Spurs XI versus Enfield Town: (match preview)

Spurs XI versus Enfield Town: (match preview)

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Our development sides final pre-season friendly takes place tomorrow night when Wayne Burnett’s lads take on BetVictor Isthmian league side, and local neighbours Enfield Town, at the Queen Elizabeth II stadium. Burnett’s side who are just back from their time in Ploufragan, France will be looking to end pre-season on a high as they go into the new PL2 campaign which kicks off on Saturday the 10th August. After drawing their two previous pre-season friendlies and finishing third at the Tournoi Europeen, Spurs will take on an Enfield team who they defeated 2-1 the previous pre-season thanks to a brace from Marcus Edwards. Enfield Town who are managed by Andy Leese (their assistant manager is ex Spurs player Mario Noto) finished in tenth place in the BetVictor Isthmian league last season after they started the 2018/19 campaign really promisingly. Although they are the lowest ranked side that our under 23’s have faced this pre-season there are a number of players on Enfield Town’s books that Spurs will have to be wary of tomorrow evening (kick off is at 7pm). They include centre forward Muhammadu Faal, Lewis Taafe, Ryan Blackman, Dan Rumens and Marc Weatherstone. Former Spurs youth player and Enfield Town’s assistant manager Mario Noto still plays the occasional game and I’m sure that he’d love to be involved against his former club tomorrow. I am expecting another very physical test, similar to the ones in which we had against Ebbsfleet United and Dulwich Hamlet however, I’m confident that Spurs’ technical ability and superior fitness levels will get them the win. Once again it will provide the Tottenham youngsters with some invaluable experience and as games go this promises to be an intriguing affair. I would expect to see a similar Spurs side to the one which competed at the Tournoi Europeen in France however, the likes of Samuel Shashoua and Brandon Austin could all return to action for tomorrow’s game. I shall be reporting on the game and I will have my in-depth match report out on Thursday afternoon. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Statham, Eyoma, Dinzeyi, Hinds, A.Shashoua, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Maghoma, S.Shashoua, Sterling (c).

Subs from: De Bie, Okedina, Binks, Thorpe, Clarke, Markanday, Richards, Etete.

Injured/unavailable: J’Neil Bennett, Jeremie Mukendi, Malachi Walcott.

Doubtful: Phoenix Patterson, Maurizio Pochettino, Maximus Tainio, Marcus Edwards, Samuel Shashoua.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-1.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Enfield Town centre forward and former L’Aquila man scored Muhammadu Faal scored three goals in five competitive appearances last season in what was a nightmare campaign with injuries for the 22 year old. He is my player to watch tomorrow night.

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Spurs under 21’s 1-0 Stade Brestois: (match report)

Spurs under 21’s 1-0 Stade Brestois: (match report)

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The third place play off game at the 2019 Tournoi Europeen was contested between Wayne Burnett’s Tottenham Hotspur and French club Stade Brestois, on Sunday afternoon. Spurs put in another good attacking performance to overcome Stade Brestois by one goal to nil. It was a fairly dominant performance from Burnett’s lads who took the lead in the 28th minute of the game through Shilow Tracey. Stade Brestois did respond however, the Spurs defence stood strong even after centre half Jubril Okedina was sent off late on in the game for an off the ball incident following a VAR review. Spurs lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal while a back four consisting of Maxwell Statham, Jubril Okedina, Luis Binks and Tariq Hinds lined up in front of him. Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Paris Maghoma partnered up in central midfield while Shilow Tracey and Dilan Markanday operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Armando Shashoua. Once again Spurs captain Kazaiah Sterling led the line. Spurs got the game underway on a warm summers afternoon in Ploufragan. Both sides knocked the ball around the park well during the opening minutes of the game, but with little attacking intent.  The first chance of the game presented itself to Stade Brestois after Tottenham centre back Jubril Okedina passed the ball straight to Samuel Genty in the Spurs box. Genty quickly passed the ball to Kenzo Berger whose first time effort was blocked behind for a corner kick by Luis Binks. Spurs broke away well from the resulting corner kick after Kazaiah Sterling passed the ball to Shilow Tracey who surged forward with the ball before finally passing it to Dilan Markanday down the left hand side of the Stade Brestois penalty area. The Tottenham winger clipped his effort wide of goal and in the end he was flagged for offside. Tashan Oakley-Boothe made an excellent sliding challenge on Kenzo Berger a couple of minutes later to stop a dangerous Stade Brestois attack in the middle of the park. Armando Shashoua came close to playing Dilan Markanday through on goal before Kazaiah Sterling came close to giving Spurs the lead. 

After Paris Maghoma gave the ball to Sterling down the left hand side of the Stade Brestois penalty area, Sterling came inside onto his right foot before curling a low effort a fraction wide of Titouan Gueguen’s goal. Jubril Okedina made an important interception to stop Bengali Kaba Soares’ pass from setting Samuel Genty through on goal. Tashan Oakley-Boothe then managed to clear Tanguy Lagadic’s cross. Stade Brestois then came close to taking the lead, but for an important save from Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi. After Idrissa Dioh gave the ball to Genty on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area the Stade Brestois player fired an effort on goal, on the turn. However, his powerful low effort was well pushed away by the diving Oluwayemi. At the other end of the pitch Shilow Tracey had an effort on goal blocked by Killian La Ber. Maxwell Statham was then shown a yellow card for a challenge on Marvin Toupin before an excellently worked attacking move led to Spurs taking the lead right on the stroke of halftime. After Dilan Markanday gave the ball to Paris Maghoma the Tottenham midfielder darted towards the Stade Brestois penalty area. However, instead of slipping the ball through to Kazaiah Sterling he ran across the box, before passing the ball to Shilow Tracey who had made a run down the right hand side of the danger zone. Tracey struck the ball first time with the side of his boot and it managed to beat Titouan Gueguen low, at his near post. It was an excellently worked goal from Wayne Burnett’s side which was finished off in style by Shilow Tracey. Paris Maghoma was shown a yellow card for dissent before the referee blew his whistle for half time. Stade Brestois got the game back underway. A sloppy bit of play from Tashan Oakley-Boothe on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area allowed Matthias Lavenant to get the ball, he quickly passed it to Kenzo Berger who in turn gave it to Samuel Genty, whose resulting chipped pass managed to pick out Yahya Kujabi down the right hand side of the Spurs box. However, his resulting effort on goal was well saved by Joshua Oluwayemi. 

Tashan Oakley-Boothe cleared Yahya Kujabi’s low cross shortly afterwards before Wayne Burnett made his first change of the game when he replaced right back Maxwell Statham with Rayan Clarke. Dilan Markanday then had a  cross cleared away by Killian Le Ber. Spurs continued to work openings in the Stade Brestois defence. After Maghoma passed the ball to Markanday down the left side of the oppositions penalty area, he crossed the ball for Shashoua who after controlling the ball, sliced an effort wide of goal from close range. Armando Shashoua bravely blocked a volleyed effort from Romain Thunet at the other end as the crowd winced. Spurs then had a fantastic chance to put the game to bed however, they were unable to do so. After Shilow Tracey powered forward down the right flank the Spurs winger squared the ball to Sterling inside the danger zone. Instead of shooting he unselfishly cut the ball back for the unmarked Dilan Markanday who only had an open goal in front of him. However, the young Spurs winger somehow missed the target and to make matters worse he received a yellow card for kicking the ball into the net in frustration. Spurs made a double substitution after Wayne Burnett brought on Elliot Thorpe and Kion Etete for Shilow Tracey and Armando Shashoua. Kazaiah Sterling and Paris Maghoma came close to pulling off a one, two on the edge of the Stade Brestois penalty area before Jubril Okedina managed to block Samuel Genty’s shot at the other end of the pitch. After Romain Thunet passed the ball to Sergio Fernandes down the left side of the Spurs box the Stade Brestois striker dragged an effort across the face of Oluwayemi’s goal and in the end the Spurs goalkeeper was able to gather it. There was a coming together between Spurs’ Jubril Okedina and Samuel Genty after Okedina had pushed the Stade Brestois player. After three minutes of playing on the referee referred the incident to VAR as Genty protested that Okedina had stamped on him. A couple of minutes later the referee went to look at the incident on an iPad and he made the decision to show Okedina a straight red card and Stade Brestois were awarded a free kick in the position that the incident took place in.

