Spurs under 23’s versus Swansea City: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Swansea City: (match preview)

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Following on from our under 23’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Derby County in the PL2 last Sunday, Wayne Burnett’s development side will be hoping to overcome bottom of the table Swansea City when the two teams meet at Hotspur Way on Friday afternoon. Burnett’s sides challenging encounter with Derby at the weekend was an experience from which they will learn from, and they’ll be hoping to return to winnings ways against a Swansea side who are bang out of form. Managed by both Cameron Toshack and Gary Richards, the ‘Swans’ enjoyed a fine season in division one during the 2017/18 campaign where they finished in fourth place, after only winning promotion to the division the previous season. The club from South Wales have drawn four of their opening nine league games this season, losing five and winning none. Toshack and Richards winless side haven’t won a PL2 game since April, and the out of form ‘Swans’ have scored the fewest goals of anybody in the league this season (7). Although the championship club don’t have one of the best under 18 or 23 sides out of the category one clubs, Swansea still have some talented youngsters in their ranks, and the Welsh club have recruited well over recent seasons. Some of their standout players from the development side include former Liverpool youngster Yan Dhanda, former Ajax youngster Kees De Boer who operates as a midfielder, Scottish midfielder George Byers, and locally sourced winger Liam Cullen who we were once linked with a couple of seasons back. Our two meetings with Swansea in the PL2 last season were highly entertaining games, both of which ended in 2-2 draws. The home game which was played at Broadhall Way was most notable for a spectacular solo goal scored by our former player Keanan Bennetts. Once again Burnett’s side will be without the experienced duo of Shayon Harrison and Luke Amos to injury, whilst Cyprus international Anthony Georgiou remains a doubt as far as I am aware. 

This preview was written before our first teams Carabao cup game against West Ham on Wednesday which will likely feature a number of our young players due to fixture congestion. Therefore my lineup prediction for the Swansea game may include players who will have featured for the first team only a couple of days beforehand. Swansea are not as well structured as our last opponents Derby, I also doubt that they will included many if any overage players in their side for Fridays game in Enfield. Therefore I am expecting Burnett’s young side to return to winning ways. I will be at Hotspur Way on Friday afternoon, and my in-depth match report of that game shall be out by the following evening at the very latest.

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Whiteman, Eyoma, Tanganga (c), Dinzeyi, Hinds, Bowden, Oakley-Boothe, Reynolds, Duncan, Roles, Sterling.

Subs from: Glover, Brown, Marsh, Patterson, Richards.

Injured/unavailable: Shilow Tracey, Luke Amos, Shayon Harrison.

Doubtful: Anthony Georgiou and Charlie Freeman.

Previous meeting: 2-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-1.

My one to watch: Yan Dhanda. A skilful attacking midfielder who has overcome many injury setbacks during his short career. The 19 year old who joined Swansea from Liverpool in the summer, scored the winner with his first touch for their first team in their championship game against Sheffield United earlier on in the season. However, the skilful and clever Dhanda has struggled for game time in Graham Potter’s side, and the teenager has appeared on two occasions for the development side in the PL2 this season. It will be interesting to see how he gets on against us if he does play on Friday. Dhanda impressed against us for Liverpool last season. 

ICYMI: https://superhotspur.com/2018/10/29/spurs-under-23s-0-1-derby-county-match-report-2/

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Spurs under 23’s 0-1 Derby County: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-1 Derby County: (match report)

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Our under 23’s went into their PL2 encounter with Derby County on Sunday afternoon with confidence after having won their last three games in all competitions. However, Wayne Burnett’s side played out a dour game with the  ’Rams’ at Pride Park from which they never really got going. Burnett’s side were second best on the day and despite putting in a relatively solid defensive performance, his side were too negative in possession and their severe lack of creativity cost them. We lost 1-0 to Derby who scored what turned out to be the winner on 74 minutes through their captain Max Bird, whose thumping effort had caught the Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin by surprise. Derby dominated possession against a Spurs side who weren’t effective at playing out from the back against a high pressing side, and they should have won by more than one goal, whilst our most potent attacking players Jack Roles and Troy Parrott were unable to make much of an impact on the game due to the fact that they were so isolated up top, whilst the wingbacks were not given the ball anywhere near enough. In total we only managed two shots on target but none of those managed to trouble the Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos. It is worth noting that Darren Wassall did field four overage players in the Derby starting 11. Most notable of which was the defensive duo of Alex Pearce and Ikechi Anya who are both full internationals for both Ireland and Scotland respectively, this definitely helped Wassall’s side to get the better of us. Spurs were without Oliver Skipp, Kazaiah Sterling and Anthony Georgiou for Sunday afternoons game and this resulted in a numbers of players from the under 18 side making the step up to development squad level. Although they would revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation at halftime, Burnett started his side in the 3-4-2-1 formation. Brandon Austin retained the captains armband as he started in goal for the second consecutive game, whilst a back three of Eyoma, Tanganga and Marsh lined up in front of him. Four players lined up in the middle of the park with Tariq Hinds and Jaden Brown starting either side of Maghoma and Bowden in the centre of the park. And Dylan Duncan and the inform Jack Roles played in an attacking diamond formation behind 16 year old Troy Parrott who led the line.

The home side got the game underway at a sunny Pride Park and it was the hosts who certainly looked the brighter of the two teams during the opening stages of the game. Derby’s Louie Sibley drew an early save from Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin after hitting a low effort at goal from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Midfielder Paris Maghoma managed to block George Thorne’s shot shortly afterwards as Spurs tried to work the ball out of their own half. Austin put his teammates under pressure a couple of minutes later after he passed the ball straight to Derby’s Jayden Mitchell-Lawson on the edge of the Spurs box. Mitchell-Lawson squared the ball for Max Bird in the centre of the box and the Derby captain forced Austin into making an excellent reaction save at his near post, to tip behind the Derby captains powerful effort for a corner kick, which the teenager dealt with by punching it away from danger. The home side continued to threaten the Spurs defence and after Thorne played the ball into Mitchell-Lawson down the right side of the penalty area, the wide man quickly shifted the ball across to Aaron Eyoma in the centre of the box. However, the Derby winger was closed down well by younger brother TJ who made a goal saving block to put the ball behind for a corner kick. Thorne’s resulting corner was played short to Mitchell-Lawson who managed to weave his way into the box before curling an effort across the face of Austin’s goal. Spurs’ Japhet Tanganga then managed to block Louie Sibley’s effort from range as Derby continued to put pressure on Burnett’s side. Aaron Eyoma sent a teasing ball across the face of the Spurs goal before the ever solid George Marsh was able to clear Bird’s free kick a couple of moments later as the likes of Roles and Parrott remained mere spectators up top. Spurs gave another free kick away a couple of minutes later following a supposed foul from Brown on Mitchell-Lawson down the right. Derby’s Calum Macdonald whipped a dangerous delivery across goal which Derby centre froward Cameron Cresswell was only inches away from being able to nod home at the back post.

Spurs continued to play poorly and Wassall’s side continued to come at them as they pushed for an opener. Duncan did well to block George Thorne’s shot on goal after the ball had come out to the Derby man on the edge of the box following Aaron Eyoma’s corner, Spurs had still been unable to manage a single attempt on goal as they continued to be sucked into their own half. After the tigerish Troy Parrott had managed to win the ball off of Thorne, the Irishman quickly passed the ball to Roles who was in the centre circle. Roles channeled his inner David Beckham by attempting to catch Roos off his line with an audacious effort from over 50 yards out. However, the Cypriot youth internationals ambitious long range strike ended up going well wide of the Derby goal. The home side threatened us at the other end a couple of moments later after the speedy Anya was able to pick out Aaron Eyoma in the box with a pin point delivery. However, the 21 year old’s resulting effort on goal was well blocked by Spurs midfielder Dylan Duncan as Derby continued to control the game. George Marsh cleared a low cross from Anya a couple of moments later, before Mitchell-Lawson fired an effort wide of Brandon Austin’s near post after he was played in down the right side of the box by Sibley. The Tottenham goalkeeper did well to come out and claim Max Bird’s low cross moments beforehand. However, Burnett’s struggling side managed to mount their first meaningful attack of the half as the result of a sloppy pass from George Thorne whose early free kick was played straight into the feet of Roles in the centre of the park. The alert teenager traveled forwards with the ball before slipping it into Parrot who was able to enter the box before cutting inside and feeding Roles back in. However, he should have hit it first time but instead he took too many touches before seeing his eventual effort blocked behind for a corner by Bird. Japhet Tanganga made a decent block of his own at the other end a couple of minutes later after he cleared Anya’s dangerous low cross from the right wing. And the ’Rams’ came desperately close to opening the scoring right in the dying moments of the first half.

The so far uninvolved Cameron Cresswell ought to have put Derby ahead after he met Aaron Eyoma’s cross at the near post. However, the Derby centre forwards mistimed header flew narrowly over Austin’s crossbar as Burnett’s side escaped danger once more. Former Spurs and Arsenal youth player Aaron Eyoma curled a late effort well wide of the Spurs goal a couple of moments later to bring an end to a disappointing half for Spurs. Burnett made one change at half time as he brought off right wing back Tariq Hinds in place of Tashan Oakley-Boothe, as Spurs reverted to playing with four at the back. The first piece of action came after Duncan threaded a perfectly weighted pass through to Roles down the right hand side of the Derby penalty area. Roles looked up before picking out Parrott in the centre of the box however, it was a difficult chance for the Dubliner to convert on the volley, and his jabbed looping effort was comfortably saved by Kelle Roos. Derby then went straight on an attack down the other end which resulted in the speedy Mitchell-Lawson having an effort from within the left side of the Spurs box, blocked behind for a corner by the arm of Eyoma. Alex Pearce then headed George Thorne’s cross wide a couple of moments later as Derby started to find their feet again, before a good piece of well timed defending from Eyoma prevented an opening for Mitchell-Lawson inside the Spurs box. The alert Tottenham goalkeeper Brandon Austin did well to deal with Thorne’s free kick a couple of minutes later after the England youth international lined his wall up well. First year scholar J’Neil Bennett replaced Jamie Bowden shortly afterwards as Duncan dropped back into the centre of midfield. However, Spurs continued to be put under pressure by Wassall’s unrelenting side. The ever effective George Marsh produced an important piece of defending on Mitchell-Lawson inside the Spurs box before substitute J’Neil Bennett blocked Thorne’s effort on goal. Spurs then went on a good break at the other end after Roles picked out Parrott on the right wing with a nice pass.

