Spurs under 19’s 1-0 Ajax Cape Town: (match report)

Spurs under 19’s 1-0 Ajax Cape Town: (match report)

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A Spurs under 19 side kicked off this years Terborg tournament on Friday evening when they faced South African club Ajax Cape Town in group stage game number one of the tournament. Wayne Burnett’s side battled it out with a very technical Ajax Cape Town side on a warm evening in the east of the Netherlands, and for large periods of Fridays game it was the ` Urban Warriors ‘ who were the more threatening team going forwards however, Spurs did defend excellently well against them. And our back four snuffed out almost all of the danger which came their way. Both teams created chances but it was Spurs who took them. A fine strike from Phoenix Patterson right on the stroke of halftime proved to be the difference between the two sides as Spurs were able to defend against a spirited second half performance from the South African team to go joint top of the Van Egmond group with Brazilian side Flamengo, who they will face tomorrow morning in the first of two group games. Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for their opening group game. Jonathan De Bie started in goal while a back four of Jubril Okedina, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Jamie Bowden and Harvey White anchored the midfield while Dilan Markanday and Phoenix Patterson operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM and Spurs captain Jack Roles, as 18 year old striker Rodel Richards led the line for Burnett’s side. Prior to kick off both sides huddled together, it was the ` Urban Warriors ‘ who got the game underway. Straight from kick off Zaakir Allie tested Jonathan De Bie from long range after he embarked on a surging run through the middle of the pitch. However, De Bie comfortably held Allie’s effort on goal. Dennis Cirkin was on hand to clear Chumani Butsaka’s cross a couple of moments later, but the ball then came out to Allie on the edge of the box and his resulting effort was blocked by the Tottenham left back. Ajax had started the game well and from the resulting corner kick the South African club came close to taking an early lead, after Siyasi Bongolwethu powered Dale Wakefield’s corner narrowly over De Bie’s crossbar. The alert Brooklyn Lyons-Foster then did well to cut out Chumani Butsaka’s intended through ball for Ashley Cupido, before the South Africans threatened Spurs once again. After Allie clipped the ball into the path of Cupido down the right hand side of the Spurs box the Ajax centre forward smashed a powerful low effort against the outside of De Bie’s near hand post, it then bounced behind for a goal kick.

After Jack Roles managed to find Dilan Markanday down the right hand side of the Ajax Cape Town box things looked promising for Spurs however, defender Sinawo Topi was able to poke the ball behind before Markanday could get a shot away. Phoenix Patterson’s resulting corner kick was headed behind by Kegan Johannes. A couple of moments later Jamie Bowden managed to chip the ball into Richards in the middle of the oppositions penalty area but the Spurs strikers volleyed effort was held comfortably by Ajax Cape Town goalkeeper Aidan Leak. A couple of minutes later Jonathan De Bie was called into action after a free kick from Chumani Butsaka found its way to Rushwin Dortley at De Bie’s back post however, he managed to hold Dortley’s headed effort on goal. The Spurs goalkeeper then managed to palm away a menacing cross from Patrick Fisher before Sonwabile Mfecane could get to it. At the other end of the pitch, Kegan Johannes was on hand to clear a cross from Jack Roles before Spurs were awarded a free kick in a promising position. Jamie Bowden took it quickly as he passed the ball out to Patterson on the left wing but he ended up whipping the ball right across the face of Aidan Leak’s goal. Dale Wakefield fired an effort wide of Jonathan De Bie’s goal on the turn, after receiving Zaakir Allie’s pass on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, before Jonathan Dinzeyi blocked behind a shot on goal from Mfecane inside the Spurs box. Dale Wakefield’s resulting corner kick caused some panic amongst the Spurs defence. Dennis Cirkin tried to clear the ball but failed and in the end Siyasi Bongolwethu poked the ball narrowly over De Bie’s crossbar. Ajax had been the much better team during the opening stages of the game and Spurs were finding it difficult to deal with their attacking front line. Jubril Okedina managed to clear a cross from Dale Wakefield well, before Roles tried to pull off a one two with Richards on the edge of the Ajax box at the opposite end of the pitch however, Siyasi Bongolwethu managed to intercept it. Spurs started to find their feet again and after Bowden had shifted the ball out to Patterson on the left wing the Spurs winger cut inside and tested Leak with a thumping effort on goal which the Ajax goalkeeper could only parry behind. The resulting corner kick from Harvey White was scrambled out to Jamie Bowden on the edge of the box but the Spurs man fired an effort wide of the goal.

Jonathan Dinzeyi was on hand to clear a cross from Zaakir Allie, before Johannes headed over from Wakefield’s corner. After dispossessing Harvey White Siyasi Bongolwethu fed the ball into the feet of Butsaka who darted forward down the left flank before clipping the ball across the face of De Bie’s goal. Then right on the stroke of halftime Spurs took a slightly surprising lead through Phoenix Patterson. After Ajax had been caught cold playing the ball out from the back, Harvey White seized possession before carefully threading a pass into Patterson down the left side of the Ajax penalty area. Patterson didn’t think he just shot, and his powerful first time effort flew into the far right hand corner of Aidan Leak’s goal, 1-0. That was to be the final piece of action from a highly eventful first half. Wayne Burnett’s side got the second half underway and the young Lilywhites started to move the ball about more quickly during the early stages of the second half. Jack Roles demanded that a penalty should be awarded to Spurs after a cross from Jubril Okedina struck the arm of Khaya Mfecane inside the Ajax penalty area however, Roles’ protests were ignored by the referee. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster then did well to clear a cross from Chumani Butsaka  before Siyasi Bongolwethu fired an effort wide on the turn. The dominant Spurs defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster then managed to put behind a dangerous cross from Butsaka before Harvey White managed to clear the same players corner kick. Then at the other end of the pitch Phoenix Patterson saw his cross turned behind for a corner by Kegan Johannes before Jamie Bowden had a long range effort blocked behind by Khaya Mfecane. A clearance from Dennis Cirkin at the other end of the pitch came to Sonwabile Mfecane on the edge of the Spurs box but Mfecane ended up blazing an effort well wide of De Bie’s goal. Spurs then made two substitutions in quick succession after Rayan Clarke and Kion Etete we’re introduced in place of Phoenix Patterson and Jack Roles, Jamie Bowden took the captains armband. Ajax Cape Town started to pile the pressure on the Spurs defence as we came towards the end of the 50 minutes. Chumani Butsaka’s effort from long range took a hefty deflection off of Jonathan Dinzeyi before it was gathered by De Bie. Since coming on Notts County striker Etete had become somewhat of a target man and the Spurs players were looking to lump the ball up to the tall 17 year old at every opportunity during the final minutes of the match.

There was a late scramble inside the Tottenham penalty area after Dale Wakefield’s late cross caused a couple of problems, in the end Ashley Cupido tried a over head kick but it was blocked by Jonathan Dinzeyi. Despite their late pressure Wayne Burnett’s side were able to quell the Ajax Cape Town attacking line and hold onto their slender advantage. It was a very good win for Spurs who showed real maturity especially in their defending on Friday evening against a very potent opposition. Tomorrow Spurs will conclude the group stages when they take on both Flamengo and Vitesse Arnhem. I wish the lads all the very best of luck for both of those matches, both of which they will be hoping to win and book their place in this years final.