Joshua Oluwayemi did well to tip behind Samuel Genty’s resulting whipped, curling effort. Killian Bienvenido then had a goal ruled out for a push on Luis Binks. Stade Brestois continued to put the pressure on Spurs during the final moments of the game. After Marco Glazai passed the ball to Matthias Lavenant down the left side of the Spurs box the net looked as if it might bulge however, Lavenant fired the ball just over Oluwayemi’s crossbar. Elliot Thorpe was shown a late yellow card for a challenge on Tanguy Lagadic before the referee sounded his whistle for full time, bringing an end to a hugely positive tournament for Wayne Burnett’s lads.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: My man of the match, see below.
  • Maxwell Statham: It was a good solid performance from the 18 year old who managed to keep his man in check during his time on the pitch. Statham made some important defensive interventions.
  • Jubril Okedina: It was a good solid performance from Okedina despite him getting sent off. The 18 year old cut out a number of dangerous forward passes from the opposition and he was also dominant in the air and good on the ball. It’s just a shame for him that he got sent off.
  • Luis Binks: This was the second year scholars third appearance at the tournament and it was the third domineering performance which young Binks put in. The teenager from County Kent formed a strong partnership with Okedina and he neutralised the attacking threat that Stade Brestois striker Matthias Lavenant posed. Binks kept excellent positioning throughout the game and he made some timely interceptions and blocks.
  • Tariq Hinds: It was another strong performance from the right back at left back. Hinds stayed deep and he read the game well while making some strong challenges and a number of important clearances.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The deep lying central midfielder broke up play effectively in the middle of the park. Oakley-Boothe also recycled possession well and he made some nice crisp passes. Oakley-Boothe played deeper than his midfield partner Paris Maghoma.
  • Paris Maghoma: It was a very mature performance from Paris Maghoma in central midfield. Like Oakley-Boothe the 18 year old was deep lying and he did a good job at breaking up play and recycling possession. Furthermore, Maghoma was often the link between defence and attack, and his numerous surging forward runs and well weighted passes brought the forwards into the game. Maghoma did well to set up Shilow Tracey’s goal. 
  • Shilow Tracey: With his tireless runs up and down the right flank as well as his constant switching with centre forward Kazaiah Sterling, Tracey caused many problems for the Stade Brestois defence who couldn’t deal with his pace and his directness. Tracey took his goal really well and he got himself into some good goal scoring positions.
  • Armando Shashoua: Operating at CAM for yesterday’s game Armando Shashoua performed really well for Wayne Burnett’s side. Once again he pressed ridiculously well during his time on the pitch and he could often be seen poaching the ball off of the opposition. Shashoua came close to finding the back of the net in the second half.
  • Dilan Markanday: Operating out on the left wing Markanday was involved in the build up play to our goal and overall he had a good game. His fine dribbling ability and turn of pace caused problems.
  • Kazaiah Sterling: The centre forward put in another good performance for Burnett’s side. He led the line well and he made some good runs while also pressing the Stade Brestois defence well. Sterling scored three goals in four games at the tournament.
  • Rayan Clarke: The second half substitute had a good 20 minute second half cameo at right back after he replaced Maxwell Statham.
  • Elliot Thorpe: The young midfielder showed real bite and a desire to influence the game following his late introduction. He gave a good account of himself.
  • Kion Etete: The 17 year old held the ball up effectively during the final moments of the game.

My man of the match: Goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi had another faultless game for Spurs yesterday. Oluwayemi made four saves in total and he made some big ones in the context of the game. In addition the 18 year olds distribution was perfect and he dealt well with aerial balls and set pieces. 

The Superhotspur player of the tournament: This was a difficult decision to make as there were some excellent performances at this years tournament from the Spurs lads such as Armando Shashoua and Kazaiah Sterling. However, after much deliberation I have decided to award it to goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi for putting in three faultless performances in between the sticks. The 18 year old shot stopper made some excellent saves, he also dealt well with crosses and set pieces and his distribution was very good. Were it not for the goalkeepers alertness and razor sharp reflexes we would not of finished in third place at the tournament. There was not one single criticism of Oluwayemi’s performances which I could list. 

Spurs (v Stade Brestois): Oluwayemi, Statham (R Clarke 43), Hinds, Oakley-Boothe, Okedina, Binks, Tracey (Etete 54), A Shashoua (Thorpe 54), Sterling, Maghoma, Markanday.

Spurs under 21’s 2-0 RC Strasbourg: (match report)

Spurs under 21’s 2-0 RC Strasbourg: (match report)

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Our under 21’s final group game of the Tournoi Europeen ended in them beating French side RC Strasbourg 2-0 on Saturday evening as Spurs finished in second place in group B. It was a game in which Spurs dominated possession in and just like in the Caen game earlier in the day, they played some attractive attacking football. Kazaiah Sterling and Shilow Tracey netted Spurs’ goals. Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation as Kacper Kurylowicz started in goal, while a back four consisting of Rayan Clarke, Jubril Okedina, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Maxwell Statham sat in front of him. Elliot Thorpe and Paris Maghoma partnered up in central midfield while Shilow Tracey and Rodel Richards operated out on the flanks either side of CAM Dilan Markanday. Captain Kazaiah Sterling led the line once again for Spurs. Wayne Burnett’s side got the game underway and it was the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘ who felt that they should have had an early penalty after Dilan Markanday was tripped in the Strasbourg penalty area by Papu Mendes. Spurs were dominating possession during the opening stages of the game and they were knocking the ball around the park nicely. Jérémie Branca fired an effort narrowly over Kacper Kurylowicz’s crossbar from long range before Spurs attacked Strasbourg down the opposite end of the pitch. Rodel Richards passed the ball to Kazaiah Sterling down the left side of the Strasbourg penalty area and he pulled the ball back for Richards who had made a run into the centre of the box however, his effort deflected off of Léo Keller before going behind for a corner kick. Dilan Markanday had a hopeful cross gathered by Louis Pelletier shortly afterwards as Spurs continued to see more of the ball. A good run from Dilan Markanday through the middle of the park ended in the skilful forward passing the ball out to Tracey who sprinted down the right hand side of the Strasbourg box before smashing the ball against Louis Pelletier’s crossbar. Strasbourg then came desperately close to taking the lead through Benjamin Besic.

After Cawdy Williams robbed Paris Maghoma of possession he threaded a nice pass through to Besic down the right side of the Spurs box. However, he was met by the outrushing Kurylowicz who closed down his angles and made an impressive save to deny Besic, in what was the final piece of action from the first half. Strasbourg restated the game and they managed the first goal attempt of the second half after Souhaïl Labyad curled an effort over Kurylowicz’s crossbar from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Spurs then took the lead through Kazaiah Sterling who netted his third goal of the tournament to put Spurs ahead. After Shilow Tracey passed the ball to Dilan Markanday on the right flank the tricky wide player darted forwards before testing Louis Pelletier with a powerful curling effort. The Strasbourg goalkeeper could only parry Markanday’s effort and Kazaiah Sterling was then able to tap the ball home, 1-0. Maxwell Statham was shown a yellow card shortly afterwards for pulling back Stanley Lohoues before Pavel Obradovic blasted over from the following free kick. Wayne Burnett brought off Kazaiah Sterling for Kion Etete shortly afterwards. The Nottingham born striker took the captains armband. Stanley Lohoues poked over Papu Mendes’s cross shortly afterwards as Strasbourg tried to get back into the game. However, any route back into the game was quickly extinguished after Spurs doubled their lead through Shilow Tracey shortly afterwards. After Shilow Tracey poked the ball off of Maxime Bastian he darted forward down the right flank and into the Strasbourg box where he sprinted past Jerémié Branca before impressively firing the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-0. The Tottenham goal scorer was replaced by Tariq Hinds shortly afterwards. After receiving the ball from Tariq Hinds, Dilan Markanday had an effort blocked by Jerémié Branca on the edge of the Strasbourg penalty area. Rodel Richards was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Cawdy Williams a couple of minutes later. 

Strasbourg substitute Omar El Manssouri had a late shot blocked by Dilan Markanday before it was gathered by Kacper Kurylowicz as Spurs held onto record a comprehensive 2-0 victory. Tomorrow afternoon Spurs will take on Stade Brestois in a third place play off. 

Player reviews: 

  • Kacper Kurylowicz: The 17 year old made a hugely important early save to deny Benjamin Besic which proved to be pivotal. Apart from that however, Kurylowicz didn’t have much else to do although it is worth noting that he was very vocal and his distribution was good. 
  • Rayan Clarke: It was a good performance from Rayan Clarke at right back. He was competent and he read the game well while also going on some good attacking forays down that side of the pitch.
  • Jubril Okedina: It was a very solid performance from the RCB alongside Jonathan Dinzeyi. Okedina didn’t put a foot wrong and he was excellent in the air while also bringing the ball out well from the back.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: Like Okedina the slightly more experienced centre half had a very strong game at the back. He was commanding and he made some important defensive interventions.
  • Maxwell Statham: My man of the match, see below.
  • Elliot Thorpe: Operating in central midfield for today’s game, the teenager from county Cambridgeshire filled in really well for Armando Shashoua. Thorpe performed his duties diligently in the middle of the park and along with his crisp passing and almost ghost like movement, he chipped in with some important defensive work.
  • Paris Maghoma: Like Thorpe the midfielder had a good all round game and he helped to link defence with attack.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 21 year old made a big impact on Saturday’s game with his many powerful and purposeful forward runs down the right flank. His pace and his directness caused huge problems for the Strasbourg defence and Tracey took his goal really well.
  • Dilan Markanday: It was a good performance from the CAM who chipped in with an assist for Kazaiah Sterling’s opener. Markanday went on some good mazy runs through the middle of the park.
  • Rodel Richards: The left winger had a strong first half and he linked up well with the centre forward Kazaiah Sterling during his time on the pitch.
  • Kazaiah Sterling: Quick, powerful and led the line well. Both him and Tracey switched well and he never gave up the chase. Sterling took his goal well.
  • Kion Etete: N/A.
  • Tariq Hinds: N/A.

