My piece on 17 year old Spurs defender Luis Binks – One of England’s most exciting young centre halves:
Spurs Academy player Luis Binks (17) is one of the most highly rated young centre halves in England, and with good reason. For those of you who have seen Luis play you will remember him for his ice cool composure, unique laser like diagonal passes and his ability to read the game so effectively for somebody so young. The first year scholar looks and plays like a young Toby Alderweireld. His likeness to our experienced Belgian centre half goes beyond his haircut, and it has always been something which has struck me even since I first saw Luis play, back in the 2016/17 season for Scotland’s under 16 side. The Gillingham born defender who has been at Spurs since the age of six and his rise through the ranks at the North London club over the past 11 years has been quite remarkable. One of the finest left sided centre halves of his age group in Europe, the tall and commanding Luis Binks is a defender who is remarkably well rounded for his age. Comfortable at bringing the ball out from the back, and somewhat of an expert at making cross diagonal passes, Binks is in many ways the complete defender. The teenager who has featured on 20 occasions for our under 18 side this season, is an intelligent and mature centre back who has the ability to read the game and anticipate situations so well. Furthermore, Binks is a very attentive player who constantly manages to get himself into good defensive positions in order to make blocks and challenges. The elegant 17 year old times each challenge that he makes to perfection, and as I will later go into in great detail, it is his calmness and his decisiveness which is what reminds me of defenders such as Toby Alderweireld and Virgil Van Dijk. A composed but forceful presence in the heart of defence the for our under 18 side this season, Binks’ progress during the 2018/19 campaign for both club and country has been a testament to the great talent that he possesses. In the following piece I will be going into great detail on this immensely talented young defender. I will be discussing his qualities, his traits and his individuals performances during the current campaign, and after his harsh dismissal against Arsenal earlier in the week I don’t think there’s been a better time than now to pen my piece on a player who I would describe as the young Toby Alderweireld.
A native of Gillingham in the county of Kent in southeastern England, Luis Binks (2001 born) has been at the Lilywhites since he was just six years of age. One of three Kent boys in our current under 18 side, Binks first came to my attention during the 2016/17 season after he was called up to the Scotland under 16 side. One of the games in which Luis was involved in was streamed by the Scottish FA and I was therefore able to watch the then Spurs under 15 player for the very first time. I was instantly impressed by Binks‘ assured defending and composure, but one thing which really stood out from his performance up in Scotland were his ambitious but incisive long diagonal passes. Something which he tried on numerous occasions throughout the game. A couple of weeks later the schoolboy was surprisingly included in our under 18’s match day squad for a league game against Aston Villa in the April of 2017, alongside fellow under 15 and current PSV Eindhoven player Noni Madeuke. Binks was only included in the squad due to the fact that our under 18’s had a hugely important FA Youth Cup semi final tie against Chelsea a couple of days later. While Binks wouldn’t come off the bench for John McDermott’s side in a game which they lost 2-1, the schoolboys inclusion in the squad at the age of just 15 spoke volumes. Binks would regularly play up for the under 16 side during the 2016/17 season when he was still an under 15, his height and strength helped him to make that step up. Binks would also feature for the England under 16 side before the 2016/17 season was up, it is worth noting that Luis is also eligible to represent Scotland through his grandfather. The following season The Howard School pupil made more huge strides for both club and country. Binks went onto become a key player for our under 16 side during the 2017/18 season where he formed a very strong partnership with fellow centre half Malachi Walcott. As well as impressing for Spurs at a number of international youth tournaments, of which included the Alkass International cup in Qatar and the Borgaro Maggioni Righi tournament in Italy. However, Luis’ impressive form for Spurs was also recognised by England and even though he was still a schoolboy Binks went onto become a key player and a regular starter for the England under 17 side during the 2017/18 season. However, the Kent born teenager wasn’t included in the England under 17 squad which head coach Steve Cooper named for the Under 17 European Championships, in the May of 2018.
