Spurs under 18’s 4-0 Fulham: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 4-0 Fulham: (match report)

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Our under 18’s took on London rivals Fulham on Saturday morning at Hotspur Way, for what was another important league match for John McDermott’s title challenging side. Once again the wonder boys of Hotspur Way put in an outstanding team performance, as they picked apart a very well structured and disciplined Fulham side, by playing their passing game to great effect. McDermott’s side which was missing a whole host of important players such as Harvey White and J’Neil Bennett, managed the game extremely well. Centre halves Luis Binks and Malachi Walcott were impressive at the back, while goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi made a number of important stops. However, it was the fluidity of our play and the energy in which we played with, which proved to be far too much for Colin Omogbehin’s Fulham side on the day. Particularly during the second half which we dominated from start to finish. The ‘ Cottagers ‘ started the match well and Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was forced into making a hugely important early save to deny Timmy Abraham. John McDermott’s side played some good football during the first half but they found it difficult to break down the Fulham defence. And they had to be wary as the visitors were quick on the break. Spurs broke the deadlock eight minutes before halftime, some fancy footwork from makeshift centre forward Rayan Clarke inside the Fulham box resulted in the 17 year old winning a penalty. Spurs captain Armando Shashoua calmly stood up to take it and his low effort came off the inside of the left post before hitting Fulham goalkeeper Luca Ashby-Hammond and going into the back of the net. The young Lilywhites started the second half with even more energy and aggression, and it was our second goal of the game on 53 minutes which effectively killed the game. The alert Armando Shashoua was on hand to poke home Chay Cooper’s parried effort from inside the Fulham penalty area. After doubling their advantage Spurs took full control of the game as the Fulham defence started to crumble. A fantastic finish from Dilan Markanday on 65 minutes made it 3-0 to the Lilywhites, before substitute Elliot Thorpe came on to net his first ever goal at this level, to make it 4-0 in the 78th minute. The young Welshman capped off what was another seriously impressive performance from a seriously impressive young Tottenham team.

John McDermott’s side was much changed from last Sunday’s historic league game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation at Hotspur Way, on Saturday morning. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal while a back four of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Captain Armando Shashoua and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster partnered up in central midfield while Maurizio Pochettino and Chay Cooper started out on the flanks, either side of Dilan Markanday who played in the hole. Rayan Clarke led the line for John McDermott’s side once again. Fulham got the game underway on a gloriously sunny morning in North London. After some good early movement from both sides it was Fulham who had the first real chance of the game. After right winger Harvey Elliot had embarked on a surging forward run the 15 year old slipped the ball into the feet of Fulham striker Timmy Abraham, down the left hand side of the Tottenham penalty area. However, the alert Joshua Oluwayemi  came rushing out of his goal to close Abraham’s angles down before smartly stopping and gathering his powerful low effort on goal. A couple of minutes later Abraham received a pass from Zico Asare on the edge of the Spurs box, before dragging an effort wide of Joshua Oluwayemi’s goal. Despite a couple of decent early chances for the visitors it was Spurs who were seeing considerably more of the ball. After Dilan Markanday was given the ball by Cooper on the edge of the Fulham box, he decided to let fly on his right foot. However, our under 18’s second top scorer this season ended up firing a venomous effort wide of Luca Ashby-Hammond’s goal. After Jubril Okedina had passed the ball to Markanday down the right hand side of the Fulham box, the skilful Spurs forward attempted to cut the ball back across goal in the hope of picking out Rayan Clarke however, the ball was cut out and cleared by Fulham defender Zico Asare. A good move from the visitors resulted in Harvey Elliot threading the ball into Sonny Hilton down the right side of the Spurs box. Hilton cut inside onto his left foot before trying to pass the ball to Abraham, but Okedina managed to clear it in time.

Assertive Tottenham defender Luis Binks did well to cut out Cody Drameh’s pass before it set Timmy Abraham through on goal. At the other end of the pitch the skilful Dilan Markanday did well to win a free kick right on the edge of the Fulham penalty area. Luis Binks’ resulting effort failed to test Ashby-Hammond and his powerful effort ended up flying over the Fulham goalkeepers crossbar. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to claim a corner kick from Ryan De Havilland before Spurs broke forward down the other end of the pitch. After Maxwell Statham passed the ball to Armando Shashoua, he surged forward before giving the ball back to Statham who had overlapped Shashoua, before bursting down the left side of the Fulham box. The fullbacks resulting low effort was held relatively comfortably by Fulham goalkeeper Luca Ashby-Hammond. After coming inside from the right flank Dilan Markanday attempted to beat Ashby-Hammond with a low curling effort on goal however, the Fulham goalkeeper was equal to it and he made a decent save. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had a whipped low cross into the Fulham penalty area cleared by Zico Asare, before Maurizio Pochettino had a cross cleared behind for a corner kick by Connor McAvoy. Dilan Markanday’s resulting delivery was almost met by Malachi Walcott inside the penalty area but he appeared to have his shirt tugged by Cody Drameh. However, Walcott’s subsequent appeals for a penalty were rubbished by the referee. A key moment in the game occurred shortly afterwards when Rayan Clarke was brought down unlawfully inside the Fulham penalty area. After receiving Maxwell Statham’s pass down the left side of the Fulham box, Clarke tried to take on Fulham defender Cody Drameh. After doing a couple of step overs Clarke attempted to cut inside Drameh, and it was then that the Fulham fullback stuck out a leg to bring Clarke to the ground, giving the referee no other choice but to point to the penalty spot. Captain Armando Shashoua cooly stood up to take the resulting spot kick. Shashoua’s low curling effort came off of the inside of Ashby-Hammond’s right hand post before cruelly striking the Fulham goalkeeper and going into the back of the net much to the delight of Armando Shashoua, 1-0. 

Luis Binks went on a darting run through the middle of the park before blasting an effort over Luca Ashby-Hammond’s crossbar from long range. That was to be the final piece of action from the first half. John McDermott’s side got the second half underway. After Maurizio Pochettino had managed to control Luis Binks’ pass out on the right flank, the Spurs winger whipped the ball into the danger zone but it was cleared behind for a corner kick by Zico Asare. Dilan Markanday’s resulting delivery came to Lyons-Foster at Ashby-Hammond’s near post. The defenders volleyed effort on goal struck the hand of Zico Asare before falling kindly for Luis Binks. However, the Spurs defender was excellently closed down by Ashby-Hammond who did ever so well to save his powerful, resulting effort on goal. The ball then fell to Clarke who attempted to get a shot away but it was cleared in time by Fulham defender Connor McAvoy. Armando Shashoua had an effort on goal blocked by Asare inside the Fulham box shortly afterwards. After latching onto Connor McAvoy’s long pass out on the right flank the skilful Harvey Elliot cut inside onto his left foot before firing an effort on goal. His powerful strike stung the palms of Joshua Oluwayemi who made an important save. Luca Ashby Hammond was forced to tip behind a menacing cross from Armando Shashoua as Luis Binks was lurking behind the Fulham goalkeeper. Malachi Walcott glanced Dilan Markanday’s resulting corner kick across the face of the Fulham goal. A fantastic forward pass from Binks to Shashoua on the edge of the Fulham box resulted in the Spurs captain shifting the ball out to Chay Cooper down the left side of the Fulham box. Cooper’s first time curling effort was only parried by Ashby-Hammond and Armando Shashoua was alive to the loose ball. The Spurs captain managed to get to the ball before Ashby-Hammond to poke it past the Fulham goalkeeper and into the back of the goal, 2-0. Jubril Okedina then made a good sliding challenge on Fabio Carvalho on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area to thwart a dangerous Fulham attack.

After Armando Shashoua passed the ball to Dilan Markanday the attacking midfielder sprinted through the middle of the park where he did well to hold off Fulham defender Idris Odutayo. He then attempted to thread a pass through to Clarke inside the Fulham box however, it was cut out by Asare who eventually cleared the ball. After Fabio Carvalho did well to pick out Fulham substitute Jean Pierre Tiehi the Fulham striker managed to turn around before eventually getting his shot away but it was blocked by the sliding Malachi Walcott. A couple of minutes later Armando Shashoua received the ball from Chay Cooper, Shashoua then curled an effort narrowly over Ashby-Hammond’s crossbar from over 25 yards out from goal. After Markanday passed the ball to Pochettino he shifted the ball out to Cooper on the left flank. The first year scholar came inside onto his right foot before curling an effort at goal, which Ashby-Hammond managed to gather. Spurs put the game to bed in the 65th minute of the game after Dilan Markanday emphatically made it 3-0 to the young Lilywhites. The goal was completely of Markanday’s own making, after he had managed to win the ball off of Idris Odutayo down the right flank, the 17 year old cut inside onto his left foot before continuing towards the edge of the Fulham box and rifling an unstoppable effort past Ashby-Hammond and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 3-0. John McDermott made his first change of the game shortly afterwards when he brought off Armando Shashoua for schoolboy Michael Craig. After being picked out by Fabio Carvalho inside the Spurs box substitute Showkat Ali Tahir attempted to head the ball into the back of Oluwayemi’s goal however, it was heading well wide of the goal when the decisive Luis Binks decided to get in front of Oluwayemi to clear the ball. Malachi Walcott did well to clear Fabio Carvalho’s cross before the same player managed to thread the ball down the right side of the Spurs box to Cody Drameh. The Fulham fullback was met by the outrushing Oluwayemi who managed to keep out Drameh’s low effort even if he ended up hurting himself in the process. Jean Pierre Tiehi nodded over Ryan De Havilland’s cross before Rayan Clarke attempted to dance his way into the Fulham penalty area down the other end of the pitch. 

After picking up Jubril Okedina’s pass down the right flank, Rayan Clarke cut inside onto his left foot, before dribbling his way into the Fulham penalty area where he was eventually intercepted by Sonny Hilton. Elliot Thorpe replaced Chay Cooper shortly afterwards, as McDermott’s side continued to dominate the game. Spurs should have been awarded their second penalty of the game after Cody Drameh fouled Rayan Clarke down the left side of the Fulham box, without getting any of the ball. The referee decided to take no further action. A good move resulted in Craig passing the ball to Thorpe he then gave the ball to Lyons-Foster down the left side of the Fulham box, but he ended up firing the ball across the face of Ashby-Hammond’s goal, and the Fulham goalkeeper ended up managing to gather the ball. Spurs made it 4-0 in the 78th minute through substitute Elliot Thorpe. Another good move led to the goal, after Clarke passed the ball to Craig down the left wing the Scotland under 17 international whipped a delightful ball into the penalty area, where he managed to pick out Thorpe at the back post. The 18 year old managed to just guide the ball past Ashby-Hammond and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 4-0. Thorpe celebrated his first ever competitive goal at this level, emphatically. Rafferty Pedder replaced Dilan Markanday shortly afterwards and it didn’t take the 16 year old long before he touched the ball. After being found by Binks down the right side of the Fulham penalty area Pedder flashed the ball dangerously, across the face of Ashby-Hammond’s goal. After receiving Malachi Walcott’s lofted pass out on the left flank, Pedder then knocked the ball down to Clarke who gave the ball back to Pedder down the left hand side of the box. However, the midfielder ended up firing the ball into the side netting. Luis Binks did well to clear Ryan De Havilland’s cross. De Havilland then managed to force a save out of Joshua Oluwayemi after he headed Cody Drameh’s cross straight at the Spurs goalkeeper, who was able to hold the ball.

The referee blew the final whistle a couple of seconds later to bring an end to another dominant Tottenham win. Once again McDermott’s young side were fantastic from start to finish. Everything from their defending to their passing and game management was of the highest quality. Spurs remain one point behind league leaders Arsenal in the table after the ‘ Gunners ‘ beat Swansea 8-0 on Saturday. We face Arsenal on Tuesday afternoon at their Colney training ground, in what could prove to be a deciding match. However, Spurs do still have a game in hand against Chelsea to look forward to. 