My man of the match: Despite playing out of position at left back Maxwell Statham gave a really good account of himself for Spurs on Saturday evening. Operating at left back Statham looked very comfortable on the ball and he made a number of timely interceptions. He was also dominant in the air. It was an impressive all round performance from the versatile 18 year old who managed to keep Strasbourg winger Souhaïl Labyad in check.

Spurs (v RC Strasbourg): Kurylowicz, R Clarke, Statham, Maghoma, Dinzeyi, Okedina, Tracey (Hinds 47), Thorpe, Sterling (Etete 44), Markanday, Richards.

Spurs under 21’s 2-1 SM Caen: (match report)

Spurs under 21’s 2-1 SM Caen: (match report)

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Our development sides second group game at the Tournoi Europeen saw them take on SM Caen with Wayne Burnett’s side knowing that nothing other than a win would give them a realistic chance of topping group B. It was a good attacking performance from Spurs on a humid morning in Ploufragan as Burnett’s side tested the Caen defence well throughout the game. Spurs started the match well and soon into the game they took the lead through new signing Kion Etete. However, Caen fought back and they managed to draw level  through Nicholas Gioacchini. A fiercely contested second half ensued as both Spurs and Caen went for the win. However, it was substitute Kazaiah Sterling who netted the winner for Spurs late on in the game and it was a deserved winner for Burnett’s side who played some really good attacking football. Spurs lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday morning as Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal, while a back four consisting of Maxwell Statham, captain TJ Eyoma, Luis Binks and Tariq Hinds sat in front of him. Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Armando Shashoua anchored the midfield as Shilow Tracey and Rodel Richards operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Elliot Thorpe. New signing Kion Etete led the line. Spurs got the game underway and the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘ started the game well. Spurs took the lead from their first purposeful attack of the game through striker Kion Etete. After Armando Shashoua passed the ball to Elliot Thorpe the Wales under 19 international threaded a perfectly weighted pass through ball to Shilow Tracey who surged forward before going down the right side of the Caen penalty area and having a pop on goal. Tracey’s effort deflected off of Caen defender Allan Bidard before it hit the near post. The ball then rebounded into the path of Kion Etete who managed to tap the ball into the back of the net despite the best efforts of Jad Mouaddib on the line, 1-0. Shortly afterwards Shilow Tracey whipped two dangerous crosses into the Caen penalty area in quick succession but they were both cleared away. Then at the other end of the pitch Tariq Hinds was on hand to head away Aloys Fouda’s cross before Luis Binks bravely blocked a long range effort from Pierrick Mouniama.

Despite starting the game well Spurs allowed the opposition to come back into the game and a mistimed back pass from Armando Shashoua to Joshua Oluwayemi laid the ball on a plate for Nicholas Gioacchini inside the Spurs box and the Caen striker was able to latch onto the ball and round Oluwayemi before firing the ball past TJ Eyoma on the line, and into the back of the net, 1-1. Spurs came close to reestablishing their lead shortly afterwards through an incisive bit of attacking play. Elliot Thorpe gave the ball to Shilow Tracey on the right flank and he surged into the Caen box before squaring the ball back for Thorpe who had made a run into the centre of the box. However, Thorpe’s low first time effort was saved by the legs of Caen goalkeeper Pean Sullivan. The ball then came to Rodel Richards whose effort was blocked and then cleared on the line by Allan Bidard. Thomas Oalletts cleared a cross from Shilow Tracey behind for a corner kick. A couple of minutes later Shashoua gave the ball to Rodel Richards on the left wing.  He sent a low cross into the box for Kion Etete but the striker could only poke the ball wide of Pean Sullivan’s goal. The game continued to be played at a fast pace. Andreas Hountondji fired an effort from long range right into the face of Shilow Tracey who somehow managed to recover twice to make two important challenges down the left flank. Pierrick Mouniama’s resulting corner kick was nodded on by Andreas Hountondji for Nicholas Gioacchini who fired an effort on goal however, his effort was saved excellently by the chest of Oluwayemi before being cleared away by Tariq Hinds. Luis Binks cleared Jad Mouaddib’s cross shortly afterwards in what turned out to be the final piece of action from a close first half. SM Caen got the second half underway. Shilow Tracey was told shortly after the restart by the referee to get off the pitch and change his shirt because it had no number on it. The first chance of the second half came to Caen after Tony Villeray played a free kick short to Godson Kyeremh in the Spurs box but he blazed the ball over Oluwayemi’s crossbar.

Caen continued their fine start to the second half when Tony Villeray whipped in a free kick into the Tottenham danger zone where it was nodded on by Nicholas Gioacchini for Allan Bidard at the back post. However, the defenders effort was saved well by Oluwayemi who managed to react quickly. Spurs made a double change when Burnett brought on Kazaiah Sterling and Dilan Markanday for Kion Etete and Elliot Thorpe. Spurs continued to try hard to find a winner and it paid off in the end. After Armando Shashoua played a lovely lofted pass with back spin on it over the top of the Caen defence to set Kazaiah Sterling surging through on goal. Sterling steadied himself in the penalty area before skilfully jinking his way around Caen defender Luca Boudonnet and slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of Pean Sullivan’s goal, 2-1. Wayne Burnett made two more changes when he brought on Rayan Clarke and Paris Maghoma for Rodel Richards and Tashan Oakley-Boothe. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to beat away substitute Robin Legendre’s shot down the right hand side of the Spurs box before Tariq Hinds managed to block Theo Barre’s shot down the same side of the penalty area. Late in the game Armando Shashoua conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. However, Tony Villeray fortunately whipped his free kick wide of the outstretched Oluwayemi’s goal as Spurs clung onto record all three points. Spurs’ next game is against RC Strasbourg this evening.

Player reviews: 

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: It was another very good performance from the Spurs goalkeeper who made three impressive saves in total on Saturday morning. Oluwayemi’s distribution was excellent on the day and he showed strong hands to make three important stops. It was a very good performance from the 18 year old on the day that his brother Tobi signed for Celtic.
  • Maxwell Statham: It was a solid showing at right back from the 18 year old who made some really good challenges. I thought that Statham read the game well and he liked to stay deep. 
  • TJ Eyoma: The 19 year old made his first start since February after recovering from injury and what a performance it was from the RCB who formed a really strong defensive partnership alongside Luis Binks. Eyoma had some really good moments during the game and he made some impressive interceptions and challenges. Furthermore the Londoner was also good in the air and he brought the ball out well from the back.
  • Luis Binks: It was another very mature performance from young Luis Binks who put in a towering performance at the back. He marshalled the defence alongside Eyoma well and he played some lovely passes, and he was also commanding in the air.
  • Tariq Hinds: It was a very good defensive performance from Tariq Hinds who stayed deep and managed to keep his man in check for the entirety of the game.
  • Armando Shashoua: My man of the match, see below.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The central midfielder went on some good surging forward runs through the middle of the park. He also kept possession well and he made a string of nice, positive passes.
  • Shilow Tracey: It was a good performance from the right winger who embarked on some powerful runs down the right flank. Tracey got the assist for Kion Etete’s goal and he also whipped in some nice crosses into the danger zone. The 21 year old former Ebbsfleet youngster also tracked back excellently after himself to help Maxwell Statham at the back.
  • Elliot Thorpe: Once again I was really impressed by the quality of the attacking midfielders performance. Thorpe’s movement was terrific throughout his time on the pitch and he made some perfectly weighted forward passes. The 18 year old was unlucky not to get on the score sheet.
  • Rodel Richards: The skilful left winger tested the Caen right back well throughout his time on the pitch and he went on some good forward runs. Like Thorpe, Richards also came close to finding the back of the net.
  • Kion Etete: It was a very good debut performance at the tournament from the centre forward who was solid, had some good touches and he was also in a good position for his goal. Etete also held the ball up well during his time on the pitch. 
  • Kazaiah Sterling: It was a highly influential late cameo from the centre forward who took his late goal excellently. Sterling was strong on the ball and he too held it up well.
  • Dilan Markanday: He went on some good attacking forays and he also made some good challenges.
  • Rayan Clarke: The winger impressed with his dribbling and willingness to take players on.
  • Paris Maghoma: The midfielder had some nice touches of the ball during his short time on the pitch.

My man of the match: The central midfielder recovered really well from his mistake in the first half to put in another excellent performance in the heart of the Tottenham midfield. Shashoua poached the ball well in central midfield and his passing and vision was top class on the day. The silky dribbler also tracked back continuously to help out the Spurs defence. An excellent performance was capped off by an excellent assist to set up Kazaiah Sterling’s late goal.