Player reviews:

  • Jonathan De Bie: It was a good all round performance from the Belgian goalkeeper who only recently turned 19. De Bie made three saves in total on Friday evening, all of which were fairly comfortable ones but important ones nonetheless. The Spurs goalkeeper dealt excellently with crosses and set pieces, and he commanded his penalty area well. Furthermore, De Bie’s was good on the day and he was nice and vocal as well as encouraging to his defence.
  • Jubril Okedina: It was an excellent performance at right back from Okedina who dealt really well with the potent Chumani Butsaka down the left hand side. Butsaka was one of the ` Urban Warriors ‘ best players on the day and it was thanks to the excellent defending and awareness of Okedina which made sure that Butsaka didn’t get on the scoresheet. The 18 year old read the game incredibly well and he made some important defensive interventions.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: My man of the match, see below.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: It was a good performance from the 19 year old who operated at LCB on Friday. Dinzeyi brought the ball out well from the back and he was commanding in his defending. Making some important blocks, interceptions and clearances. In addition he complemented RCB Brooklyn Lyons-Foster throughout the match and both players read the game well.
  • Dennis Cirkin: Noticeably a lot more defensive against Ajax Cape Town, Dennis Cirkin performed his duties admirably at left back without going on his usual forward jinking runs down the left flank. Cirkin defended really well and he helped to protect his side of the pitch by making some fine challenges and blocks. The 17 year old saw the danger and he maintained good positioning throughout the game.
  • Jamie Bowden: The 17 year old kept the ball moving from central midfield and he also created some good chances for the young Lilywhites. Often seen getting himself into good pockets of space, Bowden made some good passes and he wasn’t afraid to try his luck on goal. The second year scholar also anchored the midfield well alongside Harvey White.
  • Harvey White: It was a very good performance from the tigerish and alert midfielder who along with Jamie Bowden helped Spurs to win the midfield battle. White was graceful with the ball, making some clever and effective passes. He also broke up play well and it was he who set up Phoenix Patterson’s winning goal towards the end of the first half with a nicely weighted pass.
  • Dilan Markanday: The right winger didn’t get a lot of the ball particularly during the first half however, he did go on a couple of nice attacking forays during the second half and he did work very hard for the team.
  • Jack Roles: The skipper operated as a CAM but he would often drop deep to receive the ball and initiate chances. Roles’ razor sharp movement and good leadership skills caused the opposition problems.
  • Phoenix Patterson: It was a very impressive performance from the 18 year old out on the left wing. Patterson worked Ajax Cape Town fullback Patrick Fisher hard during his time on the pitch and the tricky Spurs winger was heavily involved in Fridays 1-0 win. Patterson worked so hard to create space and he made some good runs down the channels, often getting in and behind Fisher. After testing Aidan Leak with a thumping effort Patterson would go onto fire home the winner for Spurs on the stroke of halftime after he latched onto Harvey White’s pass inside the Ajax penalty area. Creative and decisive in the final third, it was a really positive all round performance from the second year scholar who netted his first goal since November on Friday evening.
  • Rodel Richards: The hardworking centre forward led the line well, made some good runs and pressed the Ajax defence well before later dropping into the CAM role for the final minutes of the game.
  • Rayan Clarke: The left winger tracked back well after him during his short time on the pitch.
  • Kion Etete: The 17 year old came on towards the end of the game and he held up the ball well for Burnett’s side. He also went on a few good powerful forward runs.

My man of the match: RCB Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had a great game for Wayne Burnett’s side where he was pretty much flawless for the full 50 minutes of the game.  Influential with his pin point forward passing and good vision, the 18 year old North Londoner read the game to perfection alongside the slightly more combative Jonathan Dinzeyi. Lyons-Foster cut out some dangerous Ajax Cape Town attacks and he also managed to get himself into important defensive positions to give himself the best chance of getting to the ball. As a result of this the 18 year old made many an important interception and clearance. He was very classy in everything that he did on Friday, and he was one of the main reasons why Spurs won the game!

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

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

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Spurs youngster Samuel Shashoua was involved in the biggest game of his career on Sunday evening, when he lined up for Atlético Baleares in the first leg of their semifinal play off against Racing Santander. Shashoua completed 65 minutes of the goalless draw at the El Sardinero, the 20 year old spent the entirety of his time on the field playing out on the left flank. Manix Mandiola’s side set up in a very defensive shape today as they looked to go into the second leg with a clean sheet, as they are so strong at home. This ultimately meant that Samuel was not as involved in the game from an attacking perspective as he would have liked to have been. However, Shashoua tracked back well impeccably after himself and he put in an important defensive shift for Manix Mandiola’s side to help them to record a clean sheet. Shashoua started the game out on the left wing and his first involvement in the match occurred around the 15 minute mark. Impressing early on with some good tracking back, after receiving the ball out on the left flank Samuel looked to drive forward with the ball. He embarked on a good penetrating run but he ended up being stopped by Racing Santander’s Mario Oritz who fouled the Spurs man. A couple of minutes later Samuel received Peris’ pass down the left flank, Shashoua then sprinted down the channel before being taken out and fouled by Noguera. After a Racing Santander corner found its way Nico Hidalgo on the edge of the Atlético penalty area, Samuel took it upon himself to sprint over to Hidalgo to close down his angles, and it worked as he blazed his resulting effort over Carl Klaus’ crossbar. It was a scrappy game of football with very few clear cut chances for either team. Shashoua grew quite isolated out on the left flank but time and time again he tracked back to help Peris quell the threat which Hidalgo posed. Racing Santander pressurised the Atlético defence but it was to no avail. After picking the ball up on the left wing Shashoua cut inside fullback Aitor Buñuel before clipping a nice cross into the Santander penalty area. Shashoua’s cross had manage to pick out Marcos De la Espada at the back post however, he volleyed wide of the goal.

Francesc Fullana attempted to play Samuel through on goal with a clever pass towards the end of the first half after the 20 year old had made a good run. However, Fullana’s pass was cut out by Santander defender Sergio Ruiz. During the second half Shashoua was virtually uninvolved from an attacking point of view however, he worked tirelessly to help Peris defend against Nico Hidalgo before being replaced for Hugo Diaz in the 65th minute of the game. Once again Shashoua gave a very positive account of himself in the biggest game of his career thus far. He also didn’t let the hostile atmosphere which was created by the home fans get to him.

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 34

Goals: 6

Assists: 4

My preview of Spurs’ participation in the 2019 Terborg tournament:

My preview of Spurs’ participation in the 2019 Terborg tournament: 

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A Spurs under 19 side will be competing in this years Terborg tournament in the Netherlands at the end of the month. Regular participants in this tournament over the years, Spurs will be looking to cap off a successful season on the academy front with some much deserved silverware. This prestigious post season tournament is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, and once again it includes a whole host of top clubs who are competing in it. The tournament is split into two groups and John McDermott and Ryan Mason’s side have been drawn in the Van Egmond group with Flamengo, Aiax Cape Town and Vitesse Arnhem. Three very good technical teams who Spurs will have to be at their very best to beat, South African club Aiax Cape Town are renowned at this level for their technical ability while the other two sides like to play a passing game. The other group contains Liverpool, Palmeiras and De Graafschap. We will play one of those teams on the final day of the tournament depending on where we finish in the group. At the end of the day this is an end of season tournament which is being played very late in the season, so it will be interesting to see what squad McDermott and Mason pick for a tournament which they will undoubtedly be wanting to win, although Spurs will be without a number of important players including main danger man Troy Parrott through injury. However, this will mean that some of the young Spurs players (mainly under 18’s) who haven’t played a lot this season will get some much needed game time. Group games are 2×25 minutes with the exception of the final being slightly longer. I will also be interested to see which overage players are used for Spurs with their being three players available to choose from. I wonder if we will see Jack Roles be used as a centre forward. Playing in this prestigious tournament is a great way to end the season for the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘ who will be wanting to end the 2018/19 season on a high. I will be travelling out to Terborg in the east of the Netherlands first thing on Thursday morning ahead of  the tournament starting the following day. My in-depth match reports will be published on the day of the games. 

My message of support to the team: It’s been a great season for Spurs at both under 18 and under 23 level and every single Spurs player should be proud of all that they have achieved so far this campaign. The Terborg tournament spells an end to what has been a very long season and I would like to wish John McDermott and Ryan Mason’s under 19 side all the very best of luck for the forthcoming Terborg tournament. I also hope that they enjoy themselves watching us beat Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final on the second day of the tournament!

The Spurs squad I’m predicting that will travel to the Netherlands: Jonathan De Bie, Kacper Kurylowicz, Jubril Okedina, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Malachi Walcott, Jonathan Dinzeyi*, Luis Binks, Dennis Cirkin, Jamie Bowden, Harvey White, Armando Shashoua, Tashan Oakley-Boothe*, Phoenix Patterson, Dilan Markanday, Elliot Thorpe, Rayan Clarke, J’Neil Bennett, Rodel Richards.