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The 17 year old shot stopper had a really good game on Saturday. Oluwayemi impressed in his all round game especially in how he dealt with corner kicks and set pieces. However, the second year scholar made four important saves including a massive one to keep out Timmy Abraham so early on in the game. Had Abraham had managed to score that then it would have been an entirely different game of football. 
  • Jubril Okedina: It was another rock solid performance from the 18 year old at right back. The South Londoner defended extremely well against dangerous left winger Fabio Carvalho who he managed to nullify for the entirety of the game. Okedina played with a lot of a confidence about him, and his decision making as well as his reading of the game was very impressive.
  • Malachi Walcott: The right sided centre half put in a strong defensive performance alongside Luis Binks. Walcott made many important blocks, interceptions, challenges and clearances on Saturday and he always managed to get himself into good defensive positions. The England under 17 international made an very important sliding block to deny an almost certain goal for Jean Pierre Tiehi during the second half.
  • Luis Binks: My motm, see below.
  • Maxwell Statham: Like the rest of the defenders Maxwell Statham had a very solid game in the unfamiliar position of left back against Fulham. Statham managed to keep the skilful Harvey Elliot in check for large periods of Saturday’s game. Statham stayed deep and he defended with aplomb. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: It was interesting to see the second year scholar start in central midfield for our under 18’s. Lyons-Foster operated as a CDM alongside Shashoua and the ball playing centre half slotted into the anchorman role with such ease. The 18 year old did a really good job at breaking up play and keeping things moving in the middle of the park. The amount of challenges that he won was seriously impressive. Lyons-Foster would play the final moments of the game at centre half after he switched positions with Malachi Walcott. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The Spurs captain had a tremendous influence on Saturday’s game from central midfield. The tireless midfielder put in a fantastic shift for John McDermott’s side and he managed to impact the game at both ends of the pitch. Shashoua helped to open up the Fulham defence with his driving forward runs and excellent dribbling, he also helped Lyons-Foster to break up play and recycle possession. However, it was the 18 year olds involvement in two of our goals which will get him a lot of the plaudits. Although it would go down as an own goal, Shashoua did well to tuck away his first half penalty before then showing the awareness to poke home a second goal during the second half. Armando has been directly involved in 19 goals for our under 18 side this season!
  • Maurizio Pochettino: Another player who had an excellent game today was right winger Maurizio Pochettino. On his 18th birthday Pochettino put in one of his best performances of the season for our under 18‘s. The second year scholar caused numerous problems for Fulham’s right back Cody Drameh with his many mazy runs and impressive close ball control. Pochettino played with real flair and he created some good chances for his teammates, while also tracking back well after himself. 
  • Dilan Markanday: The 17 year old had another lively game as a CAM against Fulham, where he chipped in with a goal. Markanday’s clever jinking runs through the middle of the pitch helped to open up the ‘ Cottagers ‘ defence. Markanday’s movement was impressive and he managed to get himself into some good goalscoring positions. Markanday’s fantastic second half strike makes him our under 18’s joint top scorer this season with 12 goals. The North Londoner continues to come up with moments of magic when it matters.
  • Chay Cooper: This was a rare start for the first year scholar who completed  75 minutes of Saturday’s game out on the left wing. Cooper made a positive contribution to the game and one thing he always managed to do well was create space for himself out on the left wing. Cooper went on some positive attacking forays and he whipped some good crosses into the danger zone. He also managed to test Luca Ashby-Hammond on a number of occasions and he got the assist for Armando Shashoua’s second half goal, after the Fulham goalkeeper could only parry Cooper’s shot on goal.
  • Rayan Clarke: The 17 year old led the line well despite his lack of experience playing as a centre forward. Clarke’s movement was good and I thought that he held the ball up well. He also did well to win us a penalty in the first half and after he switched out onto the left wing during the latter stages of the game he posed much more of an offensive threat.
  • Michael Craig: On only his second ever appearance for our under 18’s the schoolboy and Scotland under 17 international impressed me once again during his second half cameo. Craig showed good vision during his time on the pitch and his passing was nice and crisp. The midfielder did well to assist Elliot Thorpe’s late goal after sending a lovely cross into the Fulham box for Thorpe to latch onto.
  • Elliot Thorpe: It was an eventful 15 midfielder cameo for the technically gifted midfielder who operated as a CAM during his time on the pitch. Thorpe linked up well with the forwards and he showed good off the ball movement which was rewarded with him scoring a late header. That was the 18 year olds first ever competitive goal for Spurs at this level. 
  • Rafferty Pedder: The 16 year old came off the bench to make only his fifth appearance for John McDermott’s side this season. The central midfielder had a bright albeit brief late cameo, where he did catch my eye. Pedder went on one good darting run through the middle of the park and he also came close to scoring a goal after he fired the ball into the side netting late on. He is a very fast player who has a good low centre of gravity.

My man of the match: 17 year old Luis Binks was once again my man of the match after he put in another sterling performance at LCB for our inform under 18 side. This was another extremely impressive performance from the England under 18 international, and his qualities not only as a defender but as a leader really stood out on the day. Binks marshalled the back four by example and like his partner at centre half Malachi Walcott, Binks’ positioning and decision making was second to none. The Gillingham born defender defended well against two good centre forwards in Timmy Abraham and Jean Pierre Tiehi. He was dominant in the air, committed in the challenge but above all else Luis Binks took charge of the Spurs defence, and his confidence and defensive nous played a big part in us overcoming Fulham on Saturday. Apart from all of his important defensive interventions and blocks and challenges, it was Binks’ excellent passing through the middle of the pitch which was perhaps his greatest contribution to the game. He pinged some excellent passes out to Maurizio Pochettino on the right flank and an excellent defence splitting pass from the 17 year old helped to create our second goal of the game. It was an excellent all round performance from the first year scholar.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Statham, Lyons-Foster, Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Shashoua (C) (Craig 68), Clarke, Markanday (Pedder 79), Cooper (Thorpe 75). Substitutes (not used): De Bie.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

Dilan Markanday – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  9

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 7

Rodel Richards – 5

Harvey White – 5

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 12

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Dilan Markanday – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Chay Cooper – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 7

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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

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

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After the ecstasy of last Sunday’s historic league match against Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, John McDermott’s title challenging side will return to reality on Saturday morning when they take on London rivals Fulham at Hotspur Way. The whole experience of last Sunday will stay with our young players for the rest of their careers, and it should give them a huge boost going into the remaining five league games of the season. McDermott’s side have a busy schedule coming up and after Saturday’s game against Fulham the side will turn their attentions to a massive North London Derby with Arsenal on Tuesday. However, before the wonder boys of Hotspur Way can even begin to think about that game they will have to try and overcome Colin Omogbehin’s talented Fulham side. Our undefeated under 18 team had quite a fright when we played the ‘ Cottagers ‘ in the reverse fixture, last November. A very well structured Fulham team came very close to inflicting our first league defeat of the season, but for some late heroics from our goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi. I personally thought that Omogbehin’s team were technically one of the best that we have come up against this season. Defensively speaking they were very difficult to break down on the day and they used the width of the pitch well to stretch our defence. However, the West London clubs league form since we last played them has been anything but impressive. Fulham occupy seventh place in the league table, having picked up 24 points from the 18 league games that they have played this season. The ‘ Cottagers ‘ away form has been particularly poor and Omogbehin’s side have picked up just seven points from their nine away matches in the league. Fulham do have a number of talented young players in their under 18 side, of which includes centre forward and their top scorer this season with seven goals Terry Ablade. Skilful winger Harvey Elliott is another one of Fulham’s danger men along with attacking midfielder Sonny Hilton and winger Fabio Carvalho. Another player worth mentioning is Fulham’s captain and commanding centre half Scott Armsworth.

I think that Saturday mornings match will be a tough one for John McDermott’s side regardless of Fulham’s recent poor form. However, if our young lads manage to start the game with the same energy and positivity which they started the Southampton game with, then they are in with a fighting chance of continuing their excellent league form to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal. I would like to wish our lads all the very best of luck for Saturday’s important game. I am hoping that we will see some important players return from injury to play in Saturday’s London Derby. My in-depth match report will be published on Sunday. 

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Okedina, Walcott, Binks, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Bennett, Markanday, Clarke, Whittaker.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Statham, Thorpe, Pochettino, Patterson.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio.

Doubtful: Jamie Bowden, Phoenix Patterson, Enoch Asante, Troy Parrott, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: 1-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 5-1.

My one to watch: The ‘ Cottagers ‘ promising winger Harvey Elliott (15) made national news earlier on in the season, after he became the youngest ever player to feature for their first team. The Fulham schoolboy came off the bench to appear in a league cup game against Millwall. The England under 17 international is a very skilful left footed winger who has a good burst of pace and low centre of gravity about him. The tricky wide man has scored five goals for Fulham’s under 18 side so far this season and he is a player that the Spurs defence will have to be wary of.

Spurs under 18’s 3-1 Southampton: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-1 Southampton: (match report)

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A very historic under 18 game took place on Sunday afternoon in North London, when Tottenham Hotspur’s under 18 side hosted Southampton in a league game, in what was the first ever match to be played at Spurs’ brand new 62,000 seater stadium. Not only was it a massive day for all of our under 18’s, it was also a must win game for John McDermott’s title chasing side, who were only four points behind league leaders Arsenal going into Sunday’s match. Everything about Sunday afternoon was special. Walking into our state of the art new home, the walk down Tottenham High road, watching a football match for the very first time at the new stadium, and the sheer enormity of the stadium quite simply took the Spurs fans breath away from them. It was a glorious day in the history of our football club in so many ways, and for our under 18 squad it was a day which none of them will ever forget. This exceptionally talented side were the talk of Tottenham for one day with over 28,000 Spurs supporters turning out to watch the stars of tomorrow take to one of the finest stages in European football for the grand opening of the new White Hart Lane. Our undefeated under 18 side certainly rose to the occasion on Sunday afternoon and they didn’t let the pressure of the day get to them. John McDermott fielded a strong side for Sunday’s important league fixture with Oliver Skipp, Harvey White and J’Neil Bennett all included in the starting 11 to face Southampton. Spurs’ passing game suited the slick pitch at the new stadium, the size of the pitch also helped wide men J’Neil Bennett and Dilan Markanday to influence the game. Spurs rose to the occasion and they were able to play their passing game to great effect against a ‘ Saints ‘ side who were missing a number of important players. McDermott’s side started the game well and the wonder boys of Hotspur Way played with a good energy about them. After impressing during the opening stages of the match Spurs took the lead after just 11 minutes through J’Neil Bennett. The first year scholar made history by becoming the first ever player to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The 17 year old caught out Southampton goalkeeper Jack Bycroft after he came inside from the left wing, before curling an unstoppable effort into the far corner of his goal. 

After J’Neil Bennett’s opener Spurs grew in confidence, and they were starting to overwhelm Southampton particularly in the centre of the park, through the dominant midfield pairing of Oliver Skipp and Harvey White. John McDermott’s side continued to grow in confidence as the game went on and the crowd became noisier. The lively Dilan Markanday managed to win a penalty kick for Spurs in the 20th minute of time after being fouled by Southampton’s James Morris inside the Southampton penalty area. The typically assured Harvey White stepped up to clinically tuck the ball past Bycroft from the resulting spot kick. Spurs continued to create chances during the remainder of the half but they were unable to extend their lead over a Southampton side who had barely entered the Tottenham half. John McDermott’s side didn’t start the second half with the same aggression which they had ended the first half with. The young ‘ Lilywhites‘ ‘ football wasn’t as fluent and this allowed Southampton to get back into the game. One such sloppy error resulted in the visitors pulling a goal back on 62 minutes through Kornelius Hansen. However, McDermott’s side regrouped well and they created a number of good chances which they should have put away. Fortunately for Spurs the alert Dilan Markanday secured all three points for Tottenham, after he was on hand to slot home Harvey White’s parried effort in the 77th minute of the game. Spurs comfortably saw out the remaining minutes of the match to record a hugely important and iconic win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. After the final whistle had went the young Spurs players including those who had missed Sunday’s game to injury came out onto the pitch to take in the atmosphere, and saviour the moment. Every single one of our under 18’s did the club extremely proud on Sunday afternoon. John McDermott’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Sunday’s historic match. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal while a back four of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Harvey White and Oliver Skipp partnered up in central midfield as Dilan Markanday and J’Neil operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM and Tottenham captain Armando Shashoua. In the absence of any recognised strikers Rayan Clarke led the line for the first time this season. 

After walking out into the bowl of our world class new home to the booming sound of the Tottenham supporters, it was John McDermott’s side who got the game underway on a sunny afternoon in North London. Spurs started the game brightly and they didn’t appear to be letting the occasion get the better of them. After Dilan Markanday had managed to win a free kick right on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, set piece specialist Harvey White prepared to take it. And the 17 year old midfielder forced the first save of the game from Southampton goalkeeper Jack Bycroft. White managed to get his curling effort up and over the wall but it was saved by Bycroft who managed to hold onto the ball before it flew into the top left hand corner of the goal. Spurs continued to play with a good energy about them as they knocked the ball around the park freely. A free kick delivery into the Southampton penalty area, from Harvey White was cleared away by Kayne Ramsay. Spurs came close to taking the lead a couple of moments later. After Okedina had passed the ball to Markanday down the right wing he cut inside onto his left foot before picking out the unmarked Shashoua in the middle of the Southampton box, with an inch perfect cross. The Tottenham captain tried his luck first time with a looping header however, it flew narrowly over Jack Bycroft’s crossbar. Southampton had barely gotten out of their own half and McDermott’s sides stranglehold on the game was causing them a lot of problems. Winger J’Neil Bennett went into the Tottenham Hotspur history books after he netted the first ever goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, to give Spurs the lead in the 11th minute of the match. After Oliver Skipp had passed the ball to Bennett on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, the former QPR schoolboy cut inside onto his right foot, before curling a wonderful effort past Jack Bycroft and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. It’s fair to say that Bennett and the Spurs supporters enjoyed the goal and after the ball hit the back of the net, a deafening roar ran out through the stadium. Spurs were in full control of the game. After Kayne Ramsey gave the ball straight to Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Southampton box, the tricky Spurs winger surged forward through the middle before curling an effort towards the bottom left hand corner of Bycroft’s goal. However, Markanday’s fine, curling effort was impressively tipped onto the post by the diving Southampton goalkeeper, before it went behind for a Spurs corner kick.