Spurs under 21’s 1-2 Stade Rennais: (match report)

Spurs under 21’s 1-2 Stade Rennais: (match report)

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Our development sides opening game at the Tournoi Europeen got underway on Friday afternoon as Wayne Burnett’s side took on French club Stade Rennais in the first of three 50 minute group games. It was a hugely entertaining and competitive opening game on a warm summers day in Ploufragan, with both sides playing some attractive attacking football. However, it was the French club who managed to get the better of Spurs to win the game 2-1. And to be quite honest with you, they deserved to win the game. They hit the woodwork on four occasions and every time they entered our half they looked like scoring. However, Spurs were by no means bad and they too played some nice attacking football and created a number of good goal scoring chances. After starting the game well Spurs took the lead early on in the game through Kazaiah Sterling. However, Stade Rennais equalised early on in the second half to level the scores. Goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was on hand to save a penalty kick from Brandon Soppy however, Stade Rennais fought back and they netted a late winner through Alan Kerouedan to secure all three points for the French club. Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal while a back four consisting of Jubril Okedina, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Luis Binks and Tariq Hinds lined up in front of him. Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Armando Shashoua partnered up in central midfield, as Dilan Markanday and Rayan Clarke operated out on the flanks either side of CAM Paris Maghoma. Spurs striker and captain Kazaiah Sterling led the line for the ‘ Lilywhites ‘. Stade Rennais got the game underway out on the main pitch at the football centre, and it didn’t take long for the game to gather pace. Joshua Oluwayemi had to get down early to save Brandon Soppy’s low effort from the edge of the Spurs box as both sides started the game with a good intensity about them. Wayne Burnett’s side started the game well and they were keeping possession well during the opening stages of the game.

Dilan Markanday came inside from the right flank before curling an effort narrowly wide of Elias Damergy’s goal as the quick pace to the game continued. After the hard pressing Armando Shashoua gave the ball to Rayan Clarke down the left side of the Stade Rennais box Clarke looked like he might hit the back of the net however, instead he fired the ball well over Damergy’s crossbar. Stade Rennais then came desperately close to taking the lead. After Brandon Soppy passed the ball to Georgino Rutter in the Spurs penalty area, Rutter thumped Oluwayemi’s crossbar with a powerful early strike before, Armando Shashoua did well to close down and block Malamine Doumbouya’s resulting effort from long range. Georgino Rutter forced Joshua Oluwayemi into making a decent save after he powered a low effort on goal from out on the left flank. Shortly afterwards the lively Armando Shashoua played a free kick short to Paris Maghoma on the edge of the Stade Rennais box however, the Tottenham midfielder whipped an effort narrowly over Elias Damergy’s crossbar. Stade Rennais then attacked us down the other end of the pitch through Georgino Rutter who, after advancing forward down the left flank smashed an effort off of Oluwayemi’s right hand post. The Spurs goalkeeper had been busy during the opening stages of the game and he was called into action shortly afterwards. A nice passing move saw Armand Lauriente give the ball to Georgino Rutter, who passed the ball to Brandon Soppy in the Spurs box but his effort on the turn was held by Oluwayemi. Shortly afterwards Spurs took the lead against the run of play. After Shashoua had passed the ball to Jubril Okedina out on the right flank the right fullback gave the ball to Markanday who cut onto his left foot before sending a cross into the Stade Rennais box. Markanday’s cross was met by Kazaiah Sterling who after leaping up well to meet the ball, he sent a wonderful looping header up over Elias Damergy and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 1-0. Malamine Doumbouya sent a dangerous cross narrowly wide of Joshua Oluwayemi’s goal shortly after the restart. The Spurs goalkeeper was then put under severe pressure by a Jonathan Dinzeyi back pass but he was able to just clear the ball in time.

Armand Lauriente blazed an effort over Joshua Oluwayemi’s crossbar before Spurs went forward down the other end of the pitch. After Jubril Okedina passed the ball to Dilan Markanday down the right flank the tricky Spurs winger  whipped the ball across the face of the Stade Rennais goal with Rayan Clarke coming close to getting something on it at the near post. Brandon Soppy fired an effort over Oluwayemi’s crossbar after running down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area, in what turned out to be the final piece of action from the first half. Spurs got the second half underway. Armando Shashoua came close to slipping Kazaiah Sterling through on goal shortly after the restart, a couple of minutes before Joshua Oluwayemi was almost robbed of the ball inside his own box by Georgino Rutter. The impressive Luis Binks then made a good sliding challenge to win the ball off of the advancing Brandon Soppy down the right flank. The Spurs defender then handled Georgino Rutter’s cross inside his own box a matter of moments later. However, the referee consulted VAR before deciding not to award the penalty kick for Stade Rennais. From the following corner kick Stade Rennais levelled. Brandon Soppy’s corner kick was met by Lorenz Assigon at the near post and he quickly rounded the man closest to him (Paris Maghoma) before firing the ball into the top left hand corner of Joshua Oluwayemi’s goal, 1-1. Emilien Waflart had a shot blocked inside the Spurs box by Jonathan Dinzeyi a couple of minutes later. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s pass Armando Shashoua gave the ball to Rayan Clarke down the left side of the Stade Rennais box, but the 18 year old fired a low effort wide of Elias Damergy’s goal. Rayan Clarke was replaced by Shilow Tracey shortly afterwards. Stade Rennais continued to put pressure on the Spurs defence. Georgino Rutter surged past Jonathan Dinzeyi before entering the Spurs penalty area and attempting to slide the ball underneath the outrushing Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi who managed to do well to save his effort.

Tariq Hinds slipped the ball into Kazaiah Sterling down the left side of the Stade Rennais box but the Tottenham striker slammed the ball against Elias Damergy’s right hand post. Only a matter of minutes later Jonathan Dinzeyi conceded a penalty after Jonathan Dinzeyi tripped Brandon Soppy in the Spurs penalty area. However, Soppy’s weak resulting effort was saved relatively comfortably down to his left by penalty saving specialist Joshua Oluwayemi,  as Spurs escaped punishment. The French club continued to cause Spurs problems and after Armand Lauriente gave the ball to Brandon Soppy he passed it to Georgino Rutter on the edge of the Spurs box. Rutter’s resulting low effort somehow came off of Oluwayemi’s right hand post before coming back across goal as Spurs escaped once again. Spurs had a penalty shout waived away by the referee after Rayan Doucoure tackled substitute Shilow Tracey inside the Stade Rennais penalty area. Spurs then made a double substitution as Wayne Burnett brought on Elliot Thorpe and Rodel Richards for Paris Maghoma and Dilan Markanday. Jonathan Dinzeyi did well to intercept Alan Kerouedan on the edge of the Spurs box to break down another dangerous Stade Rennais attack. Emilien Waflart then cut inside from the right flank before firing an effort on goal however, his powerful effort was bravely nodded behind by Jonathan Dinzeyi. The Spurs central defender then managed to clear Armand Lauriente’s resulting corner kick. For all of Spurs’ good defensive work throughout the match they could do nothing to prevent Stade Rennais netting a dramatic late winner in second half stoppage time. After Georgino Rutter passed the ball to Alan Kerouedan down the right side of the Spurs penalty area the winger fired an unstoppable low effort against the bottom of Oluwayemi’s right hand post. The ball then bounced into the back of the net as Stade Rennais netted a deserved late winner, 1-2. The referee sounded his whistle for full time a couple of seconds later. Spurs now have it all to do if they want to top the group. Wayne Burnett’s sides next group game is against SM Caen, tomorrow morning (kick off is at 10pm CET).

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper had a very good game in between the sticks for Wayne Burnett’s side on Saturday afternoon.  Oluwayemi made four saves in total (two of which were hugely important ones) and the 18 year old remained vocal throughout the game while also impressing me with his distribution. Once again the goalkeeper saved another penalty! Oluwayemi put in a good all round performance for Spurs and there was not a single aspect of his game which you could criticise. 
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old had a solid showing at right back and he went on some good overlapping runs down the right flank. Okedina was commanding and he was also very vocal.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: Although he was often left quite exposed down the right hand side, RCB Jonathan Dinzeyi had a good game. Dinzeyi was dominant in the air and strong in the challenge and he made some important defensive interventions for Spurs. Furthermore, the 19 year old former England under 17 international played the ball out well from the back.
  • Luis Binks: Carrying on from his fine performance against Dulwich Hamlet last Saturday 17 year old central defender Luis Binks once again impressed at LCB alongside Jonathan Dinzeyi. Binks had a very mature game and he read the danger well down the left side of the pitch. The Gillingham born centre half was probably Spurs’ second best player behind Shashoua. He was a towering presence at the back and he was always looking to lead the defence. Binks was quite often left exposed by the powerful break aways from the opponents.
  • Tariq Hinds: Good at the back and promising going forwards down the left flank, the left back caught my eye against Stade Rennais with his many galavanting runs down the left flank.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The central midfielder moved the ball well in the middle of the park and he used it intelligently. The forward thinking midfielder put in a decent performance for Spurs.
  • Armando Shashoua: My man of the match, see below.
  • Dilan Markanday: Tricky and positive down the right flank Dilan Markanday set up Spurs’ opening goal by whipping an inviting cross into the box for Kazaiah Sterling to connect with. Markanday went on some productive runs down that side of the pitch and he also made some intelligent decisions throughout his time on the pitch.
  • Paris Maghoma: The CAM put in a positive performance during the first half and he came close to finding the back of the net. Maghoma made some well timed runs through the middle of the park which weren’t picked up by his teammates.
  • Rayan Clarke: After a positive start which saw him go on some purposeful runs down the left flank the winger faded away a bit during the rest of the game due to the attacking nature of the opponents.
  • Kazaiah Sterling: The Spurs captain led the line well and he made some good runs in behind the Stade Rennais defence. Sterling scored an excellent looping header in the first half and he would go onto hit the post during the latter stages of the second half. It was a good all round performance from the physical centre forward.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 21 year old went on a couple of good attacking forays during his short time on the pitch.
  • Rodel Richards The forward pressed well out on the right flank during his short time on the pitch. 
  • Elliot Thorpe: The Wales under 19 international looked lively during his very short time on the pitch and he also had some nice touches of the ball.

