Spurs under 23’s 1-3 West Ham United: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-3 West Ham United: (match report)

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Our under 23’s first league game of the new PL2 season got underway with a disappointing 3-1 defeat to London rivals West Ham on Monday evening, at Broadhall Way. It wasn’t the ideal start to the domestic season for Wayne Burnett’s side by any means. Hoping to carry on their fine form from pre-season things were looking up for Burnett’s strong side during the early periods of the game. They were never outstanding but they looked solid and were comfortable at knocking the ball around the park and keeping possession. A wonderful goal from the lively Samuel Shashoua on six minutes put Spurs in good stead against a Hammers side which featured a whole host of experienced players such as Reece Oxford, Josh Cullen (22) and Xande Silva. Liam Manning’s Hammers side certainly looked the sharper team during the first half, they were quicker than us and their attacking players were more switched on. Our back four of Eyoma, Tanganga, Dinzeyi and Ogilvie managed to neutralise the threat of the Hammers recent Portuguese recruit, centre forward Xande Silva and wide man Nathan Holland for much of the first half. We were solid and assured in our defending whilst managing to create some decent chances at the other end. The game could have panned out so differently had Shilow Tracey not squandered a golden chance for Spurs on the stroke of half time. Only a couple of moments later Silva drew the Hammers level at the other end. After the restart Manning’s side stunned our defence, Xande Silva scoring a quick fire brace to virtually extinguish any chances of a Spurs comeback. From that moment on we were flat and quite sloppy with the ball, unable to break down the West Ham defence who put in a really mature performance in the second half to close us down.

It was a disappointing first league game of the season for Spurs, I thought we lacked an offensive threat from the centre of the park, I.E: Maghoma (who was carrying a knock). The two holding midfielders in George Marsh and Dylan Duncan were too defence oriented and I feel as if that isolated the wide players, Georgiou and Edwards who struggled to really get involved in the game, which had a knock on effect for makeshift centre forward Shilow Tracey. Burnett’s side lined up with the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, for our London derby with the Hammers on a mild summers evening in Hertfordshire. Going strong, Whiteman started in between the sticks whilst the back four consisted of Eyoma, Dinzeyi, Tanganga and Ogilvie (the skipper). In front of the defence was the central midfield partnership of Marsh and Duncan, and in front of them was the talented attacking trio of Edwards, Shashoua and Georgiou. With makeshift centre forward Shilow Tracey leading the line just as he had done for the majority of pre-season. Liam Manning’s West Ham side was also strong and he decided to field the likes of Josh Cullen, Reece Oxford and new signing Xande Silva. Spurs got the game underway at Broadhall Way as they went in search of those all important three points. The Hammers were looking sharp in the opening couple of minutes and were stringing together some decent passes. Shashoua looked lively for Spurs in the opening couple of minutes and only a couple of moments after playing a clever through ball to Georgiou out on the left, which ended in the Cypriots cross being deflected out for a corner kick. Shashoua put Spurs ahead courtesy of a moment of magic from the 19 year old. All stemming from the resulting corner kick, Spurs tried to work the ball into the area. Georgiou’s pass to Edwards on the edge of the box saw the forward robbed of the ball by Cullen.

The loose ball came rolling out to Shashoua who picked it up on the edge of the area before spinning around Cullen and bending a delightful effort off of the left hand post and into the back of Trott’s goal, 0-1. Catching the West Ham keeper by surprise as he caught his blindside, Samuel’s sharp turn after picking up the ball was nice and effective but the way in which he managed to wrap his foot around the ball and just place it into the bottom left hand corner of the goal was sublime, the pace and bend of the ball caught Trott by total surprise in only the sixth minute of proceedings. Almost immediately from the restart West Ham’s Nathan Holland came close to forcing an equaliser after he managed to go on a tricky run through the middle. Holland’s quick feet saw him get away from Tanganga and Dinzeyi before entering the right side of the penalty area, before forcing a good save out of Whiteman at his near post with a powerful low effort. Japhet Tanganga made two important blocks in quick succession to deny West Ham’s Grady Diangana inside the penalty area, before the same player curled an effort well wide of goal a couple moments of later. Japhet Tanganga headed over from Shashoua’s corner at the other end as Spurs started to see a lot more of the ball. However, the visitors still looked the more dangerous side in the final third. The alert Jonathan Dinzeyi got an important toe on the ball to thwart Diangana’s menacing cross, before Oxford attempted to replicate David Beckham’s famous goal against Wimbledon from the halfway line. However, the Stevenage stewards wouldn’t have been too happy as it went high and wide and into the building site behind the Spurs goal. Hogging possession in the central areas of the park Spurs were trying hard to get their second goal of the game. Edwards lovely slaloming run to round Akinola on the edge of the box looked promising as he slipped the ball into Shashoua down the right side of the box. Unfortunately his effort was blocked by Pask who came sliding across.

Again at the forefront of any decent attacking moves in the final third, Shashoua managed to whip an inviting corner into Ogilvie who did excellently well to flick his diving header back into Tanganga in the centre of the box. Rising high to win the ball ahead of any West Ham defenders, Tanganga’s dangerous looping header had to be tipped over the crossbar by Nathan Trott. West Ham were continuing to stand strong in defence as Josh Pask did well to block Edwards powerful strike on the edge of the penalty area. Despite looking confident and assured in defence Spurs almost gifted West ham an equaliser when Marsh put Whiteman under great pressure with his clumsy back pass. Failing to look up as he passed the ball back to Whiteman from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area, Marsh’s back pass was chased down by Alfie Lewis. As Whiteman tried desperately hard to get to the ball before him, Lewis managed to win the ball off of Whiteman down the left side of the penalty area.

Whiteman managed to do a good job at closing down Lewis whose shot from a tight angle was well saved by the Spurs goalkeeper. Whiteman then managed to smother the loose ball as Marsh came racing back to help him out. Whiteman was clearly angry at his teammate for putting him under such unnecessary pressure. Whilst West Ham were starting to get back into the game more from an offensive perspective, Spurs still looked good whenever they entered the final third. A good through ball from Marsh sent Edwards galavanting down the middle of the pitch, embarking on a promising jinking run as he skipped past Coventry. He was just about to pull the trigger when he had the ball intercepted off him on the edge of the box. Georgiou was starting to establish himself a bit more down the left, only a couple of minutes after blasting an effort over from rage. The speedy winger sped away from his man down the left wing, the run ended in him having his powerful effort blocked behind for a corner kick by Cullen.