*= Overage player (three are allowed).

Doubtful: Paris Maghoma, Enoch Asante, Jamie Reynolds, Dennis Cirkin.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio, TJ Eyoma, Troy Parrott.

Spurs’ schedule:  

Day 1 (31st of May): Spurs v Ajax Cape Town (kick off – 19:00 PM CET)

Day 2 (June 1): Spurs v Flamengo (kick off – 10:00 AM CET)

Spurs v Vitesse Arnhem (kick off – 14:00 PM)

Day 3 (June 2) TBC. The final may be televised.

My interview with former Spurs man Aled Owen:

My interview with former Spurs man Aled Owen:

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Welshman Aled Watcyn Owen formerly of Bangor City joined Tottenham Hotspur as a professional in 1953. The Anglesey born outside left would go onto spend five years at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ before going onto join Alf Ramsey’s Ipswich Town in 1958. Signed by the legendary Arthur Rowe, Owen would spend the majority of his time at Spurs in the old A team although he would go onto make one solitary competitive appearance for the Spurs first team. That came in a 6-2 league defeat to Preston North End in the April of 1954. The outside left played for Spurs during one of the most fascinating periods in the clubs history, and in many ways he played in a bygone era, and he is one of very few Spurs players remaining from the mid 1950’s along with his brother in law and former Spurs wing half Ernie Walley. I traveled up to Bangor to interview Aled about his fascinating time at the club during the 1950’s. From his arrival in London as a young man to his departure from Spurs as an experienced footballer, we had a fascinating chat and I was thoroughly appreciative for the time in which Aled gave me.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Aled: I played for the local team in my village in the beginning when I was very young, then I went to work in a factory, Saunders Row it was called and that’s where I started as an apprentice. During dinner time we got to play football for about 20 minutes a day. I went from doing that to becoming a full time professional with Bangor City after going on a trial which I must have done well at because I was signed as a part time professional, so that’s the way it started for me in football. I was with Bangor roughly for about two and a half years as an amateur. At the beginning of a particular season we had a blues versus reds match and on that day there happened to be a scout from Tottenham called Muldwin Roberts who was in the stands. During the game he asked the people in the stands if they knew who I was (most of the people in the stands were my work mates) and they told me the news on the following Monday morning and I was informed to go and see Roberts in Caernarfon if I wanted to go for a trial with Tottenham. Hearing that as a 17 year old I was over the moon! My father took me in his lorry to Caernarfon to see the man and he then arranged for me to come to Tottenham for ten days when Arthur Rowe was the manager. The first game I had at Spurs I didn’t know where an earth I was because I’d never been anywhere before! I played on the Saturday and it happened to be against Arsenal reserves in Tottenham, and obviously I had never played at that level before. I thought I didn’t do too bad although they didn’t say too much to me after the game. A few days later I had another game at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea reserves, I played the whole game and I scored the winning goal so I enjoyed it very much to say the least. The day after the manager called me in and said well we’re quite pleased with what we’ve seen from your two games and we’d like to sign you. It was a big decision for me to make! What happened then was Jimmy Anderson came all the way from London like you did today to see my mother and father in Brynteg, Anglesey to have a chat with them but they didn’t have a clue about football and they just went with what I wanted to do.

I signed professional forms and I was offered if I remember right 13 pounds a week so I went from earning three pound a week to 13, which was a lot of money for a 17 year old. The first day I went to London I met Ernie Walley at Euston station and he was able to get me to stay with him and help me settle in. 

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

Aled: I played my first season mainly in the reserves where we won the London combination league during that first season. I also remember playing a game for the first team against Racing Club De Paris in a floodlit match, and I also remember playing against England amateurs. They are my earliest memories more a less.

What was it like being a young man from Bangor coming to a big city like London to play for one of the biggest clubs in European football at the time?

Aled: It was a completely different world and I was very nervous at the time. I remember shortly after I signed I was asked to go up to Edinburgh to play in a friendly against Hibernian and I didn’t even know where Edinburgh was! But I managed to get there and play my first game with the first team lads. 

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

Aled: I was there for about four or five years and I enjoyed it very much, the Spurs lads were good. We had a great side with Alf Ramsay at fullback (who I would later go onto play under) and Charlie Withers, as well as Harry Clarke. It was also good because I met my wife in London, she was following the Tottenham first team and reserves all over, so that’s how we met. 

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

Aled: The funny thing was when I was at home I used to pretend I was Tom Finney and my one competitive game for Spurs was against Preston. Johnny Brookes was playing inside me that day but he never gave me the ball and the Preston fullback who was marking me said to Johnny that he should have given me the ball! Sadly Tom Finney didn’t play that game for Preston which was a shame for me because he was one of my heroes.

You made your one and only competitive first team appearance for Spurs in a 6-2 league defeat to Preston North End in 1954. What are your memories of that day and how it came about?

Aled: I gave my best but the team wasn’t very good at the time and they weren’t on their best that day which was a big handicap for me, and we lost 6-2 which was a shame.

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Aled: I played a lot on the right wing especially for Ipswich. The players today are very fast and I felt that I had the speed and was very quick off the mark

What was it like to play with legendary Spurs players such as Sonny Walters, Len Duquemin and Bill Nicholson ?

Aled: They were very good and we played with each other in training. They were lovely lads like Harry Clarke and Sonny Walters.

What was Bill Nicholson like as a player?

Aled: He was a tough tackler and he was very committed and strong when he was in the game. However, I’m not too sure whether or not he would have been able to play in today’s game because the players are so much fitter now. 

What was the great Arthur Rowe like as a manager? 

Aled: He fell ill soon after I came and to be honest with you I didn’t have a lot of contact with him. I had more contact with Jimmy Anderson who took over after Rowe.

What was Jimmy Anderson like as a manager?

Aled: Greatest respects to him but he didn’t know the game very well because he was a trainer not a coach. When you listen to coaches too much you can lose you’re confidence and ability as a young player.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Aled: To be honest I don’t think anybody influenced me even though there were so many different types of players at Spurs, at that time.

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Aled: No I don’t think so. When I was young I used to watch Tom Finney on television now and again and I used to like to watch those types of players but nothing else really.

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

Aled: There’s not a lot really. The only ones that really standout are the friendly against Racing Club De Paris and the match against Preston. My career was disrupted because I had to go into the forces for national service so that spoilt my time at Tottenham. Although I ended up in a good sports camp in the army which included the boxer Henry Cooper. I was allowed to come back to spurs to play games on a Saturday by my commander.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Aled: My greatest time was when we paraded the champions cup outside the big town hall in Ipswich. That’s the greatest time, it really was wonderful.

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Aled: It’s because I wasn’t needed there at the time so I thought to myself what’s the point of me waiting around. I knew I had the chance to go and it just happened that Alf Ramsey came onto me a couple of weeks after and that turned out to be very satisfactory for me.

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

Aled: I can’t really remember any single player because they were all the same back then. 

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Aled: Yes and I am very excited about us beating Liverpool in the European cup final! And I’ll definitely be supporting Tottenham because I have fond memories there.

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to during your time there?

Aled: Of course I was close to Ernie Walley, but I was also close to a player called Johnny Lovell who was from Weston Super Mare. After training I used to play snooker with him. 

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to make it in the game?

Aled: I would say that number one looking back on what I was doing I shouldn’t have forgotten about my own ability. I know back then at Tottenham they had one style of play but I felt that I had something and I started to lose my own ability because the trainers would drum things into me. Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha who every club is after at the moment because of his exceptional ability, but what would he be like if somebody tried to take that out of him? So I’d say to the young players of today to use your ability within the teamwork. 

