18’s for the 2018/19 campaign. Over the course of the domestic season Wells side will compete in the u18 premier league south, the u18 premier league cup which they made the final of last season, and the most prestigious competition of them all the FA youth cup. A lot of this seasons under 18’s will also get game time in the UEFA youth league over the course of the season, I presume Wells will be in charge for that as well. We’ve got another really exciting pool of players in the under 18’s this season, with ten first year scholars joining last seasons unusually large intake.
Matt Wells’ sides first opponents of the new season are Mark Beard’s Brighton. We contested two fiercely competitive games with the seagulls last season, including a nine goal thriller down on the south coast. Known for producing some exciting talents over the last five or so years Brighton’s current under 18 side boasts some impressive young players. Of which includes England u17 international Tareq Shihab, midfielder Teddy Hoare and the seagulls second top scorer last season, Dan Cashman. It will be a tough opener for the young Lilywhites and I’m intrigued to see what team Wells will pick. It will also be fascinating to see which first year scholars are included, I would suspect Irish prodigy Troy Parrott will lead the line after his pre-season involvement with the development side. I would also expect Dennis Cirkin to start at left back due to the lack of players we have in that position. However, I’m really looking forward to seeing the lads in action this season and reporting on my first under 18 game of the new season. I wish all of our players the very best of luck for the new campaign and I must say I will be astounded if anyone can match or even beat Reo Griffiths’ (now of Lyon) extremely impressive goal tally of 33 goals at this level last season! My in-depth match report of tomorrows opening game of the season will be published on Saturday night.
OAG* = Overage goalkeeper.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Freeman (OAG*), Tainio, Lyons-Foster (c), Statham, Cirkin, Bowden, Patterson, Richards, A.Shashoua, Bennett, Parrott.
Subs from: Kurylowicz, Okedina, Cooper, Thorpe, Asante.
Doubtful: None (as far as I am aware).
Injured/unavailable: None (as far as I am aware).
Previous meeting: Spurs 6-3.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: The seagulls 17 year old forward Dan Cashman, Brighton’s second top scorer with six goals last season. Cashman impressed me during both our encounters with Brighton last season.