My man of the match: Dynamic central midfielder Armando Shashoua put in an excellent shift in the middle of the park for Spurs against Stade Rennais. Shashoua was a real live wire in the midfield and he poached the ball really well from the Stade Rennais players while also breaking up play and tracking back well after him. The high pressing Shashoua also made some nice crisp passes and he was often the one pulling the strings from midfield. There was not one ball that the technically gifted midfielder didn’t scrap for!

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Hinds, Oakley-Boothe, Dinzeyi, Binks, Markanday (Richards 47), A Shashoua, Sterling (c), Maghoma (Thorpe 47), R Clarke (Tracey 38).

My preview of Spurs under 21’s participation in the 2019 Tournoi Europeen:

My preview of Spurs under 21’s participation in the 2019 Tournoi Europeen:

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Our development squad will be competing in the annual Tournoi Europeen which starts on Friday in Brittany, France. Regular participants in this tournament over the last couple of years Spurs who won the competition back in 2017 will be looking to retain their crown however, tough that objective may be. This prestigious pre-season tournament is celebrating its 22nd 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 Wayne Burnett’s side have been in group B along with Stade Rennais, SM Caen and RC Strasbourg. Three good technical teams (in particular Stade Rennais) who Spurs will have to be at their best to beat and finish top of group B. The other group contains Standard De Liège, OGC Nice, EA Guingamp and Stade Brestois. If Spurs are to reach the final then they will have to top group B. I would expect that Wayne Burnett’s side will look similar to the ones which have been used in our pre-season friendlies against both Ebbsfleet United and Dulwich Hamlet however, there could of course be one or two surprises in there. Spurs will be without a number of important players to due injury for this tournament. They include Marcus Edwards and TJ Eyoma. Furthermore it is unknown whether or not Samuel Shashoua will return from his post season holiday in time to represent Spurs. Playing in this renowned tournament is a great way to start the 2019/20 season and I’m sure that there will be some fantastic football on display. I will be travelling to Brittany to report on the tournament and I shall have my in-depth match reports published on the day of the games.

My message of support to the team: This prestigious tournament provides our lads with the invaluable experience of playing in a different country and testing themselves against different footballing styles and cultures. The 2017 winners of this tournament, Spurs will be looking to retain their crown and I believe that this current development side have both the quality and the endurance to do exactly that. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for the tournament and I hope that they enjoy the experience. 

The Spurs squad that I’m predicting will travel to France: Edward Smith (Tr), Joshua Oluwayemi, Maxwell Statham, Jubril Okedina, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Luis Binks, Tariq Hinds, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Armando Shashoua, Paris Maghoma, Elliot Thorpe, Dilan Markanday, Maurizio Pochettino, Shilow Tracey, Rayan Clarke, Rodel Richards, Kazaiah Sterling, Enock Asante. 

Doubtful: Brandon Austin, Samuel Shashoua, Dennis Cirkin, Phoenix Patterson, Maximus Tainio, Marcus Edwards.

Injured/unavailable: TJ Eyoma, Malachi Walcott, J’Neil Bennett, Jeremie Mukendi.

Spurs’ schedule: 

Day 1 (26th of July): Spurs v Stade Rennais (kick off – 12:30 PM CET)

Day 2 (27th of July): Spurs v SM Caen (kick off – 10:AM CET) 

Spurs v RC Strasbourg (kick off – 18:00 PM CET) 

Day 3 (28th of July): TBC.

My interview with former Spurs man Robbie Brace:

My interview with former Spurs man Robbie Brace:

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Centre forward Robbie Brace (pictured in the front row, third from right) joined Spurs as a youth player in the late 1970’s and he would go onto sign apprentice forms with the Lilywhites. Edmonton born Brace who made one competitive appearance for the first team kindly agreed to doing an interview with me, so I caught up with the former Spurs player who now lives in Germany the country where he has lived ever since for FC Saarbrucken in 1986.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Robbie: Playing in the kids team when I was about six or seven in Waltham Abbey and starting my football career. Also playing in international tournaments when I was a kid when we used to play teams from Wales who used to come over and that’s something I’ll never forget as a youngster as that was the start of my football career. My dad was a big influence on me when I was a kid, taking me over the park and teaching me how to kick with my left foot because I always used to kick with my right foot and in the end I was better with my left foot than I was with my right foot. My dad used to make time for me after he’d come home from a hard days work to go over to the park and play football with me. Years ago we never used to have computers, Gameboy or PlayStation or things like that, we just used to be out on the streets playing football all of the time and that was the way it was years and years ago. 

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

Robbie: There was a scout called Brian Casey who used to take four of us from Waltham Abbey up to Tottenham and we was like 13 or 14 years of age. He used to have a taxi cab and he would take Glen Alzapiedi, Gary Rudkin and Robert Secker in his cab up to Tottenham, and then we used to train in the ball courts. There used to be two ball courts at Tottenham in the old West stand with a small one downstairs and a big one upstairs. The small court was for players who were about 14 and they would train with Robbie Stepney, and then upstairs there used to be the year older players like Allan Cockram, Mark Bowen, Ian Crook and Tony Parks who would be getting trained by Ron Henry. Then a year later we were allowed to go up and train in the big ball court with Ron Henry and that was good to go up there but it was like training on concrete! I signed schoolboy forms (all four of us from Waltham Abbey did) so that meant that you weren’t allowed to go to another professional club and you belonged as a signed schoolboy to Tottenham Hotspur, so I signed that at 14 and then you have two years to see if you can make it as an apprentice professional footballer, and that was what I became when I was 16. I can remember when I was 16 going up to Waltham Cross on the bus and then there was Ian Culverhouse who used to get on the train from Harlow and I’d get on the same train as him. And then at Enfield Lock we’d meet up with Richard Cooke and we’d all go to Northumberland Park train station and walk up to Tottenham and start work. We always used to go into the cafe first at the front of the high street and have a breakfast and then at nine o’clock we would start work. And at work there used to be a top man and the first time I was there it was Simon Webster and he was in charge of the apprentices so he would tell us what to do such as getting kits ready for training for the professional players, and cleaning boots. I had Steve Archibald and Osvaldo Ardiles and some of them had sponsored boots like Glen Hoddle who had Le Coq Sportif and Steve Archibald who had Nike so they were like personal sponsored boots which the club were sponsored by. 

It was just a fantastic time of my life being an apprentice professional and it was a nine to five job. I’ll never forget that sometimes Keith Burkinshaw or Peter Shreeves used to ask us to mark a player and I never will forget this in my life, I was called over to the first team to mark Osvaldo Ardiles and my job was to mark Osvaldo and he was running rings around me and I couldn’t believe how good he was.

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

Robert: I started at 14 as a schoolboy and I left when I was nearly 20 so just after the game where I made my debut against Southampton which at the time Spurs were playing in the UEFA cup final in 1984. I made my debut as a substitute against Southampton and that was it. In the end I got a free transfer from an agent who took me to Belgium where I played in the first division. My mum and dad did their nut after I said I’m going to Belgium tomorrow and they said what! However, I said that there was a football agent who wants to pick up young professional footballers and try and earn himself some money out of us and we’d earn ourselves a contract with a foreign team, and that’s what I did. And so I played in Genk in the Belgian first division and as a 19 year old that was a great experience. I can also remember signing my professional contract for Spurs and going into Keith Burkinshaw’s office just after my 18th birthday but there’s one memory I’ll never forget and that was the first ever game that I played for Tottenham Hotspur. As a 13/14 year old I scored seven goals and although I can’t tell you where or who it was against that was my first ever game I played in for Spurs.

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

Robbie: It was Glen Hoddle. Everyone loved Glenn Hoddle, he had eyes in the back of his head and he was unbelievable. I used to love to watch Glenn Hoddle play football because he was just brilliant.

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

Robbie: I was a centre forward but sometimes I used to play at right back however, I was a centre forward all of the time and I did score a lot of goals in the juniors when I was at Spurs. But as I said I used to go on the right back position and I can remember when John Pratt took over as our trainer he used to put me at the right back position because I could run all day as I was really, really fit, but as I say I was a striker and I just loved scoring goals.