Spurs continued to move the ball around the pitch well and by each passing minute John McDermott’s side grew in confidence. After a slightly sloppy pass from J’Neil Bennett was well kept in by Markanday out on the right flank, the Spurs winger came across goal, and he took the ball into the Southampton box where he was faced by James Morris. Markanday managed to go around Morris courtesy of a sublime piece of skill, knowing that he was in trouble Morris decided to tug Markanday from behind. The second year scholar fell to the floor and the referee Craig Pullen pointed to the penalty spot without any hesitation. The ice cool Harvey White stood up to calmly convert from the resulting penalty kick. The Spurs midfielder clinically slotted the ball past Bycroft who dived the wrong way, and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to spark further scenes of jubilation on the terraces, 2-0. Shortly after the restart, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to cut out former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean’s lofted pass towards Southampton striker Benni Smales-Braithwaite. Harvey White then did well to cut out Rio Glean’s low cross in the middle of the Spurs box before clearing the ball to safety. Spurs broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch. After J’Neil Bennett had received Harvey White’s pass on the edge of the Southampton box, Bennett had a pop on goal. However, his effort was blocked by ‘ Saints ‘ defender Dare Olufunwa. We continued to test the Southampton defence throughout the remainder of the half. After Dennis Cirkin had passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing he whipped the ball into the Southampton penalty area where he managed to pick out Shashoua who was unmarked once again. However, the Spurs captain just missed the ball and it ended up going behind for a goal kick. The defensively solid Jubril Okedina did well to make an important interception on Kornelius Hansen down the left side of the Spurs penalty area, after Southampton had caught us on the break. Malachi Walcott did well to clear Hansen’s corner kick a couple of minutes later. After Harvey White had been given the ball by Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Southampton box, he tried his luck on goal. However, his hopeful effort was blocked by Alex Jankewitz. A good passing move from John McDermott’s side resulted in Bennett passing the ball to Skipp who shifted the ball out to Shashoua on the left flank. He managed to pick out Markanday who had made a run into the Southampton box but he was intercepted by Caleb Watts. Dennis Cirkin had a cross cleared by the same player a couple of moments later. 

After latching onto Dennis Cirkin’s pass, Oliver Skipp passed the ball to Rayan Clarke who had his back to goal on the edge Southampton box. However, the makeshift centre forwards resulting effort on the turn was blocked by Dare Olufunwa, before J’Neil Bennett then blazed an effort wide on the follow up. Spurs continued to attack the struggling ‘ Saints ‘ defence. After Markanday had received White’s pass out on the right flank he decided to play the ball down the line to Okedina. The Spurs right back then curled the ball across the face of Jack Bycroft’s goal and in the end the ball was kept in by Cirkin on the opposite flank. Southampton tried to respond by using the width of the pitch to test our defence. After James Morris had received Kornelius Hansen’s pass down the left flank, the Southampton fullback whipped a low cross into the Spurs box, but it was gathered by Oluwayemi. A couple of minutes later the skilful Hansen managed to jink his way past both Okedina and White down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area before squaring the ball for Smales-Braithwaite in the middle of the box. Lyons-Foster threw himself in front of the Southampton striker and it was in fact his attempted clearance, which forced Oluwayemi into making his first save of the game to prevent the ball from going in. Spurs continued to play some wonderful one and two touch football during the remaining minutes of the first half. After Markanday received the ball from Shashoua he attempted to slip Clarke through on goal with a clever pass into the Southampton box. However, his pass had too much pace on it, and Bycroft was able to come out and smother the ball before Clarke could get to it. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to gather Rio Glean’s cross at the other end of the pitch, before Cirkin managed to pick out Markanday in the middle of the Southampton box with a clever cross from the left flank. However, Markanday’s resulting header on goal was blocked by Allan Tchaptchet who ended up hurting himself in the process, and the game was temporarily halted by the referee as Tchaptchet received treatment. Dilan Markanday came close to extending Spurs’ lead shortly before the break. After he had received Walcott’s pass on the edge of the Southampton box, he decided to cut inside onto his left foot before curling a decent effort a fraction wide of Jack Bycroft’s goal. Craig Pullen blew the whistle for half time a couple of seconds later. McDermott’s side could easily have been leading 4-0. 

Southampton got the second half underway but it was Spurs who managed to have the first shot on goal of the half. After Rayan Clarke had received Markanday’s pass on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, he decided to come inside onto his left foot before testing Bycroft with a powerful low effort, which the Southampton goalkeeper managed to gather. After embarking on a long surging run through the middle of the pitch Oliver Skipp managed to slip the ball into the feet of Markanday down the right hand side of the Southampton box. Markanday managed to cooly skip past the outrushing Jack Bycroft but he couldn’t slot the ball into the back of the goal. The 17 year olds powerful low effort was blocked on the line in superb fashion by the sliding Pascal Kpohomouh. At the other end of the pitch Malachi Walcott did well, first to clear a cross from Kornelius Hansen and then to block a shot on goal from Benni Smales-Braithwaite. Although the second half was a much more even affair, it was Spurs who were still in control of the game. After the overlapping Cirkin managed to latch onto Bennett’s pass down the left flank, the Spurs fullback decided to whip the ball into the Southampton box. His cross ended up coming to Skipp down the right side of the penalty area. Skipp cut inside onto his left foot before picking out Shashoua in the centre of the box with a nice lofted pass. However, the 18 year couldn’t manage to keep his header down and it ended up going wide of Jack Bycroft’s goal. The dominant Oliver Skipp did well to win the ball off of Jack Turner in central midfield before testing Bycroft from long range. However, the ‘ Saints ‘ goalkeeper managed to hold his effort before Southampton attacked us down the opposite end of the pitch. After Smales-Braithwaite had managed to find Hansen down the left side of the Spurs box, the Southampton winger attempted to pull the ball back across the face of the goal, but Lyons-Foster was on hand to clear it. Malachi Walcott did well to clear a dangerous low cross from Jack Turner as Spurs’ hold on the game started to slip away from them.

Paul Hardyman’s resurgent Southampton side managed to pull a goal back in the 62nd minute of the game. After Spurs had been caught out playing about with the ball inside their own half, Jack Turner managed to win possession before giving the ball to Kornelius Hansen who was in too much space, on the edge of the Spurs box. Hansen was allowed to get a shot away on goal and his powerful effort caught Oluwayemi slightly by surprise, and although the Spurs goalkeeper was able to get a hand on the ball he couldn’t prevent it from going into the back of the net, 2-1. A couple of minutes later Hansen managed to pick out Allan Tchaptchet at Oluwayemi’s back post from a corner kick. The unmarked Tchaptchet was able to head the ball across the face of the Spurs goal, but Oluwayemi came out to confidently claim the ball. Spurs had allowed Southampton to get back into the game. After being given the ball by Hansen out on the left wing, James Morris found himself in a lot of space. However, Oliver Skipp managed to track back and make a great crunching challenge to win the ball off of Morris before he could cross the ball into the penalty area. Spurs should have made it 3-1 after J’Neil Bennett had a fantastic chance to put the game to bed. After Markanday passed the ball to White, the Spurs midfielder threaded a perfectly weighted pass through to J’Neil Bennett in the Southampton box. Bennett found himself one on one with Bycroft but he didn’t have enough time to open up his body and tuck the ball around the Southampton goalkeeper. Instead Bennett tried to beat Bycroft with a first time side footed effort which ended up squirming narrowly wide of the goal. Chay Cooper was introduced shortly afterwards in place of Rayan Clarke, as Dilan Markanday moved up top to lead the line for Spurs. The Spurs striker ended up sloppily giving the ball to Southampton’s Jack Turner who ended up giving the ball to Smales-Braithwaite but his resulting cross into the Spurs box, was cleared away by Walcott. After Lyons-Foster had failed to clear Kayne Ramsay’s dangerous low cross into the Tottenham penalty area, Walcott was forced to clear the ball. A couple of moments later Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was forced into action. The second year scholar did well to beat away a powerful first time strike from Jack Turner on the edge of the Spurs box. At the opposite end of the pitch J’Neil Bennett had an effort from long range blocked by Alex Jankewitz.

Spurs finally managed to secure the win in the 77th minute of time after the potent Dilan Markanday restored Spurs’ two goal cushion. After the ball had come to Harvey White on the edge of the Spurs box, the central midfielder let fly on his left foot. His powerful effort was parried by Bycroft but only into the path of Markanday down the right hand side of the penalty area. The North Londoner took a quick touch before slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 3-1. McDermott made a double substitution shortly afterwards when he brought off Jubril Okedina and J’Neil Bennett for Maxwell Statham and Maurizio Pochettino. The latters introduction drew rapturous applause from the Spurs fans. Maxwell Statham did well to block Rio Glean’s effort inside the Spurs box. Oliver Skipp almost managed to play Chay Cooper through on goal but his pass was cut out by Southampton’s Allan Tchaptchet before Malachi Walcott managed to clear Caleb Watts’ cross at the other end of the pitch. A wayward pass from Statham came to Kornelius Hansen on the edge of the Spurs box. He slipped the ball into the feet of the newly introduced Roland Idowu down the right side of the penalty area. The Irishman had managed to cut inside Statham who had raced back to try and make a recovery. Idowu’s resulting effort on goal was superbly blocked by Malachi Walcott. Maxwell Statham then managed to head away James Morris’ cross before Walcott cleared the same players corner kick a couple of moments later.  After Chay Cooper had received Maurizio Pochettino’s pass down the left flank, the first year scholar did well to keep the ball in before driving forward all the way into the Southampton box, where he ended up curling the ball into the side netting of Jack Bycroft’s goal from an acute angle. After Jack Turner had passed the ball to Benni Smales-Braithwaite down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area, the Southampton centre forward managed to cut inside Statham before forcing a decent save out of Oluwayemi at his near post, Statham was then able to clear the ball. Smales-Braithwaite hit a late free kick into the Spurs wall before Chay Cooper made a good sliding challenge to win the ball off of Dare Olufunwa on the edge of the box. 

The referee Craig Pullen blew the final whistle shortly afterwards to bring an end to a historic game for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way. John McDermott’s side are now only one point behind league leaders Arsenal and we still have a game in hand. Up next for Spurs is a home league game against Fulham next Saturday morning at Hotspur Way.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The second year scholar had another good game for our under 18’s on Sunday when we took on Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Oluwayemi made three saves in total and he impressed me with his overall play. Oluwayemi made a couple of smart stops and he dealt well with crosses and set pieces. He was unlucky not to keep out Kornelius Hansen’s second half strike.
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old put in another solid shift for John McDermott’s side at right back. Okedina defended well against one of Southampton’s best players on the day in Kornelius Hansen. Okedina kept good positioning throughout the game and he made some timely interceptions, including an important one on Kornelius Hansen inside the Spurs penalty area during the first half. Okedina was very cool on the ball.
  • Malachi Walcott: Operating at RCB Malachi Walcott (17) put in a very solid shift against the ‘ Saints ‘. Walcott defended well throughout the match, he was dominant in the air, strong in the challenge and he made many good blocks and interceptions. The England under 17 international asserted himself well on the game and he made life difficult for Southampton striker Benni Smales-Braithwaite.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Walcott’s partner at centre back was ball playing defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. Operating at LCB the 18 year old had a very solid game albeit it against a not too threatening Southampton attack. Lyons-Foster made some important defensive interventions and overall he had a very good game. The second year scholar brought the ball out well from the back.
  • Dennis Cirkin: The attacking left back caught the eye once again by putting in a well rounded performance under testing circumstances on Sunday afternoon. Cirkin linked up really well with left winger J’Neil Bennett throughout the match. Bennett is a player who he seems to have a very good understanding with and the pair always play on the same wavelength as one another. Cirkin defended well against his old Spurs teammate (Southampton winger) Rio Glean and he rarely let the first year scholar get the better of him down that side on the pitch. The 16 year old went on some good attacking forays of his own down the left flank, but it was his defensive work which impressed me most, on the day.
  • Oliver Skipp: The most experienced member of the squad dropped down to our under 18’s for the first time on Sunday to make his first appearance for them since April 2018. Skipp put in an outstanding performance in central midfield alongside Harvey White. The 18 year old looked as if he was a man playing against boys, such was his dominance and the impact that he had on the game. Skipp controlled the midfield for the entirety of the match where he performed his duties as a midfield technician and destroyer so diligently. The second year scholar was involved in some nice passages of play for Spurs. He got the assist for J’Neil Bennett’s opener after picking out the winger with a nice pass. Skipp also managed to keep things moving in the middle of the park, and he made some superb crunching challenges and interceptions, as well as going on some excellent surging runs through the middle of the pitch. It was an excellent all round performance from one of England’s most exciting young talents.
  • Harvey White: Another player who put in a sparkling performance in central  midfield was the elegant Harvey White. The 17 year old looked very mature alongside Oliver Skipp and from both an offensive and defensive point of view he was very good. White created some good chances for the forwards, he also showed good vision and awareness. The Kent born first year scholar capped off an excellent performance by chipping in with a goal and an assist against Southampton. The tenacious midfielder cooly tucked away a first half penalty before getting the assist for Dilan Markanday’s late goal after testing Jack Bycroft with a powerful effort on goal. White also created an excellent chance for J’Neil Bennett to score a second goal after slipping the winger through on goal with a perfectly weighted pass.
  • Dilan Markanday: My motm, see below.
  • Armando Shashoua: The proud Spurs captain played in the hole on Sunday as oppose to as a CDM where he has played for most of this season. Shashoua led the team by example particularly during the second half when he dropped slightly deeper. Shashoua managed to get himself into some excellent goalscoring positions and his sharp movement almost resulted in him scoring a couple of headed goals. Shashoua’s off the ball work was very good and he helped to break up play in the middle of the park.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The first year scholar had an excellent game out on the left wing particularly during the first half when he tormented Southampton right back Kayne Ramsay. Bennett entered the Tottenham Hotspur history books after he scored the first ever goal at the new stadium after just 11 minutes of Sunday’s game. The Camden born forward curled home a lovely effort after cutting inside from the left flank. The speedy wingers unpredictably and flair made him a difficult player to defend against and he was one Spurs’ most potent players on the day. Bennett worked hard and he tracked back well after him. He will be disappointed that he couldn’t have netted a second goal in the second half, after being played through on goal by Harvey White.
  • Rayan Clarke: The 17 year old was forced to play in the unfamiliar role of centre forward due to our lack of available strikers. Clarke led the line well and he did a good job at managing to create space for himself. The second year scholar managed one shot on target during his time on the pitch.
  • Chay Cooper: Second half substitute Chay Cooper played out on the left wing for John McDermott’s side. It was a bright cameo from the skilful midfielder who went on a couple of good attacking forays down the left channel. The energetic 17 year old went on a good surging, long run, late on in the game which ended in him firing the ball into the side netting of Jack Bycroft’s goal.
  • Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old bolstered the Spurs defence after he replaced Jubril Okedina at right back late on in the game. Statham was dominant in the air during his time on the pitch.  
  • Maurizio Pochettino: It was a positive cameo appearance for Pochettino who impressed out on the right wing. He had a couple of nice touches and he made some impressive passes during his time on the pitch. He was very positive in possession and he was constantly looking to take on Southampton fullback James Morris.