Right towards the end of the half Shashoua created a golden chance for Tracey to convert. After winning the ball off of Lewis in the centre of the park Shashoua did well to hold the Hammers man off before surging through the middle, with the ball glued to his foot. Shashoua continued forwards before threading a perfectly weighted through ball into the feet of Tracey down the right hand side. The forward skipped past Pask and into the box before steadying himself and firing an effort across goal. Tracey’s powerful low effort was desperately unlucky as it flew inches wide of Trott’s far post. Most of the crowd thought it was a certain goal. Shashoua came close to doubling Spurs’ lead a couple of moments later. After receiving a pass from Duncan, Shashoua curled an effort towards that very same corner of the goal, Trott was left scrambling as he palmed the ball away before coming out to smother it as Tracey tried to pounce on the loose ball. Excellent in the first half TJ Eyoma made a brilliant crunching challenge on Akinola which drew rapturous applause from the crowd. West Ham were pushing for an equaliser as we entered the last couple of minutes of the half, the alert Dinzeyi did well to get in front of Silva inside the box and make an important headed clearance. However, Spurs’ excellent defending in the first half was all undone in the 44th minute. After Xande Silva netted an equaliser for the East London club. After picking up the ball out on the right wing Diangana looked to work his way through the Tottenham defence. After cutting inside and onto his left foot the winger spotted the run of Silva who was coming across Tanganga. He slipped the ball into the Portuguese forward who took the ball into right side of the penalty area. Duncan made a sliding challenge to try and intercept the ball off him but he didn’t get much clean contact on the ball and Silva continued forward before riffling an unstoppable effort into the roof of Whiteman’s goal, from an acute angle, 1-1.

Reece Oxford blocked Duncan’s ambitious attempt a couple of moments later as Sam Purkiss blew for half time, it was such a frustrating goal to concede for Burnett’s side. The Irons got the second half underway and they were wasting no time in trying to trouble our defence. Less than a minute after getting the game back underway West Ham had the ball in the back of the net through Xande Silva once again. We’d been caught napping, allowing Cullen to go running through the middle. The Irishman weighed up his options before rolling the ball through to Silva who waited on the edge of the box. Tanganga’s attempted lunge to try and trap the ball was unsuccessful and the ball rolled on through to the Portuguese forward, who darted into the penalty area before tucking the ball inside the bottom left hand corner of Whiteman’s goal, 1-2. This came as a bitter blow for Burnett’s side who now had it all to do if they were going to get back into the game. West Ham had come flying out of the blocks and only two minutes after taking the lead the irons punished us again, with devastating consequences. It was as if Burnett’s side hadn’t recovered after giving away such an early goal. Nathan Holland picked up the ball out on the left wing before going across to the byline and squaring it to Silva, who waited in space inside the penalty area. With far too much room to aim at the centre forward calmly just stroked the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the Spurs goal, leaving Whiteman with no chance, 1-3. Deflated and stunned by the Hammers excellent start to the half, Burnett knew that his side had to make an immediate response. Shortly after Japhet Tanganga had done well to block Diangana’s effort, Burnett introduced Shayon Harrison to the game as he replaced the injured Samuel Shashoua who limped off after taking a knee to the back.

The potent Nathan Holland fired narrowly over for the away side after picking up the ball on the left side of the penalty area. Shortly afterwards Spurs’ talisman Connor Ogilvie was the victim of a nasty crunching challenge from West Ham’s Ben Johnson, but to the youngsters credit he stayed with Ogilvie as he was being treated by the physio. Spurs looked disjointed and fairly sloppy whenever they managed to get out of their own half. The impressive Reece Oxford nodded wide from a corner kick, whilst George Marsh went into the book after catching Johnson in the head with a flailing arm. The young Spurs lads were finding it increasingly difficult to find a way past the West Ham defence, the isolated Marcus Edwards had a speculative shot blocked behind for a corner by Coventry. Japhet Tanganga then headed over from the resulting corner kick claiming to the referee that he was having his shirt pulled by a West Ham player. West Ham responded down the other end as Holland whipped a teasing ball across the face of the Spurs goal. Unable to involve the wide players especially Georgiou who was often finding himself in acres of space out on the left, Spurs were unable to trouble the resolute West Ham defence. After getting on the end of Ogilvie’s header Diangana blasted over for the Hammers, Ogilvie was replaced by Brown shortly afterwards I believe this was as a result of the challenge he sustained from Johnson. The visitors were showing no signs of slowing down as they continued to move the ball around the park with pace. A well worked move from Manning’s side saw Johnson receive the ball from Lewis out on the right wing. The fullback travelled forwards before squaring the ball to Silva inside the penalty area, but the forwards effort on goal was heroically blocked by Tanganga who came across the Portuguese player.

In one final roll of the dice Burnett brought on Jack Roles for Dylan Duncan in the centre of the park. The Cyprus under 21 international came close to making an immediate impact after he came across the face of the goal to meet Marcus Edwards corner, forcing a decent stop out of Trott from his bullet header at the near post. The game had begun to peter out for Burnett’s side who apart from the odd individual move were unable to trouble the Hammers defence. To make matters worse Spurs were forced to play the final minutes of the game with ten men after Mason Barrett had injured Tracey with a meaty sliding challenge after the forward had embarked on a promising run down that side. Shortly after the fourth official had signalled that there would be a minimum of five minutes additional time, West Ham thought they had netted their fourth of the evening. After Holland had cut inside onto his right foot, the forward forced a good save from Whiteman with Barrett there to nod home from close range. Unfortunately for him the linesman had adjudged him to have been offside, in the end it was a disappointing evening for Burnett’s youngsters. We weren’t great by any means but we managed to play well for large periods of the first half, and we defended superbly during that period. Essentially what killed us was Silva’s quick fire hat-trick, it stunned the team and left them totally depleted, and after that we offered virtually zilch going forwards in the second half. Spurs will be looking to make a response when they travel up to Merseyside on Friday to face Liverpool at Anfield. The reds have beaten us in their last two meetings at Anfield and will no doubt fancy their chances of making it win number three come Friday night.