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

Robbie: You looked up to them, all of the professional players. When I was there at Spurs we’d just signed two Argentinian international players Ossie Ardiles and Ricardo Villa and you just looked up to them. However, they were so nice even though they couldn’t speak a lot of English at that time, they always shook your hand and that’s what it was like. Whereas Steve Perryman was always giving us tips and saying hello and you just used to look up to these players all of the time. I’ll tell you another story! When we were an apprentice we used to have to go to college one day a week and we went to a college in Kings Cross and we had to learn how to eat properly and we had a woman who was really high up in politics as our teacher and her name was Kate Hoey and she used to take us in this college with West Ham, Wimbledon and Arsenal and we used to have to learn how to cook and how to hold knives and forks and making sure it was the spoon to the mouth not the mouth to the spoon! I can also remember going on a survival course with West Ham, Wimbledon and Arsenal in Wales and that’s something I’ll never forget in my life. It was fantastic.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Robbie: Steve Perryman although he didn’t play in the national team for England he was the Spurs captain and he was a great influence who was always talking to the young players and he’d give you stick if you were doing anything wrong and he’d always give 100% in every training session and you just looked up to players like that. He was an out and out professional footballer along with Glen Hoddle who was just a fantastic person and you just loved watching them play.

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

Robbie: As a striker you used to watch the other strikers who used to play at Spurs and the way in which players like Garth Crooks and Steve Archibald used to finish but not only that, but also the finishing from Mark Falco who score loads of goals even though he didn’t play a lot in the first team at that time. You used to copy the way that those players finished and scored there goals and that’s what I did. At Spurs you had a lot of different strikers, you had Terry Gibson who was a speedy Gonzalez, you had Garry Brooke who used to have the best shot I’ve ever seen and then you had Ian Crook who used to have brilliant technique. You used to watch all of them in training and learn off of them because all of them had there own qualities and they weren’t big headed.  

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Robbie: I think the greatest moment was when I came on as a sub against Southampton to play my debut in the premier league because it was an honour. The whole thing from going in the coach to going in the hotel and having some dinner and doing the pre-match routine was just incredible. And as an 18/19 year old it was just a fantastic experience to go with the first team and come on as a sub in the second half was a highlight of my career, playing for the team that I supported and the team that I loved as a kid. 

Could you describe to me what it was like to make your senior competitive debut for the Lilywhites?

Robbie: Well I don’t think that I would actually have made my debut to be honest with you if it wasn’t for the fact that Tottenham played a lot of reserve players from the football combination in the game against Southampton. I was lucky to have my debut at Tottenham because Tottenham played in the UEFA cup final and so they rested there players for the game against Southampton on the Saturday because on the Wednesday they were playing in the final. I was number 12 and I came on as a sub and I’ll never ever forget that in my life as it was the biggest thing that ever happened in my career.

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

Robbie: It was Glen Hoddle because he was my idol and he was just brilliant. The Spurs fans used to sing born is the king of White Hart Lane and he was the king. He had eyes at the back of his head and I used to idolise him.

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

Robbie: We won the Southern junior floodlit cup in the junior team against Cambridge United and I’ll always remember that. I also remember playing Arsenal which I used to love because I used to hate them!

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

Robbie: I got a free transfer which I was really disappointed with but I could understand it because I never really had that chance because there were so many brilliant strikers at Tottenham with Garth Crooks, Steve Archibald, Mark Falco and Terry Gibson and I just didn’t have much chance against those brilliant players. When Tottenham told me that I could leave they introduced me to an agent who could help me. And this agent took me first of all to Germany where I trained with a few non league clubs to keep myself fit and he couldn’t believe how good I was so he arranged for me to have a sort of trial in this tournament for a team called K.Waterschei S.V. Thor Genk who played in the first division in Belgium. Anyway this man took me to Belgium and I signed for this team on a two year contract but I only stayed there a year because there was a team that wanted me badly in Holland so I went to a team called De Graafschap and I scored lots of goals there and it was a nice time. From there I went to a team in Germany called FC Saarbrucken where I had to learn the language and I’ve been in Germany now since 1986 and I’m married and I’ve got kids. I also have a fantastic job working at Mercedes-Benz and I’m also fifteen years a football manager. 

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

Robbie: Simon Webster. I’ll never forget his tackles. Also Graham Roberts was unbelievable but Simon Webster used to really go in hard and they were really hard players.

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

Robbie: Ian Culverhouse was one of my best friends years ago however, I’ve lost a lot contact with him. We used to hang out a lot together because we used to play in the West Essex County football team when we were younger and we were also apprentices together at Spurs. Then you had the other players like Richard Cooke who I used to hang out with along with Ally Dick. However, the best friend I had was Ian Culverhouse.

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Robbie: Concentrate on your football career and be disciplined. Young players do meet up with girls and players do go out and want to go to discos and have a bit of a life but to be a professional you’ve got to be disciplined and you’ve got to say right ok the time for girls can be later and I’m going to make this step up. Don’t go out with your mates to pubs and don’t drink too much alcohol or smoke too many cigarettes. Your aim is to be in the first team and if you want to make it you’ve got to go for it 100% otherwise you’re not to going to have a chance.

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?

Robbie: It was the best time of my life to be honest with you as I was a player at the team that I loved as a kid. My family were Tottenham Hotspur mad and I was born in Edmonton and to play for the team you supported and loved was the best time of my life as a footballer. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CUa3CcI8mBY

Spurs XI 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet: (match report)

Spurs XI 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet: (match report)

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Our development sides second test of pre-season took them across the Thames to face National league south side Dulwich Hamlet at their Champion Hill ground. Wayne Burnett’s side were involved in a very physical battle with the ‘ Hamlet ‘ on a gloriously sunny afternoon in South London in front of almost 3,000 spectators. It was a closely fought and highly competitive game and both sides managed to create plenty of good goal scoring chances. A similar side to the one in which Burnett fielded against Ebbsfleet the previous Saturday, Spurs started the game well and they managed to create a number of good early chances which they were unable to convert. However, it was the non league side who after growing into the game, took the lead after 24 minutes through Nyren Clunis. Spurs tried to respond but they were unable to do so during the remainder of the first half. The introduction of three players at halftime namely Luis Binks who helped to sure up the Tottenham defence, helped Spurs’ game. And after starting the second half strongly Spurs managed to draw level thanks to an emphatic finish from the impressive Tashan Oakley-Boothe on 66 minutes. Both sides scrapped hard for a late winner. After substitute goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi conceded a penalty during the latter stages of the game it looked like Dulwich Hamlet were going to net the winner. However, to Oluwayemi and Spurs’ relief Christian Smith blazed his penalty kick well over Oluwayemi’s crossbar. In the end both sides had to settle for a draw as an entertaining and highly competitive pre-season friendly with plenty of bite came to an end. Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Saturday afternoons game. Trialist Edward Smith started in goal for the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ while a back four consisting of Maxwell Statham, Jubril Okedina, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Tariq Hinds lined up in front of him. Armando Shashoua and Tashan Oakley-Boothe partnered up in central midfield, as Shilow Tracey and Rayan Clarke operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Paris Maghoma. Spurs captain Kazaiah Sterling led the line for Burnett’s side.

Spurs got the game underway at Champion Hill and Burnett’s side knocked the ball around the park well during the opening stages of the game. A good early move from Spurs saw Jonathan Dinzeyi pass the ball to Tariq Hinds who in turn gave it Rayan Clarke down the left wing. Clarke pulled the ball back across goal towards Paris Maghoma inside the Dulwich penalty area. However, Maghoma just narrowly missed making contact with the ball and hence couldn’t tap the ball past Preston Edwards in the Dulwich goal. Shortly afterwards Kieran Monlouis tried to beat Edward Smith with a speculative effort from the halfway line however, his ambitious effort went well wide of Smith’s goal. Then at the opposite end of the pitch the lively Rayan Clarke cut inside from the left flank before firing the ball well over Preston Edwards’ crossbar. High pressing Spurs were putting the ‘ Hamlet ‘ under some good early pressure as they looked to make their mark on the game. After receiving Shilow Tracey’s pass down the right hand side of the Dulwich Hamlet penalty area, Paris Maghoma crossed the ball for Rayan Clarke who made a run towards the near post however, he could only head the ball wide of Preston Edwards’ goal. Spurs found themselves in a spot of bother shortly afterwards, after Kieran Monlouis managed to dispossess Tashan Oakley-Boothe on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. The attacking midfielder then surged forward into the Spurs box before he was heroically cut out by Jonathan Dinzeyi who made an excellent late challenge to put the ball behind for a corner kick. A couple of moments later Rayan Clarke conceded a dangerous free kick right on the edge of the Spurs box. Ben Chapman elected to take the free kick for Dulwich Hamlet and his pacy, curling effort was tipped over the bar by the alert Edward Smith. Jonathan Dinzeyi then managed to head away Ben Chapman’s resulting corner kick a couple of moments before he blocked a shot from Monlouis on the edge of the Spurs box. Spurs then came desperately close to taking the lead after a good run into the Dulwich box by Paris Maghoma was picked up by Maxwell Statham who sent in an inviting cross from the right flank to pick out Maghoma. The Spurs midfielder met Statham’s cross on the volley but his effort flew narrowly wide of Preston Edwards’ goal. 