My interview with former Spurs man Allan Cockram:

My interview with former Spurs man Allan Cockram:

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I met up with former Spurs midfielder Allan Cockram last Tuesday morning to look back on his time at the North London club. Kensington born Cockram joined Spurs as a schoolboy and he would go onto work his way up the ladder at Tottenham before making two first team appearances for them during the 1983/84. The talented midfielder was released by the club the following season however, he would go onto forge a good career in the game by playing for the likes of Brentford,  before turning his hand to management and firefighting! A thoroughly interesting and intelligent man, I had the great pleasure of spending last Tuesday morning with Allan as we looked back on his time at the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Allan: Turning up on a Tuesday and Thursday for schoolboy training. Also going under the old west stand where there used to be a ball hanging off the roof which Micky Hazard used to head, so they are my earliest memories of walking in as a terrified 12 year old. 

How did you come about joining the club?

Allan: I played for Camden district and an old fellow who was literally in a sheepskin and flat cap came up to me and introduced himself as Fred Ricketts, and he had actually scouted Jimmy Bolton and Terry Gibson. And he said to me would you like to come to Tottenham on a Tuesday and Thursday for training, and it was as simple as that.

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

Allan: I went from a boy to a man to a 12 year old to a 21 year old, so I grew up as a boy into a man but in another away so did your coaches such as Robbie Stepney, Peter Shreeves, Ron Henry and Keith Blunt. But I still felt that we were treated like children, I thought they saw me as young Allan a skinny 12 year old growing up. 

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

Allan: My first footballing hero was Charlie George and my girlfriend actually arranged for me to meet him for my birthday at the Emirates. My first ever meeting of a hero was running onto the pitch to pick up Charlie George’s tie up of the floor after he threw it on the pitch at Highbury, in a game against Newcastle. I picked it up and the police threw me out! And then at the meeting I got him to sign the tie. Another footballing hero was George Best and another player who very few people know about and his name was Tony Knowles, and he played for Wolves and he was an amazing footballer who played with his socks down. However, he quit football at the age of 26 to become a Jehovah’s Witness. All of those players who had a bit of flair and who were different from the norm were inspirations for me, so to answer your question it was more about the player than the team for me that I got a thrill out of.

You made your first team debut for Spurs in a 3-2 defeat to Watford on the 2nd of January 1984. What are your memories of that day and how it came about?

Allan: Really good question, it went by really quick and I didn’t take a lot on board because it was only a couple of hours before kick off that I was told, and I can remember sitting down and Steve Archibald saying that I’m going to look after you, and I said alright then. So he said I’m going to take you out and warm you up, and all I can remember is him taking me out and hearing the roar as we went out onto the pitch and warming up with Hoddle, Perryman and Ardiles and stuff like that. And it’s only later on in my career that I started to take more things on board but when you were that age it was the norm for you as somebody who had grown up in that environment. The game itself was played on a terrible day weather wise and the Watford team was just lumping the football, but they’re my memories of that day.

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Allan: I was a standard central midfield player probably in the mould of most midfield players who get the football and move the football, but that was how we were brought up. I also played on the right of midfield but mainly I played in central midfield. A description of how I was well I was the same as the other midfield players that Spurs produced at that time, just ball to feet and making things tick.

What was it like to brush shoulders with some of the legendary players that were around at Spurs at the time?

Allan: At the time it was normal but when you look back at Hoddle, Ardiles and players like Micky Hazard you get to appreciate what they were teaching you at the time. I can remember Hoddle doing this long range passing exercise with the youngsters with back spin on the ball and he’d drive it 30-40 yards and then he’d say look at the back spin on it, do you know why I do that? The reason I do it is because the minute the player touches it to control it, it sticks like glue to him for about half a second. That was the level of detail that Hoddle was into. I also remember Ardiles whenever he received a throw in he’d always do something called check check double check which was another very intelligent drill with so much detail in it. 

Who were you greatest influence at Spurs?

Allan: Glen Hoddle for just watching, Ardiles for intelligence and Archibald for helping the youngsters if that makes sense. Some of the players wouldn’t even talk to you but Hoddle was a giver who would show you stuff while Ardiles would explain stuff to you and Archibald would literally take the youngsters to come and train with him. A lot of Archibald is misrepresented most of the time and for a couple of years he was above Hoddle, so those three including my dad were my greatest influences.

Would you by any chance remember a UEFA Cup game against Coleraine which took place in 1982 in Coleraine (that was my fathers first game)? 

Allan: I think I was actually there because as part of our learning they would take the young players to away games. I’m sure we played in Coleraine under armed guard from the RUC! That’s the only time in British football that I’ve ever seen a football team under armed guard!

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Allan: The same players who I mentioned previously along with Micky Hazard who was a really nice person. As schoolboys we were asked to take notes on Hoddle and ask him questions. So same again really Hazard, Ardiles and Hoddle. 

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

Allan: It’s not until later on in life that you realise that it doesn’t matter whether you played for the youth team, the reserves or even one game in the first team you still played at a high level for one of the top clubs in the world. And it’s not until you get older and look back and realise how hard that was and how much effort you had to put into it. Another memory was because I used to get in trouble quite a lot as I was always messing around. We used to always clean the changing rooms with what was called soft soap, and when you wiped the floors with it, it used to dissolve so it was quite slippery. And we used to do slides in and out of the changing rooms on our ass and me and me mate Simon Webster were in the tunnel running all the way into the showers and I thought it was a good idea to ride the other way out into the tunnel. So I’m naked and I’ve slid past the lads in the changing room and all I remember is taking someone out so the persons coming round the corner and this persons lying on me. I’ve looked up and it’s Peter Shreeves the Spurs manager! He looked at me and he said can you see me in my office, but he didn’t sack me he fined me and for me I think that was the beginning of the end. Taking out a manager was not a good look and people still talk about that. Another memory was as a schoolboy under 15 we were playing and I lent over the ball and I went on my back with the ball going on my knee, and it snapped so the bottom half of my leg was the wrong way round. After that I was bed ridden for about ten months and at 14 my career was touch and go. I spent six months in recovery before going into a rehab centre in Camden so it was a rough time for about two years and I was one of the youngest persons ever to sign professional forms. It was literally the day after my birthday that I was able to sign professional forms.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Allan: I think looking back it’s playing in an era that was tough because midfield players were becoming redundant because the long ball game was prominent. So I think to stay in the game for as long as I did as a flair player with the injuries that I had was one thing. However, the greatest memory was playing for Brentford against Liverpool in the quarter finals of the FA Cup when we were in the old third division. En route to there we beat every top team on route so I’d say that along with my Tottenham debut they were my greatest moments of my career.

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

Allan: Probably Mario Kempes at Enfield when we played a pre season game in 1980 and then he was the Maradona of Argentina. Ardiles had walked in and said that there was someone he wanted us all to meet. Just seeing what Kempes done with a football was unbelievable.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham youth team?

Allan: Yeah the year was 1980/81 and we got to the final of the FA youth cup. We went to their place (West Ham) and lost 1-0 and it was 1–1 at home I think. I can remember 15,000 people turning up at the old White Hart Lane to watch the second leg of a youth cup final. Also the pre season tours as a kid we travelled all over the world and stayed in the best hotels. We stayed in the intercontinental in Zurich with the Italian national team, so they are really good memories as a London lad to get life experiences and having the privilege of playing with a team of full internationals. It was an honour!

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Allan: Just getting to an age and realising that some of your mates have already played 50-60 league games and then realising that Spurs at the time were a buying club. The realisation that you’ve got to get away and leaving it was like a death, because it was my life for ten years. I went to Bristol Rovers and Bobby Gould took me there, we didn’t get on too well and I left soon afterwards. I then went onto play in America for a team called the San Francisco Flyers in an indoor league which was amazing. After doing my achilles over there I came back to England to recover and Steve Perryman had just taken over at Brentford, and after getting over my injury I signed for them and I guess the rest is history I suppose. I went to Reading after that and then wanted to get into coaching and management. I ended up getting the opportunity to become player manager at St Albans and then Chertsey.

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

Allan: In a game against Reading for Brentford Micky Tate said to me before hands “ Cockram you won’t see 90 minutes “ and I was laughing at him. However, at the start of the second half his elbow came across me, and I can’t remember the rest!