Player reviews: – Alfie Whiteman: The 19 year old had a decent game in between the sticks on Monday evening, Whiteman was solid. The 19 year old old made some important stops and his overall reading of the game was impressive. I.E set pieces and corner kicks of which he dealt with well.
– TJ Eyoma: Fresh from his time away with the first team in pre-season, Eyoma played at right back for our encounter with the Hammers. He put in a strong performance particularly in the first half where I thought he was faultless, making many crucial interceptions and a crunching challenge which brought spectators off their feet. The second half was a bit tougher for Eyoma and his lack of pace did cause a few issue when trying to defend against the tricky Nathan Holland.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: My motm, see below.
– Japhet Tanganga: The England under 19 international put in a good showing at centre half against West Ham. He defended well making many important blocks/challenges and looked assured in possession. As always with Tanganga he managed to keep excellent positioning throughout, and posed a real goal threat from set pieces.
– Connor Ogilvie: Connor will have made a positive impression on the various EFL scouts who were watching the game last night. The 22 year old skipper is far too good for this level and it showed once again last night. He defended right winger Diangana tightly and managed to neutralise the threat on that side. He covered well for the centre backs on occasions and showed real maturity when leading the team. Ogilvie is a captain who every young player would like to play alongside. It will be interesting to see whether or not he goes out on loan before the window closes at the end of the month.
– George Marsh: Another player who clocked up valuable minutes for the first team in pre-season. Marsh dropped back down to u23 level for the West Ham game as he formed a central midfield partnership with Duncan. I thought Marsh was ok on the whole, generally effective at breaking up play. Although he did make a couple of clumsy decisions on the night.
– Dylan Duncan: Like Marsh he was generally quite effective and combative in the middle of the park. He mopped up well after him and kept things ticking with some nice crisp passing. However, he wasn’t much of a threat going forwards.
– Marcus Edwards: He really struggled to make much of an impression out on the right wing, which was a shame as Pochettino and his coaching staff were watching on from the stands. Edwards found himself isolated out wide quite a lot of time. He tried to cut inside and trick his way through the middle but was often overpowered by the West Ham midfield/defence.
– Samuel Shashoua: Without a doubt our most influential attacking player during his time on the pitch. Shashoua looked really lively as a number 10, the scorer of a wonderful goal in the opening couple of minutes of the game. Young Samuel robbed the West Ham midfield of the ball on a good few occasions. The 19 year old went on some fruitful attacking forays down the middle and a made a couple of defence splitting passes. A really good showing from Shashoua who was forced off through injury early in the second half.
– Anthony Georgiou: One of the young stars from pre-season, it was nice to see Georgiou play against West Ham’s development side out on the left wing. Hard working, skilful and tidy with the ball at his feet, the Cyprus international went on some on good runs down the left hand side. However, he wasn’t picked out enough by his teammates. He found himself in acres of space out on the left wing, particularly in the second half. Yet rarely did his teammates play the ball in to him whenever was trying to make those runs down the wing. Like Edwards a winger can only do so much without the ball, they need support from their teammates, and they need somebody in the middle of the park to play those passes down the flanks. It’s no good for them having to track back or go into the middle and pick the ball up and try and be Cristiano Ronald/superman. Georgiou was up against a really strong right back in Ben Johnson and he managed to neutralise him for much of the game. However, Anthony did well under the circumstances.
– Shilow Tracey: I was pleased with how Tracey lead the line on Monday evening. He’s by no means a natural centre forward and he lacks that goal scoring nous about his game. However, he got stuck in and held the ball up well whilst making some promising runs down the right. He’ll be disappointed that he wasn’t able to convert his chance on the stroke of halftime. He worked so hard for the team!
– Jaden Brown: Filled in well for Ogilvie at left back after coming on for the last 20 or so minutes of the game.
– Shayon Harrison: He looked really lively after coming on in the second half. Playing behind Tracey he managed to initiate some good moves whilst weaving his way around the West Ham defenders. It was a shame that he didn’t lead the line for Spurs.
– Jack Roles: Shory but promising cameo from the box to box midfielder who managed to get in some good goalscoring positions following his introduction to the game. Had he have started the game then I feel as if he would have really changed the flow of the game for Spurs. Hopefully he’ll start against Liverpool on Friday!

My man of the match: Jonathan Dinzeyi. I thought our young centre half was Burnett’s best player on the night. He put in a really strong performance at centre back. He read the game well, and was strong and decisive in the air. However, it was Dinzeyi’s excellent last ditch defending which was so impressive. As always he put in a really brave performance and although he is still quite raw, he never backs down from making that all important challenge/interception. Dinzeyi was excellent at defending set pieces against West Ham and good at getting in front of his man, don’t be at all surprised if he heads out on loan to an EFL club before the window closes at the end of this month. Physically he is ready and after an impressive pre-season he is really starting to find his feet at u23 level. He really impressed me the other night!

Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Dinzeyi, Tanganga, Ogilvie (Brown 68), Marsh, Edwards, Duncan (Roles 75) Shashoua (Harrison 51), Georgiou, Tracey. Substitutes (not used): Freeman, Hinds.

West Ham: Trott, Johnson, Pask (Barrett 78), Oxford (c), Akinola, Diangana (Afolayan 72), Coventry, Cullen, Holland, Silva (Hector-Ingram 78), Lewis. Substitutes (not used): Anang, Scully.

Goals: Spurs – Shashoua 6; West Ham – Silva 44, 46, 48.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Marsh 59; West Ham – Barrett 87.

Attendance: 724.

Venue: Lamex Stadium.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Samuel Shashoua – 1

Assists: None.

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Spurs under 23’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

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Our under 23’s play their first PL2 game of the new season later today when they host London rivals West Ham at Broadhall Way (kick off 7pm). After an interesting pre-season which saw them travel to France to compete in this years Tournoi Europeen. Burnett’s side albeit not at full strength have played some really decent football during pre-season. Looking to build on their ninth place finish in division one last season, Spurs who are bolstered by some older and experienced players will be desperate to avoid another relegation battle this season. This evenings game will also serve as an audition for many of the older players in the squad (eg: Ogilvie) who will be wanting to impress the many football league scouts and managers that will be in attendance. Players such as Ogilvie, Georgiou and Harrison in particular will most likely have scouts watching them ahead of the close of the loan window at the end of the month. We played out three thrilling games with Terry Westley’s West Ham side last season, most memorable of which came in the PL international cup when we beat them 7-2. West Ham finished last season in fifth place in division one. They’ll be no push overs for Burnett’s young side and if Westley chooses to field the likes of Toni Martinez, Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen then it will make things a lot tougher for our lads. But after all this league is about experience and development. One final word, I noticed that Jaden Brown was back training with the development side on Saturday, Brown had been on trial with NEC Nijmegen last month. As always I shall be reporting on this evenings game and shall have my in-depth match report published by the following day.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Hinds, Tanganga, Dinzeyi, Ogilvie (c), Duncan, Roles, Edwards, Harrison, Georgiou, Tracey.

Subs from: Freeman, Brown, Oakley-Boothe, Maghoma, S.Shashoua.

Doubtful: None.

Injured/unavailable: Kazaiah Sterling, Jamie Reynolds (leg) and Tom Glover (out on trial).

Previous meeting: 2-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 1-0.