Parrott quickly shifted the ball into the feet of Oakley-Boothe who teed it off for Bennett to hit on the edge of the Derby box. The 16 year old winger caught the ball on the half volley but his low powerful effort into the turf was routinely saved by the diving Roos. TJ Eyoma ended up in the referees book a matter of minutes later after he cynically stopped Calum Macdonald from advancing down the right wing by pulling his shirt. And then in the 74th minute of time came the moment that Spurs had indeed been expecting all game as Derby finally took the lead, after coming so close to doing so on numerous occasions beforehand. It was a bolt out of the blue from Derby captain Max Bird who after playing a quick one-two with the newly introduced Kyle McAllister let fly on his right foot with a venomous strike which caught Austin by surprise. Bird’s sweet strike had given Austin little time to react with the Spurs goalkeeper off his line. Bird’s effort struck the underside of the bar before hitting the back of the net, 0-1. A couple of minutes later Austin was forced into making a good save at his near post to prevent Derby from doubling their advantage. After being slipped in down the right side of the Spurs box by Bird, McAllister’s powerful effort was denied by Austin who spread himself well before making the stop. There was no urgency from Burnett’s side who were offering little to suggest that they could mount a fight back. Derby threatened our defence once more after Bird received Cresswell’s pass before travelling towards the edge of the Spurs penalty area with the ball before dragging it across the face of Austin’s goal, just as Tanganga had managed to come across him. Dylan Duncan continued to grow into the game and the Tottenham midfielder sliced an effort wide of goal after receiving Oakley-Boothe’s pass on the edge of the Derby box, a couple of minutes later. Japhet Tanganga blocked Louie Sibley’s effort before the Spurs centre half met Maghoma’s free kick in the Derby box moments later, but the 19 year old could only head the ball straight into the arms of Roos. Derby then had a weak penalty shout in stoppage time after Tanganga had bundled Cresswell to the ground inside the Spurs box. 

The final piece of action was probably the most entertaining of the whole game which speaks a thousand words in itself. After TJ Eyoma and Sibley squared up to each other after the referee had blown the final whistle before shoving one another. All in all it was a pretty dour afternoon at Pride Park. Whilst Burnett’s sides oldest player was only 19 years of age, Derby had the massive advantage of fielding four experienced overage players. I thought we defended well on the day but I feel that we didn’t have the attacking intensity needed in order to trouble what was a strong Derby defence, but it was a good experience for Burnett’s lads to go up against such an experienced Derby side. Spurs will be hoping to return to winning ways when they host out of form Swansea City at Hotspur Way next Friday. I have a feeling that, that will be a far more entertaining game of football.

Player reviews: 

  • Brandon Austin: The 19 year old retained the captains armband for our game against Derby County on Sunday and had another fine game. Austin made four saves, two of which were fantastic reflex saves, particularly the first one to deny Max Bird at his near post from close range. Austin was commanding and led his teammates by example whilst also dealing well with the many corner kicks and free kicks which came his way. Whilst he was a little bit slow with his distribution I thought that Austin couldn’t have done anymore to prevent Max Bird’s goal despite the fact that he was off his line at the time of the strike. Bird’s effort had so much venom and sting on it.
  • TJ Eyoma:  I thought that our whole defence had a really good game against Derby on Sunday. However, I thought that 19 year old centre half TJ Eyoma was the pick of our defenders. He defended well, first on the right side of a back three and later as a right back despite his lack of pace. Eyoma read the game to perfection and made a number of important blocks and interceptions. Including a goal saving block to deny his older brother Aaron from scoring in the first half. 
  • Japhet Tanganga: Tanganga put in another strong performance in the heart of the Tottenham defence making many important blocks and clearances. Tanganga defended solidly but most importantly of all he always kept good positioning and won the vast majority of his aerial duels. The 19 year old didn’t allow Derby centre forward Cameron Cresswell to have many goal scoring opportunities inside the six yard box. 
  • George Marsh: Marsh operated at centre half, first in a back three and then in a back four. The 19 year old didn’t put a foot wrong and like Tanganga he was solid in defence and could often be seen making important defensive interventions, blocks and clearances. He worked extremely hard for the team and covered a lot of ground. 
  • Tariq Hinds: Hinds put in a decent defensive performance at right wing back during the first half, before the 18 year old was replaced at halftime as Spurs switched formations.
  • Paris Maghoma: Sometimes it was hard to work out where the 17 year old midfielder was playing, such was the confusing formation which we started up with. Maghoma would often pop up at both ends of the field and although he struggled alongside Bowden to influence the game during the first half due to how the side were set up, Maghoma grew into the game and made a number of good long range passes during the final stages of the game. He did well to adapt to the game and was positive with the ball at his feet.
  • Jamie Bowden: The 17 year old central midfielder operated alongside Maghoma in the centre of the park. Like his slightly older teammate, Bowden was unable to influence the game in his usual way due to how stifled we had been creatively. However, I thought the young man from Tottenham still did a good job in the central areas. He stayed deep and snuffed out danger on numerous occasions whilst also impressing with his movement and overall reading of the game, and he always looked so calm in possession. 
  • Jaden Brown: The usually attacking left back was neutralised by the speedy and experienced Ikechi Anya who prevented the inform Brown from making any of his usual attacking forays down that side of the pitch. Anya essentially kept Brown out of the game from an attacking point of view. However, the teenager from Lewisham did put in a good defensive shift as he continued his good form of late.
  • Jack Roles: He always looked threatening whenever the attacking midfielder had the ball at his feet. And the 19 year old who operated in an attacking diamond behind lone striker Troy Parrott was one of our most creative players on the day. Making a string of fine passes, Roles helped to create space for Parrott with his first class movement and work rate, despite how isolated he was.
  • Dylan Duncan: My motm, see below.
  • Troy Parrott: Once again I thought that the 16 year old did the best that he could do to lead the line for Burnett’s side. He was isolated throughout the game and the Dubliner was forced into coming deep in order to get the ball and try to make things happen. He had one half chance which he was unlucky with, and he was also involved in two of our most promising attacks, and he was particularly unselfish to square the ball to Roles right on the stroke of half time inside the Derby penalty area.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Oakley-Boothe replaced Hinds at halftime, and whilst he did make some impressive passes during his time on the pitch I felt that he struggled to get involved much in the game as an attacking midfielder.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 16 year old was positive during his 35 or so minutes on the pitch. He was willing to take players on and was constantly asking for the ball to be played into him. Bennett did have a decent shot on goal shortly after he was introduced to the game which drew a save from Roos.

My man of the match: The versatile Dylan Duncan was our best player on the day, first as an attacking midfielder where he put in a fine shift for the majority of the game out on the left hand side, and also as a combative central midfielder for the latter part of the game. Duncan worked hard to influence play and he was quite a threat for Spurs going forwards and he made a number of top draw passes which opened up the Derby defence during the second half. Both Duncan’s high work rate and good movement also impressed me, and the 19 year old helped his teammates out throughout the game by showing a real willingness to win balls in the centre of the park. This was only Duncan’s second start of the season but I’m hoping that he will now get a good run in Burnett’s side.

Derby County: Roos, Anya, Macdonald, Thorne, Pearce, Buchanan, Mitchell-Lawson (McAllister 73), Bird (c), Cresswell, Sibley, Eyoma (Shonibare 82). Substitutes (not used): Karic, Barnes, Hunt.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds (Oakley-Boothe 46), Brown, Eyoma, Tanganga, Marsh Duncan Bowden (Bennett 57), Parrott, Maghoma, Roles. Substitutes (not used): Glover, Dinzeyi, Reynolds.

Goal: Bird 74.

Yellow cards: Derby – Thorne 89; Spurs – Eyoma 69.

Referee: Josh Smith. 

Venue: Pride Park, Derby.

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

Goals scored: Shayon Harrison – 5

Paris Maghoma – 3

Jack Roles – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

J’Neil Bennett – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Kazaiah Sterling – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

Spurs under 23’s versus Derby County: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Derby County: (match preview)

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Wayne Burnett’s development side are in a rich vein of form going into Sunday’s PL2 encounter with Derby County at Pride Park. Our under 23’s have won their last three games in all competitions and have only conceded one goal from those three games. A particularly impressive 1-0 win over a strong Leicester City side which included two overage players last Friday, will only improve our lads confidence going into tomorrow’s match, despite the fact that we are missing a whole host of players to injury. The rams who are managed by Darren Wassall are also in fine form and they have recorded some impressive results so far this season, and are unbeaten in their last four games. Sitting in a comfortable fourth place in the division one table, Wassall’s side have won four of the eight league games that they have played so far this season. And after beating Liverpool 3-2 in their last PL2 outing they have proved that they will be no pushovers for Burnett’s side. Although we have the far better players, Derby do have some talent in their ranks and some of their more notable ones include 17 year old goalscoring midfielder Louie Sibley, skilful winger and older brother of our defender TJ, Aaron Eyoma and silky young Irish midfielder Josh Knight. It is also worth noting that in recent games Wassall has fielded overage players Curtis Davies, Alex Pearce and George Thorne. We contested two really interesting games with the rams last season, the PL2 fixture at Pride Park was a very close game which we lost 1-0. Whilst the reverse fixture at Hotspur Way saw a dominant Spurs side overcome Derby 4-2 in a game most memorable for Anthony Georgiou’s stunning goal from over 25 yards out. I couldn’t be happier with how Burnett’s young side are playing at the moment considering the fact that we have been without the likes of Harrison, Amos and Georgiou. We have been controlling games recently and have been playing some really nice attacking football. Since we got thumped 6-0 by Everton last month, Burnett’s youngsters couldn’t have responded better, and just like our inform under 18 side they have been a real joy to watch.

Some of our younger players such as Paris Maghoma who scored a glorious goal in our 2-2 draw with PSV in the UEFA youth league in midweek, is one player who has really contributed to Spurs’ recent good form. As has Cypriot youth international Jack Roles who has played a part in five of our last eight goals. I’m also hoping to see second year scholar Jamie Bowden who made his PL2 debut in last weeks 1-0 win over Leicester, start tomorrow’s game in the centre of the park after he impressed against Leicester. I will be at Pride Park reporting on tomorrow’s game and I am feeling confident that our lads high intensity attacking football will prove to be too much for Wassall’s defensive Derby side. There would appear to be no planned streams of Sunday afternoons game. My in-depth report of the game will be out on Monday evening.

 

My predicted lineup: (4-3-2-1) Whiteman, Hinds, Eyoma, Tanganga, Reynolds, Skipp, Marsh (c), Bowden, Maghoma, Roles, Sterling. 

Subs from: Glover, Brown, Duncan, Oakley-Boothe, Parrott.

Injured/unavailable: Shayon Harrison, Luke Amos, Shilow Tracey and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster.

Doubtful: Anthony Georgiou, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Jonathan De Bie and Charlie Freeman.

Previous meeting: Spurs 4-2. 

My score prediction: Spurs 3-1.

My one to watch: Aaron Eyoma. The 21 year old former Arsenal player who is the older brother of our defender TJ, really impressed me during our 4-2 win over Derby last season. And on numerous other occasions when I have seen him play, Eyoma is a pacy winger who possesses good skill and ball control. The winger has made 5 PL2 appearances for Derby so far this season and its entirely possible that TJ could be defending that right flank against his older brother for tomorrow’s game.