My man of the match: For the second week in a row it has to go to Dilan Markanday for putting in another game changing performance. Markanday started out on the right wing against Southampton and during the first half he was one of our best players. The North Londoner made the ‘ Saints ‘ left back James Morris work hard, as he found it difficult to defend against the tricky and agile Spurs winger. After creating a fantastic early chance for Armando Shashoua to open the scoring, Markanday went on to win a penalty after cutting inside from the right wing and working his way around James Morris in the penalty area. Markanday came close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions before he netted his 11th goal of the campaign in the 77th minute of the game. The alert forward was in the right place at the right time to tuck the ball past Jack Bycroft from close range after he had spilt Harvey White’s shot. Markanday’s positioning and razor sharp movement was top class and his sheer creativity was a big factor behind our dominant performance. The 17 year olds off the ball work was also very good and he tracked back well after him to help out Okedina at right back. 

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina (Statham 78), Cirkin, Skipp, Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Markanday, White, Clarke (Cooper 71), A.Shashoua (c), Bennett (Pochettino 79). Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe.

Southampton: Bycroft, Ramsay (c), Morris, Watts (Defise 86), Olofunwa, Tchaptchet, Glean (Kpohomouh 46), Jankewitz, Smales-Braithwaite, Turner (Idowu 78), Hansen. Substitutes (not used): Wright, Cluett.

Goals: Spurs – Bennett 11, White 21 (pen), Markanday 77; Southampton – Hansen 62.

Yellow card: Southampton – Jankewitz 81.

Referee: Craig Pullen.

Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Attendance: 28,987.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

Dilan Markanday – 11

J’Neil Bennett –  9

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 6

Rodel Richards – 5

Harvey White – 5

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 11

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Dilan Markanday – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 6

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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

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

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I think that it is quite fitting that the wonder boys of Hotspur Way will be the first Spurs team to play at our state of the art stadium, when they take on Southampton’s under 18’s in a league game, on Sunday. John McDermott’s under 18 side will be preparing for the game of their lives when they take on the ‘ Saints ‘ at our brand new 62,000 seater home on Sunday afternoon. This is a historic occasion for all of those associated with Spurs however, the young players themselves must be feeling a whole different level of excitement. This is the third preview that I have written for this game. The previous two were both cancelled. Our high flying under 18’s are in a title race with bitter rivals Arsenal who are currently four points above Spurs at the summit of the southern division, having played two games more than John McDermott’s side. This game comes in the middle of an international break and both sides will be affected by this. Paul Hardyman’s Southampton side have been doing quite well of late. They sit in fourth place in the league table, and from their last five league games they have picked up ten points. They have a squad which is brimming with attacking talent and while we did beat them 5-2 in the reverse fixture back in September, Hardyman’s side showed their attacking quality during that game. With pacy forward and former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean impressing along with tricky Irish winger Will Ferry, who is unavailable for Sundays game. Technically speaking Southampton’s under 18’s have been one of the best in England over the last five or so years, and they have never been afraid to attack teams. The ‘ Saints ‘ have a number of players who I like, of which include Irish fullback Kameron Ledwidge, French centre half Allan Tchaptchet and Southampton’s top scorer this season with nine league goals, Christian Norton. However, at least two of those three players will be away on international duty, and will miss Sunday’s league game. one thing I do know is that Southampton are a well drilled side who like to play fast attacking football, and in the previous seasons they have always impressed me.

For those of you who don’t know much about of our under 18 side ahead of Sunday’s match which will be played in front of 30,000 spectators, then the following is a little introduction of the team. This seasons under 18’s has been one of the most impressive Spurs youth teams of the 21st century. Former head coach Matt Wells’ had his side playing sparkling attacking football ever since the domestic season kicked off last August. Since defeating Brighton 6-4 in our opening game, our under 18’s have impressed with their sublime brand of attacking football. A type of football which has been no different to how our first team have played when they have been at their very best this season. Not only are our under 18’s an exceptionally talented side, they are also a team who show great fighting spirit. And it is such fighting spirit which has got them to where they are in the league this season. Still unbeaten in the league after playing 16 games, our lads have conceded the fewest amount of goals this season (16) and they have also scored the joint most alongside Arsenal (64) who have played two games more than us. Although we will be missing a number of important players on Sunday due to injuries and the international break, McDermott will still have a strong squad to select from. There are so many stars in this group however, some of those to look out for on Sunday are dazzling CAM/winger Dilan Markanday, aggressive left back Dennis Cirkin, tricky Zaha-esque winger J’Neil Bennett and talented ball playing centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. However, there is one player in particular who you should all keep an eye on, on Sunday afternoon. This players name is Armando Shashoua and he is the captain and beating heart of this team. Shashoua (18) is a wonderfully technical central midfielder who always manages to influence the game at both ends of the pitch. As I have said so many times before, the second year scholar plays with the craft and skill of a player who has come through the ranks at a top Academy in Spain. To see him leading out the team on Sunday is something that will be wonderful to see.

Our match against Southampton will be no ordinary game for our under 18 side, it is a historic occasion which none of the players will have experienced anything like before in their careers. First of all this is a very important game in Spurs’ season and it is a game that they will be desperately hoping to win, and I am confident that they will do so. I would like to wish our lads all the very best of luck for what promises to be an incredible day in the clubs history. I am sure that our under 18’s will saviour every moment of the day and enjoy it just as much as all of us fans will. I cannot wait for the match!

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Okedina, Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Bennett, Markanday, Clarke, Richards.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Statham, Thorpe, Pochettino, Whittaker.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Paris Maghoma, Luis Binks, Maximus Tainio.

Doubtful: Jamie Bowden, Phoenix Patterson, Enoch Asante, Troy Parrott, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: Spurs 5-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

My one to watch: Former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean is a direct winger who likes to take on and beat players. Glean is a skilful winger who has good pace and a low centre of gravity. He impressed in the reverse fixture back in September by scoring a late goal, in total the first year scholar has scored two goals for the ‘ Saints ‘ under 18 side this season. He is certainly a player to watch out for on Sunday afternoon. 

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against S.D. Ejea:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against S.D. Ejea:

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Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou was in action for Spanish club Atlético Levante on Saturday evening when the ‘ Granotas ‘ took on S.D. Ejea in the Spanish Segunda Division B Group III. This was Georgiou’s fifth appearance for Levante’s B team, and under difficult conditions, the 22 year old put in another good performance for the third division side. The Cyprus international completed 71 minutes of Levante’s 1-0 win over Ejea on Saturday, Georgiou started the game out on the left wing as Luis Tevenet’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. It is worth noting that Ejea have an astro turf pitch at their Municipal De Ejea stadium, and this would have made life more difficult for young Georgiou out on the left flank. The Cyprus international started Saturday evenings game well and after some good, early pressing Georgiou managed to put the ball into the back of the Ejea goal, with less than three minutes on the clock. After making a good run into the Ejea penalty area Georgiou was able to meet Shaq Moore’s cross inside the danger zone before heading the ball past Ejea goalkeeper Eduardo Loscos and into the back of the net. Unfortunately for Anthony the referee had already awarded a free kick against Levante, and Georgiou’s goal would not stand. The game was pretty scrappy during the opening stages of the first half. After Anthony had received the ball out on the left flank he decided to whip a teasing ball into the Ejea penalty area. Georgiou’s cross was an excellent one, and it managed to pick out centre forward Juan Delgado. The Spaniards bullet header was spectacularly saved by the acrobatic Eduardo Loscos, before the Ejea defence managed to clear the ball away from the danger zone. A couple of minutes later Georgiou went on an excellent sprint through the middle of the pitch, all the way into the centre of the Ejea penalty area where he attempted to meet Juan Delgado’s low cross. However, it was cut out by Ejea defender Andriu before it could roll through to Georgiou. The 22 year old was playing with an energy about him which I couldn’t see from any of the other players on the pitch. He was also getting himself into some good positions out on the left flank, and in the danger zone.

After entering the Ejea penalty area the ‘ Granotas ‘ centre forward Juan Delgado tried to pick out Georgiou after he had made a run towards goal, at the back post. However, Delgado’s cross was punched away by Eduardo Loscos. The Lewisham born winger continued to have a positive influence on the game. After being given the ball by Arturo Molina out on the left wing, Georgiou tried to whip the ball into the danger zone but it was blocked by Ramón López before the ball came back to Georgiou. The young Cypriot tried his luck once more, but his resulting cross was again blocked by the tigerish López. Anthony was proving to be somewhat of a focal point on the left wing for Luis Tevenet’s side. Shortly after receiving Pepelu’s pass, Georgiou whipped the ball into the Ejea box but it was cleared away by Andriu. A couple of moments later the hard working winger tracked back some 40 yards down the left wing to successfully win the ball off of Ramón López on the edge of the Levante penalty area. Georgiou then went on a surging run down the left wing before passing the ball to Pepelu. Shortly before the end of the first half Anthony managed to control Shaq Moore’s long pass out on the left wing. Georgiou cut inside onto his right foot as he attempted to bring the ball into the Ejea box, but he was intercepted by Kevin Lacruz before he conceded a foul against the Ejea right back. That was to be Georgiou’s last involvement in the first half. Anthony managed his first effort on goal shortly after the beginning of the second half, after he managed to latch onto Pepelu’s pass down the left side of the Ejea penalty area. Georgiou managed to get the ball out of his feet before letting fly on his right foot however, his powerful low effort was saved by Eduardo Loscos who managed to keep hold of the ball. The game continued to slow down as the second half went on. After Delgado had received Manuel Viana’s pass down the right side of the Ejea box he attempted to cut the ball back to Georgiou who had made a darting run towards the back post. However, Delgado’s pass had far too much pace on it, and it ended up evading Georgiou.

Young Anthony saw very little of the ball during the remainder of his time on the pitch, and in the 71st minute of the game he was brought off by Luis Tevenet. The ‘ Granotas ‘ would go onto win the game 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Aitor Pascual in the 81st minute. Considering the poor quality of the pitch I thought that Georgiou did a very good job for Levante. Georgiou brought a lot of energy and positivity to a game which was very slow and laboured. Apart from going on some good attacking forays down the left flank, Anthony whipped some quality crosses into the danger zone. However, it was his excellent tracking back and defensive work which impressed me the most on Saturday evening. This was another impressive performance from the 22 year old who seems to have adapted well to life in southern Spain. Georgiou will miss Levante’s next game as he will be away on international duty with the Cyprus national team for their two important Euro 2020 qualifiers against San Marino and Belgium. I am hoping to be able to watch both of those games. I would like to wish Anthony all the very best of luck for both of those matches. At just 22 years of age the Lewisham born winger has already won two caps for his country!