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

Allan: Mark Bowen and Ally Dick as well as Simon Webster who was my best mate at Spurs. Also Jimmy Bolton was a good mate.

As somebody who worked your way up the youth ranks at Spurs before breaking into the first team, what would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Allan: I’m telling you now you don’t need an agent. Enjoy your football and come off social media. You’ve got to go the opposite of what’s happening!

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Allan: It was a chunk of my life that was a privilege, an honour and I will always look back on the good times because you lose the bad memories. And also I think it gave me amazing grounding to go onto do other things such as becoming a fire fighter which was a totally different career choice, but it was very similar to being a footballer because it was team orientated and you were in life or death situations and lots of banter. So in answer to your question it built mental toughness to achieve other things in my life. I’ve done so many other things but Tottenham was my grounding to achieve lots of other things. If you ask kids what you want to be they’ll probably say a footballer or a firefighter and I’ve been both! I put being a firefighter down to Spurs.

A season of great strides – Maxwell Statham 2018/19:

A season of great strides – Maxwell Statham 2018/19: 

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An Academy player who has made great strides during the 2018/19 season, 18 year old centre half Maxwell Louis Statham has enjoyed a fine season for Spurs’ under 18 side. Born in Southend but brought up in Chelmsford, Maxwell is the son of former Spurs player Brian Statham, a familiar name for those Spurs fans who remember the late 1980’s well. Despite limited starts during the early stages of the season, the second year year scholar went onto force himself into John McDermott’s under 18 side. His versatility and adaptability plain to see as he filled in at both right back and left back throughout the course of the campaign. Statham is a traditional centre half who is both robust and reactive, he is also very good at last ditch defending. The 18 year old has made great strides this season and I have hence decided to write a piece on yet another of our promising second year scholars. A young man who always keeps good positioning and is effective at man marking, Maxwell reminds me of a young Shane Duffy in the way in which he defends. He is very much a combative centre half not too dissimilar to former Spurs man Christian Maghoma in his style of play, and it is the combative and heroic style of his defending which I will go into in great detail about during the following piece. Featuring 17 times for our under 18’s during the 2018/19 season Statham went onto become an important member of our under 18 side despite the fact that he was so regularly played out of position. The tough tackling and commanding centre half has really shown just how versatile he is this season and under testing conditions he has made sure that he has risen to the occasion. Perhaps not as hyped up as some of our defensive prospects, the following piece is both a piece reflecting on the fine season that Maxwell has enjoyed for Spurs, but it is also a piece which highlights some of the youngsters qualities both as a centre half and as a fullback. In my opinion Statham has come on leaps and bounds over the course of the campaign, and I think that it’s fair to say that he has improved as a defender.

The Southend born defender who has been at Spurs since his early teenage years, is now nearing the end of his second year of scholarship at Londons finest club. The former pupil of Moulsham High School in the town of Chelmsford, Essex has risen through the ranks at Spurs. During his final year as a schoolboy the right sided centre half featured prominently for our under 16’s, and he managed to find the back of the net on four occasions. However, Statham had to wait until September 2017 before he made his debut for our under 18’s, that came in a 2-1 league win over Southampton at their Staplewood Training Centre, when he put in a solid debut performance at RCB. Statham would go onto make a further 12 appearances for Scott Parker’s under 18 side that season although the defender wasn’t a regular in Parker’s side. This season Statham has played an even bigger role in the side and he has improved in his all round game. After putting in an impressive shift at centre half against Enfield Town in a pre-season friendly last July, Statham would go onto perform excellently at the prestigious Tournoi Europeen in France, just a week later. The second year scholar defended diligently in France in the absence of the injured Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, and some of the challenges and interceptions which he made during the tournament were superb. In addition the maturity for which he showed in games against the likes of Stade Rennais and EA Guingamp was seriously impressive, and it was only during that tournament that I began to draw comparisons with former Spurs defender Christian Maghoma. After recovering from an injury which he picked up shortly after the tournament, Statham would go onto make his first competitive appearance of the season in an under 18 league game against Southampton. In that game the teenager would come off the bench late on in the game to make a heroic late sliding challenge as Spurs went onto win the game 5-2. Due to the amount of centre halves we had competing for places in the under 18 side this season, with the likes of Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Jubril Okedina all vying for places in John McDermott’s side, this meant that Maxwell’s time in his natural position of centre half was severely limited.

The competition for one of two CB spots in the side meant that Statham would have to prove his versatility to break into the team. And prove his versatility he certainly did, throughout the course of the campaign the teenager from Essex has filled in both at right back and at left back in around 90% of the games in which he has been involved in. Putting in valiant performances against the likes of Swansea City, Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Norwich City and Leicester City throughout the season mostly in his newfound position, Statham performed consistently well for our under 18’s by putting in some really steady performances at fullback. Although Cristiano Ronaldo is Maxwell’s footballing hero, since making the switch to fullback he has started to pay really close attention to Liverpool fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold who is a player who he really likes to watch. What type of defender is Maxwell? Well as a centre half the 18 year old could be compared to somebody such as Michael Dawson or Shane Duffy. He may not have much pace and he may not be the flashiest on the ball. However, he is an excellent young defender who is strong and robust in the challenge, as well as being dominant in the air. Furthermore, Statham the centre half keeps good positioning and even though he isn’t a ball playing centre half the tall defender is very comfortable on the ball, and he likes to ping the ball out to whichever Spurs winger is playing on the left flank with his trademark Dawson-esque long passes. Like Japhet Tanganga before him, Statham is very much a reactive central defender who really is superb at making heroic blocks and at last ditch defending. Linking back into my comparisons with a player who I love to watch in Ireland international Shane Duffy. Statham reads the game well and he defends with a nice assuredness about him, but like Duffy who is renowned for his old school defending, Maxwell is one of those defenders who will literally put his body on the line for his team.

Hardworking and relentlessly scanning the potential danger in front of him, I have seen the 18 year old make many a heroic block over the years, and that is something which every defender needs to have in their locker. Good at making clearances, and a commanding figure in central defence. Statham is vocal and he likes to talk his way through matches, something that former Spurs youth player Christian Maghoma was also very good at. As a fullback on either flank the young defender manages to get up and down the channels well despite his lack of pace. Statham has grown into his new position and he plays as if he really enjoys the freedom which playing at fullback offers him. The versatile young defender gets up and down the flank well and he is nice and aggressive both in and out of possession. Statham has put in some really solid performances at fullback this season and he has shown just how versatile he can be. However, his best performance of the season in my opinion occurred in a league fixture against Leicester City back in December of 2018. Statham didn’t start the game that day however, an early injury which was picked up by makeshift left back Jeremie Mukendi meant that Statham had to fill in at left back in place of the injured Mukendi. That day Statham was up against tricky Irish winger Shane Flynn, a highly skilful young player who had good pace and flair about him. However, Statham stayed deep throughout the match and he marked Flynn tightly, and it resulted in him keeping the talented Irishman at bay for large periods of the game. Maxwell was forceful and he made some hugely important challenges and interceptions to protect his side of the pitch, and help Spurs to record a clean sheet. I really like and admire Statham’s style of play and his tremendous work rate. He is a courageous young player who has certainly proved his adaptability and versatility this season in testing circumstances. The 18 year old has been consistent throughout the campaign and the quality of his performances as well as the work rate in which he offers to games has been top class.  

It is worth noting that back in February Statham was on a short youth loan at Norwich City. He played in one competitive game for the ‘ Canaries ‘ a 4-0 league defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. This followed an article which was published in the Daily Mirror claiming that Maxwell was attracting the attention of a number of clubs including Norwich City, Brentford and Newcastle United. However, the second year scholar signed a professional contract with Spurs this month putting any such rumours to rest. Statham who is also eligible to represent Zimbabwe through his Harare born father Brian, is also possibly eligible to represent Scotland at international level. It has been a very positive season for Maxwell at Spurs and he has made huge personal strides this campaign. Statham, who still has the end of season Terborg tournament to look forward to should be very proud of himself for all that he has achieved throughout the 2018/19 campaign.