During the summer of 2018 one of England’s most promising young centre halves signed a two year scholarship with Spurs, and once again it has been a season of great progress for the ever improving defender. Since making his competitive debut for our under 18 side in a 6-4 opening day league win over Brighton back in August, Binks has made 20 appearances for our high flying under 18’s so far this campaign, chipping in with three goals and two assists. In addition, the first year scholar has also featured on four occasions for our development side as well as making five appearances for our under 19’s in this seasons UEFA Youth League. Luis has also managed to cement his place in what is a ridiculously talented England under 18 side, and just the other week he featured prominently for the three lions in a tournament out in the UAE. Binks started all three of the games that England played in at the Sport Chain Cup in Dubai. Our current under 18 side is one of the best that Spurs have had this century and although every single player in John McDermott and Ryan Mason’s side has been superb this season. From a consistency point of view there have been few players more influential than the tenacious centre half this season. Binks has been a mainstay in our title challenging under 18 side right since the campaign started last August. Alongside Malachi Walcott, Jubril Okedina and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster at RCB, not once have I ever seen the first year scholar have a bad game for Spurs across all levels this season. Luis has put in a number of outstanding performances so far this campaign for our under 18’s, 23’s and 19’s and he is a player who seems to be improving by each match. The son of the legendary former Chatham Town player Tom Binks, has oozed class whenever he has played for Spurs this season. Putting in match winning performances against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Fulham and Leicester City to name but a few clubs. Binks’ outstanding anticipation, reading of the game and the commanding nature of his defending has made him one of our under 18’s most important players during this title challenging season. Regardless of Binks’ unfortunate sending off against Arsenal on Tuesday, the Gillingham born centre backs imperious defending has had a lot to do with where we find ourselves in the Under 18 Premier League South.
Luis Binks has grown quite considerably over the last couple of seasons and he now stands at six feet and four inches tall. He is also developing physically all of the time, and he is becoming faster and more athletic as the season goes on. To give you all a better picture of Luis Binks the centre half I will go into great detail about what kind of defender Luis is and what his greatest attributes are. Like the slightly older Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Luis Binks is essentially a ball playing centre half who plays with a distinctive elegance about his game. A player who models himself on both Toby Alderweireld and Virgil Van Dijk, Binks plays football like a fine chess player would play chess. Every aspect of the 17 year olds play is cool and well calculated, he isn’t the type of defender who will make unnecessary challenges or rash decisions although he isn’t afraid to make big decisions in games. For a first year scholar Binks’ all round game is well beyond his years and one aspect of his game which has always impressed me has been his passing. A master of the long cross field diagonal pass, the England under 18 international has an absolute wand of a left foot. And the teenagers passing range and ability to pick out a teammate with such precision from a long pass is frightening. His long pings or laser like passes are Michael Dawson-esque however, they are also quite unique particularly for a defender of Binks’ age. He is a player who has excellent vision and technique, and while you do get a number of central defenders such as Toby Alderweireld, Michael Dawson and Alfie Mawson who are experts at picking teammates out with long pinged passes. I have never seen a player at under 18 level who has such perfect technique and confidence in his own ability to make such ambitious passes. Binks’ cross field passes have been influential in Spurs’ season but his more simpler passes have also been just as influential in my eyes. As I previously mentioned, he likes to bring the ball out from the back and go on fairly ambitious darting runs. While Binks’ short passing is nice and crisp, his passes through the middle of the pitch have opened up teams on more than one occasion this season. One game particularly stands out in my memory, that match was a Premier League Cup game against Middlesbrough back in December. During that particular game Binks’ clever long balls through the middle of the pitch were something which the oppositions defence simply couldn’t deal with, and it resulted in Middlesbrough taking measures to prevent Luis from having enough space to successfully make such passes during the latter stages of the game.