ICYMI: https://superhotspur.com/2018/10/26/the-continued-improvement-of-young-spurs-goalkeeper-brandon-austin/

The continued improvement of young Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin:

The continued improvement of young Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin: 

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In my report of our under 23’s 1-0 win over Leicester City last week I promised that I would write an in-depth piece on a player who was instrumental in that win. 19 year old goalkeeper Brandon Austin of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, is a young man who has made huge strides within the Spurs academy set up over the last couple of seasons. Austin was a mainstay in the development side during the 2017/18 campaign after making the permanent step up to that level, after spending the majority of his two year scholarship in the under 18 side. Austin’s footballing journey so far has been an interesting one and the expert shot stopper is a goalkeeper who has performed consistently for the development side and the under 19’s over the past two seasons. Austin has represented both England and the United States at youth level and he also remains eligible to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands. With his strong wrists, excellent shot stopping ability and his impressive leadership skills, Austin has greatly impressed me ever since he joined the club full time in the summer of 2015. The former Chelsea schoolboy is a charismatic and exceptionally talented young goalkeeper. And whilst it is rare for me to write such pieces on goalkeepers, I feel that the form and consistency of the teenager over the past couple of seasons has been far too good to ignore. We are lucky to have some of the most promising young goalkeepers in the country on our books at the academy. With the likes of Alfie Whiteman, Jonathan De Bie and Charlie Freeman just some of the talented young goalkeepers that we have coming through at Hotspur Way. All of these players are at different stages of their development and I for one think it is wrong for fans to compare our goalkeepers with one another at this period in their footballing development. Hence why you’ll never see me come out and say that in my opinion so and so has the highest ceiling, or that goalkeeper A is a better prospect than goalkeeper B.

Hertfordshire born Brandon Austin has spent the majority of his life at Spurs following his release from London rivals Chelsea as a schoolboy. Although Austin struggled for consistent game time during his first year of scholarship, when the goalkeeper only made 5 appearances for our under 18 side during the 2015/16 season. It was during the teenagers second year of scholarship where he started to make huge strides within the academy set up. Despite having to compete with Alfie Whiteman, Jonathan De Bie and Charlie Freeman for a spot in the under 18 side during the 2016/17 season. The talented Austin managed to make more appearances for the under 18’s than any other goalkeeper that season (16). The second year scholar also put in some eye catching performances for McDermott’s under 18 side. Most notable of which came in the first leg of our FA youth cup semifinal against Chelsea in the April of that season. Austin’s heroics at the lane on that spring evening against the blues, drew praise from far and wide. Austin made many outstanding saves against Chelsea in that semifinal to keep the scores at a respectable 2-1 going into the second leg. In that same season Brandon went onto feature twice for the development side in the PL2, and once for the under 19 side in the UEFA youth league. However, it was during last season (2017/18) where Austin’s quality and consistency really stood out at development side level. Having long been a fan of the tall and commanding goalkeeper it was wonderful to watch Austin make the permanent step up to the development side for the 2017/18 season. Impressive in so many ways Austin’s maturity, leadership and ability to perform at a consistent level for both the under 23’s in the PL2 and the under 19’s in the UEFA youth league, was so impressive for that of a young developing goalkeeper.

After traveling with the first team to the United States for the 2017 pre-season tour of the country which he has represented at youth level, owing to his father Neville who was a talented basketball player. Brandon came back to England with a spring in his step and the teenager quickly converted the previous seasons form for the under 18 side into the development side for the 17/18 season. Competing with another talented young goalkeeper in Alfie Whiteman for a starting berth in Wayne Burnett’s development side. Austin went onto make 12 appearances for Burnett’s side that season, he also went onto play an important role in our under 19’s successful UEFA youth league campaign. Austin played seven of our under 19’s eight European games and he played a big part in us reaching the quarterfinals of that competition, following his penalty shootout heroics against Monaco in the round of 16. Further to that, Brandon also made two appearances for our under 18’s as an overage goalkeeper for Scott Parker’s side whilst also training regularly with the first team squad throughout the season. As well as representing the United States under 18 side that season, Austin was also called up to the England under 19’s squad as a standby goalkeeper for that summers European championships. What impressed me so much last season was not only Austin’s shot stopping ability and consistency to perform at under 21/23 level, but also his confidence in high pressure situations. He put in many excellent performances at that level. Of the many games that come to mind are his excellent performances against both AFC Wimbledon in the Checkatrade trophy and his match winning performance against Monaco in the last 16 of the UEFA youth league. In both of those particular games his quality really shone through, he read both games exceptionally well but he also showed a maturity to deal with difficult situations which was well beyond his years.

Carrying on from last seasons successes on a personal level Austin has begun the 2018/19 season in similarly impressive form. He has so far made four appearances for Burnett’s development side this season including a heroic performance against Manchester City in the PL2 where he made at least eight saves in a 2-0 win for Spurs. In addition to his regular involvement with the development side, Austin is also the first choice goalkeeper for the under 19’s in the UEFA youth league where he has already started all three of our games so far this campaign. Austin was included in the first team squad which travelled to the United States for the second successive season in the summer, and after signing a new contract last season Austin has also been given the squad number 49 for this seasons premier league campaign. Austin who turns 20 in January is one of my favourite young goalkeepers for a number of reason after having watched him for so long. However, I’d go one step further than that by saying that he is one of England’s most promising young goalkeepers. He is an excellent shot stopper who has strong wrists and razor sharp reflexes, he is also extremely quick on his feet. And this helps Austin to get into the necessary positions which are needed in order to make those all important saves. Yes, he may have the odd mistake in his game just like every other goalkeeper on the planet, but he is an extremely attentive young man. For example his performance against Arsenal in the PL2 earlier on in the season showcased many of his most impressive attributes. The 19 year old was my man of the match in our under 23’s poor 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates back in September. Despite it being his first appearance for the development side since the previous April, Austin looked as sharp as ever following his return from a recent injury. He pulled off a string of superb saves as well as an excellent diving one to deny Arsenal’s Charlie Gilmour from the penalty spot towards the end of the game, which one of his goalkeeping idols Petr Cech would have been proud of.

However, Austin also showed exemplary leadership skills and an alertness to deal with set pieces so effectively during that game. The teenager is as good as any English shot stopper his age but what has always amazed me about Austin is how athletic he is. He has that rare ability to collapse his body so quickly in order to make that all important save to deny almost certain goals for the opposition, perhaps his years of playing Basketball at secondary school have something to do with his outstanding reflexes. Furthermore, he is much, much more than an expert shot stopper. He is very quick on his feet and is always good at closing players down in one on one situations. His distribution is mostly impressive and most importantly of all he has an unflappable confidence about his game. Austin is strong, assertive and confident, and over the last couple of years he has really improved with how he deals with set pieces and crosses. Something which so many young English goalkeepers lack is that almost Grobbelaar-esque confidence and assertiveness to their game. However, Austin is one of the most confident young goalkeepers that I have ever come across during my time reporting on our youth team. He is always first to every corner kick and cross which comes his way, and he is never afraid to take risks in such high pressure situations. His confidence also links into his leadership which is so good for that of a goalkeeper his age. The way in which he lines up his defence for free kicks and set pieces, and the way in which he talks them through games with such authority is yet another of his most impressive attributes. A perfect example of this occurred right at the death of our under 23’s 1-0 win over Leicester City last Friday. Austin who was the skipper for that game made some excellent saves to keep out the foxes potent attack, whilst also managing to do a sterling job with the many set pieces that came his way. In the 96th minute of that game a late Leicester corner kick resulted in the foxes goalkeeper Viktor Johanson travelling all the way up the pitch to bolster his sides chances of netting a late equaliser.

After Austin had come out to claim the ball, Johanson prevented Austin from taking an early goal kick by taking hold of the Spurs mans leg. This was a mistake from the young Swede and Austin was furious with him, and he rightly gave him a good old lecture about sportsmanship. This is the passion and the confidence which I have been talking about and I find it so refreshing to see from young goalkeepers, many of whom don’t have that about their game. I am not overhyping Austin when I say that he will be a premier league goalkeeper at some point in the future. I say that because for me he has all the vital attributes that are needed in order to perform at the highest level in the game, on a regular basis. Austin is still only 19 years of age and in terms of his footballing career these are still very early days. However, Brandon has made enormous strides over the past couple of years to work his way up the various youth ranks at Spurs in order to catch the attention of both the English and American football associations, Austin was most recently called up to the England under 20 side over the recent international break. I think it’s important for the teenager from Hemel Hempstead to continue to perform consistently at development side level to get regular game time this season in order to aid his own development as a player. If ever there was a goalkeeping injury crisis at Spurs I personally would have absolutely no worries about putting the charismatic and talented goalkeeper right into the thick of first team action. Up next for Brandon is our under 23’s PL2 game against Derby County on Sunday, a game in which the inform youngster will be hoping to start in. Brandon should be immensely proud of how excellently he is doing and how much of a positive effect he is having on our under 23 side!

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Ontinyent:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Ontinyent:

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Tottenham Hotspur starlet Samuel Shashoua (19) put in another match winning performance for his loan club Atlético Baleares at the weekend. As the Spanish segunda division B side overcame Ontinyent 2-1 at the Son Malferit on Sunday afternoon, as Samuel completed the full 90 minutes of the game. The Mallorca based club stretched their unbeaten run to four games as the young Shashoua scored what turned out to be the winner in Sunday’s league game against Ontinyent. Once again, Atlético dominated the game and were the far better side however, Ontinyent were compact and defensive and this resulted in Samuel having less space through the channels. However, the teenager from West London provided the spark that the Balearic side needed to see off Ontinyent, and despite the fact that this was only Samuel’s sixth appearance for Atlético. He has not only become an integral part of their side during his short time on the island but he has also gone onto become a fan favourite amongst their supporters. Once again I was able to watch Atlético’s 2-1 win over Ontinyent on Sunday thanks to the excellent live stream provided by Balearic television channel ib3. In the following analytical piece I will be going through Shashoua’s match winning performance against the club from Valencia. Shashoua started Sunday’s game out on the right wing and after a quite opening five or so minutes to the game, Shashoua’s first involvement came from a corner kick which he whipped in towards Atlético defender Rovirola in the box, but the centre half ended up getting clattered by an Ontinyent player with the referee giving the foul the opposite way. Atlético were dominating possession and although Samuel wasn’t seeing much of the ball in the opening stages, the Balearicos were doing well and after just eight minutes of time played they took the lead.

Atlético’s opener came from the skipper Francesc Fullana’s free kick which he delivered into the danger zone. Fullana’s delivery was met by Valorri who powered a header past Craviotto to put the Balearicos ahead. Samuel was involved in a promising counter attack shortly afterwards as Atlético continued to dominate the game. Shashoua started the attack before working the ball out to Kike López on the right, who then found the darting Shashoua in the box. However, the youngster was unable to get the right backs pass under control. Shashoua was involved in another move a couple of minutes later which resulted in him beating Albiol down the left wing but only after the Ontinyent fullback had pulled him to the ground. However, the referee waived play on as the nimble footed winger got back on his feet before continuing into the penalty area and then forcing Craviotto into making a save to deny his powerful strike. The more involved Shashoua almost managed to pull off a clever one – two with Adri Hernández on the edge of the Ontinyent penalty a couple of moments later as Atlético continued to put pressure on the oppositions defence. After Ontinyent came close to netting an equaliser but for an excellent reflex save from Carl, Shashoua was switched onto the left flank so as to enhance his attacking influence on the game. Atlético should have been awarded a penalty a couple of minutes later after a foul on Nuha from behind by Enrique, after he had gone around the goalkeeper, as Atlético continued to push for a second. Samuel went on a good jinking run from deep as he brought the ball forward down the left flank, before cutting inside onto his right as he continued to sprint forwards. However, he was cynically fouled from behind by Carbonell who ended up getting a yellow card from the referee. 