My interview with former Spurs man Andy Polston:

My interview with former Spurs man Andy Polston: 

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I caught up with former Spurs man and youth team player Andy Polston on Monday afternoon to look back on his time at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘. One of two brothers along with the better known John who featured for our first team over a dozen times. Andy featured only once for Spurs’ first team, that came in a league game against Crystal Palace when he made Spurs history by playing with his brother John. The former defender who kindly agreed to doing an interview with me, was in the Tottenham youth team during the 1980’s and he made his one and only appearance for the first team in 1990. Andy would later go onto play for the likes of Gillingham, Boreham Wood and Brighton. It was a real pleasure catching up with the former Spurs defender.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Andy: I think I was there from 11 years of age training on a Monday night and then it went onto a Tuesday and Thursday night. Then once I moved up I got offered a YTS, so probably my earliest memory was sort of being spotted by a scout and then following the path. The aim was to get in the youth team, once you got in there it was about the reserves and obviously then the big ambition was to play in the first team which obviously is limited, due to homegrown players. 

How did you come about joining the club?

Andy: Basically I was playing Sunday morning football and there were Tottenham scouts watching different games over the borough. A scout watching me play then invited me to come to Spurs on a Monday night and the progression just went from there. 

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

Andy: It was enjoyable! Of course you have your ups and downs don’t get me wrong but in general my overall time from signing at 15 to leaving at 22 was happy. 

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

Andy: My footballing hero was Trevor Brooking, as I was a fanatical West Ham fan growing up and I just loved Trevor Brooking.

You made your first team debut for Spurs in a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on the 3rd of March 1990. What are your memories of that day and how it came about?

Andy: I’d been training in the first team squad a couple of weeks before that but I got called up then on the Saturday when they had a squad of about 14, 15. I think I then traveled to an away game which I can’t remember who it was against, but I never made the bench. I was then in the home squad the following week and then I was on the bench and then it was my debut. Obviously it was every kids dream to play in the first team but it was also a special day because my brother John was playing as well, so for two brothers to play for the first team it was a fantastic day for me and obviously for my family as well.

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Andy: I played at right back or centre half most of the time, but I probably played more at centre half. Looking back if I’d have stayed at right back I think it would have been better for me as it was probably my best position. I always seemed to get moved to centre half which is where I made my debut at because I was quite quick. 

What was it like to brush shoulders with some of the legendary players that were around at Spurs at the time?

Alan: It was great but when you’re training every day around them it’s not such a big deal and I don’t mean that in a horrible way. However, it’s just like going to work everyday. At the time it was Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne and Gary Mabbutt and in everyone else’s eyes they were heroes, but for us they were just teammates and I was never in awe of them. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Andy: It’s sad actually because of the news today but it has to be Chris Hughton because he was a defender who would always look out for the youngsters. If you ever had a problem he would help you out and I can remember when Spurs offered me my second contract and I went to ask him what he thought and he was very good to me. 

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Andy: Being a defender you’d always keep an eye on who was in the current team, such as the two centre halves or the right back to see how their game was compared to yours. 

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

Andy: Obviously making my debut was the highlight at Spurs but also going on a pre season tour with the first team and playing in front of quite big crowds was another good memory.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Andy: I would say when I was playing in the first team for Spurs because that is what I set out to do as a young kid, but through injury it didn’t go the way I wanted it to go, but that’s life and you move on. 

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

Andy: Paul Gascoigne was as good as anybody but I’ve got to say I did play in a testimonial for Bill Nicholson for the current Spurs team as it was then, against the 1981 FA Cup winning team and Glen Hoddle played in central midfield and his through balls with back spin to set both Archibald and Crooks through on goal were unbelievable, and it was a real eye opener.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham youth team?

Andy: Obviously winning the South East Counties league although I don’t remember how many times we did win it. However, probably the biggest disappointment was getting to the FA youth cup semi final against Doncaster when we lost over two legs which was a shame as Arsenal got to the final, so that was the biggest disappointment.

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Andy: Well my contract was coming to an end and I was always injured because I had a groin problem which was later diagnosed as a cut tendon and so that was that. After Spurs I went to Brighton for six months but I never really recovered from the operation that took place and it took me a long time to get over that. I then played a couple of games for Fulham on trial but I wasn’t really at my best to be honest. Unfortunately I ended up going part time which was just the way of the world really. 

What was it like to play, train and make Spurs history with your older brother John?

Andy: It was wonderful and to this day were still the only brothers to have played for Spurs since 1990 and I personally don’t think that will change in my lifetime. However, I hope someone does break it. 

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

Andy: In the youth team it would have been Kevin Dearden who was a good lad and also Ian Gilzean. Also Justin Edinburgh who I was assistant manager with when he took his first job with Billericay Town. 

 As somebody who worked your way up the youth ranks at Spurs before breaking into the first team, what would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Andy: The number one thing is that you’ve got to have a lot of ability to get into the first team, but I think that it’s all about the desire and the attitude of the player, as well as luck. 

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Andy: I follow football don’t get me wrong but I’m not one of those people who gets down in the dumps if Spurs lose. I look out for Spurs and West Ham’s results so I’m not a one man team!

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

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

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Spurs youngster Samuel had a day he will never forget on Sunday evening after he helped Atlético Baleares to clinch the Spanish División B – Grupo III title with a 2-1 home win over Lleida, at the Son Malferit. Shashoua had a truly wonderful game in the evening sun as he helped to inspire Atlético to overcome a Lleida side who were fighting for a play off place. The pressure of the occasion didn’t get to Samuel and his teammates as they outplayed Lleida for large periods of the game, thanks mainly to the impact that Samuel and Atlético’s centre forward Nuha Marong had on the game. With his clever jinking runs, hard work and all round intelligent play, Samuel had one of his very best games of the 2018/19 season. Shashoua started the game out on the left wing as Atlético lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The 19 year olds first involvement in the game occurred around the five minute mark, after he peeled away from a Lleida defender and looked to run onto Marcos De la Espada’s lofted pass inside the oppositions penalty area. However, Lleida goalkeeper Pau Torres managed to gather the ball in time, before Samuel could latch onto it. There was very little focus on the left flank during the opening stages of the game and this meant that Samuel found it extremely difficult to make an impression on the game considering that he had such few touches. Around the 15 minute mark Shashoua switched flanks with Canario. The Lleida goalkeeper Pau Torres punched away a good cross which Samuel whipped into the box from the left wing, before the ball was eventually cleared away by a defender. It is worth noting that Shashoua was tracking back well after him during the opening stages of the first half, and he was looking sharp. Atlético’s top scorer this season Nuha Marong gave the home side the lead in the 35th minute of time after he beat Pau Torres with a clever lobbed finish on the edge of the Lleida penalty area. Then a couple of minutes later The Gambia international doubled the ` Balearicos ’ advantage after he was set up by Samuel. After Francesc Fullana played his corner kick short to Shashoua, the Spurs man intelligently dummied Lleida defender Dalmau as he came inside onto his left foot before picking out Nuha at the back post with a clever chipped cross which the centre forward headed down into the turf before it bounced up over Pau Torres, and into the back of the goal. It was a really clever piece of play from Shashoua who actually turns 20 tomorrow!