Anthony Georgiou for Atlético Levante this season:

Appearances: 5

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Spurs under 18’s 3-0 Norwich City: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-0 Norwich City: (match report)

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Our under 18’s returned to league action on Saturday afternoon when they took on Paul Williams’ struggling Norwich City side, at their Colney training centre in Norfolk. Following the departure of our under 18’s head coach Matt Wells, Academy chief John McDermott took charge of the team on Saturday as Ryan Mason joined him in the dugout, as Spurs ran out 3-0 winners to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal. The wonder boys of Hotspur Way put in a very assured performance against the ‘ Canaries ‘ in the absence of players such as Troy Parrott, J’Neil Bennett and Rodel Richards on a day where the heavy winds made life challenging for both sides. Although it was a game that McDermott’s side would have been expected to win considering how poorly Norwich have performed in the league this season, the home side played significantly better to when we faced them in the reverse fixture at Hotspur Way, back in October. We beat Norwich 7-0 that day, completely outplaying them from the first to the final minute of the game. While this Saturday’s match wasn’t as one sided an affair, title challengers Tottenham Hotspur still did well to cut open what was a fairly solid and well structured ‘ Canaries ‘ defence. After a fairly tight opening 40 minutes, McDermott’s side took the lead shortly before halftime. The young Lilywhites most dangerous attacking player Dilan Markanday netted a superb goal after striking the ball so sweetly from the edge of the Norwich penalty area. Markanday had been a constant thorn in the Norwich defences side throughout the first half, his clever mazy forward runs through the middle of the pitch causing a number of problems for the hosts. Spurs started the second half well and they began to play a lot more fluidly as they moved the ball around the pitch faster. Spurs doubled their advantage in the 64th minute of the match after 16 year old centre forward Tarrell Whittaker had managed to win a penalty for Spurs. Our captain Armando Shashoua gave Norwich goalkeeper Daniel Barden the eyes before cooly slotting the ball home. McDermott’s side rubber stamped their victory less than four minutes later after the potent Dilan Markanday had received Shashoua’s pass on the edge of the Norwich box, before firing the ball past Daniel Barden and into the back of the Norwich goal.

Spurs appeared to lower their tempo following their third goal of the game, and this allowed Norwich to attack our defence more freely. The Tottenham defenders made some important challenges while our goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi made a number of late saves. Most notable of which was the penalty saving specialists save to deny Isak Thorvaldsson from the spot, after Malachi Walcott had given away a late penalty. It was a very assured team performance from Spurs with all of John McDermott’s side playing their part in the victory. John McDermott’s team lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for Saturday’s lunchtimes game. Joshua Oluwayemi had recovered from an injury he sustained in our 5-3 league victory over West Ham to start in goal. A back four consisting of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Captain Armando Shashoua and first year scholar Rafferty Pedder partnered up in central midfield, while Maurizio Pochettino and Rayan Clarke operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Dilan Markanday who played behind schoolboy centre forward Tarrell Whittaker. Spurs got the game underway in extremely blustery conditions at Norwich’s Colney training centre. Right back Jubril Okedina was called into action early on in the game to clear an in swinging cross from Norwich’s Atli Barkarson. At the other end of the pitch, Rayan Clarke had a deflected cross in to the Norwich danger zone claimed by the ‘ Canaries ‘ goalkeeper, Daniel Barden. Former Spurs schoolboy Anis Mehmeti attempted to lob Joshua Oluwayemi from inside the Spurs box shortly afterwards however, Mehmeti ended up clattering into his old teammate and Spurs were awarded a free kick. Malachi Walcott then made a good sliding challenge on Spanish forward Gassan Ahadme inside the Tottenham penalty area to break down a dangerous Norwich attack. It had been quite an even contest during the opening stages of the game. Makeshift left back Maxwell Statham managed to pick out Maurizio Pochettino at Daniel Barden’s cross, after putting a good delivery into the Norwich box. Pochettino managed to get to Statham’s cross but he ended up volleying it back across goal. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s pass inside the Norwich box, schoolboy centre forward Tarrell Whittaker attempted to turn and shoot however, Norwich defender Zac Dronfield managed to close him down.

Saul Milovanovic came close to setting Gassan Ahadme through on goal with a well weighted pass on the edge of the Spurs box. Fortunately for the Spurs defenders Ahadme took a heavy first touch which took the ball away from him. After Maxwell Statham had conceded a free kick out on the right flank, Norwich’s Atli Barkarson whipped the ball into the danger zone, towards Josh Martin at the back post. However, the ‘ Canaries ‘ winger could only volley the ball wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. Rayan Clarke had been lively during the early moments of the game. After winning a free kick out on the left flank the 17 year old opted to take it. Clarke pumped the ball into the danger zone where he managed to pick out centre half Malachi Walcott, who ended up volleying the ball over Daniel Barden’s crossbar, on the turn. Walcott was in action at the other end, a couple of moments later. After Anis Mehmeti had received William Hondermarck’s pass out on the right wing the Albanian youth international attempted to pick out Thorvaldsson in the centre of the Spurs box. However, his low cross was snuffed out by Walcott who cleared the ball away from the danger zone. Joshua Oluwayemi dealt comfortably with a delivery from a free kick by Josh Martin as the home side continued to grow in confidence. After Armando Shashoua had played a corner kick short to Dilan Markanday, the tricky forward whipped a menacing ball into the danger zone. His cross flashed dangerously across the face of the Norwich goal, with all of their players unable to get a head on the ball. Markanday was involved in another move a couple of moments later. The 17 year old managed to thread a pass through to Rayan Clarke down the left side of the Norwich penalty area. Clarke quickly came inside onto his right foot before firing an effort narrowly wide of Daniel Barden’s left hand post. Rayan Clarke whipped a teasing ball into the danger zone a couple of minutes later but his cross was cleared by Saul Milovanovic, before the lurking Tarrell Whittaker could get to the ball. 

Spurs came very close to taking the lead through Dilan Markanday after he tormented the Norwich defence by going on another mazy run. After latching onto Armando Shashoua’s pass down the left flank, Markanday decided to run at Ethen Vaughan. The North Londoner managed to dart past the Norwich fullback and into the penalty area, before jinking his way around Gassan Ahadme and curling the ball onto Barden’s near post from an acute angle. It would have been a spectacular goal had Markanday had managed to squeeze the ball past the Norwich goalkeeper. Paul Williams’ side tried to respond down the opposite end of the pitch. Josh Martin attempted to slip the ball into the feet of Gassan Ahadme down the left side of the Spurs box but the alert Malachi Walcott read the situation well and he managed to get in front of Ahadme in time to cut out the attack. The heavily involved Markanday managed to win the ball off of Ahadme down the left flank before darting forward and eventually entering the Norwich penalty area. It was there that Markanday tried to square the ball to Whittaker however, the young striker ended up completely missing the ball and a glorious chance went to waste. The schoolboy tried to make amends after he brought the ball into the Norwich box from the right wing shortly afterwards, but he ended up dragging an effort well wide of Daniel Barden’s goal, before Luis Binks blazed an effort wide of the Norwich goal from long range. Spurs’ fortune changed in the 40th minute of the match after the best player on the pitch gave Spurs the lead. It was a nice move which led to the goal. Pochettino passed the ball to Clarke out on the left flank, he then passed the ball to Markanday who was waiting on the edge of the Norwich box. Markanday took a touch before firing an unstoppable, swerving effort past Daniel Barden and into the top right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. John McDermott’s side tried to get a second before the half was up, after receiving Markanday’s pass out on the left flank, Clarke whipped the ball into the danger zone but it was cleared away by Atli Barkarson. The referee Mark Ames sounded his whistle for half time a couple of moments later.

Norwich got the second half underway as the strong winds continued to cause havoc for both sets of players. After receiving Josh Martin’s pass out on the left wing, Atli Barkarson whipped a teasing cross across the face of Oluwayemi’s goal. An excellent surging run from Armando Shashoua shortly afterwards saw the Spurs captain race through the middle of the park before eventually shifting the ball out to Clarke on the left flank. The pacy forward got the ball out of his feet quickly before rifling an effort across Daniel Barden’s goal, it flew a fraction wide of the mark. John McDermott’s side were now in control of the game and they were playing some nice fluid football. After pulling off a lovely piece of skill Markanday slipped the ball into the feet of Clarke who had made a run down the left side of the Norwich box. Clarke had only Barden to beat but his powerful low effort was saved by the legs of the Norwich goalkeeper. The ball then came out to the off balanced Maxwell Statham, who fired the ball into the side netting. After winning a free kick, Rayan Clarke decided to play it short to Rafferty Pedder on the edge of the Norwich penalty area. However, the midfielders resulting effort on goal was blocked by William Hondermarck. Spurs continued to test the ‘ Canaries ‘ defence, and after Maurizio Pochettino had won a free kick on the edge of the Norwich box, John McDermott’s side came desperately close to doubling their advantage. Markanday stood up to take the free kick, he curled the ball towards the far post where he managed to pick out the unmarked Jubril Okedina. The Spurs defender tried to direct his header into the bottom right hand corner of the goal however, it lacked power and it ended up coming to Rayan Clarke who was only three yards out from goal. However, the inform winger was unable to keep his effort down and it ended up cannoning off of Daniel Barden’s crossbar, much to everyone’s disbelief. The ball ended up coming out to the edge of the Norwich box where it was picked up by Spurs’ Luis Binks. However, the England under 18 internationals powerful effort was blocked by Andrew Omobamidele.

After managing to win the ball in the centre of the park Spurs captain Armando Shashoua was able to pick out the run of Maurizio Pochettino, down the right hand side of the Norwich box. The 17 year old winger was met by the outrushing Daniel Barden who was able to keep out his poked effort at goal. A couple of minutes later the referee Mark Ames awarded Spurs a penalty kick after young Tarrell Whittaker has been barged off the ball by Andrew Omobamidele, inside the Norwich penalty area. The young Lilywhites skipper Armando Shashoua stood up to take the resulting spot kick. The typically cool midfielder gave Norwich goalkeeper Daniel Barden the eyes before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-0. John McDermott made a double change shortly afterwards as he brought off Rafferty Pedder and Tarrell Whittaker for Nile John and Chay Cooper. Spurs essentially put the game to bed in the 68th minute of time, after the ever impressive Dilan Markanday further extended Spurs’ lead by netting his second goal of the game. The goal was created by Spurs captain Armando Shashoua after the 18 year old had managed to pick out Markanday on the edge of the Norwich danger zone, with a clever lofted pass from the left flank. Markanday came across onto his left foot before firing a low effort towards the bottom right hand corner of Daniel Barden’s goal. The ‘ Canaries ‘ goalkeeper managed to get a significant hand on the ball but he couldn’t prevent it from hitting the back of the net, 3-0. Spurs were playing some wonderful one and two touch football during the second half and McDermott’s side showed no signs that they were going to lower their tempo. Shortly after the restart Spurs went on another dangerous attack, this time it resulted in Armando Shashoua playing the ball into the feet of Pochettino down the right side of the Norwich penalty area. The ‘ Canaries ‘ midfielder William Hondermarck managed to make an important interception but he ended up sloppily passing the ball straight to Rayan Clarke on the edge of the box. Fortunately for the Norwich midfielder Clarke’s resulting effort on the turn, was kept out Barden who made a smart save.

Elliot Thorpe replaced Spurs’ man of the match Dilan Markanday shortly afterwards as McDermott’s side started to lower their tempo. Malachi Walcott did well to clear a dangerous cross from Atli Barkarson before the same player pumped a good ball into the Spurs box from a corner kick. Oluwayemi was initially unable to gather the ball and it ended up coming to Isak Thorvaldsson at the back post. The Icelandic youth international volleyed the ball up into the air and Oluwayemi was then able to claim it. Substitute Chay Cooper rolled the ball down the left wing to Elliot Thorpe who raced forward before firing the ball over Daniel Barden’s crossbar from a tight angle on the edge of the penalty area. Maxwell Statham managed to clear a free kick from Atli Barkarson at the other end of the pitch before Joshua Oluwayemi made his first save of the game, to deny Anis Mehmeti’s curling effort from long range. Luis Binks was on hand to clear Barkarson’s dangerous cross into the Spurs box, before being able to block a cross from Gassan Ahadme. The ball then ended up coming to Thorvaldsson on the edge of the box, but once again Binks was there to block his effort on goal. After Thorvaldsson had received Mehmeti’s pass down the left side of the Spurs box, after Walcott had failed to clear the ball initially the 17 year old panicked and he ended up tripping Thorvaldsson to concede a late penalty kick. Gassan Ahadme stood up to take the resulting spot kick however, the Norwich forward was unable to beat penalty saving specialist Joshua Oluwayemi who dived to his right to deny Ahadme’s curling effort, before then smothering the ball before he could get to it. After Nile John had been give the ball by Pochettino, he managed to skilfully turn his way around Zac Dronfield before darting into the Norwich penalty area. It was there that the England under 16 international let fly, his powerful low effort was parried by Barden into the path of Thorpe but he couldn’t convert, and the Welshman’s poked effort was saved by the Norwich City goalkeeper. Paul Williams’ side broke forward down the left flank, and after Mehmeti had played a one two with Thorvaldsson down the left side of the Spurs box he was met by the outrushing Oluwayemi, who managed to keep out his powerful low effort with his feet. 