Apart from the 17 year olds ball playing skills and exceptional passing range Binks is also a very, very good defender. He reads the game like a player who is in his late 20’s and he has a remarkable defensive nous about him. The Gillingham born defender is excellent in the air and like his centre back partner Malachi Walcott he usually wins the vast majority of his aerial duels. In addition Binks’ headed clearances are cushioned and deft, much like second year scholar Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. An assured and composed player on the pitch, Binks is able to combine brains with brawn. The 17 year old reads situations so effectively in an almost Alderweireld-esque way. He also performs well under pressure and more often than not he manages to get the better of the oppositions centre forward for brains. Although he is aesthetically pleasing on the ball and he likes to be adventurous in possession like all of young centre halves, Binks also has a good no nonsense approach to games. He is a decisive young man who constantly manages to step in front of the oppositions attacker whenever they manage to get into dangerous positions in and around the penalty area. He has a cool head on him and he rarely lunges into challenges, and one thing which is very impressive is the immaculate timing of his challenges and interceptions. Again this links into the comparisons which I have made with Toby Alderweireld, a player who only tends to slide in as a very last resort. Luis is a very confident young defender who is good at marshalling the Spurs defence, and imposing himself well on matches. The England under 18 internationals impeccable positioning helps him to carry out his defensive duties so effectively, E.g. getting himself into good positions in order to make blocks and clearances. Even when he does make the occasional error his pace and strength are two things which help him to recover well. His pace and strength have improved considerably over the last couple of years. The first year scholar is a courageous young defender who will put his body on the line for his team. Like the slightly younger Malachi Walcott he is somewhat of an expert at making last ditch challenges and blocks, and it is his commitment and willingness to take risks which is something which will leave him in great stead over the years to come.
I see Luis as a future captain of our under 18 side, as he is a natural born leader who is vocal and confident on the pitch. Luis is also a team player who has demonstrated good organisation skills during matches so far this season. He is aggressive and assertive but above all else he will make brave decisions which other defenders won’t make. One such brave decision occurred in an under 18 league game against Fulham back in November. During this particular match Spurs found themselves in great trouble as Fulham came at them on the break. One of the Fulham players burst past both Binks and Walcott before surging into the Tottenham penalty area where he only had the goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi to beat. In this particular instance Binks took it upon himself to tug the Fulham player back and essentially take one for the team. Of course Luis was shown a straight red card by the referee and a penalty kick was awarded to the home side. Of course Luis could have let the Fulham centre forward go through on goal and score a late winner for the ‘ Cottagers ‘ however, he decided to be selfless by stopping Fulham from netting a late winner. Of course Joshua Oluwayemi’s heroics to keep out the resulting spot kick also proved to be pivotal in Spurs recording a valuable point, and maintaining their unbeaten record. In my humble opinion Luis has all the hallmarks of the complete central defender. He is combative, elegant, mature, decisive, combative but most importantly of all he is intelligent, and he has such a wonderful footballing brain. Although the whole under 18 side have been superb this season I personally think that Luis has been the most consistent performer in the side. Not once have I seen the Gillingham born defender have a bad game this season, and he has been involved in some very difficult matches. His well roundedness and adaptability to matches is something which makes him a fantastic prospect for both Spurs and England, and the fact that he is a regular for what is an immensely talented England under 18 side says so much about this young mans quality and potential. Without doubt one of the most important players for our under 18 side this season, Luis has also greatly impressed me whenever he has been called upon to play for our development side. After putting in an outstanding performance on his debut for the under 21’s in a Checkatrade Trophy game against Crawley Town. Binks has also put in fantastic performances against both Manchester City and Everton’s under 23 side in the PL2.
In the game against Manchester City Binks looked as if he had already played 100 games at that level, such was the ease in which he slotted into Wayne Burnett’s side to play in a back three. Luis Binks is a young player who I like a lot and I have such great hopes for him at Spurs. I admire not only his quality on the ball but also his knowledge of the game from a defensive point of view, and his all round play. Luis is in my mind the best 17 year old left sided centre half in England if not Europe, and as a young central defender there is not one single aspect of his game which you can criticise as supporters. Forget all about his sending off against Arsenal on Tuesday, that is of little importance for young Binks who has been one of the beating hearts of this exceptionally talented under 18 side this season where he has consistently performed to such a high standard. He should be ever so proud of all that he has achieved so far this campaign for both his club and for his country. Binks will only have to commit to England or Scotland once he has played a competitive game for them at youth level.