Samuel managed to orchestrate another good attack after he picked out Hernández with a long and accurate pass shortly afterwards. Hernández then passed the ball to Fullana who threaded a nice pass into Shashoua down the left side of the box. Shashoua took an early shot as Craviotto came out to close him down. The ball managed to squeeze past the goalkeeper but Samuel couldn’t follow it up and his teammate Nuha could be seen asking him why he hadn’t squared the ball for the centre forward, who was in an excellent position in the centre of the box. Atlético could easily have been 3-0 up as the referee blew the whistle for a halftime a couple of minutes later. Shashoua remained on the left wing for the beginning of the second half and the teenager was involved in an early attacking move for Atlético after he received Canario’s pass inside the box. However, Shashoua couldn’t sort his feet out in time before he was intercepted by an Ontinyent defender. He was then found by Fullana down the left side of the penalty area a couple of moments later, Shashoua attempted to find the far corner of the goal from an acute angle, but an Ontinyent defender managed to block his effort with his back, as the away side survived once again. Then in the 64th minute of time came the decisive moment in the game for both Samuel and Atlético, after the Spurs loanee scored a wonderfully taken goal after he had linked up well with Nuha after the centre forward had picked the ball up near the edge of the penalty area. Nuha then poked the ball into the feet of Samuel on the edge of the six yard box. The nimble footed Shashoua took a good first touch before cleverly jinking away from Julen and clinically tucking the ball past Craviotto and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, to double Atlético’s advantage. All three of the goals in which Shashoua has been involved in for Atlético have been due to link up play with Nuha.

After celebrating wildly with the rest of his teammates the game was eventually restarted and after Nuha had conceded a penalty, Ontinyent’s David Torres pulled a goal back from the spot less than three minutes later. Shashoua managed to pick out López from a corner kick a couple of minutes later, but the fullback couldn’t get the ball under control. Samuel then whipped a cross into the danger zone which was cleared, as he continued to grow into the game. And moments later he whipped a teasing ball right across the face of the Ontinyent goal before being clattered by Ontinyent’s Albiol after attempting to win a header. Atlético continued to control the game and Shashoua’s last involvement came in stoppage time after had an effort on goal blocked by a defender on the edge of the penalty area. Although Shashoua didn’t have as much freedom down the channels as he had enjoyed in the last game against Olot due to the fact that Ontinyent were a better structured side. I thought that his positivity, graft and energy down both flanks provided the spark that the home side needed in order to overcome the opposition. Shashoua’s quick feet and willingness to take the Ontinyent fullbacks on, proved to be so crucial to the Balearicos picking up all three points as they continue their good run of form. The quick feet and balance in which he showed for his goal was excellent and the confidence he had to try that against big and experienced defenders was so refreshing to see. The teenager continues to reap the benefits of going out on loan, and with his name and picture plastered all across the local newspapers it’s safe to say that Samuel has already endeared himself to the Atlético faithful. Up next for Samuel and the Balearicos is an away game against Villarreal B, a side which Shashoua played against for Spurs’ development side last season. It is unlikely that I will be able to watch that game as I will be travelling to Derby that morning to report on our under 23’s game against the rams.

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares:

Appearances: 6

Goals: 2

Assists: 1

Spurs under 19’s versus PSV: (match preview)

Spurs under 19’s versus PSV: (match preview)

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Matt Wells under 19 side continue their own European odyssey on Wednesday afternoon, when they face PSV Eindhoven at De Herdgang stadium, in their third UEFA youth league game of the campaign. This is a crucial group game for Wells side who after having picked up draws against Inter Milan and Barcelona in their opening games, really ought to be aiming for a win against the Dutch club if they want to bolster their chances of progressing from group B. However, the Dutch side who are managed by a certain Ruud Van Nistelrooy are in my opinion the best team in the group after Spurs. Like many of the Netherlands top clubs, PSV have long been famed for their production of youth players over recent decades. And Van Nistelrooy has a talented pool of players at his disposal for this European campaign. PSV are a very technical side who play their own particular brand of attacking football, and they have are fortunate an array of talent in their side. Of which includes talented Belgian duo Sidibe and Vertessen as well as highly rated Czech defensive midfielder/defender Michal Sadilek. After putting in impressive performances against both Inter Milan and Barcelona, Wells youngsters will be feeling confident that they can overturn the Boeren tomorrow afternoon in Eindhoven. However, from what I’ve heard this is a very talented PSV side, so this could be an even greater test than the one in which we faced against Barcelona last month. I would expect a number of the players who played in our under 18’s 6-1 win over Aston Villa at the weekend to start this game, such as Dilan Markanday and Luis Binks. Whilst 16 year old Troy Parrott is likely to lead the line following his return from suspension. I’m anticipating a really exciting game of football in which both sides will be so desperate to win and on our current form it would be silly to rule us out of causing an upset. Unfortunately I cannot make tomorrow’s game and I have since found out that it is not even being televised in England. so I shall be checking the score on Flashscores throughout the afternoon! I wish all of our lads the very best of luck and I hope that they enjoy their time in Eindhoven.

My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Austin (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Binks, Brown, Bowden, Skipp, Maghoma, Roles, Parrott, Markanday.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Walcott, A.Shashoua, White, Oakley-Boothe, Bennett, Richards.

Doubtful: Brooklyn Lyons-Foster (ankle) and Jonathan Dinzeyi (leg).

Injured/unavailable: Enock Asante (leg).

Previous meeting: Spurs 4-1 (2011).

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: PSV’s Belgian centre forward Yorbe Vertessen has one goal from his opening two UEFA youth league games this campaign. The technically talented Belgian international impressed me during last summers under 17 European championships in England.

Spurs under 18’s 6-1 Aston Villa: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 6-1 Aston Villa: (match report)

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Our under 18’s made it seven wins from their opening eight league games by thrashing Aston Villa 6-1 at Hotspur Way on Saturday afternoon, to carry on the trend of winning games by at least five goals to consolidate their place at the top of the under 18 southern division. Matt Wells side went into this encounter with Villa in high spirits and with the attacking talent we had on display you would have expected us to beat the Villains, with the likes of Troy Parrott, Dilan Markanday and Rodel Richards all starting for Wells side. On one of the other pitches at the training centre a Spurs under 17/18 team were taking on Crystal Palace so I think it’s safe to assume that the likes of Pochettino and Okedina were some of our other under 18’s who were involved in that game. Although we started the game slowly we were sparked into life after Aston Villa took the lead in the 25th minute from the speedy Colin Odutayo. That was the wake up call that Wells side needed and going a goal down resulted in the young Lilywhites upping their tempo. They equalised less than two minutes later through Troy Parrott, before taking the lead for the first time in the game a couple of minutes later through Armando Shashoua. From that moment on Spurs controlled the game, the excellent Dilan Markanday made it 3-1 before halftime. And the second half like so many of our game at this level felt like a training session. We rang rings around David Hughes’s crumbling Villa side. And a late three goal blitz from Shashoua, Parrott and Binks saw Spurs record a 6-1 win over the Villa who became our sides latest victim. It was a pleasure to watch the game but I was extremely impressed with how we turned up the tempo during important stages in the game. The likes of Shashoua, Markanday and Parrott were unplayable but it’s worth mentioning that Binks and Walcott had very strong games at the back for Wells side. The players were watched on by Matt Wells grandfather, the legendary Cliff Jones who I’m sure would have been greatly impressed with the young Spurs lads performance. 

Wells opted to go for the 4-2-3-1 formation for the visit of Aston Villa. Oluwayemi retained his place in goal whilst a back four of Lyons-Foster, Walcott, Binks and White lined up in front of him. Captain Armando Shashoua (the more advanced of the two central midfielders) and Phoenix Patterson started in central midfielder, as the attacking trio of Markanday, Richards and Bennett sat behind Irishman Troy Parrott who led the line. Interestingly first year scholar Rafferty Pedder (16) started on the bench for the first time for the under 18’s. There was a poignant minutes silence held in memory of former Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis prior to kick off. Matt Wells side got the game underway as the sun shone down on the players at Hotspur Way. The first real attacking move of the game was orchestrated by Spurs following a nice passing move. It was an incisive attack which saw Patterson pass to Parrott who then passed to Richards. Richards spotted the run of Shashoua down the left side of the penalty area before quickly slipping the ball into the Spurs skipper. However, Shashoua’s resulting low effort was saved by Viljami Sinisalo who had managed to close Shashoua’s angles down. The lively Bennett curled an effort wide after cutting in from the left after receiving White’s pass a couple of moments later, before Richards took a painful clattering off of Aston Villa defender Luke Ige. Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was let off the hook shortly afterwards when he passed the ball straight to Aaron Pressley on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Pressley had an effort on goal which was blocked first by Walcott and then by White on the follow up. Spurs got caught out after playing it out from the back once again after Lyons-Foster gave the ball to Michael Tait a matter of seconds later. Tait slipped the ball into Odutayo who surged forward down the left before rifling an effort against the outside of Oluwayemi’s right hand post. Jacob Ramsey then dragged an effort well wide of the Spurs goal as the Villains started to find their feet going forwards.

And Oluwayemi was forced into making a diving save to get to Indiana Vassilev’s low effort a couple of minutes later, after Odutayo had passed the ball to him on the edge of the penalty area. Spurs responded to Villa’s attacking onslaught with a slick passing move which saw Shashoua pass to Parrott and then to Bennett out on the left wing. Bennett cut inside onto his right before finding Markanday down the right side of the box. The 17 year old tried to beat Sinisalo at his near post but his effort was deflected wide for a Tottenham corner kick. Shashoua played a quick short corner to Parrott whose low shot at goal was blocked by Ethan Patterson. Unfortunately Lyons-Foster went down injured a couple of minutes later and he was swiftly replaced by Dennis Cirkin who went to left back, whilst White switched to the other side to fill in for Lyons-Foster. Bennett went on a surging run down the left wing shortly after the restart, after being fed in by Parrott. However, the wingers shot was blocked by Bradley Burton inside the Villa box. Michael Tait poked an effort narrowly wide of the Spurs goal at the other end, after getting on the end of Burton’s low cross. The game was very much an end to end affair, although Spurs did have the upper hand over the visitors. Another well worked move from Wells side saw White ping the ball out to Markanday on the right wing. The tricky winger eventually worked the ball out to Richards who was on the edge of the penalty area down the opposite side. Richards came close to opening the scoring for Spurs but his first time side footed effort flew narrowly wide of Sinisalo’s right post. A lovely move from the young Lilywhites followed as Parrott and Bennett played a clever one two which the former tried to convert from inside the box. However, the 16 year olds first time effort was stopped by the feet of the diving Sinisalo. The major turning point in the game then occurred in the 25th minute of the game after David Hughes side caught us cold down the right flank. 

Aston Villa caught us on the counter attack after they managed to work the ball out to the speedy Colin Odutayo who left White and the rest of the Spurs defenders in his wake, as he sped down the left. Odutayo continued with the ball into the Tottenham penalty area where he was met by the outrushing Oluwayemi however, the Villa winger calmly tucked the ball inside the top right hand comer of the goal, 0-1. However, the Aston Villa players had barely finished celebrating when Sinisalo was forced into picking the ball out of his own net. It was a near immediate response from Spurs. Dilan Markanday played a clever one – two with Shashoua down the right flank before the Spurs winger looked up and played a first time pass into Parrott who was in the centre of the box. And the Dubliner clinically side footed the ball past Sinisalo and into the right hand side of the goal with an excellent first time strike from seven yards out, 1-1. And things got even better for Wells side who took the lead for the first time in the game less than two minutes later through Shashoua. The move came about moments after Harvey White had tested Sinisalo with an effort from long range. J’Neil Bennett had picked the ball up on the left wing before driving forward and whipping a low cross into the danger zone which was intended for Markanday. However, Markanday failed to connect with the ball and it ended up rolling out to Shashoua who fired the ball emphatically into the top left hand corner of the goal, despite the best efforts of Sinisalo who did manage to get a hand on the ball, 2-1. Spurs were now in full control of the game and after upping their tempo they looked rejuvenated as they knocked the ball about freely. Harvey White did well to clear Vassilev’s free kick shortly after the restart, before Spurs came close to extending their lead.