Poor Armando Shashoua ended the game in great pain after he bravely blocked Isak Thorvaldsson’s stinging effort on the edge of the Spurs box. The Norwich forwards shot had hit Shashoua in a very sensitive part of his body before Anis Mehmeti fired wide, and Shashoua was forced to go off the pitch to recover, before he bravely soldiered on to complete the remainder of the match. Schoolboy Nile John blazed an effort over Daniel Barden’s crossbar in second half stoppage time, that was to be the final piece of action from the game. This was another impressive performance from title chasers Spurs, who managed to outplay Norwich on the day with John McDermott’s young side able to play their passing game to great effect, while also defending well throughout the match. Spurs remain four points behind Arsenal in the league table but we still have two games in hand. Up next for our high flying under 18’s is a historic league match against Southampton at the new White Hart Lane next Sunday. I cannot wait for that match!

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The second year scholar put in another impressive performance for our under 18’s, making three important stops against Norwich on Saturday. Oluwayemi kept his sixth clean sheet of the season for Spurs and once again his performance was faultless. The former England youth international did a good job at dealing with set pieces and crosses, and I thought that he read the game well. Joshua made his fifth save from the spot of this season to deny Gassan Ahadme before making an impressive save with his feet late on in the game, to deny Anis Mehmeti from a one on one position.
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old put in a really strong performance at right back against Norwich, where he defended solidly against their left winger. This was another classy performance from Okedina on his 15th appearance for our under 18’s this season. The Greenwich born defender defended his side of the pitch well and I felt that he read the game well and he was particularly good whenever he found himself under pressure. Okedina is so, so good on the ball and when called upon this season at right back he has been faultless for our under 18’s.
  • Malachi Walcott: Although he conceded a late penalty kick the England under 17 international impressed once again at RCB. Walcott made many important clearances, blocks and interceptions throughout the match, and alongside Luis Binks he was so effective. The 17 year old cut out many a dangerous Norwich attack. Walcott did suffer from cramp during the latter stages of the game and I did notice that he was limping about the pitch.
  • Luis Binks: It was yet another rock solid performance from one of the best left sided centre backs of his age group in the country, when we faced Norwich on Saturday. Defensively speaking I thought that Binks was outstanding. Dominant in the air and strong in the challenge, the England under 18 internationals reading of the game was superb. He also tried his luck on goal from long range on a couple of occasions. As always  Binks’ passing was top class. 
  • Maxwell Statham: Playing in the unfamiliar role of left back on Saturday afternoon, the 18 year old centre back put in a very solid shift for John McDermott’s side. Not once did I see Statham put a foot wrong against the ‘ Canaries ‘. The second year scholar stayed deep for the majority of the game and he managed to keep his former Spurs teammate Anis Mehmeti quiet down the left flank. Statham made some important blocks and clearances. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The Tottenham captain was outstanding in central midfield alongside the slightly younger Rafferty Pedder, where he put in the complete midfield performance on Saturday. Shashoua had such a positive effect on the game at both ends of the pitch. Hardworking and tenacious as a midfield anchorman, Shashoua was nice and tidy in possession and he was majestic with the ball at his feet. The Spurs skipper created some excellent chances for the forwards where he impressed me with his quick feet and excellent vision. The 18 year old also went on some good surging runs through the middle of the park which helped to open up the Norwich defence. Shashoua converted from the penalty spot during the second half before going onto set up Dilan Markanday’s third goal of the game. The intricate midfielder was like a magnet to the ball and the much more physical Norwich midfielders found it difficult to deal with his movement and clever twists and turns. After bravely blocking Isak Thorvaldsson’s powerful late shot with a sensitive part of of his body, Shashoua would have been forgiven if he had decided to skip the last few minutes of the match. However, you would have had to drag Armando off the pitch and unsurprisingly he came back on to see out the final moments of the game.
  • Rafferty Pedder: This was only the first year scholars fourth competitive appearance for our under 18 side but he looked very comfortable in central midfield for John McDermott’s team. Despite his size the 16 year old imposed himself well on the game and he helped Spurs to play through the middle of the pitch. The Maidstone born midfielder impressed with his jinking runs through the midfield, he was also aggressive and he pressed the Norwich players well. The skilful midfielders passing was nice and crisp and he moved the ball around well during his time on the pitch.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: The Barcelona born winger operated out on the right flank against Norwich. Pochettino went on some nice runs down the channel and he created some good chances. He tracked back excellently after him.
  • Dilan Markanday: My motm, see below.
  • Rayan Clarke: The inform 17 year old was one of our best players against Norwich. Clarke started the game out on the left flank where his many purposeful attacking forays caused numerous problems for Norwich right back Ethan Vaughan. Clarke was tricky and direct and he had a tendency to cut inside onto his right foot and test Daniel Barden for which he did do on a number of occasions. The second year scholar got the assist for Dilan Markanday’s opener and he went onto create some good chances from out on the left flank. He would later play up top after Tarrell Whittaker was substituted but it was out wide where he had his best effect on the game. On another day Clarke could have scored on a couple of occasions, he certainly had the chances to do so on Saturday!
  • Tarrell Whittaker: The schoolboy led the line well for McDermott’s side against some very physical Norwich defenders. Whittaker impressed with his movement inside the danger zone and he made some good runs during his time on the pitch. The 16 year olds pace did cause the Norwich defenders some problems. 
  • Chay Cooper: The 17 year old came onto replace Tarrell Whittaker during the second half although he would operate out on the left flank. Cooper went on a couple of good attacking forays and he impressed me with his passing and his skill.
  • Nile John: This was the England under 16 internationals second appearance for our under 18’s. The silky midfielder replaced Rafferty Pedder during the second half and I was impressed with how the 16 year old adapted to the game. John went on some good driving runs through the middle of the park and he wasn’t afraid to drive at the Norwich defence. In addition I thought that John was good on the ball.
  • Elliot Thorpe: The Wales under 19 international enjoyed a bright cameo appearance for Spurs after he replaced Dilan Markanday in the hole. Thorpe was very positive in possession and he came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions.

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday was the star of the show on Saturday afternoon for John McDermott’s side. The exceptionally skilful attacker singlehandedly tore the Norwich defence to shreds with his many mesmeric jinking runs through the heart of the Norwich defence. Almost impossible to dislodge while he was in possession, Markanday’s incredible skill, balance and vision stunned the spectators who were in attendance. The North Londoner scored a stunning goal to open the scoring right on the stroke of halftime, and he had come on several occasions before that to giving Spurs the lead. The second year scholar continued to be a thorn in Norwich’s side throughout the second half and his trickery was sublime. Markanday netted his second goal of the game in the 68th minute of time with a powerful low finish from the edge of the Norwich box. Markanday’s work rate, ability to weave his way around the Norwich defence and his vision for a pass was absolutely outstanding on the day. Dilan has now scored ten goals for our under 18 side this season, it is astonishing that he still hasn’t been called up to represent England at youth level. 

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Statham, A Shashoua (c), Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Pedder (Cooper 65), Whittaker (John 65), Markanday (Thorpe 70), Clarke. Substitute (not used): Kurylowicz.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

Dilan Markanday – 10

J’Neil Bennett –  8

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 6

Rodel Richards – 5

Harvey White – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 11

Armando Shashoua – 11

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Dilan Markanday – 3

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 6

Jonathan De Bie – 1

Spurs under 18’s versus Norwich City: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Norwich City: (match preview)

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Our under 18’s are in league action for the first time since the departure of their head coach Matt Wells, on Saturday afternoon. Title challengers Spurs will travel up to Norfolk to face a struggling Norwich City side, at their Colney Training Centre. This will be viewed as a must win game for Spurs who must keep up the pace with league leaders Arsenal, who have played two league games more than them. The young Lilywhites have been missing a whole host of key players to injury of late, but they still managed to win their last league game against West Ham, 5-3. Due to the fact that we don’t have any under 23 games over the coming week John McDermott’s side should have the likes of J’Neil Bennett, Dilan Markanday and Harvey White available for Saturday’s match. This will come as a massive boost for Spurs, who will be facing a Norwich City side who have conceded a staggering 54 goals in the league this season. The reverse fixture back at Hotspur Way in October, was a completely one sided affair. In fact it was one of the most one sided under 18 games that I have ever seen. We completely dominated the ‘ Canaries ‘ on that day and they were a shambles at the back. Furthermore, they offered very little in terms of any offensive threat, and our back four that day had one of the easiest games of their lives. Paul Williams’ under 18 side have struggled with their form since the season started last August, picking up only ten points from their 17 league matches this season. The struggling ‘ Canaries ‘ did manage to win their last league game, a 5-0 home win over Aston Villa, and this will give Williams’ side confidence going into Saturday’s match. Although Norwich’s under 18’s aren’t as good as they have been in recent seasons, there still have a number of players who McDermott’s side will need to be wary of. Attacking midfielder Anis Mehmeti, left winger Josh Giurgi and Norwich centre forward Kole Lambert are some of the ‘ Canaries ‘ most potent attacking players. This is a very important game for Spurs and it is one which they will be expected to win. If we start the game well on Saturday then I have no doubts that we will go onto win the match comfortably.

Notts County centre forward Kion Etete (17) featured on trial for our under 18’s in that 5-3 league win over West Ham the other week, impressing by netting two goals and assisting one. Etete was back on the bench for Notts County’s first team in midweek therefore it is unlikely that we will see him turning out for our under 18’s again in the near future. I will be making the trip up to Norwich first thing on Saturday morning to report on our league match against the ‘ Canaries ‘. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Statham, Okedina, Walcott, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Pochettino, Markanday, Clarke, Bennett.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Lyons-Foster, John, Pedder, Whittaker.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio.

Doubtful: Jamie Bowden, Phoenix Patterson, Enoch Asante, Troy Parrott, Elliot Thorpe, Rodel Richards, Joshua Oluwayemi, Paris Maghoma, Luis Binks.

Previous meeting: Spurs 7-0.

My score prediction: Spurs 6-1.

My one to watch: Former Spurs schoolboy Anis Mehmeti is now in his second year of scholarship with the ‘ Canaries ‘ after leaving Spurs in 2017. The skilful attacking midfielder caught my eye during the reverse fixture back in October. Mehmeti has scored three league goals for Paul Williams’ side so far this season.

Spurs under 19’s 0-2 FC Porto: (match report)

Spurs under 19’s 0-2 FC Porto: (match report)

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Spurs‘ European odyssey came to an end on Wednesday afternoon after they were knocked out of this seasons UEFA Youth league by Portuguese club FC Porto, in the last 16 round of the competition. It was the second consecutive season that John McDermott’s side had been eliminated from the competition by the ‘ Dragōes ‘ after they defeated us 2-0 in the quarter finals of last seasons competition. Our under 19’s were missing a number of important players for Wednesday’s big match and they didn’t have a recognised centre forward available for the game. Porto were the better team on the day, at the Centro de Treinos e Formação Desportiva – Vila Nova de Gaīa. The home side managed the game better than us on the day, they were more physical and they were also more dangerous in the final third. Although Spurs put a lot of effort into the game they just lacked the focal point of somebody like Troy Parrott up top, he and Jack Roles were missed greatly by McDermott’s side. After a good start to the first half from the home side, Spurs grew into the game as the half went on and they managed to play some decent football. Porto may have had a goal harshly ruled out for offside early on in the game however, Spurs had a glorious chance to take the lead on the stroke of halftime through J’Neil Bennett. The 17 year old was only denied by a super save from Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa. Porto were the better side during the second period, and two goals in quick succession essentially ended Spurs’ hopes of making the quarter finals. Their first goal was scored by Angel Torres in the 52nd minute of time. Spurs were unable to respond and after TJ Eyoma was robbed of possession on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area, Porto doubled their advantage through Romário Baró less than five minutes later. The remainder of the game was controlled relatively comfortably by the home side with Spurs unable to respond. Our under 19’s have given a really good account of themselves in the competition this season and they should be proud of how well they performed to get out of what was a very tough group, to even get to this stage of the competition.

John McDermott’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the Portuguese club, with Spurs captain Brandon Austin starting in goal. A back four consisting of Tariq Hinds, TJ Eyoma, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Harvey White partnered up with Oliver Skipp who made a surprising start in central midfield, while Paris Maghoma and J’Neil Bennett operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Dylan Duncan who was making his first appearance in the competition this season. Tricky winger Dilan Markanday led the line for Spurs. The young Lilywhites got the game underway, on a warm afternoon in Northern Portugal. It was the home side who started the game the better of the two teams. After receiving Tomás Esteves‘ pass on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, Romário Baró hurriedly blazed an effort wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. Porto were seeing more of the ball during the opening stages of the game. After Baró had received Tomás Esteves‘ lofted pass inside the Spurs box, the Porto forward attempted to get a shot away on goal, but his effort was blocked by TJ Eyoma who had done well to close him down. Mário Fernando Magalhães Silva’s side thought that they had taken the lead a couple of moments later after Fábio Silva had put the ball into the back of Brandon Austin’s goal, after volleying home Vieira’s brilliant cross at the Tottenham goalkeepers back post. Silva had been in an onside position however, the linesman on the far side had harshly ruled his goal out for him being offside, much to Spurs’ good fortune. John McDermott’s side started to grow into the game more as the half went on. A good passing move resulted in Bennett passing the ball to White, he shifted the ball out to Cirkin on the left wing. The Spurs fullback then pumped the ball into the Porto penalty area where he managed to pick out Paris Maghoma at the back post. However, the 17 year old missed most of the ball and it ended up getting away from him. At the other end of the pitch, Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin was on hand to gather Diogo Queirós’ low cross.

