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