My one to watch: The hammers experienced Spanish centre forward Toni Martinez (21). The clinical target man scored 11 goals for West Ham’s development side last season before heading out on loan to Spanish side Real Valladolid in January. If he is involved tonight then his physical presence and aerial prowess will pose a big threat to Burnett’s side.

ICYMI: https://superhotspur.com/2018/08/12/spurs-under-18s-6-4-brighton-match-report/

Spurs under 18’s 6-4 Brighton: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 6-4 Brighton: (match report)

526FD402-88EF-4DA6-A74E-6A36C5B69A06Our under 18’s got the new season underway with a bang on Saturday morning as they managed to beat Brighton 6-4 in their opening league game of the new season, in what was one of the most pulsating games of football you’ll ever see. Played on a gloriously sunny day at Hotspur Way, new head coach Matt Wells took charge of the under 18’s for the first time in domestic competition as Spurs hosted the seagulls. With it being the first game of the season it was always going to be interesting to see which new first year scholars would link up with the second years. Wells opted to go for the 3-3-3-1 formation with Jonathan De Bie (the skipper) playing in goal as an overage goalkeeper whilst two first years Luis Binks and Harvey White formed a back three alongside Tainio. In front of them stood the lively trio of Paris Maghoma, Armando Shashoua (more advanced) and Jamie Bowden. Whilst wide men J’Neil Bennett and Dilan Markanday played on the flanks with Phoenix Patterson playing as a number 10 behind Troy Parrott who lead the Tottenham line on only his fourth appearance at this level. It was a pulsating game of football with so many twists and turns. After a bright start Wells side fell behind against the run of play to Jayden Onen’s goal in the ninth minute of proceedings. Despite enjoying the bulk of possession Tottenham’s back three was being punished on the counter attack, and the seagulls doubled their lead through Onen less than 20 minutes later as the youngster bagged his second of the game. Matt Wells’ side responded through defender Luis Binks as he pulled a goal back for the young Lilywhites on 34 minutes. However, the seagulls took less then two minutes before restoring their two goal cushion through Stefan Vukoje’s unstoppable strike.

But Spurs managed to respond once more and they finished the half in spectacular style as Troy Parrott’s quick fire brace on the stroke of half time, meant that the scores were level going into the second half. After a bit of a disjointed first half performance Wells side started the second half with a real intensity about their game and it caught Mark Beard’s seagulls by surprise. A spectacular solo goal from Paris Maghoma on 53 minutes saw Spurs go ahead for the first time in the game. From there the young Lilywhites controlled the game substitute Brooklyn Lyons-Foster came on to make it 5-3 for Spurs. Before the potent J’Neil Bennett scored a wonderful goal of his own to make it 6-3 a couple of moments later. Brighton did manage to pull a goal back through Onen who secured his hat-trick but Spurs continued to out play the visitors throughout the remainder of the game. Knocking the ball about for fun, Matt Wells’ side played some beautiful attacking football as they held onto the ball. On another day they could have hit ten! It was a superb start to the season for our under 18’s, they showed real character and resilience to not only bounce back from being two goals down. But also to totally change the game and carve open what had been a pretty solid Brighton defence. They played with a real panache about their game, they were unstoppable during that second half. Wells youthful side put in an excellent team performance and it was so enjoyable to experience it first hand.

The visitors got the game underway at a sun kissed Hotspur Way for our under 18’s first league game of the 2018/19 season. Wells’ side looked lively in the opening couple of minutes, none more so than Dilan Markanday who robbed the ball off of Tanimowo out on the right flank early on. The typically energetic forward sped towards the Brighton penalty area before having a pop at goal. His effort was well blocked by Clarke-Eden, a player who would go onto have a brilliant game for the seagulls. Spurs’ high energy start was beginning to cause a few problems for the Brighton defence. Fresh from his first team debut the previous Saturday, Jamie Bowden managed to pick out Parrott inside the box with a well weighted cross. But it was a difficult chance for the Dubliner to convert due to the angles he had to aim at, the 16 year old sent his header well wide of the goal. Matt Wells side continued their bright start to the game when Bennett embarked on a galavanting run down the left. The 16 year old ran at the Brighton fullback, beating two defenders in the process as he continued towards the edge of the Brighton box, before forcing a decent stop out of Bentley with a low effort at goal. The young Lilywhites had started the game really well, they were moving the ball around with pace and were forcing the Brighton defenders into making mistakes due to their high pressing. They did however, struggle to carve through the very much defensive minded opposition who were sitting deep a lot of the time. A sloppy pass from Tainio presented Mark Beard’s side with their first real chance of the game but first year scholar Luis Binks was on hand to make a crucial interception on the edge of the box to win the ball off of Onen. And only a couple of minutes later Beard’s side took a surprise lead courtesy of a strike from the very same player. Totally stunned by the Brighton front lie we had been caught on the counter. Ayo Tanimowo saw a weakness down our left hand side.

The fullback surged forwards to the byline before whipping the ball into the danger zone. Not picked up by White or Binks inside the penalty area, Tanimowo’s cross was met by Jayden Onen who had a headed attempt brilliantly saved by De Bie from close range. Fortunately the ball spilled back out to the Brighton forward who managed to bundle the ball home from less then four yards out, 0-1. Brighton had taken the lead against the run of play. After the seagulls had taken a surprise lead in only the ninth minute of the game, the match began to develop into an end to and game as we tried to draw level. The impressive Paris Maghoma fired over from long range whilst his midfield partner Jamie Bowden was given a warning by the referee only a couple of minutes later. Bowden was forced into making a cynical foul to prevent yet another dangerous Brighton counter attack. The lively Markanday had an effort blocked by the alert Clarke-Eden whilst Marc Leonard sliced a long range effort wide, at the other end. It was a becoming an increasingly frustrating time for Matt Wells youngsters who looked vulnerable whenever they had to deal with a Brighton attack. After being picked out by Jayden Onen inside the Tottenham penalty area, Danny Cashman tried to test De Bie with a powerful low effort which was blocked by White. However, Cashman had been allowed far too much room inside the Tottenham penalty area. The potent J’Neil Bennett who was often finding himself in a lot of space out on the left wing, threatened the Brighton defence when he tricked his way into the box. Attempting to get past Shihab the Tottenham winger fired over from an acute angle. Spurs were dealt another blow on 25 minutes when Jayden Onen managed to net his and Brighton’s second goal of the game. A defence splitting through ball from Vukotje had managed to set Onen racing through on goal down the right hand side.