Spurs would regret missing that chance as Dulwich Hamlet took the lead in the 24th minute of the game through Nyren Clunis. After Jeffrey Monakana whipped the ball into the Spurs box he managed to pick out striker Danny Mills who tried to just guide the ball into the goal. However, the ball came to Clunis who managed to tap the ball past Edward Smith and into the back of the net, 0-1. Spurs tried to respond, Tashan Oakley-Boothe passed the ball to Tariq Hinds on the left flank, the fullback cut inside onto his right foot before firing the ball straight at Dulwich defender Yannis Ambroisine. A couple of moments later Hinds gave the ball to Shashoua who then cut the ball back to Clarke in the Dulwich box but he fluffed the chance and couldn’t get the ball out of his feet. Spurs managed to create another good chance shortly afterwards. After Maghoma received Tracey’s pass he slipped the ball through to Kazaiah Sterling in the Dulwich box but Preston Edwards came out to close down Sterling’s angles and make a good save to prevent his low effort. Edwards then managed to gather a hopeful cross into the box from Armando Shashoua a couple of moments later. Jonathan Dinzeyi cleared a dangerous cross from Ben Chapman before Jeffrey Monakana cut inside from the left flank before curling an effort a fraction wide of Edward Smith’s goal. Dulwich continued to finish the half strongly, Danny Mills headed a cross from Jack Connors across Smith’s goal, but Okedina managed to clear the ball away from danger. The home side then hit the wood work after Nyren Clunis passed the ball to Kieran Monlouis on the edge of the Spurs box. Monlouis’ low side footed effort came off the inside of Edward Smith’s right hand post before coming back to Clunis on the right flank. Clunis attempted to chip the ball back across goal but Smith authoritatively claimed it. The final piece of action from the first half saw Jeffrey Monakana come in from the left flank before shooting an effort on goal however, he was closed down well by Maxwell Statham who managed to block his effort.

Spurs made three changes at half time as Wayne Burnett brought on Luis Binks, Dilan Markanday and Rodel Richards for Maxwell Statham, Rayan Clarke and Shilow Tracey. Dulwich Hamlet got the second half underway however, it was Spurs who managed to create the first chance of the half. A sharp and incisive passing move resulted in Hinds passing the ball to Oakley-Boothe on the left flank. He then squared the ball for the newly introduced Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Dulwich box but his low first time, side footed effort struck the base of Preston Edwards’ bottom right hand post. Rodel Richards came close to slipping Kazaiah Sterling through on goal shortly afterwards but Preston Edwards came out to smother the ball in time. Moments later Sterling received the ball from Oakley-Boothe on the edge of the Dulwich box. He shimmied his way past Dulwich defender Quade Taylor before entering the danger zone and trying to curl the ball around Preston Edwards who spread his body well and was able to make the save. Spurs were now dominating possession. After Jeffrey Monakana surged down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area Spurs looked like they were in trouble. However, the Dulwich winger cut inside onto his right foot before curling an effort narrowly wide of Edward Smith’s goal. Smith was replaced by Joshua Oluwayemi shortly afterwards before Elliot Thorpe and Enock Asante entered the frame. After Kieran Monlouis managed to send a cross into the Spurs box, Dulwich Hamlet striker Danny Mills managed to latch onto the ball and volley it over Oluwayemi’s crossbar however, he had been closed down well by Jonathan Dinzeyi. Nyren Clunis fired an effort wide of the Spurs goal from long range before a coming together between Danny Mills and Paris Maghoma caused a brief pause in the game. Spurs’ strong start to the second half was rewarded when Tashan Oakley-Boothe levelled for the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ on 66 minutes. After Armando Shashoua had passed the ball to Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Dulwich Hamlet box the tricky winger had a pop on goal but it was straight at Quade Taylor. The ball was then picked up by the alert Tashan Oakley-Boothe and he emphatically fired the ball into the roof of Preston Edwards’ goal, 1-1.

Rodel Richards had a deflected effort saved by Preston Edwards before the dominant Luis Binks cleared a cross from Jack Connors at the opposite end of the pitch. Spurs then went straight down the other end of the pitch, Thorpe passed the ball to Markanday down the right wing and he managed to trick his way past Jack Connors before cutting the ball back to Thorpe who had made a run into the penalty area however, the young Welshman was unable to trap the ball and it ran out to Shashoua on the edge of the box. Shashoua’s low, first time effort was heroically cleared on the line by Dulwich Hamlet defender Quade Taylor. Spurs continued to come at Dulwich, after Dilan Markanday was given the ball by Elliot Thorpe down the right side of the oppositions danger zone the winger cut inside onto his left foot before curling an effort wide of the mark, Spurs were now on top of the game. Substitute Rodel Richards received a yellow card for a late challenge on Aaron Barnes before a big moment occurred in the game. Quade Taylor’s long kick up field caused bother for the Spurs defence as it entered the Spurs box, goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi came rushing out to get to the ball before the advancing Ade Yusuff but he missed the ball and clipped the feet of Yusuff leaving the referee Paul Howard with no other choice than to point to the spot. However, fortunately for both Spurs and Oluwayemi Christian Smith blazed his resulting spot kick over the crossbar. Luis Binks was on hand shortly afterwards to make an important sliding challenge to rob the ball off of Christian Smith inside the Spurs box. Some fine skill from Dilan Markanday down the right flank resulted in the 17 year old whipping the ball across the face of the Dulwich Hamlet goal, but goalkeeper Preston Edwards was on hand to gather the ball. Dulwich continued to finish the game well, substitute Belo’s late cross to pick out Ade Yusuff in the Spurs box forced Dinzeyi into shielding his man. However, Yusuff managed to turn and shoot but his low effort was saved by the diving Oluwayemi. Spurs then went forward down the other end of the pitch. Oakley-Boothe passed the ball to Shashoua on the edge of the Dulwich Hamlet box but the 18 year olds powerful low effort on goal was saved by the diving Preston Edwards. Luis Binks made a good clearance to divert Lewis White’s late pass before Christian Smith nodded Jack Connors cross over Joshua Oluwayemi’s crossbar.

Substitute striker Enock Asante’s late cross was fumbled by Preston Edwards but a Dulwich defender managed to clear the ball. A great bit of tracking back and an excellent sliding challenge from Elliot Thorpe on Lewis White in additional time caught the eye as both teams had to settle for a draw in the end. Wayne Burnett’s development side will now get ready to prepare for next weeks Tournoi Europeen out in Brittany, in France. The tournament starts next Friday and I am delighted to say that I will be in attendance for the second consecutive year.

Player reviews: 

  • Edward Smith: The trialist goalkeeper didn’t have an awful lot to do on Saturday afternoon if the truth be told. Smith only had to make one save and that was a fairly routine one. The 23 year olds distribution was good and he dealt fairly well with crosses and set pieces.
  • Maxwell Statham: It was a solid showing at right back from 18 year old Maxwell Statham who managed to keep pacy Dulwich Hamlet winger Jeffrey Monakana in check for large periods of the first half. Statham who, came off at half time in yesterday’s 1-1 draw, whipped some good crosses into the oppositions danger zone and he made a couple of good and important interceptions. He was very assured in his defending.
  • Jubril Okedina: After putting in a solid performance at RCB during the first half alongside Jonathan Dinzeyi the 18 year old moved to right back for the second half. At right back Okedina had a decent game and he did a good job at protecting the right flank along with Dilan Markanday who tracked back well throughout his time on the pitch. 
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: My man of the match, see below.
  • Tariq Hinds: Operating at left back for this game, Tariq Hinds put in a fairly solid performance and he managed to get up and down the left flank well throughout the match.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: It was a very impressive performance from the deep lying central midfielder on Saturday afternoon. Oakley-Boothe dictated the tempo of the game from central midfield, he moved the ball around well in the centre of the park and he also helped us attack by going on some excellent surging forward runs through the middle of the park. The 19 year old who took his second half goal extremely well posed a constant threat throughout the match. He was always on the move and his eye for a pass and his positioning was very impressive. It was a very good all round performance from the former England youth international who played in  a much more advanced role during the second half.
  • Armando Shashoua: Alongside Tashan Oakley-Boothe in central midfield the technically very good midfielder had a good game for Spurs. Shashoua moved the ball around well and his passing was nice and crisp. Furthermore he initiated some good Spurs chances and he managed to have a couple of fine attempts on goal while also getting himself into good goal scoring positions.
  • Shilow Tracey: Apart from being involved in a couple of Spurs attacks early on in the first half Shilow Tracey didn’t really manage to get into the game during his time on the pitch and he didn’t see much of the ball.
  • Paris Maghoma: The CAM completed 66 minutes of Saturday’s game and once again the 18 year old managed to put in a very positive performance. Maghoma came close to finding the back of the net on two occasions yesterday and he made countless well timed runs into the danger zone. He held his own and was mature throughout his time on the pitch, he also used the ball intelligently and made some fine passes.
  • Rayan Clarke: The left winger started the game well and although he should have opened the scoring for Spurs early on in game Clarke did go on some good purposeful runs. He would often look to cut inside onto his right foot and test the Dulwich Hamlet goalkeeper Preston Edwards.
  • Kazaiah Sterling: The Spurs captain worked hard and made some good runs during his time on the pitch. However, the 20 year old missed a number of good chances which he would have hoped to have found the back of the net with. Sterling did however hold the ball up well during his time on the pitch. 
  • Dilan Markanday: The 17 year olds introduction at half time influenced the Spurs attack massively. Apart from hitting the woodwork early on in the second half Markanday went on a number of sublime attacking forays down the right flank, often weaving his way into dangerous positions.  
  • Rodel Richards: The second half substitute worked hard out on the left flank but he struggled to make much of an impact out wide.
  • Luis Binks: Binks’ introduction at halftime helped to really sure up the Tottenham defence, and during his time on the pitch the second year scholar didn’t put a foot wrong alongside Jonathan Dinzeyi. Binks made some good defensive interventions and he managed to keep impeccable positioning. In addition he was dominant in the air and he brought the ball out well from the back.
  • Elliot Thorpe: It was a very positive second half cameo from Thorpe who brought great energy to the game. The Wales under 19 international went on some really good runs through the middle of the park and he linked up very well with right winger Dilan Markanday who he had a good understanding with. Thorpe travelled with the ball well and was often looking to play one and two touch football. He also showed great desire when he was on the pitch. It was a very Lamela-esque performance from the 18 year old.
  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The substitute goalkeeper only had to make one save during his time on the pitch and it must be said that he was slightly unlucky to concede a late penalty kick. 
  • Enock Asante: The second half substitute led the line well and he pressed the Dulwich Hamlet defence well. It was great to see him back in action after he missed virtually all of last season through injury.