Unfortunately Juanto Ortuño managed to pull a goal back for Lleida in the 38th minute of the game however, it didn’t stop Atlético from finishing the half strongly. After powering forward down the left flank Shashoua whipped a menacing ball across the face of the Lleida goal in what turned out to be his final involvement of the first half. Shashoua started the second half back out on the left wing and it was during this half that the Spurs man really started to up his game and try different things with the ball. After winning the ball down the left flank Samuel dribbled away from Cano before darting forward with the ball glued to his feet. Shashoua then skipped past Dalmau before clipping the ball into the oppositions penalty area, but it was cleared away by Iván. Samuel had started the second half really well and he continued to cause the startled Lleida defence problems. After receiving a pass from Canario down the left hand side of the Lleida penalty area, Samuel cut inside onto his right foot before wildly whipping the ball over Pau Torres’ crossbar, this resulted in Samuel shaking his head in disapproval. After latching onto Peris’ throw in a couple of moments later Shashoua drifted inside from the left wing before forcing a decent save out of Pau Torres from his curling effort on the edge of the Lleida penalty area. A couple of minutes later the sharp 19 year old raced down the opposite end of the left flank to help close down Lleida’s Dalmau to prevent him from crossing the ball into the Atlético penalty area, this was yet another selfless piece of defending from Samuel. There was a commotion after Lleida midfielder Trilles was sent off for elbowing Nuha in the face however, instead of getting involved in the resulting scuffle Shashoua calmly went over to the dug out to get a drink of water. Another darting run from Samuel down the left flank resulted in the 19 year old skipping past the helpless Dalmau before driving forward and doing well to hold off Albístegui. He then cut inside before attempting to pick out Canario on the opposite flank however, his pass was cut out by a Lleida defender. Shashoua continued to impress down that left flank as the half went on. After receiving Peris’ ball down the left flank the nimble footed winger danced his way around Lleida’s Iván who was rooted to the spot. He then sprinted into the Lleida box before holding up the ball and seeing his attempted cross blocked behind for a corner by Dalmau. Samuel was replaced by Álvaro Vega in the 90th minute of the game as Manix Mandiola’s side looked to hold onto the win.

This was a truly excellent performance from Shashoua who had an outstanding game all round out on the left flank. By far the most fouled player on the pitch, the tricky youngster dazzled particularly during the second half of the game with his fancy foot work, darting runs and strength. Chipping in with another fine assist, it was a very productive day for Samuel who tracked back impeccably well after him to help out the Atlético defence. Some of the 19 year olds attacking forays down the left flank were sensational this evening. And it is his ever improving dribbling ability, pace and decision making in the final third which fills me with hope that he will get a chance to show off his qualities to Mauricio Pochettino for the first team in pre-season. I would like to congratulate Atlético’s player of the season on helping the Balearic club win the Spanish División B – Grupo III title, and on putting in another match winning performance. 

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares 2018/19:

Appearances: 32

Goals: 6

Assists: 4

My interview with former Spurs man Darren Davies:

My interview with former Spurs man Darren Davies:

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I had the great pleasure of catching up with former Spurs youth player Darren Davies  who played for the Spurs youth team during the 1990’s. Davies who is a native of the Welsh steel town of Port Talbot was a left back throughout his career and after departing Spurs in 1998 he went onto have an interesting career, playing for the likes of Barry Town, Greenock Morton, Forest Green Rovers and Redland City Devils. Since retiring from the game life long Spurs fan Davies has since made the foray into coaching and only recently he was the interim manager of Australian A league side Brisbane Roar. I caught up with Darren who now lives in Australia, as he looked back on his younger years at Tottenham Hotspur and life at one of England’s biggest clubs. Darren is a man who has a very bright future in management.

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

Darren: One of my earliest memories was within the first week, the club had signed Jürgen Klinsmann and four or five of us apprentices who were away from home and in digs had to have a mini training session with him and Ossis Ardiles, in the old ball court at White Hart Lane one afternoon, to present him to the worlds media. 

It was insane the amount of media around him at that time and for us apprentices a little surreal. I’d only finished school in South Wales the Friday before and here I was thrust into that scenario, unbelievable but certainly life changing. I was captain of the Wales U15 schoolboy side and a lifelong Spurs fan! I had opportunities to join quite a few other clubs but once Tottenham showed interest there was never any other place that I wanted to go. 

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Darren: I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel very honoured to have spent the years I did there and the football opportunity and life experience it gave me. It gave me huge life learnings to take forward with me and as far as a football education is concerned it instilled a belief and passion of how the game should be played and a playing philosophy I believe in, to take with me in my playing and coaching career. 

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Darren: Paul Gascoigne! But I could name them all, I was Tottenham daft! The only record I ever bought with my pocket money as a kid was Chas & Dave! 

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Darren: Gerry Francis as he was the manager who gave me both my professional contracts after graduating as an apprentice. The youth team coach then was Des Bulpin who was great to me and Chris Hughton who was then reserve team coach, was also very good to me. The senior players at the club then also had a massive influence on me as a person but particularly now in my coaching career were people like Gary Mabbutt, Teddy Sheringham, Nicky Barmby, Colin Calderwood, Justin Edinburgh, Dave Kerslake, Dean Austin, David Ginola, Sol Campbell and the list goes on. The way those senior players treated us youngsters, the way they looked after us both on and off the pitch, the help they gave us, it taught me huge lessons in how to educate, protect and develop young players in all aspects. Fantastic people! 

Were there any other players at the club or outside, who you would model your game around?

Darren: Not really. Of course I watched football and wanted to learn as much as I could from as many people as I could. That’s why, as I say each and every senior player there contributed to something I have taken forward with me. 

What was the toughest thing about being a young up and coming player during that time?

Darren: It’s obviously a huge club but it was very difficult to break through as a home grown youngster, especially at that time with the quality foreigners we had. 

But I regret nothing. I gave everything and Tottenham gave me so much. 

The pedigree that I obtained from being there, the playing style and philosophy that I had instilled in me which was in the clubs DNA enabled me to forge a career away from White Hart Lane, travel the world, and now currently live in Australia, working in a fantastic country in a league that will only continue to grow and get better. 

Were there any youth players at Spurs who you were particularly close to and are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?

Darren: I have occasional contact with a number of former Spurs colleagues yes. Social media is a wonderful thing sometimes. But Paul Mcveigh is without doubt the one I keep in most touch with. He is without doubt one of my best friends in football, we regularly FaceTime and he visited me in Australia a couple of years ago and only last summer we enjoyed a few pints of Guinness in Dublin with his brother. 

What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?

Darren: Walking in and out of the players entrance at White Hart Lane was something very special. I used to love it and the history that went with it and the players that had been there before me. It was something never lost on me. 

Captaining the Tottenham youth team is something I am also very proud of. 

The FA premier league youth cup final against Arsenal and league cup win at White Hart Lane over Norwich, after which Gerry Francis offered me my very first Professional contract, are probably standouts.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Darren: I went back to South Wales initially, and played for Barry Town in a very successful team including in the Champions League, I then moved to Scotland to Greenock Morton to play in what is now the Championship, before a number of years in the Conference with Dover Athletic and Forest Green before finishing my playing career at Tiverton, Merthyr Tydfil and returning back to the league of Wales with my hometown club Port Talbot. 

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career 

Darren: It has to be representing Wales. I am a very proud Welshman and I was

privileged to captain and represent my country at all levels up to and including U21. 

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Darren: Too tough to choose! Teddy Sheringham, Jürgen Klinsmann and David Ginola were all unbelievable footballers! 

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Darren: Embrace and enjoy everything! Every moment is a learning moment and don’t have any regrets about not giving your very best! If you give your best and apply yourself properly, whatever happens, it will stand you in good stead for your future. 

My piece on Spurs’ valiant and extremely creative young central midfielder Harvey White:

My piece on Spurs’ valiant and extremely creative young central midfielder Harvey White: 

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As much a midfield craftsman as he is a midfield anchorman, versatile 17 year old academy player Harvey White is yet another youngster who has enjoyed a fantastic 2018/19 season for Spurs. The first year scholar is a graceful midfield technician who has only recently made the switch from CAM to CDM however, he is also a combative midfielder who can effectively break up play and recycle possession in the central areas of the pitch. Since making his competitive debut for our under 18’s as a schoolboy back in April of 2018, White has played predominantly at CDM although he has also filled in at left back on a number of occasions as well as at centre half and his former position of CAM. The Kent born midfielder has been one of John McDermott’s most consistent performers throughout the current campaign. A central midfielder in the mould of Harry Winks, White offers far more of an offensive threat than the Spurs first teamer although he does remind me of the 23 year old in his style of play. The offensive threat which Harvey carries has certainly bore fruit this season. Over the course of the campaign from his 33 competitive appearances for Spurs across all levels, the holding midfielder has chipped with a remarkable seven goals and 13 assists. Being directly involved in 21 goals from 33 appearances is an impressive statistic for a forward, attacking player however, I doubt that any CDM across Europe’s top five youth leagues has come anywhere near to Harvey in that respect, this season. Since joining Spurs at the age of just six, the Maidstone born midfielder has risen through the ranks at the North London club, often playing above his age group. A commanding and physical presence in the middle of the park, White may not posses searing pace or flare and panache however, what he does well he does very well. He reads the game exceptionally well and he has great vision. With a wand of a left foot at his disposal, the free kick and penalty specialist can cut open a defence with a single pass. White is also an excellent crosser of the ball and a potent taker of corner kicks. He is a composed player who never panics, and it is his constant scanning of the pitch, as well as his commitment and hard work which for me makes him such a talented young midfielder, who quite literally has the world at his feet. 