Markanday’s pass across the Aston Villa goal from the right managed to pick out Cirkin who had made a run down the left side of the six yard box. However, the left backs powerful strike was well saved by Sinisalo low down. Dilan Markanday pulled off a couple more of his George Best like tricks a couple of moments later, which drew gasps from the audience as he carried the ball through the middle before shifting it out to Shashoua on the right wing. The Spurs captain looked up before picking out Richards in the box with a decent delivery but the Spurs forward nodded the ball wide of Sinisalo’s goal. Wells side had a penalty shout waived away a couple of moments later after Parrott was brought down from behind by Luke Ige in the box, after he had latched onto Markanday’s through ball. Tottenham’s attacking intensity was causing the Aston Villa defence major problems. And after Troy Parrot volleyed an effort straight down the throat of the Villa goalkeeper Sinisalo after meeting Bennett’s cross, Spurs extended their lead through the influential Markanday. It was a superb goal from the inform 17 year old who had been picked out down the right flank by a nice lofted pass from Shashoua. Markanday cut inside his man as he tricked his way towards the edge of the penalty area before unleashing an unstoppable low thunderbolt into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 3-1. Troy Parrott got taken out by Ige before firing an effort wide from distance shortly afterwards. After exchanging passes with Markanday down the right side of the pitch, Aston Villa could not deal with the explosiveness of the Spurs attack. The tenacious Malachi Walcott then made an important defensive intervention right on the stroke of half time to intercept Odutayo, after the winger had received Pressley’s pass on the edge of the penalty area. Following the Villa centre forwards weaving run around both White and Cirkin.

The visitors got the second half underway and Aston Villa started it positively and almost pulled a goal back immediately after the restart. After Vassilev had skinned White down the left wing, the American whipped a teasing ball into the Spurs box which was almost bundled into his own goal by Cirkin but for a smart stop from the alert Oluwayemi. Wells side then went straight on the offensive and came close to catching the Villa defence out, after Richards embarked on a surging low run through the middle, before passing the ball to Parrott on the edge of the box. Parrott turned his man well before giving the ball back to Richards who could only poke it wide of the mark. Tait’s menacing cross just deceived Pressley inside the Tottenham penalty area moments later, as the game started to pick up even more pace as Villa started to attack more. The razor sharp Troy Parrott came very close to putting the game to bed a couple of minutes later, after a well worked move from the young Lilywhites which started off with Bennett out on the left wing. Bennett passed to Shashoua who picked out Markanday on the right wing with a nice crisp pass. Markanday crossed for Parrott in the Spurs box, but the Irishman’s first time effort was jabbed onto Sinisalo’s left hand post, before Parrott had a penalty claim dismissed seconds later, after being brought down from behind by a Villa defender. Parrott came close to scoring again five minutes later after he was picked out by Bennett in the six yard box. Parrott swivelled around Ethan Patterson before forcing a save out of Sinisalo at his near post. The 16 year old centre forward was getting really involved in the game during the second half.  Harvey White blazed an effort into orbit on the half volley moments later before Richards forced a stunning save out of Sinisalo after latching onto Shashoua’s cross at the back post however, the Spurs forward was flagged offside. Pressley then tested Oluwayemi at the other end with a powerful low effort after having cut inside onto his left foot from the right flank. 

The frantic pace of the game continued and after Harvey White was able to find Bennett at the far post inside the Aston Villa box. The Tottenham winger nodded narrowly wide of goal as Spurs continued to push for a fourth goal to really put the game to bed. Aston Villa came close to pulling a goal back a mere minute after Bennett had headed wide. After Cirkin lost possession to Ramsey the midfielder fed the ball into Odutayo down the right side of the penalty area. The winger sped forwards before clipping the outside of Oluwayemi’s near post thanks to a vital block from Binks. And the Tottenham defender was involved at the other end after Bennett had won a free kick on the edge of the Aston Villa penalty area. Patterson’s resulting delivery was met by Binks who had made a terrific leap before powering a header over the bar. Then in the 71st minute of time Matt Wells side finally ended any hope of an Aston Villa comeback by netting their fourth goal of the game. The goal came from another excellent attacking move which started with Cirkin who passed to Shashoua and then to Markanday and to Bennett. Bennett slipped the ball into Richards whose shot was blocked in the box. However, Shashoua managed to pick the ball up before weaving his way around two Villa defenders and rifling the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 4-1. Rafferty Pedder came off the bench shortly afterwards to make his under 18 debut when he replaced Richards. The 16 year old had a decent cross cleared by Charlie McConnachie seconds after entering the pitch, before J’Neil Bennett had a deflected effort saved by Sinisalo. Ramsey did White for pace down the left a couple of minutes later before finding Odutayo down the right hand side of the box. Odutayo controlled the ball before firing it into the side netting of Oluwayemi’s goal. Troy Parrott then had a low effort saved by Sinisalo after receiving Shashoua’s pass down the right side of the penalty area, before Bennett was replaced by Rayan Clarke with 11 minutes of normal time remaining.

Markanday drew a low save from Sinisalo after being found by Shashoua on the edge of the Aston Villa box, before Clarke fired an effort into the side netting after being played in by Pedder through the middle. Unsurprisingly Spurs netted their fifth goal shortly after, which started straight from the back after Binks found Clarke who quickly released the ball into the path of the newly introduced Pedder. The Maidstone born midfielder went on a jinking forward run down the left side of the box before firing an effort straight at Sinisalo. The ball came back up in the air to Parrot who sent a clever looping header over the helpless Aston Villa goalkeeper and into the back of the net, 5-1. The potent midfielder then forced Patterson to clear his dangerous cross shortly after the restart. And the Lilywhites wrapped the game up with a sixth goal in the 89th minute of time. After Patterson had whipped a corner in from the left there was a lot of scrapping going on inside the box. However, the ball was eventually picked up by Shashoua down the left side of the box. The Spurs skipper looked up before chipping the ball across to the unmarked Binks who powered a header past Sinisalo from the centre of the box, 6-1. Matt Wells sides sheer class had totally overwhelmed the Aston Villa defence and this had caused some of their players to get frustrated during the latter stages of the game. Ireland youth international Tyreik Wright had clearly let the score line get to his head and after inflicting a nasty late challenge on White, he claimed his innocence to the referee before inflicting a similarly nasty challenge on Shashoua moments later as he tried to wind up the pair by claiming that he hadn’t touched them! However, the final whistle was sounded a couple of seconds later by the referee to bring an end to another brilliant game of football involving this richly talented Spurs side. Top of the table Tottenham Hotspur don’t play again until the third of November, when they travel to New Malden for a London derby against Fulham.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The 17 year old didn’t have an awful lot to deal with on the day. However, he did make two decent stops and impressed me with his leadership skills and ability to deal so comfortably with set pieces.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Despite looking nice and assured at right back during the opening stages of the game, sadly the 17 year old went off with what appeared to be an ankle injury early on in the first half. I really do hope that it was only precautionary.
  • Malachi Walcott: Walcott returned from injury to put in a strong performance at right centre half. The 16 year old was very solid and composed under pressure and like his slightly older teammate Binks he read the game to perfection, and was dominant in the air against a decent Aston Villa attack.
  • Luis Binks: Like Walcott, Binks had a very solid game at centre half. He was both assured and composed, and he anticipated danger well. The Scotland youth international was also dominant in the air and once again he put in a very impressive performance at centre half. Luis capped off a fine performance with a late goal which was his second of the season.
  • Harvey White: The inform and versatile midfielder started the game off at left back, but after Lyons-Foster was forced off through injury early on in the first half, White was forced to switch to right back following the introduction of Cirkin. The 17 year olds versatility and adaptability to the full back role meant that he slotted in seamlessly. And although he did get done for pace by the speedy Colin Odutayo on quite a few occasions, I thought that he did a very good job on the whole. He was solid and impressed me with his Ogilvie-esque one on one defending. In addition, White would often drift into the centre of the park to help both Patterson and Shashoua out defensively. The teenager from Maidstone also made some nice accurate passes down the lines and whilst it be may seem funny to say, I thought that we missed his excellent passing range from the central areas of the pitch. It’s also worth noting that White did ever so well to keep his cool with Tyreik Wright during the latter stages of the game after his nasty and painful challenge on the Spurs man, and his later irritating comments.
  • Phoenix Patterson: It was quite strange to watch Patterson essentially operate as a holding midfielder in the game against Aston Villa. I had seen him play in central midfield before but he was a lot more advanced. Whereas, on Saturday he was essentially doing Jamie Bowden’s job in the holding midfield role. His quick feet and agility helped him out on quite a few occasions, but all in all I thought that he slotted in well to that position and did a sterling job.
  • Armando Shashoua: My motm, see below.
  • Dilan Markanday: The tricky right winger had another excellent game for Matt Wells side and the 17 year old was directly involved in two of our goals. With his many jinking runs down the right flank (particularly after the 35th minute) and dazzling skills, Markanday gave McConnachie a really tricky game with his unpredictable running style. Markanday’s goal right on the stroke of halftime was a thing of beauty and was executed with such class. Surely it cannot be long until he is plying his trade regularly with the development side. 
  • Rodel Richards: After making a short cameo against Leicester’s under 23 side the previous afternoon. Richards started against Aston Villa as a number ten and he had a decent game against the Villains, particularly in the first half. His movement in and behind Parrott was very good and he could often be seen lurking on the edge of the six yard box. The 18 year old came close to finding the back of a net on a couple of occasions during the first half.
  • J’Neil Bennett: It was by no means his best game out on the left wing however, the 16 year olds positive running and eagerness to run at Aston Villa right back Bradley Burton helped to create numerous openings for Spurs. He wasn’t as electric as he has been in recent games but I thought he did well out on that left side. Bennett got the assist for Armando Shashoua’s first goal of the game.
  • Troy Parrott: The Dubliner has adapted to life in the under 18’s with real ease since joining the club full time in the summer. And the teenager from Summerhill, Dublin topped off another excellent performance for Wells side by netting a well deserved brace. Extremely hardworking and more then willing to drop deep and help out his teammates at the back, Parrott was a constant goal threat and his razor sharp movement in the box and well timed runs through the middle made life easier for the likes of Bennett and Markanday. Parrott’s first of the game was a really clinical finish whilst his second was more of an instinctive poachers goal. I noticed that Burnett went over to the Dubliner at the end of the game and put his arm around him to congratulate him on his performance. The 16 year old is now our under 18’s top scorer this season with seven goals from just four games. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him included in the under 23 side which faces Derby at Pride Park on Sunday.
  • Dennis Cirkin: Cirkin entered the game early on in the first half after replacing the injured Lyons-Foster. Cirkin did a good job at left back and defended solidly against Vassilev. 
  • Rafferty Pedder: The first year scholar had an exciting late cameo after coming on in the 74th minute to replace Richards in the number ten role. Pedder injected real energy into the game and he was the creative spark which Wells side needed in order to see off the game. The speedy Pedder went on some nice runs through the middle and whipped some good crosses into the danger zone. He also got the assist for Parrott’s second of the game after he forced a save out of Sinisalo. I look forward to seeing more of him over the coming games.
  • Rayan Clarke: It was only a fleeting cameo for the left winger who did manage to have two shots on goal during his short time on the pitch.