After receiving Tariq Hinds’ pass out on the right wing, Paris Maghoma whipped a menacing ball into the Porto penalty area which was headed away from danger by Diogo Leite. Shortly afterwards Maghoma conceded a free kick in a dangerous position out on the left wing after committing a foul on Tiago Lopes. However, the attentive Harvey White was on hand to clear João Mário’s resulting free kick. Dylan Duncan attempted to play J’Neil Bennett through on goal with a clever pass but it was cut out in time, by Porto defender Diogo Leite.  A couple of minutes later Bennett received a pass from Harvey White out on the left flank, the tricky winger came inside before entering the Porto box and curling an effort over Diogo Costa’s crossbar. Vieira went on a surging run through the middle of the pitch before blazing over Brandon Austin’s goal at the other end, before Porto striker Fábio Silva came close to giving the home side the lead. Vieira’s pass eventually found its way to the Porto centre forward inside the Tottenham penalty area. Silva had his back to goal when he received the ball but he quickly spun around and fired a powerful low effort narrowly wide of Austin’s right hand post. The game was becoming more and more even as the half progressed. Paris Maghoma had a hopeful cross plucked out of the air by Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa before Maghoma had what he thought was a great chance to put Spurs ahead. After Harvey White passed the ball to J’Neil Bennett on the left wing, he managed to pick out Maghoma in the centre of the Porto box with a clever lofted pass. The Tottenham midfielder found himself in space but he was unable to generate the power needed to beat Costa and the Porto goalkeeper was able to keep out his header, which was directed straight at him. Thankfully for Maghoma the linesman on the near side had raised his flag for offside. TJ Eyoma was shown a yellow card shortly afterwards after he was seen to have caught Fábio Silva with a flailing arm in an off the ball incident. Eyoma wasn’t helped by the fact that Silva had gone to the floor so theatrically.

John McDermott’s side had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead right on the stroke of halftime through the lively J’Neil Bennett. A good move resulted in Hinds passing the ball to Markanday on the edge of the Porto penalty area. The skilful playmaker sorted his feet out before threading a nice pass through to J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the box. Bennett attempted to beat Diogo Costa with a powerful low effort which was intended for the bottom right hand corner of the goal. The wingers venomous effort was well saved by Costa who managed to turn the ball behind for a corner kick with his outstretching left leg. Bennett couldn’t believe that the Porto goalkeeper had managed to keep out his effort. That was to be the final piece of action from the first half. Porto got the second half underway and they started it with a good energy about them. After Baró passed the ball to Silva the 16 year old centre forward darted down the left hand side of the Spurs box before attempting to fire the ball across the face of Austin’s goal. Silva’s shot/cross was blocked by Lyons-Foster who had closed him down well. A couple of minutes later Harvey White came close to scoring from a corner kick. The 17 year olds curling delivery into the danger zone almost ended up bending into the far corner of Diogo Costa’s goal, but for the smart reactions of the goalkeeper to tap the ball over his crossbar, at the decisive moment. White’s resulting corner kick ended up coming to Bennett inside the danger zone, he had an effort blocked by Tiago Lopes before the ball came out to Hinds on the edge of the penalty area. The right backs low, first time drive ended up deflecting off of Lopes before going behind for a corner. Spurs continued to test the Porto defence and a couple of minutes later Brooklyn Lyons-Foster rose inside the Porto box to nod a cross from Tariq Hinds wide of Costa’s goal. After João Mário had been given the ball by Angel Torres, Mário went on a marauding run through the middle of the pitch, powering past both Eyoma and Hinds before testing Austin with a powerful low effort from the edge of the box. Austin got down well to make a smart stop and to hold Mário’s effort.

The Tottenham goalkeeper could have done nothing to prevent Angel Torres strike a couple of minutes later. The Portuguese side took the lead in the 52nd minute, after Vieira had passed the ball out to Torres on the right flank the young Colombian continued forward into the Spurs box. It was there that Torres shifted the ball onto his left foot before curling the ball around Spurs centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and into the far left hand corner of the outstretched Brandon Austin’s goal, 0-1. McDermott’s side attempted to respond, shortly after the restart Tariq Hinds did well to win a free kick in a promising position out on the right flank. However, Harvey White’s resulting delivery was cleared away from danger by Lopes. Spurs were dealt a big blow in the 57th minute after Romário Baró doubled the ‘ Dragōes ‘ advantage. A lofted pass from Diogo Queirós was initially cut out well by Eyoma however, the young defender was robbed of the ball by Tomás Esteves who quickly passed the ball to Silva. The Porto centre forward sprinted into the Spurs box before squaring the ball to Romário Baró who tapped the ball past the helpless Brandon Austin and into the back of the net, 0-2. Unlike last seasons match the Porto players still looked to attack the Spurs defence rather than sit back, after scoring their second goal of the game. After the dangerous Fábio Silva had latched onto Vieira’s pass on the edge of the Spurs box he tried to beat Austin by firing an effort at goal, which stung the palms of the Tottenham goalkeeper. Spurs struggled to break down the home sides rock solid defence. A decent cross from Dilan Markanday came close to picking out Bennett in a dangerous position inside the Porto box, but it was cleared in the nick of time by Leite before Bennett could get to it. J’Neil Bennett had been one of Spurs’ most threatening attacking players throughout the second period and he wasn’t afraid to try his luck on goal. After Oliver Skipp passed the ball to the first year scholar on the edge of the Porto box, Bennett cut inside onto his right foot before curling an effort on goal. However, it was deflected behind for a corner kick by Tomás Esteves.

Spurs made there first substitution of the game after they brought on Tashan Oakley-Boothe for Dilan Markanday in the 65th minute. TJ Eyoma managed to block Vieira’s shot behind for a corner kick before Brandon Austin was called into action once again, this time to deny Fábio Silva after he advanced down the right hand side of the Spurs box after latching onto Vieira’s pass. Silva managed to cut inside Lyons-Foster before curling a low effort towards the bottom left hand corner of Austin’s goal. The England under 20 international did well to hold it and to make the save. Porto went on another good attack, after Esteves had given the ball to Silva he slipped it into Torres down the right hand side of the Spurs box. However, the wingers cut back was cleared by Harvey White. Tashan Oakley-Boothe whipped a menacing ball across the face of the Porto goal at the opposite end of the pitch. Dylan Duncan then had a hopeful effort on goal blocked by Lopes, Duncan was brought off shortly afterwards for Armando Shashoua. The game had started to slip away from Spurs and the opposition were showing no signs of vulnerability within their back four. After Torres had managed to find Silva down the right side of the Spurs box, the 16 year old managed to get past Eyoma but Dennis Cirkin was on hand to cut out Silva’s resulting cross before Lyons-Foster managed to head Romário Baró’s cross clear. The potent Vieira then fired an effort wide of the Spurs goal after having a shot from edge of the penalty area. McDermott replaced J’Neil Bennett with Rayan Clarke in one last desperate attempt to try and change the game in Spurs’ favour. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster met a late cross from Tariq Hinds inside the Porto penalty however, he ended up volleying the ball over Diogo Costa’s crossbar. Porto then broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch, but the move ended after Fábio Silva had an effort on goal blocked by Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. The referee sounded the full time whistle a couple of moments later, the majority of the Spurs players collapsed to the floor, they had been overcome by disappointment. 

It must be said that there was absolutely no shame in losing to a team such as Porto. They are an absolutely top quality side who have some extremely talented young players, and I for one think that every single one of John McDermott’s players should be proud of their efforts on Wednesday afternoon. 

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: My motm, see below.
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back put in a sterling shift for John McDermott’s side against Porto. The 18 year old put in a fantastic defensive performance and he protected his side of the pitch really well, against Porto winger João Mário. Hinds got up and down the right wing well and defensively speaking I thought that he was flawless. The fullback was aggressive but disciplined, he made many important interceptions and blocks. Hinds also went on some good attacking forays and he whipped some nice crosses into the danger zone. It’s also worth noting that he was very good on the ball, and he impressed me with his dribbling.
  • TJ Eyoma: On the whole it was a solid performance from Eyoma who operated at RCB in a back four on Wednesday afternoon. Apart from his mistake which led to Porto’s second goal I thought that the England under 19 international had a good game. He read the game well and he also managed to cut out some dangerous Porto attacks. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Eyoma’s partner at centre back put in another solid performance for our under 19’s. Lyons-Foster made many blocks, interceptions and clearances and the 18 year old also posed a threat offensively, from set pieces.
  • Dennis Cirkin: The 16 year old put in another strong performance at left back particularly during the first half, where I thought he had an outstanding game. Cirkin read the game really well and he anticipated danger to effect, dealing well with the threat which Porto winger Angel Torres posed. It is worth noting that Cirkin picked up quite a heavy knock just before the end of the first half.
  • Harvey White: The 17 year old put in another tidy performance in central midfield, this time alongside Oliver Skipp. White was neat and tidy in possession and he made a number of important challenges and interceptions.
  • Oliver Skipp: Although it was slightly surprising to see Oliver feature for our under 19’s on Wednesday, it was great to see him play in such an important game. I thought that Skipp broke up play well and his presence in the midfield really helped us on the day. The 18 year old performed his duties as a midfield destroyer diligently, and to great effect.
  • Paris Maghoma: Despite his best efforts the 17 year old found it difficult to influence the game out on the right wing, as he was effectively playing out of position.
  • Dylan Duncan: The 20 year old operated as a CAM on his first appearance in the UEFA Youth League this season. Duncan was energetic and he impressed me with his passing and his movement.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 17 year old put in another positive performance out on the left wing where he constantly tried to test Porto’s right back Tomás Esteves. Bennett looked to cut inside onto his right foot and test the Porto goalkeeper throughout the game, and it was good to see him so eager to try and make things happen. Bennett came so close to giving Spurs the lead on the stroke of halftime.
  • Dilan Markanday: I thought that the second year scholar did as well as he could do in the unnatural position of CF against Porto. Markanday was good on the ball and although life was made difficult for him by the two big centre halves, I thought that he still managed to put in a good shift. The silky winger created J’Neil Bennett’s glorious chance on the stroke of halftime, and he worked hard throughout his time on the pitch.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The second half substitute went on some purposeful runs down the channels during his time on the pitch. He also whipped some decent crosses into the box. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The midfielder was energetic and positive during his short cameo appearance.
  • Rayan Clarke: N/A.

My man of the match: This was a difficult choice to make because of the quality performance that Tariq Hinds put in at right back, but I’m going to give my man of the match award to our goalkeeper Brandon Austin, on what was his last ever appearance for our under 19’s in the competition. Austin made three impressive saves against Porto and he impressed me with his handling. The 20 year old goalkeeper dealt effectively with crosses and set pieces, and he also showed good leadership as our captain. However, it was the talented shot stoppers excellent distribution which impressed me the most on the night. After having a bit of trouble with his kicking against PAOK in the last round, it was great to see Austin look so composed under pressure with the ball at his feet, and he looked very comfortable with his overall distribution. The goalkeeper has played all eight of our UEFA Youth League games this season, and he has put in some fantastic performances in the competition since our first group game against Inter Milan back in September.

FC Porto: Costa, Esteves, Quieros (c), Leite, Lopes, Ndiaye, Torres (Borges 90+1), Vieira, Silva (Fomakwang 90+1), Baro (Ferreira 82), Mario (Sousa 74). Substitutes (not used): Meixedo, Matos, Justiniano.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Cirkin, Skipp, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Maghoma, White, Markanday (Oakley-Boothe 65), Duncan (A Shashoua 75), Bennett (Clarke 85). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Dinzeyi, Okedina, Binks.

Goals: Porto – Torres 52, Baro 57.

Yellow cards: Porto – Silva 61, Ndiaye 85; Spurs – Eyoma 40.

Referee: Halil Umut Meler (TUR).

Venue: Estádio Luís Filipe Menezes, Porto.

Spurs under 19’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 3

Jack Roles – 2

Rodel Richards – 2

Paris Maghoma – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1

Assists: Jamie Bowden – 3

Troy Parrott – 2

Jack Roles – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Harvey White – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 3

My piece on Troy Parrott – Far more than just a goalscorer:

My piece on Troy Parrott – Far more than just a goalscorer:

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Back in the year 1897 a young man from County Wicklow in Ireland made the trip across the water to England, to try and forge a career in the beautiful game. That gentleman’s name was Jack Kirwan and he was the first ever Irishman to play for Spurs, for those of you who are good with your history then you will know that Kirwan was an important member of our 1901 FA cup winning side after joining the Lilywhites from Everton in 1899. Some 120 years later another young Irishman is following in the footsteps of the legendary outside left, at a club which has such a strong connection with the country of Ireland. This young mans name is Troy Daniel Parrott, and for many Spurs fans his name will need no introduction. I first heard the name Troy Parrott back in the February of 2017. I was at the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage waiting for our FA youth cup fifth round tie against Norwich City to start, when I decided to flick through an Irish newspaper. In this particular newspaper there was a story claiming that Spurs had signed a young Dubliner and Ireland under 15 international called Troy Parrott, from Dublin club Belvedere FC. In this article it had claimed that Spurs had fought off a whole host of top clubs to secure the young centre forwards signature. Due to the frequency of such stories which are published in tabloid newspapers I was sceptical to begin with. However, after a little bit more research I found out that the highly sought after teenager was covering a lot of inches in the sports pages of many a Dublin newspaper. I also found out that he had already been on trial with a number of top clubs in both England and Scotland, of which included Everton, Celtic and Southampton to name but a few. Parrott of Buckingham street in Dublin’s north inner city was starring for renowned Irish schoolboy club Belvedere FC on a weekly basis, the physical and highly competitive centre forward, to put it quite mildly, was scoring goals for fun and he was attracting the attention of many a top club in the process. However, it was Mauricio Pochettino’s club who had managed to convince the young Irishman to join them. Since joining Spurs as a schoolboy during the 2016/17 season the former O’Connell school pupil has seen his reputation grow amongst the Tottenham supporters despite his young age.

