Why I’m hoping that the 2019/20 season can be Spurs youngster Anthony Georgiou’s breakthrough season at the Lilywhites:
Now a fully fledged member of the Cyprus national team at the age of just 22, Spurs youngster Anthony Michael Georgiou has achieved a lot in his short career. Ever since I first saw the Lewisham born winger at the Milk cup in 2012 in County Derry (Castlerock) I’ve always been a massive fan, and it is somewhat appropriate that I am currently writing this piece in the place where I first saw Anthony play all those years ago. Almost seven years on from being a member of the Spurs side which competed at that tournament, Anthony is one of the few players remaining at Spurs who competed in that competition. The Cypriot international has overcome two frustrating injuries including one which almost kept him out for the whole of the 2016/17 season. Anthony also missed the opportunity to play in an FA youth cup semifinal due to a burst appendix. A semifinal for which he helped Spurs to reach. Georgiou is a pacy wide man who is direct and forward thinking. Georgiou can also fill in at left back where he has played at on several occasions over the last couple of seasons. He is versatile and I do believe that he could go onto follow Danny Rose’s path into the first team by transitioning into a top class modern fullback as I alluded to in great detail in a piece in which I wrote about Anthony last summer. The season just gone may not have went as smoothly or as well as the promising young winger would have liked. Carrying on from an impressive 2017/18 season which saw Anthony make his competitive first team debut for Spurs in a UEFA champions league game against APOEL Nicosia. During Georgiou’s first two games of the 2018/19 season he put in two very impressive performances at both left back and on the left wing against Liverpool and West Ham at under 23 level. However, any possible loan moves which may have been in the offing for Anthony that summer failed to come to fruition due to an injury in which the youngster picked up shortly after the Liverpool game. This frustrating injury would keep the former Watford schoolboy out until mid December. It was only then that Anthony got a good run of games under his belt for Wayne Burnett’s development side. Putting in a series of strong and typically direct Bale-esque performances out on the left flank. Anthony impressed against the likes of Wolfsburg II, Norwich City, Athletic Bilbao B and Liverpool. During the Liverpool game Anthony tore the ‘ Reds ‘ defence to shreds, and by the end of the game he had two Liverpool players man marking him.
Anthony caught the eye of Spanish side Levante who he joined on loan the following month. Although he would only play for Levante’s B team who ply their trade in the third tier of Spanish football, the loan move which was Anthony’s first, would have been an eye opener for the youngster who impressed on every occasion that I saw him play for the ‘ Granotas ‘. That’s why I was puzzled as to why he was constantly being subbed so early on in games for Luis Tevenet’s side. Georgiou returned to London before linking up with the Cyprus national team. He won two more caps for them, playing in Euro 2020 qualifiers against Scotland and Russia. During the Scotland game Anthony set up Cyprus’ only goal of the game. In the following piece I will be going into great detail on Anthony’s style of play and why I believe that the 2019/20 campaign could be his breakthrough season at Spurs. Anthony is in many ways a traditional left winger. He loves to run at defences and beat players, he is confident and direct, he takes risks but he is extremely unselfish. With blistering pace and good skill about him, Georgiou is a flair player to a certain extent. Some of his standout qualities include his extremely high work rate, and his ability to track back for the full 90 minutes of a game. He also has excellent off the ball movement and he is an intelligent player who reads the game well and has a wealth of footballing knowledge and good vision. Furthermore Georgiou is a good tackler which along with his pace makes him well suited to playing at left back. He is also good at creating space for himself and at whipping in high quality crosses. From that brief summary of Anthony’s style of play you get a feel for what type of player he is and what his qualities as a winger are. Having now mastered under 23 football Georgiou is still relatively untested at senior level. However, when I look at Spurs’ first team particularly at the depth of our squad we have very few impact players to bring off the bench in games that aren’t going our way. With the exception of both Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura, Georgiou is very much an impact player who offers pace, skill and intensity to games. He also thrives under pressure.
A championship loan this season or an EFL loan could well massively help Anthony’s development as a player. However, I’d love to see this exciting and persistent young talent get a run of games for Spurs’ first team. Having been on the previous two pre-season tours, Anthony will be hoping to feature for Mauricio Pochettino’s first team during this pre-season, with five games to look forward to. The experience of his loan to Levante as well as the invaluable experience of getting to play for the Cyprus national team will have helped Georgiou loads. There are two players who I would like to compare Georgiou to, one is of a similar age to Anthony while the other is 30 years of age. Those players are recent Manchester United signing Daniel James and Stoke City and Republic of Ireland international James McClean. James is a player who played a full season of football for the Swansea City in the Championship last season. He is a remarkably similar player to Georgiou in the sense that he is like a young Gareth Bale. Frighteningly quick, skilful and good at tracking back I believe with a full season of Championship football under his belt that Georgiou could emulate what the slightly younger Welshman has achieved. In regards to James McClean who I have previously likened Georgiou to, the Irishman is very similar to the Spurs youngster as both a left winger and as a left wing back. Georgiou and McClean are both pacy wide men who have a real talent at crossing a ball. They also have a pile-driver of a left foot and both like to test the keeper with low drilled efforts on goal. Furthermore like McClean, Anthony is defensively very well disciplined and he has a non stop high energy work rate. He is a selfless team player who is constantly looking to link up with other attacking players on the field. Drawing back to my comparisons with James McClean, in my time of watching football the pair of them are amongst the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. Georgiou is a fitness fanatic who is constantly testing himself both on and off the pitch. He is both determined and resilient, unaffected by his injury setbacks and fully focused on his future in the game.
Georgiou can be like an Aaron Lennon for Pochettino’s senior side during the dying moments of difficult games. A speedster who also has a good footballing brain, Anthony’s list of qualities are endless but it is his adaptability to games which is perhaps his best one. Whenever I have seen Georgiou slot in at left back he has done a sterling job, defensively well disciplined but also not shy to express himself down the left flank. There is a nice balance to the ever improving 22 year olds game. And it is that balance and versatility as well as a desire to make an impact on games which, will take Anthony a long, long way in the game. The youngster who was released by Watford as a schoolboy could in my opinion become a Gareth Bale like player for Pochettino’s Spurs in the future and I could really see the 2019/20 season being a breakthrough season for Georgiou at Spurs, whether that be at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ or on loan at another English club. With his blistering pace and quick feet, he has the ability to terrorise oppositions defences as he has shown on countless occasions over the last couple of seasons for our under 23’s. He also has the stamina needed to do that in the Premier League. There are few players as fast as Anthony is on Spurs’ books, he really is rapid over 100 metres and it is that type of traditional out and out winger which Spurs have lacked since the great Gareth Bale departed us back in 2013. Georgiou is a relentless presser whose hunger for work is inspiring and I would love more than anything to see him get a run of games for the Spurs first team once the new season has begun. He is a very useful young player who can be brought on as an impact player or as a defender. He is a polite young man whose on the field passion and admirable work rate is something which will appeal to Mauricio Pochettino who is a fan of the 22 year old. Anthony is a credit to Spurs and to the Cyprus national team and the exciting young winger has such a bright future for both Spurs and for his country. I look forward to hopefully seeing our number 42 back in action for the first team during pre-season and I also look forward to seeing what the 2019/20 season has in hold for him and for Spurs. He is an inspiring and tremendously talented young man who could well go onto become like a new signing for Mauricio Pochettino’s side during the 2019/20 season.