My man of the match: Armando Shashoua. Our under 18’s captain fantastic, was instrumental in our 6-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. The 17 year old ran the show from the centre of midfield, he was our most creative and influential player on the day. Shashoua’s superb performance resulted in him getting two goals and assists to his name, to carry on his rich vein of form for Matt Wells side. His movement and reading of the game was second to none, he was the main orchestrator within the Spurs side. With his deftly accurate passing (I cannot recall a single misplaced pass!) and vision, Shashoua roamed around the park like a young David Silva. He carried the ball so well and looked so strong and composed with it at his feet. He dribbled extremely well and was able to link defence with attack throughout the game. The hardworking midfielders first goal of the game was a clinical finish from eight yards out, whilst his second came about after he picked the ball up on the edge of the box before wonderfully weaving his way around two Villa defenders and firing into the back of the net. The 17 year olds two assists were equally impressive particularly the one to set up Binks for our sixth of the game. He was such a joy to watch, and as always I paid a close eye on his off the ball movement and I was impressed with his many intelligent runs off the shoulders of Aston Villa defenders. It’s also worth noting that he was a real leader within the team and never let the Villa players wind him up. Shashoua has now been directly involved in 11 of our under 18’s goals this season.

Spurs: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Lyons-Foster (Cirkin 17), White, Patterson, Walcott, Binks, Markanday, A Shashoua (c), Parrott, Richards (Pedder 74), Bennett (Clarke 79). Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 7

J’Neil Bennett – 5

Dilan Markanday – 5

Rayan Clarke – 4

Armando Shashoua – 4

Harvey White – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Rodel Richards – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Assists: Armando Shashoua – 7

Harvey White – 7

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Troy Parrott – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dilan Markanday – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Paris Maghoma – 1

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Luis Binks – 1

Rodel Richards – 1

Rayan Clarke – 1

Dennis Cirkin – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 3

Spurs under 23’s 1-0 Leicester City: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-0 Leicester City: (match report)

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Our under 23’s put in a spirited performance against a strong Leicester City outfit which included experienced first team players Danny Simpson and Andy King (both premier league winners), at Hotspur Way on Friday afternoon. Wayne Burnett’s side dug deep and managed to survive an attacking onslaught from the foxes in the first half to record an impressive 1-0 win over Leicester, courtesy of a superb late winner from the ever impressive Jack Roles. It was a much changed side to the one which had thrashed Gillingham 4-0 in the Checkatrade trophy ten days earlier. Kazaiah Sterling returned from injury to lead the line for Spurs, whilst 17 year old midfielder Jamie Bowden came in for the injured Paris Maghoma in the centre of the park, to make his PL2 debut. And after six months out with a knee injury Jamie Reynolds came off the bench in the second half to make his own PL2 debut at the age of 19. I met up with former Spurs star Eddie Clayton at the game, it was Eddie’s first ever visit to Hotspur Way and he was telling me how he couldn’t believe how different it was to his days at Cheshunt. The club took him around on a tour of the training centre and before the match John McDermott kindly invited Eddie to watch the game near to the Spurs dug out. The former inside forward was greatly impressed by how good our young lads were and in particular he picked out Jamie Bowden for praise on his PL2 debut. The 81 year old and I had a great discussion after the game and amongst other things Spurs, he was visually describing to me the time when the great Danny Blanchflower picked out Cliff Jones on the left wing with a sublime 30 yard rabona pass. What was so impressive about Burnett’s youngsters performance against Leicester on Friday was the maturity in which they showed against Steve Beaglehole’s significantly older side.

Despite being under the cosh for large periods of the game, Burnett’s side were resilient against the experienced foxes. We dealt well with the likes of Andy King and Danny Simpson whose class and experience was clear to see right from the offing. Leicester were far more direct, physical and compact than Spurs and for a large chunk of the first half they kept us in our own half. Japhet Tanganga and TJ Eyoma defended imperiously for Spurs whilst captain Brandon Austin made some key saves in the Spurs goal. However, after growing into the game more in the second half, the young Lilywhites really went for the win towards the latter stages of the game. And despite the fact that Leicester came close to taking the lead on several occasions, Spurs’ persistence paid off and after some good link up play between Roles and Sterling the former netted a classy late winner. This resulted in wild scenes of celebration from the young Spurs lads who managed to win their third game on the trot, and in doing so it meant that Burnett’s side moved up to seventh place in division one. Wayne Burnett opted to go for the 5-2-2-1 formation for our encounter with Leicester although we would later revert to the 3-4-2-1 formation after Jonathan Dinzeyi was forced off through injury at halftime. Spurs lined up with captain Brandon Austin in goal whilst a back five of Hinds, Eyoma, Tanganga, Dinzeyi and Brown sat in front of him. Jamie Bowden and Dylan Duncan manned the centre of the park, as Roles and Oakley-Boothe lined up in a diamond shape behind Kazaiah Sterling who made his long awaited return from injury to lead the line for the Lilywhites. The visitors got the game underway at Hotspur Way under the mild autumnal sun in front of a crowd of 130 spectators.

Leicester started the game sharply and their high pressing was causing Spurs a couple of problems during the early stages of the game. Centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi’s sloppy misplaced pass in the opening minutes almost got Spurs into trouble after he passed the ball straight to Danny Simpson on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. Then, a couple of minutes later Tottenham fullback Jaden Brown made an important defensive intervention after he got in front of Leicester’s Raul Uche at Brandon Austin’s near post to clear Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s dangerous corner kick, behind for another Leicester corner. Dewsbury-Hall’s resulting delivery found its way to King on the edge of the penalty area but the Wales internationals effort was blocked by Tanganga. Leicester continued their good start to the game and just a couple of minutes later the foxes came desperately close to taking the lead. The potent Andy King slipped a clever pass into Dewsbury-Hall down the right side of the penalty area, the Leicester forward took his shot early as Austin attempted to close down his angles but his shot came cannoning off of the Spurs goalkeepers crossbar. Spurs were struggling to deal with Beaglehole’s powerful side and the foxes continued to threaten the Tottenham defence. After receiving Callum Elder’s pass Tyrese Shade sped down the left flank and past Spurs right back Tariq Hinds before continuing towards the edge of the penalty area and firing a low effort narrowly wide of Austin’s near post. Jamie Bowden picked up a yellow card shortly afterwards as Burnett’s side continued to struggle to get the ball out of their own half, as Spurs continued to defend against a flurry of Leicester attacks. Alex Pascanu saw his effort from long range blocked by his own teammate Raul Uche, before Loft received the ball down the right side of the Spurs box before forcing Austin into making an easy save to deal with his scuffed effort. 

Tariq Hinds conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the Spurs penalty area a couple of minutes later, after a foul on Dewsbury-Hall. However, Andy King’s resulting effort flew straight into the Spurs wall before coming back out to the Welshman who then pumped the ball into the danger zone. Johnson attacked the ball and nodded it down to Dewsbury-Hall, but the Leicester forward was flagged offside. Burnett’s side just couldn’t get into the game and the longer that the half progressed, the more confident the visitors became. Pascanu curled an effort over from range a matter of moments before Simpson had conceded a foul on Roles right on the edge of the Leicester penalty area. Roles stood up to take the free kick and the Cypriot youth international came close to giving Spurs a surprise lead, after his curling effort was tipped behind for a corner kick by the diving Johanson who was at full stretch. Jamie Bowden’s resulting corner kick was met by TJ Eyoma at the near post, but the Spurs defender couldn’t make sufficient contact with the ball and it was eventually cleared by former Spurs man Ryan Loft. Leicester then went straight down the other end and the former Spurs man came close to scoring against his former club when he poked an effort narrowly wide of the mark, after getting on the end of Callum Elder’s cross inside the Spurs box. The tenacious Japhet Tanganga made an important block to thwart Andy King’s thumping effort a couple of minutes later, before Austin did well to save the Welshman’s resulting deflected low drive. The game was finally beginning to develop into a more even contest and whenever Spurs did enter the final third they always looked very threatening. Some nice exchanges between Duncan and Sterling created a good chance for Spurs towards the latter end of the half. A quick one two between Sterling and Duncan resulted in the former driving through the middle of the Leicester defence.

The 19 year old showed good feet as he traveled with the ball towards the edge of the penalty area, before forcing a fine save out of Johanson who prevented Sterling’s powerful effort from flying into the top left hand corner of the goal. Leicester’s Spanish winger Raul Uche dislocated his shoulder a couple of minutes later and was forced to walk off the pitch assisted by a number of medical staff. Uche was in real agony when a certain Mauricio Pochettino came running down the path leading off the pitch, to put his arm around the Spaniards head to comfort him. A scrappy spell in the game followed as both sides battled to gain control of the match. Brandon Austin made a routine save from Elder’s header after the fullback had connected with Shade’s cross in the Spurs box. Shortly after Tanganga made an excellent block at his near post to divert the newly introduced Calvin Bassey’s pacy cross away from danger. Danny Simpson tested Austin shortly afterwards when his delivery into the Spurs box was headed back to the former Man United man on the edge of the penalty area, he forced Austin into making a smart stop with his feet from his powerful low drive. And the experienced fullback found himself in another position to trouble the Spurs defence a couple of minutes later, when Andy King’s deflected free kick came out to him on the right flank. However, Simpson was unable to pick out any of his teammates inside the six yard box with his resulting cross. Beaglehole’s side continued to pressurise the Tottenham defence as we entered the final stages of the first half. Danny Simpson curled an effort wide of Austin’s goal after cutting inside from the right, before Dylan Duncan gave away a silly pass to straight to Simpson moments later. The right back immediately slipped the ball into the feet of Tyrese Shade who tested Brandon Austin with a shot from the edge of the penalty area after he had gone on a surging run down the right wing. Burnett’s side were incredibly lucky to go into halftime with the score at 0-0.

Before the second half got underway Burnett was forced into bringing off centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi who had picked up a leg injury right towards the end of the first half. Dinzeyi was replaced by left back Jamie Reynolds who had just come back from a six month injury lay off. Reynolds slotted into the left wing back role as Brown dropped down to form part of Spurs’ new back three. Oakley-Boothe began the second half by giving the ball away to Andy King who then went on a galavanting run through the middle of the park before slipping the ball into Elder down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area. TJ Eyoma came across Elder and attempted to make a sliding block however, the forward managed to get the strike away and ended up forcing an important low  diving stop out of Austin. Jaden Brown then made an excellent crunching challenge on Josh Knight to win the ball off of the Leicester defender on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Then a couple of minutes later Leicester created a good move which saw Simpson spray a long pass towards Bassey in the box. The substitute won the header and was able to nod the ball down to Tyrese Shade who ended up slicing the ball high and wide of Austin’s goal on the turn. TJ Eyoma conceded a free kick in a dangerous position shorty after he tugged his former Spurs teammate Ryan Loft, after Spurs had been caught playing it out from the back. However, the commanding Austin ordered his wall well before convincingly catching Simpson’s delivery. A somewhat directionless Spurs side continued to struggle to get the better of the foxes. Kazaiah Sterling almost managed to nick the ball off of the Leicester goalkeeper Viktor Johanson in the Swedes own box after some good pressing from the Spurs striker. Burnett’s side then managed to work a clever move after Duncan passed the ball to Hinds down the right flank, the speedy fullback managed to cut inside Elder before darting into the Leicester penalty area. However, Hinds tried to pull the ball across the face of the Leicester goal in an attempt to pick out Roles at the back post, but Simpson managed to get in front of the Spurs forward to clear the ball.