The forward battled it out with Harvey White as he powered his way into the danger zone before tucking the ball into the far left hand corner of De Bie’s goal, wrapping his foot around the ball as he did so, 0-2. Once again Matt Wells side were caught out on the break. The young Spurs lads knew that thy had to respond before halftime. A scuffed effort by Patterson from long range was easily gathered by the Brighton goalkeeper George Bentley. Whilst the continuously dangerous looking Bennett had a venomous shot blocked by Clarke-Eden a couple of moments later. The ball came out to Patterson on the edge of the box, the playmaker attempted to pick out Parrott inside the area but the Irishman’s header towards goal was deflected over the crossbar and out for a corner kick (Spurs had 22 corners in the game!). The 16 year old was working incredibly hard up top up and was often tracking back and getting stuck in, in the centre of the park. Brighton skipper Danny Cashman claimed a penalty kick after being brought down by White inside the Tottenham box. And Wells’ side had the right to claim one themselves after some pulling from Clarke-Eden was spotted at the other end only a couple of minutes later. J’Neil Bennett had went to meet Harvey White’s inviting cross at the back post, the wide man contested the ball with Clarke-Eden but could be seen having the bottom of his shirt pulled as he missed out on making any contact with the ball. However, Spurs managed to pull an important goal back through Luis Binks in the 34th minute. After Phoenix Patterson had whipped a menacing cross into the danger zone the centre half who somehow found himself so high up pitch, was at the back post to meet the ball. His powerful header was saved by Bentley and a defender quickly cleared the ball to safety. Everybody in the crowd suspected nothing of it (including the players) until the linesman on the far sided deemed it to have crossed the line, 1-2.

After pulling a somewhat fortuitous goal back Wells side looked to reestablish their control on the game. However, a little under two minutes later the seagulls regained their two goal cushion courtesy of an unstoppable strike from Vukotje. After receiving a crisp pass from Onen around 25 yards out from goal the Brighton winger continued unchallenged through the middle, before firing an effort at goal from the edge of the penalty area. His powerful swerving effort crashed onto the underside of De Bie’s crossbar before then bouncing off the line and into up the roof of De Bie’s goal. The wingers unstoppable strike gave the Belgian no time to react, 1-3. Spurs responded straight from the restart through Jamie Bowden who fired an effort narrowly over from range. Trying desperately hard to get themselves back into the game, Spurs were attacking the Brighton defence as if the game was about to end, towards the closing stages of the half. Troy Parrott should have been awarded a stonewall penalty after pouncing on a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area. Surging into the box the centre forward was taken clean out by Shihab who went sliding in totally missing the ball in the process. Parrott was stunned and exclaimed ’ how? ’ to the referee Shaun Barry. Parrott’s bemusement was soon turned to joy after he pulled a goal back for Spurs in the 42nd minute. After some lovely dribbling from the tireless Shashoua on the edge of the penalty area, the midfielder passed the ball to Maghoma who charged into the penalty area showing good feet as he did so. After being crowded out by green shirts inside the box the midfielder took a heavy touch which rolled right on through to the alert Parrott who swept home from close range, into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 2-3. After racing back to the halfway line Spurs continued to look for an equaliser as we entered stoppage time. After really piling on the pressure Matt Wells side came desperately close to getting an equaliser. When Maghoma’s attempted cross from the left wing came rattling off of the top of Bentley’s left hand post. The ball was eventually worked out to Harvey White who took no time in whipping a cross into the danger zone.

Lurking in the middle of the goal was Parrott who managed to just glance his header past Bentley to make it 3-3, in what was the final action of an extraordinary first half. Spurs got the game back underway as Matt Wells side looked to continue the second half where they left off the first. It was clear from the opening couple of minutes of the half that Spurs were showing some ridiculously high energy levels as they moved the ball about in the final third. J’Neil Bennett had Spurs’ first chance of the half after he went on an attacking foray down the left. The tricky wide man then cut inside onto his right before firing an effort at goal. His powerful attempt was deflected off of a Brighton defender inside the box, this caused a bit of panic amongst their defence as they tried desperately hard to clear the ball before it rolled out to Markanday at the back post. Spurs were dominating possession and were testing the visitors with numerous attacking forays. One player who was playing a much more advanced role in this half was Paris Maghoma. After whipping a menacing cross into the box which only just evaded Dilan Markanday at the back post. The England youth international produced a moment of sheer genius to put Spurs ahead for the first time in the game only a couple of moments later. Maghoma’s incredible solo goal started after he received a pass some 25 yards out from goal. The 17 year old then managed to work his way around two Brighton defenders with the most sublime pieces of skill. Like peak Paul Pogba he continued to stride towards the penalty area evading more Brighton defenders before unleashing a rocket of a shot from the edge of the box. Which slammed high into the centre of the goal, leaving George Bentley rooted to his spot, 4-3! Spurs were now on top and their wonderful high intensity, attacking football was making the seagulls struggle to keep up. The hardworking Patterson saw his low effort from 20 yards out saved by the feet of the Brighton goalkeeper.

Before a well worked short corner almost made it 5-3 to the Lilywhites. After Shashoua decided to take the corner kick short to Patterson who then rolled the ball out to Bowden, the midfielders first time strike was blocked by Clarke-Eden. The ball came back out to Patterson who picked Parrott out in the centre of the penalty area. The centre forward controlled the ball before trying to sort his feet out whilst being hounded by two Brighton defenders. Parrott ignored Maghoma who was in space to his left and instead sent the ball trickling wide of the left post. Spurs continued to pepper the Brighton goal when Shashoua embarked on an excellent surging run towards goal. The midfielder squared the ball for Markanday in the centre of the box. Markanday’s effort was blocked brilliantly by Clarke-Eden who once again had put his body on the line. Spurs made their first substitution shortly afterwards as centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster entered the fold in place of Phoenix Patterson. Spurs were showing no signs of lowering their tempo. J’Neil Bennett curled a deflected effort narrowly over from range before Spurs got that all important fifth goal. Armando Shashoua passed the ball to Harvey White out on the right wing, the makeshift centre half sent another peach of a cross inside the danger zone. Amongst a sea of bodies the newly introduced Lyons-Foster rose to guide the ball into the far corner of Bentley’s goal, as it managed to creep in, 5-3. At times mesmeric with his wide ranging skillset and galavanting runs down the left wing, J’Neil Bennett deserved a goal. And after seeing his shot blocked by Clarke-Eden only a couple of moments later, the Tottenham winger put the icing on the cake with a spectacular sixth goal for Spurs on 63 minutes. After receiving a pass from Shashoua some 25 yards out from goal, Bennett curled a wonderful effort inside the top right hand corner of Bentley’s goal sparking scenes of elation from the Tottenham players, 6-3.