Parrott was a regular for our under 16’s during his first season at the club, but he would only hit the headlines for his achievements for both the Ireland under 15 and 16 national team that season. During the 2017/18 season Troy Parrott represented Ireland at the prestigious Victory Shield, he would also go on to play for their under 17 side, where he played a big part in helping them to qualify for the 2018 Under 17 European Championships in England. Parrott would go on to score three goals for his country at the tournament, helping Ireland to reach the quarter finals of the competition, I attended three of the matches that Parrott was involved in. However, I am not prepared to go on about their infamous elimination to the Netherlands! The 2017/18 season was also a big one for Troy at Spurs, after starting the season in our under 16 side the Dubliner would have to wait until the February of 2018 before he could make the step up to Scott Parker’s under 18 side, as he had to wait until his 16th birthday before he could represent them. Shortly after turning 16 Parrott made his under 18 league debut, completing 90 minutes of a 0-0 draw with Swansea City. For many Spurs fans it was the first time that they would have heard of the young Irishman. Parrott put in a very competitive performance against Swansea, impressing with his movement, work rate and willingness to get stuck in and bring other players into the game. The schoolboy would go on to feature on three more occasions for Parker’s under 18 side that season, most notable of which was his inclusion in the starting 11 for our Under 18 Premier League Cup Final against Chelsea, in the absence of our top scorer that season, Reo Griffiths. Parrott would score his first goal for our under 18’s in a 2-1 league win over London rivals Fulham, in April 2018. Troy also netted a remarkable ten goals from five appearances for a Spurs under 17 side at the Borgaro Maggioni Righi tournament in Italy that Easter. The teenager would then go on to star for his country at the Under 17 European Championships before returning to Spurs to represent our under 19 side, at the post season Terborg tournament, before he enjoyed a well earned summer break. 

Troy signed his two year scholarship at Spurs during the summer of 2017 and since returning to training at Hotspur Way in July, Parrott has made remarkable strides for Spurs so far during the 2018/19 campaign. The physical centre forward spent majority of that pre season with our development side, featuring first for them in a friendly against non league club Enfield Town, before then going on to link up with Wayne Burnett’s side in France for the annual Tournoi Europeen. Parrott was the only first year scholar to travel out to France with our development side and he got plenty of game time for Burnett’s team. Despite not managing to score from open play, Parrott impressed against much older and more physical players. He certainly held his own. The young Dubliner has come a long way since last summers tournament in Brittany. Parrott has made ten competitive appearances for our under 18 side so far this season, netting 12 goals and assisting a further six for our high flying under 18’s. In addition, Troy has already made nine appearances for our development side since making his PL2 debut against Liverpool at Anfield, back in August. The tall centre forward has also featured prominently for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League, scoring three goals from five appearances in the competition this season. His impressive performances at youth level for Spurs and for Ireland at under 19 level, has also resulted in him being named as the 19th man for Mauricio Pochettino’s first team on a number of occasions this season. Parrott’s statistics at youth level for Spurs during the 2018/19 campaign make impressive reading. The Ireland under 19 international has been directly involved in 24 goals from 24 appearances for the various Spurs youth teams this season. As somebody who has watched Troy play extensively for our various youth teams and for his country at youth level, I will be going in to great detail about Parrott the footballer in the following piece, as I talk about this special young talents qualities as one of Spurs‘ most promising Academy players.

Although Parrott has played in numerous positions he is a traditional centre forward in the Harry Kane mould. However, he has also shown that he is adept at playing in central midfield, out on either flank and as a number ten or CAM. The 17 year old from Dublin’s north inner city is a very physical and tall centre forward who doesn’t allow centre backs to bully him. I don’t like to draw comparisons with young players to household names in the game however, one of Troy’s footballing heroes is a certain Harry Kane. And it is the Tottenham centre forward who he reminds me of the most in regards to his style of play. Young Troy is a centre forward who possesses a tremendous work rate, and he has a wonderful understanding of the game for somebody so young. Parrott is an aggressive and tigerish number nine who likes to get in the faces of opposition defenders. Parrott is what I would call a confrontational centre forward and he manages to do that without being arrogant. He is constantly high pressing and always on the move. Like Kane he likes to drop deep to influence the game and he can often be seen all over the pitch, particularly inside his own half helping out the defenders. Some of the Dubliners most impressive traits include his ability to hold the ball up well, his razor sharp movement, unselfishness, versatility, vision, passing and his clinical finishing. It’s very difficult to describe Parrott as a centre forward because he is such a well rounded player who is always very adaptable to games. He scores all different kinds of goals, from instinctive poachers finishes to bullet headers and  outrageous free kicks. I like how he plays with both flair and grit, although he is still a student of the game I personally find it quite remarkable how good his all round game is. In terms of his finishing ability I think that he is one of the best finishers from his age group in the country alongside Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood. Parrott is a very intelligent striker and if like me you watch his off the ball movement during matches, then you will appreciate just how good his positioning and awareness is. He likes to mix up his game but no matter what kind of game it is he always makes sure that he is involved in the thick of the action.

Parrott is a good poacher and a lot of his goals come from inside the oppositions penalty area. He is constantly on alert, peeling off the shoulders of defenders or trying to make runs in and behind them. He has the ability to sort his feet out quickly and to adjust his body in time, the 17 year old is also relatively quick over four or five yards, just like a certain Robbie Keane was. He likes to strike the ball early and when he finds himself in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper, I like how composed he manages to be. Another Kane-esque trait of Troy’s is his ability to get the ball out of his feet quickly before striking it. Parrott is good in the air and he has scored a number of goals with his head this season, he is also an expert penalty taker and a real threat from set pieces with his trademark, side footed, up and over the wall free kicks. The first year scholar is good at timing his runs and he reads the game well, and he is one of those players who is constantly looking over his shoulder. The vast majority of Parrott’s goals this season have been what you would call poachers finishes. In addition to his clinical finishing and movement, Troy is a very positive player who likes to try his luck on goal from long range. However, the Dublin born centre forward is a lot more than just a goalscorer. So often when I’ve seen Parrott play I’ve been impressed by how unselfish he is, and how he try’s to bring other players into the game. Linking back to his footballing brain, the 17 year old who can always play as a number ten, has quite often been the game changer for our under 18’s this season. He is a very creative player who is good at spotting and picking out teammates, who are in good positions (Troy has assisted nine goals in all competitions so far this season). He also has a good range of passing, as well as an impressive array of skills. Parrott is a good dribbler and his close ball control is yet another of his many impressive traits. On the field Troy is a very confident young man who is a natural born leader and an effective communicator, he is also a very passionate player who won’t stand for any nonsense from the opposing teams players. Some of you may remember Troy getting himself sent off for our under 23’s in their PL2 match against Arsenal back in August, after he decided to shove the ‘ Gunners ‘ captain Julio Pleguezuelo to the floor in second half stoppage time.

For all of Parrott’s natural talent and his impressive goal scoring statistics and assists that have helped get him to where he is today, there is one part of his game which is even more impressive. That aspect of his game is his extraordinary work rate and stamina. Like his fellow countryman James McClean, Parrott is one of the hardest workers you’ll ever see on a football pitch. He is always on the move, pressing players aggressively and tracking back after him to help out the team. Troy is a real team player and it is his unselfishness and desire to get stuck in and go out of his way to help out his teammates, which is something which leave him in very good stead over the coming years, as it’s something that Mauricio Pochettino will love. Back in December our under 18’s faced Leicester City in a league game at the ‘ Foxes ‘ Belvoir Drive training centre. Deep into the second half of the game we were were leading 4-0 with Troy scoring two of our goals. The Dubliner had worked his socks of all game and even though we were in total control of the game he could be seen tracking back the whole length of the pitch to make a challenge on a Leicester player inside the Spurs box, before then driving forward with the ball. That is just one of many examples of Troy’s excellent work ethic, which I could use from this season alone. The proud Irishman has demonstrated extraordinary maturity during his time at the club, he has shown that he can do the unexpected in games, score goals and create chances while also working his socks off like a young Harry Kane. Once a keen GAA player Troy seems to have incorporated that toughness into his game as a footballer. There is a lot of hype which has been surrounding young Troy this season from the media as well as from Spurs fans. And while the hype is completely justified some of it is a bit too much to heap on such a young and developing player. Parrott is currently recovering from an operation on one of his toes, after he sustained an injury in our under 23’s 2-0 defeat to Brighton last month. When you take into consideration the fact that he is away from his country in a big city like London and plying his trade with one of the biggest teams in Europe, I think that he should be extremely proud of how well he has done for Spurs so far this campaign considering all that he has achieved.

The former Belvedere FC schoolboy has all the attributes he needs to become a top class centre forward in the future. However, he is still very young and I think it’s remarkable how he has stepped up for both our under 19’s and 23’s, and Ireland’s under 19 side so far this season. Parrott is an exceptionally talented player and it is completely justified that he is being labelled as the most exciting young player to come out of Ireland since Robbie Keane. His maturity, footballing intelligence and ability to get himself into good positions to score goals, is of the very highest quality. Fans of both Spurs and Ireland should appreciate just how special a player the first year scholar is. He has been an absolute privilege to watch play this season.  I wish Troy a speedy recovery from his injury and I hope to see him back in action in the near future.

Spurs under 19’s versus FC Porto: (match preview)

Spurs under 19’s versus FC Porto: (match preview)

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Our under 19’s have a big European game to look forward to on Wednesday when they take on Portuguese giants FC Porto, in the last 16 round of this seasons UEFA Youth League. Following the departure of our under 19’s head coach Matt Wells I would expect John McDermott to take charge of the team on Wednesday morning. After beating PAOK 1-0 in the last round to progress to this stage of the competition, Spurs will be expecting a far tougher game against renowned Academy side FC Porto. Mário Fernando Magalhães Silva’s side qualified for this round of the competition after finishing top of Group D. Porto topped a group containing Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow after picking up 13 points from their six group stage matches. This is a very tough game for Spurs who are missing so many of their most important players to injury. Porto made the semi-finals of last seasons competition where they were knocked out by Chelsea, after beating us 2-0 in a particularly dour quarter final at Hotspur Way. It was dour, only because the Portuguese club managed to nullify our most potent attacking players for the entirety of the game, as they looked to catch Scott Parker’s side on the break. That was a very good under 19 side that we had that season, but unfortunately for that team, they came up against a Porto side who managed the game far better than them. I wasn’t particularly impressed by Porto’s attacking play that day, in fact they were pretty unremarkable in how moved the ball around the pitch. However, it was the Portuguese clubs physicality, maturity, discipline and solidity at the back which is was outdid us on the day. Silva’s side appear to being doing well in their own domestic league this season and last weekend they recorded an impressive 5-1 victory over rivals Sporting Lisbon. Wednesday’s game will be played at the Centro de Treinos e Formação Desportiva – Vila Nova de Gaīa. That is a venue that the Portuguese club haven’t lost a European game at since 2016. 

Wednesdays game (kick off is At 11 AM) is being shown live on BT Sport 2 for those of you like me who can’t make the trip to Northern Portugal, it is very convenient. Some Porto players to watch out for are their 16 year old centre forward Fábio Silva and 19 year old forward Romario Baro (Porto like to play with two centre forwards) as well as their talented defender Diogo Bessa. I think it is going to be a very difficult game for our youngsters on Wednesday and it doesn’t help that we will be without key players such as Troy Parrott and Jack Roles, but this exceptionally talented young team can beat any team in Europe on their day. And they needn’t look any further than their superb performance away to Barcelona in the group stages of the competition, as inspiration for Wednesday’s big game. I would like to wish the lads all the very best of luck for the game and I am sure that they will do us all proud no matter what the final score is. My in-depth match report of Wednesday’s European game will be published in the early hours of Thursday morning.

My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Austin (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, White, Oakley-Boothe, A.Shashoua, Markanday, Bennett, Maghoma.

Subs from: De Bie, Okedina, Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Cooper, Whittaker.

Injured/unavailable: Jack Roles (suspended), Jamie Bowden, Jeremie Mukendi, Rodel Richards, Phoenix Patterson, Troy Parrott.

Doubtful: Joshua Oluwayemi, TJ Eyoma, Elliott Thorpe, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Enoch Asante.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-2 Porto.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: The ‘ Dragōes ‘ 16 year old centre forward Fábio Silva, who has scored four goals from six appearances in the competition this season.