The instrumental Japhet Tanganga made another important block a couple of minutes later as the Tottenham defence continued to stand strong. And the longer the game progressed the closer Steve Beaglehole’s side came to taking the lead. And the foxes came desperately to close to breaking the deadlock after Pascanu pinged the ball into the danger zone. The Romanian managed to pick out Dewsbury-Hall in the process who was then able to flick the ball back to King whose powerful diving header struck the base of Austin’s left hand post. Both sets of players were really scrapping for the win as we entered the final stages of the game, and it was only during the latter part of the game that Spurs were finally able to find their feet going forwards. And after Japhet Tanganga won a header in the middle of the park from Johanson’s long kick up field. The Spurs defender was able to pick out Roles who exchanged passes with Oakley-Boothe down the left hand side of the pitch, before cutting inside onto his right and curling an effort against against the base of Johanson’s left hand post, from the edge of the six yard box. Jamie Bowden was able to pounce on the loose ball but the midfielder was closed down by a Leicester defender who was able to block his effort on goal. TJ Eyoma nodded wide the Londoners corner kick at the near post a couple of moments later after Hinds had won the corner, as Spurs started to see more of the ball in the final third. Before a golden chance came the young Lilywhites way after the hardworking Roles won the ball off of Loft out on the left flank before driving forwards. Roles traveled towards the byline before pulling the ball back to Duncan who had made a run into the middle of the box. Duncan should have buried the chance but instead the midfielder tried to beat Johanson with a low first time side footed effort, which the Leicester goalkeeper was able to stop relatively comfortably. However, just when it looked as if that was going to be Tottenham’s last real chance of the game, Burnett’s side caught the Leicester City defence cold a couple of minutes later and with devastating consequences for the foxes.

The decisive moment in the game came in the 87th minute of time after a well worked move from the young Lilywhites paid off. The move started with Reynolds who passed the ball to Roles in the centre of the park, Roles went on a jinking run through the middle as he skipped past Kaba-Sherif before surging forwards and shifting the ball out to Sterling on the right. Sterling did well to hold off two Leicester City defenders before squaring the ball for Roles who had made a run into the box. The nifty footed north Londoner managed to work his way around Johanson before calmly slotting the ball home, to spark scenes of jubilation amongst the Spurs players, 1-0. Rodel Richards replaced Sterling shortly afterwards and the second year scholar had a shout for a penalty shortly after being introduced for the first time at this level. After embarking on a powerful run into the Leicester penalty area, Richards was pulled to the floor by Josh Knight however, the referee was having none of the Spurs players protests. Phoenix Patterson replaced the match winner Jack Roles a couple of minutes later as Spurs tried desperately hard to fend off Leicester as we entered stoppage time. Tanganga did well to clear Conor Tee’s free kick which had even been attacked by Leicester goalkeeper Viktor Johanson in the box. And the young Swede caused a bit of a commotion after Austin came out to claim Elder’s late cross. Out of frustration Johanson had clipped Austin and was deliberately preventing him from taking a quick goal kick. This rightly infuriated the Spurs captain who had to be separated from Johanson by Duncan before the referee harshly handed out yellow cards to both goalkeepers. Thankfully the referee sounded the final whistle a couple of seconds later as the Spurs players celebrated a hard fought win against a powerful and extremely challenging Leicester side, to make it three wins on the trot for Burnett’s side. Next up for our development side is a trip to the midlands to face Derby County, next Sunday afternoon at Pride Park. I shall be at that game also.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The skipper played a real part in our 1-0 win over Leicester. Austin (19) was impressive in so many ways on Friday afternoon and the teenager was busy throughout the game, making six saves in total. Some of the saves that he made were top class particularly the ones to deny King and Loft. The quick footed England youth international was excellent in dealing with the many set pieces and crosses that came his way. And bearing in mind that he was coming up against some really physical and well built players I thought he did tremendously well. Austin’s distribution was also good, but what impressed me most of all was his leadership and confidence. He was assertive and helped out his defence on numerous occasions particularly on set pieces. The commanding goalkeeper stood for no nonsense and he rightly gave Johanson a lecture after the Swedish goalkeeper stopped him from taking an early goal kick right at the end of the game. Once I get a chance I will be writing an in-depth piece on the talented and consistent Spurs goalkeeper.
  • Tariq Hinds: Hinds defended well down the right hand side of the pitch, he moved up and down well, and managed to keep both Uche and later Elder in check for most of the game. Hinds defended tightly and made some decent runs at the other end of the pitch.
  • TJ Eyoma: Eyoma had a superb game in central defence, starting off alongside Hinds in the back five to begin with. Eyoma later played on the right side of of our back three after we changed formation. Eyoma was incredibly solid and attentive throughout the game. He read the game well and outsmarted the likes of Loft and Shade on numerous occasions. The 18 year old was strong in the air and in the challenge, and he made many important defensive interventions. It was a very mature performance from Eyoma.
  • Japhet Tanganga: My motm, see below.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: Apart from making the odd misplaced pass as Spurs played it out from the back. Like Eyoma, Dinzeyi was solid and put in a strong performance as an lcb. However, Dinzeyi sadly picked up an injury on the stroke of halftime and was replaced during the interval by Reynolds.
  • Jaden Brown: Another player who had a really strong game was Jaden Brown. First as a left back in the first half and then on the left side of the back three for the second half. Brown let very little get past him down that side of the pitch.
  • Jamie Bowden: When myself and former Spurs man Eddie Clayton talked about the game after the final whistle. Eddie singled out young Bowden for his class in the centre of midfield. The 17 year old made his PL2 debut for Spurs against Leicester on Friday, and one of our academy’s most promising youngsters didn’t look at all out of place despite coming up against the likes of Andy King in the centre of the park. As he had done against Gillingham ten days previously, Bowden was very effective in the holding midfield role. It was a very Carrick like performance from the Tottenham lad, who had such a calming influence on the game. His spacial awareness and movement across the midfield was superb. He never rushed anything or over complicated a pass. Bowden always kept things short and simple, much like a former certain Spurs player used to do. The composed 17 year old was also solid and performed his role as the midfield anchor very well, and he could often be seen snuffing out possession. Bowden took one for the team during the early stages of the game after he was given a yellow card for breaking up a dangerous Leicester attack. The teenager has made an outstanding start to the season and it’s only a matter of time before he cements his place in the development side.
  • Dylan Duncan: I thought Duncan had a decent game alongside Bowden in the centre of midfield. He was combative and hardworking, and although his passing let him down on a couple of occasions his tracking back and filing in for other players helped out the team immensely. 
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Playing alongside Roles on the right side of an attacking diamond behind Sterling. Oakley-Boothe struggled to make much of an impact on the game and would often find himself isolated and uninvolved despite his best efforts. The 18 year old did however, make some good passes particularly during the latter stages of the game.
  • Jack Roles: Whenever Burnett decides to start Roles, Spurs are a completely different side at this level. And the intelligent midfielder put in another match winning performance on Friday afternoon to continue his excellent form of late. Directly involved in all three of Tottenham’s best chances, the 19 year old looked so sharp and quick thinking against Leicester. The Cyprus youth internationals movement and awareness was first class as were the many runs he made down the left flank. After hitting the post only a couple of minutes earlier, Roles did ever so well to keep his composure to score a wonderfully taken goal a matter of moments later. He worked extremely hard throughout the game.
  • Kazaiah Sterling: It was great to see Sterling back from injury and seeing him lead the line for Burnett’s side was a major boost for the whole team. Undoubtedly rusty after spending such a long period on the sidelines, Sterling led the line well and after having appeared to have bulked up over the summer, he held the ball up well. However, it was Sterling’s energy, hard work and tracking back which proved to be so effective for Spurs. Sterling forced a top save out of Johanson in the first half before going onto set up Jack Roles late winner after holding off two Leicester defenders  out on the right flank.
  • Jamie Reynolds: After recovering from a serious knee injury earlier than expected, it was a nice surprise to see Reynolds named in the match day squad after I was told that he would be out for the entirety of this season. Reynolds slotted in well at left wing back and looked solid and composed up against the speedy Tyrese Shade. It’s also worth noting that the move leading up to our late winner was started off by Reynolds out on the left wing.
  • Rodel Richards: The 18 year old made a bright late cameo and went on a promising run into the Leicester penalty area which was unlucky not to win Spurs a penalty. 
  • Phoenix Patterson: N/A.

My man of the match: Japhet Tanganga. The 19 year old centre half was like a brick wall in the heart of the Tottenham defence, Tanganga was immense. He won every single header that came his way with his superb leap, and the England under 20 international put in one of the most heroic performances you’re ever likely to see at this level. He defended imperiously alongside Eyoma and he was extraordinarily brave, in that he would never shy away from throwing his body right in front of a Leicester shot. He kept great positioning throughout and made so many blocks, challenges and headed clearances. Tanganga‘s passing was also impressive but it was the heroic centre half’s ability to deal so well with the likes of Loft, King and Shade which secured the win for Spurs on Friday. It was the best performance that I have seen from Tanganga this year, he was absolutely immense!

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Brown, Eyoma, Tanganga, Dinzeyi (Reynolds 46), Duncan, Bowden, Sterling (Richards 88), Oakley-Boothe, Roles (Patterson 90+2). Substitute (not used): Glover.

Leicester City: Johanson, Simpson, Elder, Pascanu, Knight, Johnson (c, Kaba-Sherif 78), Shade, King, Loft (Tee 66), Dewsbury-Hall, Uche (Bassey 33). Substitutes (not used): Davies, Ramsey.

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

Goals scored: Shayon Harrison – 5

Paris Maghoma – 3

Jack Roles – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

J’Neil Bennett – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Kazaiah Sterling – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

My interview with former Spurs man Alan Dennis:

My interview with former Spurs man Alan Dennis:

Born in Somerset during the Second World War, Alan Dennis grew up in Bermondsey south London. The place where he has his earliest memories of kicking a ball around. Dennis was a talented young fullback who was a key member of a star studded Tottenham youth team during the early 1960’s. Dennis captained England schoolboys and played alongside future Spurs manager David Pleat. However, the fullback was unlucky not make the grade at Spurs during the most successful period in the clubs history. After all Dennis would have had to have dislodged internationals Ron Henry and Mel Hopkins to get into Bill Nicholson’s side. After leaving Spurs in the mid 1960’s, Alan spent the rest of his footballing career in the non league where he would go onto make a name for himself at clubs such as Cambridge City, Dover and Margate. I met up with Alan in a hotel in Kent to talk about his time at Spurs. And can I just say what an absolute pleasure it was to talk with Mr.Dennis who is a thoroughly nice and hugely knowledgable gentleman and an ardent Spurs supporter like you and I.