A real joy to watch this season, the Maidstone born midfielder who grew up in the County of Kent just like his good friends Luis Binks and Rafferty Pedder, has been at Spurs for the vast majority of his short life. Last summer Harvey signed a two year scholarship at Spurs after enjoying a successful 2017/18 season for the clubs under 16 side, chipping in with seven goals. Having been called up to represent England under 15’s at a training camp in Loughborough two seasons previous, it was clear to see how highly rated the young midfielder is. One of the first times I saw Harvey play was at the Alkaas Cup in Qatar midway through the 2017/18 season where he played both at CB and CDM. Impressing with his ball retention, composure and passing accuracy I looked forward to seeing more of the then schoolboy in action. Harvey then subsequently featured at the Borgaro Maggioni Righi in the easter of 2018, where he put in a string of very tidy but energetic midfield performances. Then a couple of weeks later he turned out for our under 18’s for the very first time in a 5-3 league defeat to Norwich City. Just like in the 2017/18 season, the 2018/19 season has been one of great progress for the diligent teenager who has improved throughout the course of the campaign. After playing in a pre-season tournament in Belgium, Harvey represented our under 19’s at the Oberndorf tournament before starting the domestic season with our under 18’s. A regular for our under 18’s throughout the season, Harvey started our first 13 consecutive league games and during the early parts of the season he was one of our most influential players. Putting in match winning performances against the likes of Chelsea, Norwich City and Aston Villa, White took to under 18 football like a duck to water. Physically adept, intelligent enough to cope with the pace of the game and above all else determined to make an impact at both ends of the pitch. The industrious young anchorman was essentially operating as a box to box midfielder during the first half of the season and he wasn’t afraid to dictate games from the middle of the park.

The former Holmesdale School pupil featured in the vast majority of our under 18 Premier League games, before later making the step up to play for our development squad. Furthermore, White played in seven of our under 19’s eight UEFA Youth League games this season. Although he hasn’t earned a call up to the England under 18 side so far this season, White still may do, as England do have a set of fixtures planned for the end of this month. A consistent performer at all levels for Spurs this season, the teenager from Maidstone was a mainstay in our under 18 side and his many excellent performances for our under 18’s played a big part in them finishing second in the Premier League South. Regularly lining up with our under 18’s captain fantastic Armando Shashoua during the first half of the season, the pair would complement one another. And both players although they were very much box to box midfielders always seemed to be on the same wavelength. White and Shashoua’s styles of play are very different but both players knew when they needed to drop deep in order to allow for the other one to advance forward, they also maintained excellent positioning throughout the season. Harvey is a player who doesn’t have bad games, he plays with aplomb and a distinctive gracefulness about him. White whose footballing hero is a certain Steven Gerrard is a very well rounded central midfielder who has a fantastic skillset. A player who possesses great vision and guile and he is always on alert. Constantly looking over his shoulder as he patrols the central areas of the pitch, White is a commanding figure in the Tottenham team (both under 18 and 23). He is also an excellent passer of the ball and he has a wand of a left foot. His passing range and laser like, deft passes are so effective. Furthermore, the 17 year old moves the ball around so well in the central areas of the pitch. He keeps things ticking and he manages to create space for himself to receive the ball. Both his short passing and long passing is so deftly accurate for a midfielder so young.

A specialist at taking corner kicks as well as free kicks on the edge of the danger zone, White can cross a football as good as anybody. His pacy whipped crosses have caused so many problems for opposition defences throughout the course of the season and it has resulted in him setting up a number of goals. However, it is White’s free kicks which are even more dangerous especially from around 20-25 yards out from goal. As a CDM Harvey is an extremely creative player who along with being able to dictate the tempo of the game, he has the ability to open up a defence with a single pass. However, Harvey the CDM is also very good at defending and breaking up play, as he has shown throughout the current campaign. The 17 year old is industrious and good at breaking up play. He is strong in the challenge and he is also committed. His combative nature and determination to win every ball makes him a very important team player. In addition Harvey is a mature player for his age and through watching him play extensively I have got to appreciate just how well he reads the game and sees and anticipates the danger. Despite his lack of pace the former attacking midfielder gets around the pitch so well, and he is a very strong player even though he is of medium build. After excelling for our under 18’s during the opening months of the season, putting in outstanding performances against the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Norwich City, White made his debut for our development side in a massive Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Portsmouth back in November. That game was a tough introduction to life at this level however, Harvey adapted well to the intensity of the game as well as the atmosphere which was created by the fans at Fratton Park. Coming up against very physical and experienced central midfielders was a test for Harvey however, he dealt really well with the pressure. He covered more ground than any other Spurs player on the day and he also made some really important interceptions and clearances, and he covered well for centre halves Japhet Tanganga and George Marsh. A fine midfield performance from the first year scholar was capped off by him scoring an excellent late, curling free kick.

Like Harry Winks, White likes to make quick short passes to his teammates however, he isn’t afraid to make ambitious lofted passes. Furthermore, Harvey also isn’t afraid to take risks or to take more touches than he needs to in certain situations. A fantastically well rounded CDM who can do all different sides of the game so effectively, the youngster is also adept at filling in at left back as he has done on a number of occasions so far this season. He makes up for his lack of pace with his very Ogilvie-esque defending. I say that because the way in which he defends against wingers and reads the game, is very similar to the Tottenham loanee. In addition he also likes to play the ball down the line and he is positive and forward thinking while in possession. Harvey’s excellent crossing ability and battle like nature also helps him to play at left back and I have been very impressed whenever I have seen him fill in, in that position. The 17 year old is remarkably calm both in and out of possession and his coolness and classiness on the ball makes him a very good player to watch. He is incisive but always composed, he knows when to lunge in just as much as he knows when not to. The penalty taking specialist has raised his game in big games this season and that really helped our under 18’s out throughout their domestic season. A solid and effective presence in central midfield, he was also more often than not one of John McDermott’s sides most creative players with his excellent vision and passing ability, as well as his urge to push up the field in order to influence the game. An enthusiastic cricketer during his schooldays, Harvey White has come on leaps and bounds this season as he develops as a player. He has contributed so much to both our under 18’s and 19’s, and from an offensive perspective he has overachieved massively. However, there is so much more from the Kent boys game to appreciate such as his good sportsmanship and excellent work ethic. White is a hugely exciting talent who will surely fancy his chances of breaking into the first team in the coming seasons just like a whole host of similar players have done, namely Harry Winks and Ryan Mason. 

White is a courageous team player with outrageously good technical ability, so far this season he has been superb and dare I say it but I think that he has surpassed under 18 football, so impressed am I at his step up to under 23 level. Having trained a number of times with the first team throughout the campaign it is clear that the 17 year old is highly rated and thought of by the Tottenham coaches. Still with the end of season Terborg tournament to look forward to, I think that Harvey has had a season which he should be extremely proud of himself for. The qualities both offensive and defensive which he has shown throughout the 2018/19 season has been mightily impressive and for somebody so young he should fill every Tottenham fans hearts with hope and excitement for the statistics which he has recorded this season are unbelievable for that of a CDM. I would like to congratulate Harvey on having such an excellent season and I wish him all the very best of luck for the forthcoming Terborg tournament in Holland. 

Look out for an interview with Harvey in Sunday’s match day programme.