Spurs under 18’s versus Millwall: (match preview)
On Monday evening our high flying under 18 side will face Millwall at the Den in the third round of the prestigious FA youth cup. This is arguably Matt Wells sides biggest game of the season so far. League leaders Tottenham Hotspur have one of their most talented under 18 sides in a generation and I truly believe that we can go all the way in the competition this season, and win it for the first time since 1990. Unbeaten in all competitions this season under head coach Matt Wells, our under 18’s have been in outstanding form since the domestic season started back in August. Monday nights game is their penultimate match of 2018 and it is one in which the club will be desperate to win. Our opponents on Monday are a category two academy side and they are not a team that we would ever meet at this level during the league season. Managed by our former player Chris Perry the ‘ Lions ’ under 18’s play their football in the under 18 professional development league south. And the south London club have been in good form this season and they occupy second spot in the league table. Of the 15 competitive games that Millwall’s under 18’s have played this season, Chris Perry’s side have won seven, drawn four and lost four. The ‘ Lions ’ have also scored more goals than any other side in the under 18 professional development league south (39). Whilst I haven’t seen Millwall play at this level before and don’t know an awful lot about their under 18’s, I have been doing my research. Millwall’s star player is centre forward George Alexander the son of their former first team player Graham. Alexander is the south London clubs top scorer at under 18 level this season and I have highlighted him below as their main danger man. In addition to the highly rated George Alexander, Millwall also have a former England under 16 international in their team in defender Rob Strachan. Other players to watch out for on Monday evening are midfielder Sam Skeffington and forward Jay Barton. In Millwall’s last match the ‘ Lions ’ defeated Colchester United 7-0 in a league game.
There is of course quite a big gulf in quality between the two sides, and on paper Matt Wells unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur should run out comfortable winners when these teams meet. However, this is a cup game which is being played at Millwall’s ground in front of what could be a decent number of people. Despite having home advantage Millwall are by all accounts a good under 18 team who have good history in this competition, and they’ll be looking to unsettle our young lads. In terms of technical ability our lads will have the upper hand. They will also be the fitter of the two teams and I’m sure that will show over the course of the 90 minutes. Matt Wells does however, have a number of players out injured, with the likes of J’Neil Bennett and Phoenix Patterson all missing for Monday’s big game. To put the FA youth cup into context it is the most important of all the youth competitions and it is one in which Spurs will always try their utmost to win. I would imagine that Matt Wells and his coaching staff will select a very strong team for our trip south of the river. Hopefully some of the more experienced players will feature such as Troy Parrott and Paris Maghoma. I said before the season started that this will be the season when we get our hands back on the famous trophy. We have a squad that is full of talent and on our day we can school the Chelsea’s and the Manchester City’s of this level and I still stand by my prediction. The winners of Monday’s tie will face Arsenal away in the fourth round. I will be reporting on Monday’s cup tie from the Den and my match report will be published by Wednesday at the very latest. I wish Matt Wells side all the very best of luck for our cup game against Millwall on Monday.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Tainio, Okedina, Binks, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Markanday, Maghoma, Richards, Parrott.
Subs from: Kurylowicz, Lyons-Foster, Cooper, Clarke, Thorpe.
Injured/unavailable: Phoenix Patterson, J’Neil Bennett, Malachi Walcott, Enock Asante, Jeremie Mukendi.
Previous meeting: N/A.
My score prediction: Spurs 4-1.
My one to watch: Millwall’s top scorer at under 18 level this season is centre forward George Alexander. The second year scholar has scored 13 goals for Millwall’s under 18’s this season. Alexander has also found the net on one occasion for the clubs under 23 side. The young Millwall striker scored 19 goals for Millwall’s under 18’s during his first year of scholarship. He is a player that the Spurs defence will have to be wary of.
A message of support to our lads from 1974 FA youth cup winner and Tottenham fan Ian Cranstone: “ I wish the Spurs lads of 2018 all the best and I hope that they go far in the competition. Winning a cup stays with you for life so it’s always going to be memorable and it’s always something that you can look back on with pride. ”