Questions: 

What are your earliest footballing memories?

 Alan: Going back to when I was probably 11 and I played for my school, and in those days I was an inside right. However, I can’t really remember much about the games. I had a cousin whose name was Dennis Burnett and he went onto play for West Ham’s youth team and first team. And then after he left them he went onto play for Millwall and Brighton. When we were both very young, the two of us would often go over to the park and make two goals, and play football against one another.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Alan: My earliest memory was when I was 14 and playing for Kent schools and my headmaster a Mr.Ing was a Tottenham supporter. In them days I was lucky enough as a 14 year old to be picked for Kent under 15’s, and the scouts at that particular time came round and asked the players to join a certain club, and in my case it was Tottenham Hotspur. I used to go to training at Tottenham when I was 14 twice a week and that’s where I met Eddie Clayton for the first time. That’s my first recollection of Tottenham Hotspur.

What were your first impressions of the club? 

Alan: Big! It was an enormous club but at 14 I just took everything in my stride. 

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Alan: It was fantastic, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world I loved every minute of it, everything about it. And now when I look back I can’t believe I can’t believe it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they? 

Alan: I suppose all of the first team players at Spurs but there were so many great players and they were all internationals in the first team at that particular time. It was such a fantastic team.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs when you were a young up and coming fullback?

Alan: When I first went to Tottenham after playing for Kent and London schoolboys I realised straight away that I wasn’t one of the best players there. So I looked up to all the other players and thought how good they all were, but I suppose I would have looked up to fullbacks, being a fullback myself. I thought crikey I’ve got to do something here to make the grade, Ron Henry and Mel Hopkins at that time, and Peter Baker was on the other side. They were all great players, so for me to get into the first team I would have had to have been really, really exceptional.

What was it like as a youth player to train alongside the double winning team of 1960-61 and to witness their successes first hand?

Alan: They were something to be admired and I looked up to every single one of them great players. They were also really, really nice people and even though I was only a youngster the majority of them would always have the time of day for you. 

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Alan: The one which really stands out is saving a certain goal from Jimmy Greaves and I’m going back to the opening game of the season, which used to be between the first team and the reserves. I was in the reserves and in the first half I was marking Cliff Jones and then in the second half I was marking Derek Possee. One instance that I can actually remember is when Jimmy Greaves was put through on goal with just our goalkeeper Johnny Hollowbread to beat to score a goal. I came round the back of Johnny Hollowbread and stood on the goal line. Jimmy Greaves went round Johnny Hollowbread and tried to slot it into my left hand side. However, fortunately I was able to stick out my left leg and stop the ball on the goal line and then kick it off for a throw in. That’s probably one of my greatest moments of playing against the first team. 

How about for the youth team?

Alan: One of them was against Chelsea in an FA youth cup game and I was marking somebody by the name of Albert Murray. We were drawing 0-0 and then they got a goal because our goalkeeper had his clearance blocked back into his goal to make it 1-0. However, on that particular night I can remember having a really, really good game. So that would be one of my favourite moments from youth team football.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Alan: The greatest moment I supposed was being captain of England schoolboys on six occasions. I played at Wembley and didn’t lose one game, we drew one and won five I think, so that was my greatest time in football.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Alan: There were so many great players I suppose with the likes of Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay and John White. All of the first team players were such great players, they really were. They did the double so they must have been great players. We had Cliff Jones, Danny Blanchflower who was an absolute gentleman and all the other first team players, but what I liked about it as a youngster was that that they had all the time of day for you. None of them were too big that they didn’t talk to you. They were all really nice fellows.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs and what prompted you to leave the Lilywhites in the first place?

I suppose I left Tottenham because I didn’t make the grade as I probably wasn’t quite good enough to make the first team. So after being at Tottenham for about four or five years I can remember Bill Nicholson calling me into the office and saying that they were going to release me. I was as sick as a parrot,I must admit that I was choked. After Spurs I linked up with Tony Marchi (the manager) at Cambridge City. When I first went there I wasn’t going to be a regular first choice fullback, but luckily enough I can remember the opening game of the season was against Coventry City in a friendly. I was marking a Welsh international called Ronnie Rees, and I had a really good game and from that moment on I was in the first team. After Cambridge I managed to go to Dover who were in the same league and were roughly of the same quality. Again, they were a very good team and I really enjoyed it there before I went to Margate. However, I had picked up a knee injury whilst at Cambridge and that knee gradually became worse and worse. And eventually I had to have a cartilage operation and that finished me. I still carried on playing but in the end I just packed it in although I did also go to Ramsgate in the southern league. I had a knee joint put in because of it.

Who was the toughest winger that you ever came up against?

Alan: Although at Spurs I had played against Terry Medwin, Jimmy Greaves, Cliff Jones and Terry Dyson in training. One of the hardest wingers that I faced was in the southern league with Cambridge City in a game against Romford. They had a winger called Saunders and he was a little chap who was very, very very fast, but he was also very tough. As much as I tackled him hard he used to tackle me back harder, so he was probably one of the hardest wingers that I had to play against.

What was Danny Blanchflower and Bill Nicholson like?

Alan: Bill Nicholson wasn’t one of them people that you wanted to be on the wrong side of. He was very straight forward but you didn’t want to upset him and as a youngster I was a little bit nervous of him. I was frightened to do things wrong, so that was my impression of Bill Nicholson. Whereas Danny Blanchflower was a gentleman a lovely, lovely person and a very gentle person too. He was also a fantastic footballer who read the game inside out and I couldn’t say enough about him!

How do you look back on your time as a footballer and was there anything that you wish you’d have done differently?

Alan: Looking back now I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, I loved every minute of it. The only thing I would have liked to have tried harder at was when I was at Tottenham because looking back now I wish that perhaps I should have tried harder, but then in hindsight you don’t know. However, I’d have loved to have made the grade at Spurs but I always look back there with fondness.

What would your advice be to the young Spurs fullbacks of today as they look to make their way in the game?

Alan: Just try you hardest. You can’t do no more that and if you know deep down that you’ve tried your hardest then that’s all you can do. It’s the same as everything in life and that’s the same thing I say to my grandchildren now as they come up to do their exams. 

We had a brilliant youth side during the 1960’s what do you think that was down to?

Alan: I’m not so sure that we had a brilliant youth side at Spurs, the teams to beat were always Chelsea and Arsenal but I’m not sure that we were the best. We had a decent team but we weren’t the best.

Whilst at Cambridge City you played under former Spurs man Tony Marchi. What was he like to play under?

Alan: The first two seasons were very good and then we had a not so good run and things didn’t go too well. So the least said the better I think.

Could you describe to me what Tottenham Hotspur still means to you today after all these years?

Alan: I suppose their the first team I look for every Saturday, I’m always looking them up to see what the score was. There the team that I support and always will support.

Do you ever go back to watch them much?

Alan: I’ve been back a couple of times but since I’ve got older things like the crowds and parking the car are all too much.

Are you still in contact with any of your old Spurs teammates?

Alan: No, not at all.

How did it feel to captain the three lions at schoolboy level?

Alan: It was fantastic and the proudest moment was leading the team out at Wembley. I was very fortunate.

 

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Spurs under 23’s versus Leicester City: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Leicester City: (match preview) 

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Our under 23’s return to PL2 action on Friday after the recent international break, when they face Leicester City at Hotspur Way. Wayne Burnett’s development side will be on a high after they recorded a hugely impressive 4-0 victory over Gillingham in the Checkatrade trophy last week. And Burnett’s side albeit slightly altered to the one that beat Gillingham, will be feeling confident that they can overturn Leicester City at Hotspur Way on Friday, to make it three wins on the trot. Steve Beaglehole’s Leicester City side mounted a serious charge for the division one title last season, and they came close to pulling it off but for a late dip in form which resulted in them finishing the 2017/18 season in third place. However, the foxes have started this season well, and after picking up three wins from their opening seven league games they find themselves sitting pretty healthily in fourth place. That being said, Leicester have fielded a number of first team players during these games, something which they also did last season. The likes of Shinji Okazaki, Andy King and Turkish international Caglar Soyuncu are just some of the experienced players who they have fielded this season. Beaglehole’s side also has some talented youngsters in their ranks, of which includes defensive midfielder Hamza Choudury, forward Layton Ndukwu and fullback Darnell Johnson. Burnett’s side contested two hugely contrasting league games with the foxes last season. The first was a fiercely competitive 1-1 draw at Hotspur Way back in the autumn of 2017. Whilst the reverse fixture up in Leicester was anything but competitive. Despite taking an early lead through Keanan Bennetts, Spurs seemed to fall apart after taking the lead. The dismissal of midfield duo George Marsh and Oliver Skipp in the second half didn’t help matters. And Spurs suffered their biggest defeat of the season, losing 6-1 at Holmes park.

Like their first team Leicester don’t play attractive football by any means however, Beaglehole’s side are effective in how they do play. One thing which has stood out to me over recent seasons is how strong their midfield is. And I think who ever comes off strongest in the middle of the park during Fridays game, will decide who edges the contest. Burnett’s side responded well to being thrashed 6-0 at Goodison Park by Everton last month, and they have since recorded comprehensive wins over both Blackburn Rovers and Gillingham in their last two outings. What makes both of these wins so impressive is the fact that we are missing so many of the experienced members of our our side to injury. And with the likes of Shayon Harrison and Luke Amos all missing for Fridays game, Spurs will have to rely on the younger members of the side, such as midfielder Paris Maghoma who has been in outstanding form for the development side so far this season. With Oliver Skipp recently making up the numbers for the first team after Pochettino’s recent injury crisis, and the likes of Anthony Georgiou and Kazaiah Sterling having missed recent games due to injury. Burnett will once again be relying on the inform Jack Roles and Paris Maghoma to help fire his side to victory on Friday afternoon. I will be at Hotspur Way reporting on this Fridays PL2 game, and my in-depth match report will be out by the following day.

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Austin, Dinzeyi, Tanganga, Binks, Hinds, Duncan, Marsh (c), Brown, Maghoma, Oakley-Boothe, Roles.

Subs from: Freeman, Lyons-Foster, Eyoma, Richards, Sterling.

Injured/unavailable: Luke Amos, Shayon Harrison, Jamie Reynolds and Jonathan De Bie.

Doubtful: Tashan Oakley-Boothe (injury), Anthony Georgiou (injury), Kazaiah Sterling (injury), Shilow Tracey (injury), Troy Parrott (possible fatigue after completing three full matches for Ireland over the past week), Alfie Whiteman (possible first team involvement) and Oliver Skipp (possible first team involvement).

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-6. 

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Ryan Loft is a name in which all followers of the Spurs youth set up will be familiar with. The 21 year old centre forward left Spurs upon the expiration of his contract in June after progressing through the ranks at Spurs, before going onto become a regular member of both their under 18 and development side. Loft is a typical burly target man whose lack of technique and mobility perhaps let him down after he stepped up to the Lilywhites development side. After some not so fruitful loans to Stevenage and Exeter City over recent seasons, Loft signed for Leicester on a two year contract in the summer. And the former Ebbsfleet schoolboy has started the season well for the foxes, and he recently scored a brace against Fleetwood in the Checkatrade trophy.

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