Spurs’ wonderful intricate attacking football had played the seagulls off the park and they weren’t done yet! Keen to get on the scoresheet himself Jamie Bowden had a promising effort blocked by Tanimowo. Whilst the impressive Luis Binks managed to make an important block to thwart Onen’s effort at the other end. However, an absurd decision from the referee on 68 minutes allowed Brighton to pull a goal back through Onen, who secured his hat-trick. Lyons-Foster was clearly tripped from behind by Onen as he attempted to play the ball out from the back all the players paused presuming a free kick has been awarded. But to everyone’s surprise the referee waived play on as Onen raced inside the penalty area, De Bie came rushing off of his line and made a good stop to deny the Brighton forward. However, the ball rolled back out to Onen on the edge of the penalty area and he made no mistakes this time round as he calmly slotted into the back of the net, 6-4. However, this didn’t affect Spurs in the slightest they continued to dominate possession and were knocking the ball around for fun. Maghoma had a shot blocked by Roberts before Parrott forced an easy stop out of Bentley after getting on the end of Bowden’s cross. The newly introduced Mukendi made a brilliant crunching challenge which brought rapturous applause from the spectators, as Spurs continued to press Brighton ridiculously high up the pitch. Continuing to create, Harvey White could have had a hat-trick of assists had Binks have been able to convert his cross which was gathered by Bentley. Onen fired narrowly over at the other end before Binks made a magnificent block to deny the same player, as Brighton tried to get back into the game but it wasn’t working. Our lads almost hit seven when Bennett embarked on yet another promising run down the left hand side. Bennett’s run ended in him smashing the ball agonisingly across the face of the goal. The former QPR schoolboy went close again a couple of minutes later after powering his way down the wing he came across onto his right before firing a low effort a fraction wide of the Brighton goal.

Spurs continued to create a flurry of late chances, as the game began to draw to a close. A well worked move saw Bowden pass the ball to Maghoma the latter surged forwards before shifting the ball out to Bennett on the left side of the penalty area. Bennett turned his man before firing over, failing to register Maghoma who had created a good pocket of space on the edge of the penalty area. The final score Spurs 6-4 Brighton, a most extraordinary game of football on day one of the new season sees Matt Wells’ side pick up three points against a good Brighton team. It was a performance of great character and resilience from Spurs particularly in the second half where they put in an unstoppable attacking display. Up next for our under 18’s is a trip to South Wales where they will face Swansea at their Landore training centre, next Saturday morning.

Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: I must admit I was a little surprised to see the Belgian start against Brighton. The overage goalkeeper had a good game against the seagulls as he took the captains armband once again at this level. There was nothing he could of done to prevent any of Brighton’s goals, De Bie made some good saves throughout the game and put in a good strong performance. The 18 year old also ordered his defence well whenever they had to defend a set piece.
– Maximus Tainio: On the whole it was a decent performance from the young Finn who slotted into a back three for our win against Brighton on Saturday. Although he was caught out for pace on a coupe of occasions Tainio put in a strong and commanding performance before shifting out to his more natural position of right back towards the end of the game.
– Luis Binks: It was a memorable day for young Luis Binks, the England u17 international put in a really impressive display at centre half. Making many crucial interceptions and blocks, like Lyons-Foster Binks loves to play out from the back and he did so a lot against the seagulls. He showed good composure and made some nice forward passes. He topped it all of with his first goal at this level.
– Harvey White: A player who I am a big fan of, the cdm dropped back to form our incredibly young back three. Solid and composed throughout the game White put in a really strong defensive performance. However, it was his excellent crossing ability which won the plaudits against Brighton as he bagged two assists against the seagulls.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Really good cameo from the ball playing centre half. The 17 year old put in a strong performance and really bolstered our defence after coming on and didn’t put a foot wrong. Lyons-Foster also managed to score his first goal at this level!
– Dennis Cirkin: He looked solid during his 14 minutes on the field. Cirkin stayed deep.
– Jamie Bowden: The deepest of our midfield trio Bowden swept up well in the centre of the park. Asserting himself well on the game, Jamie really grew into the game and made many clever choices. He was particularly impressive during the second half where he got forward a lot more.
– Paris Maghoma: My motm, see below.
– Armando Shashoua: Like a bee buzzing around in the faces of the Brighton defenders. The technically brilliant midfielder was a thorn in Brighton’s side throughout the game, playing such a pivotal role in our win. His trademark pressing and constant bombardment of the Brighton defence forced them into making numerous errors during our 6-4 win. Not only that but the slick midfield technician recycled possession well, and initiated many moves in the final third with his crisp and accurate passing. The 17 year old was also very good on the ball, his dribbling really worked the Brighton defenders. It was an excellent performance from the 17 year old who managed to register two assists on game one of the new season. He was so key to Spurs breaking Brighton down.
– Dilan Markanday: Constantly getting into good pockets of space out on the right flank. Markanday who it’s worth remembering is still only 16, put in a really impressive performance. With his many weaving runs and lovely well weighted passes into the danger zone, he remained a threat throughout.
– Phoenix Patterson: The number 10 really took the game by the scruff of the neck and would go onto make a positive impression on the game. He was heavily involved in so many of our attacks, Patterson was tricky and astute. Often driving at the opposition, he was at the forefront of so many of our attacking forays. The 17 year old also managed to set up Luis Binks goal with a well weighted cross.
– Jeremie Mukendi: Mukendi looked promising during his late cameo as he embarked on a couple of fruitful runs down the right. His well timed crunching challenge shortly after coming on drew praise from the audience.
– J’Neil Bennett: A player who you’ll all know I’m a big fan of, the 16 year old left winger put in a superb performance against Brighton on Saturday. The Zaha like showman took players on for fun, galavanting down the left wing as if he was freestyler. However, Bennett was hugely productive throughout the game and created many chances from that left hand side. The trickster wrapped up a superb performance with a glorious goal from long range. He is going to be such an important player for Wells’ side this season.
– Troy Parrott: After spending the majority of pre-season away with our development side it was good to see the 16 year old centre forward back playing at this level. Extremely hard working throughout the entirety of the game, not only did Parrott press high he also involved himself much deeper in the pitch. Winning the ball in the centre of the park and driving forwards. Hugely deserving of his two goals of which were typical poachers finishes, Parrott had a great game all round and could even appear on the bench for our next under 23 game. It’s also worth mentioning that there was a scout from the FAI in attendance.

My man of the match: Paris Maghoma. Energetic, box to box and extremely influential to the way in which Spurs played, Paris Maghoma was hands down my man of the match yesterday. He did his role so well in the centre of midfield, like a young Paul Pogba he was effective at both ends of the pitch. In the first half he was much deeper and added real steel and tenacity to the side, bossing the central areas and dictating play. Maghoma also did well to set up Parrott for his first goal of the game. In the second half the 17 year old was quite simply unplayable, he got further up the pitch much more often. And was constantly linking up with the likes of Parrott and Bennett. The scorer of one of the most sumptuous goal I’ve ever seen at this level. Young Paris put in the complete midfield performance, his driving runs and multiple key passes helped us to unravel the Brighton defence. Another thing I noticed about his game was how often he was able to find himself in little pockets around the six yard box. A superb game for the teenager who I’m sure will be heavily involved with the development squad this season.

Spurs: De Bie (c), Tainio, Binks, Bowden, White, Maghoma, Markanday (Mukendi 73), A Shashoua (Cirkin 80), Parrott, Patterson (Lyons-Foster 59), Bennett. Substitute (not used): Oluwayemi, Walcott.

Referee: Shaun Barry.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 2
Luis Binks – 1
Paris Maghoma – 1
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1
J’Neil Bennett -1

Assists: Harvey White – 2
Armando Shashoua – 2
Phoenix Patterson -1
Paris Maghoma – 1

Spurs under 18’s versus Brighton: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Brighton: (match preview)

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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.

ICYMI: https://superhotspur.com/2018/07/19/a-piece-on-spurs-new-first-year-scholars/

The continued rise of Oliver Skipp:

The continued rise of Oliver Skipp:

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I’ve been meaning to write a piece on Spurs academy hopeful Oliver Skipp throughout the close season. In fact I did start a long in-depth article on the midfielder whilst on holiday in Ireland back in June, but anyhow here it is now and hopefully it does the immensely talented youngster justice. After the teenagers recent exploits away with the first team on our pre-season tour of the United States I think it’s quite an appropriate time to write a piece on Skipp, and one inwhich reflects on his extraordinary contribution to the development side last season whilst still a first year scholar. The Hertfordshire born midfielder played an incredible 61 games for Spurs’ various youth teams last season whilst in his first year of scholarship at the club. Young Oliver has always been ahead of his years at least since I first became aware of him. As an under 15 he was already a full England under 16 international and an integral part of of Tottenham’s under 16 side. The following season (2016/17) the lifelong Spurs supporter was quickly integrated into John McDermott’s under 18 side despite only being a schoolboy. It didn’t take Skippy (as he is known by teammates) long before he made his mark on that talented side. He became an important part of the side which made the 2017 FA youth cup semifinals that same season, he also made a string of appearances for the under 19 side in Europe. On top of that he featured prominently for McDermott’s side in the under 18 league after adapting so seamlessly to under 18 football, he also regularly played at centre half. The tenacious midfielder would reach a feat few youth players had achieved for Spurs. When in February of 2017 he was given his debut for the development side by the late Ugo Ehiogu in a PL2 game against Sunderland. Oliver was still a schoolboy. A domineering defensive midfielder Skipp shows all the qualities of an old school ball winning anchor man, combined with the qualities of so many of the top central midfielders of the modern day.

Combining brains with brawn Skipp is incomparable with any of the midfielders of his age group in England. He draws likeness with a wide ranging set of players, from our very own legendary midfielder Steve Perryman to the likes of Frank Lampard, Toni Kroos and a certain Michael Carrick. He is the complete defensive midfielder, he has that ability to control games from the centre of the park. He is both domineering and decisive, he recycles possession effectively and is able to read the game to perfection. He presses relentlessly and keeps good positioning, often covering for defenders who are higher up the pitch and out of position. He carries the ball well and is able to glide past players twice his size in the centre of midfield, showing great guile as he does so. However, the lad from Hertford is much more than a combative defensive midfielder and fine centre half. He is also an extremely creative player who uses the ball resourcefully to initiate attacking moves from deep. His range of passing is impressive as is his skilfulness, something which isn’t mentioned a lot about his game. The teenager is also a good dribbler and he often poses a threat going forward, with his trademark lung bursting forwards runs from deep inside in his own half. A little over a year ago I watched in amazement as Oliver started our under 23’s first league game of the season against Sunderland, up in County Durham. Skipp singlehandedly embarrassed Sunderland’s Jack Rodwell in the middle of the park that day, he controlled the midfield from start to finish, even going onto assist Kazaiah Sterling’s goal. It was at that precise moment that I realised how incredibly special a talent the teenager was.

After our encounter with the black cats development side Skippy never seemed to look back, he would go onto cement his place in Burnett’s under 23 side. Keeping out his older and more experienced teammates such as Jack Roles and Dylan Duncan in the process. His ability to dictate games is one of his greatest qualities, his composure under pressure and ability to create little pockets of space for himself is so effective, and useful for his teammates as it helps to alleviate the pressure off of others. That remarkable maturity makes him a natural born leader. He constantly plays with his arm flailing and can often be seen giving out advice to other members of the team throughout games. Having watched Skipp play extensively over the past couple of seasons I’ve grown to admire his style of play. There’s no big I am about the teenager from Hertford. No pretentious skills or over the top showboating in the centre of the park (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) like Winks he doesn’t take unnecessary chances during games. He keeps things ticking like the 22 year old midfielder, but unlike Winks he is far more effective at breaking up play and recycling possession, it seems to come more naturally to him. Throughout my many reports from last season you’ll spot a consistent theme whenever I reviewed Skipp’s performances, not once did he have a bad game. He was consistent throughout the campaign and whilst he did tire towards the end of the season due to the ridiculous amount of games he had been involved in, he always managed to hold his own and find a way to impact games. Whether that be throwing himself right in front of an attempt on goal or making defence splitting passes through the middle. He always managed to find a way to effect the game in a positive way. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest to see him impress fans with his performances for the first team this summer. His most impressive showing came during our showdown with AC Milan in Minneapolis.

During that game Skipp managed to hold his own in the middle of the park whilst competing with house hold names such as Franck Kessié and Manuel Locattelli. He fitted in so seamlessly to Pochettino’s young side, he was assertive and energetic all over the pitch. With his typically aggressive pressing and hounding down of the opposition players, Skipp also managed to make some important interceptions and recoveries. His pass completion rate was impressive as was the way in which he carried the ball in the centre of the pitch. He even drew praise from Tottenham star Christian Eriksen who was impressed by Skipp’s courage and all round ability. During my end of season round up of our development side last season, I lauded Skipp as the best English midfielder of his age group in the country, and I strongly stand by that statement. I’m not expecting him to get much game time for Pochettino’s side this season other then in the odd cup game. However, I’m expecting him to go down the same path of development as Walker-Peters and Winks have done in recent seasons. That consistent involvement with the first team in training combined with regular involvement in the PL2 with the development side, and the UEFA youth league with the under 19’s. Young Oliver is an exceptional talent and I know for a fact that all of the premier leagues top clubs have been tracking him for a long, long time. But like Winks and Onomah and Kane he is a Tottenham fan just like you and me, and sometimes that is all that matters. The masterful midfielder has already proved to Pochettino that he is able to step up and perform on the big stage. The next step for young Oliver and the Tottenham coaching staff is about nurturing that talent and ever so slowly easing him into the first team fold. And I have no doubts whatsoever that he’ll go onto make his mark on the first team in the future, after all he is still only 17!

Why I’m hoping that Anthony Georgiou can follow Danny Rose’s path into the first team:

Why I’m hoping that Anthony Georgiou can follow Danny Rose’s path into the first team:

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After an impressive time away with Spurs’ first team in America last month, academy graduate Anthony Georgiou is continuing to show signs of improvement to his game ahead of the start of the domestic season. Over a year has past since he made his explosive debut for the first team during the 2017 tour of the states, with a terrific performance against AS Roma. A fruitful season followed for the Londoner, who would later go onto make his competitive debut for the Lilywhites during our champions league game with APOEL Nicosia, in Anthony’s native Cyprus. If that wasn’t already enough Georgiou also went onto win two international caps for Cyprus that same season. Dividing his time training with the first team and the development side, Georgiou also made 13 appearances for the under 23’s last season. Scoring on one occasion. A stark contrast to the injury hit 2016/17 season that he endured. It was so refreshing to see so many of our academy players involved with the first team on our tour of America. Anthony was joined by the likes of Oliver Skipp, Luke Amos, George Marsh and TJ Eyoma, all of whom were excellent for Pochettino’s side when called upon. Georgiou played in all three of our ICC games featuring prominently in our encounters with Barcelona and AC Milan, and he won many plaudits off of Spurs supporters in the process. With his explosive pace and good awareness Georgiou proved effective down the right wing after coming on as a second half substitute against Barcelona in game two. Eager to run at the Barcelona defence Georgiou’s tricky attacking forays asked questions of the Spanish sides fullback Marc Cucurella and he would go onto create Nkoudou’s equaliser during the latter stages of the game (even though he should have been awarded the goal!).

In his next outing Georgiou would be played at left back as Spurs took on Italian giants AC Milan in Minneapolis. This is where I thought Georgiou had his best game of the tour. Not only did he read the game well and defend to a good standard, Anthony was exceptionally bright going forwards. His rapid pace left him in good stead as he galloped down the left wing linking up well with and overlapping Nkouodu. He is no stranger to playing at wing back, he featured prominently in that position for Burnett’s development side last season putting in some strong defensive performances. He looked incredibly assured whilst up against Milan’s tricky forward Suso, I thought he tracked him well and prevented him from enjoying too much space out on the right wing. He also carried the ball extremely well, his fine skill and balance helping him to get away from Milan players whilst in tight spaces. However, Georgiou was very much an attacking fullback throughout the entirety of his time on the pitch he would surge forwards whenever he had the opportunity, and was always looking to take players on. Something which is so typical of his game, he is such a direct and forward thinking winger a traditional wide man in many respects. Having watched Anthony play at youth level for so long I’ve no doubts whatsoever that he could become a Pochettino style wingback much like Danny Rose has managed to become. Rose once a winger himself was converted to fullback in his early 20’s and whilst it took him a fair while and a couple of loan moves before he learnt his trade and adapted his game. He managed to defy the odds. And it wasn’t too long ago that he was regarded as one of the finest left backs in the world something which few Spurs fans would have predicted only a couple of seasons earlier.

On each of his seven appearances for the first team Georgiou has only ever drawn positive feedback from fans. However, as great as it is to see the likes of Georgiou, Amos and Skipp playing pre-season friendlies it is crucial that they get to play competitive games for the first team as well. As the old saying goes it’s a fine dividing line. In my opinion Anthony shows all the hallmarks of being a top class wingback he has speed, skill, agility and good awareness. He also has an absolute wand of a left foot, he is a good crosser of the ball and he can certainly test the goalkeeper as well. As shown on the tour he also has good vision and has the ability to pick out key passes to the forwards. The Lewisham born winger is courageous and has a ridiculously high work rate and loves to press the opposing teams defenders. I’ll never forget that time I was watching our under 23’s take on Manchester United back in 2016. Georgiou who was our best player that day suffered a nasty gash to the side of his head. Despite dripping with blood he was up and down that flank like nobody else, even though he was quite clearly in some discomfort. In some respects he reminds me of my fellow countryman James McClean, a marauding left winger who is also adept at playing at wingback I have watched him play extensively over the years. McClean who is a star for the Irish national team is lightening quick like Georgiou, he is also strong and has a wand of a left foot. Although Georgiou is far more skilful than the Stoke player the thing that is so strikingly similar about them is their relentless chasing down of the opposition. Like McClean, Georgiou has the most exceptional work rate it doesn’t matter if he’s playing as a wingback or as an out and out winger. The youngster is nonstop, he tracks back at every opportunity and unlike other players on the pitch he’ll make those lung bursting runs to commit himself defensively.

When Pochettino’s side face Girona tomorrow in their final game of pre-season Georgiou will likely be given more game ahead of the start of our premier league campaign the following Saturday. In my eyes he has proven himself at this level both as a winger and as a wingback, he is also far too good to be playing at youth level. He is a player capable of offering so much more to the first team whether that be as an impact sub playing on the wing or as a youthful wingback, he would also undoubtedly save Pochettino money. Georgiou is a special talent and one who thoroughly deserves to be fully integrated into the first team squad this season. Like Rose was at the same age Georgiou is a natural attack minded winger whose first thoughts are to beat his man down the left wing. That is something which we have lacked since the days of Lennon and Bale and something which is so key to the way Pochettino’s likes his side to play football. Rose was once that kind of player but he was able to use his speed and skill to his advantage so as to better his defensive game. I have a great feeling about this season for Georgiou and I think that he can go a step further than he did last season by getting more game time. Whether that will be for the first team or for another club out on loan we’ll have to wait and see. However, if somebody was to ask me which youth player most deserves to have a sustained run in the first team this season I would say Anthony without any hesitation. For me he has the all attributes of a top wingback/winger and I and many other Spurs fans are looking forward to seeing how he progresses this season. I just thoroughly hope that Pochettino will give the fearless wideman more game time to prove his worth.