My man of the match: Towering centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi virtually didn’t put a foot wrong during yesterday’s game where he operated both at RCB and LCB. Dinzeyi made some crucial interventions including an excellent last ditch challenge on Kieran Monlouis during the opening stages of the game. He was good in the air, he shielded the ball well but most importantly of all he read the game to perfection and he brought the ball out well from the back. It was a very  mature performance from the 19 year old Londoner.

Dulwich Hamlet: Edwards, Barnes, Connors, Ijaha (Smith 65), Ambroisine, Taylor, Clunis (White 78), Chapman (Morris 78), Mills (c) (Yusuff 65), Monlouis (Tajbakhsh 78), Monakana (Belo 65). Substitutes (not used): Grainger, Case, Chambers.

Spurs: Smith (Tr) (Oluwayemi 59), Statham (Binks 46), Hinds, Oakley-Boothe, Okedina, Dinzeyi, Tracey (Markanday 46), A Shashoua, Sterling (c) (Asante 66), Maghoma (Thorpe 66), R Clarke (Richards 46).

Goals: Dulwich Hamlet – Clunis 24; Spurs – Oakley-Boothe 66.

Yellow card: Spurs – Richards 77.

Referee: Paul Howard.

Venue: Champion Hill, East Dulwich.

Attendance: 2,931.

Spurs XI versus Dulwich Hamlet: (match preview)

Spurs XI versus Dulwich Hamlet: (match preview)

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Our development sides second test of pre-season takes them south of the river to Champion Hill, where Wayne Burnett’s side will face National league south side Dulwich Hamlet. After putting in a highly competitive performance last weekend to draw 2-2 with Ebbsfleet, Spurs’ development side minus Brooklyn Lyons-Foster who was called up to the senior side for their tour of Asia will be looking to go one better when they take on the ‘ Hamlet ‘ in tomorrow afternoons game. Dulwich Hamlet are an interesting club and they finished in 14th place in the National league south last season with 49 points. The ‘ Hamlet ‘ have a number of connections with Spurs although they have never played one another, of which includes former players Peter Crouch, Peter Garland and Dave McEwen all of whom have represented both clubs. Dulwich Hamlet manager Gavin Rose has a number of players on his books who the young Spurs players will need to be wary of tomorrow. Last seasons top scorer and centre forward Dipo Akineymi is the National league south sides main danger man however, other players of note include goalkeeper Preston Edwards, wing back Nyren Clunis and defensive midfielder Quade Taylor.  Other players to look out for are Caio Guimaraes, Maggie Porter, Dominic Vose and Aryan Tajbkahsh. I am expecting another very physical test similar to the one in which we had against Ebbsfleet last week however, the quality of tomorrow’s opposition obviously won’t be as good. Just like in the Ebbsfleet game fitness levels could also be a big factor in deciding which way the game goes. In front of an almost sold out Champion Hill, Burnett’s side will be looking to overcome the ‘ Hamlet ‘ by playing their usual passing game. Once again it will provide the Tottenham youngsters with some invaluable experience and as games go this promises to be an intriguing affair. Burnett will be unable to choose a whole host of under 18’s for Saturday’s game as they are currently participating in the Eurofoot tournament out in Belgium. I would expect to see a similar Spurs side to the one which took on Ebbsfleet last week with the exception of maybe one or two changes. I shall be reporting on tomorrow’s game and I will have my in-depth match report out on Sunday afternoon. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for the game. This is their last match they have before they travel out to France to compete in the annual Tournoi Europeen.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Smith (Tr), Statham, Okedina, Dinzeyi, Cirkin, A.Shashoua, Oakley-Boothe, Markanday, Maghoma, Clarke, Sterling (c).

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Binks, Reynolds (Tr), Hinds, Thorpe, Tracey, Richards.

Injured/unavailable: J’Neil Bennett, Jeremie Mukendi, Malachi Walcott.

Doubtful: Brandon Austin, TJ Eyoma. 

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My one to watch: Dulwich Hamlet’s top scorer last season Dipo Akinyemi who scored 13 goals in the Vanarama National league south during the 2018/19 campaign. 

My interview with former Spurs youth player Aron Sharpe:

My interview with former Spurs youth player Aron Sharpe:

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Aron Sharpe (pictured above on the far left) was a flashy midfielder who although he would never make the grade at the Lilywhites, would go onto enjoy a fine career in the game. The current chairman of non league club Wingate and Finchley who spent six months as a youth player at Spurs in the early 1980’s kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at the club. 

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Aron: My earliest footballing memory was my first competitive game playing for the cub scouts on a pitch which is now Finchley power league on the north circular. And then playing in the Regent’s Park league where I can distinctly remember playing against John Barnes.

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

Aron: I was invited for trials in Derby by a guy called Jimmy Burton who was Dave Mackay’s partner, and I didn’t even know where Derby was so I told them I wasn’t interested in going up there, but because of his connections with Mackay at Tottenham he invited me to go there. My first recollection there was going inside the ground (White Hart Lane) and feeling very apprehensive and nervous and if I can remember correctly there were two floors of football pitches and I can remember walking in and thinking bloody hell there all massive and I asked the question to Ron Henry who was one of the youth coaches whether this was my age group and he said yes. My other memories of that particular night are Keith Burkinshaw coming in and pointing at me, asking if I’ve got any ability, Peter Shreeves taking a session, and the other thing I remember was my first game which I think was against Hornchurch in a friendly.

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

Aron: My biggest memory was how difficult it was particularly the fitness levels, I can remember my father picking me up and I was just so exhausted that I wasn’t able to walk for a couple of days after. My biggest memory of it which I don’t know if it’s pleasant or unpleasant was doing shuttle runs where you jogged across the pitch and then had to sprint down the side of the pitch at White Hart Lane. However, it was the first professional football club that I went into and it was a huge honour as somebody who supports the club. Another memory is traveling home and meeting two of my friends in Wood Green who were British schoolboy boxing champions. Overall it was a happy time and a fantastic time but I just wasn’t at that level and that’s the reality but it was an interesting time. I had a lot of technical ability but I hated training!

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

Aron: All Spurs players. I actually started as a goalkeeper so my superhero was Pat Jennings, always was and always will be. Then there was three or four midfield players as I was a flashy, creative midfield player. Alfie Conn and Neil McNab I loved in the early 1970’s, while Micky Hazard and Glen Hoddle were on another planet. Those players never got the recognition that they needed. I always liked that creative midfielder who was capable of changing a game with a pass.

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

Aron: I was a central midfield player who usually got pushed out to the right because I had a lot of technical ability and vision however, I was a slight player so the physical side of my game was practically non existent if I’m honest with you. The biggest criticism of me while I was at Spurs and when I went to Luton was stamina however, I was lazy at recovering and two things I learnt as I got older as I went into the retail sector are that work rate and endeavour are two of the most important principles of being a football player and I lacked them in abundance.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Aron: That’s a tricky question. I went to one of the top grammar schools in the country and it was very difficult for me because my PE teacher was a funny guy who wasn’t supportive of what I was doing, nor were the school. So I had to play for the school rather than the football club. I actually sit on the Football Association and I’m quite heavily involved in youth development and so since the academy system came in school couldn’t really interfere with you. So for me the biggest influence on my football career was a guy called Roy Dunn who was a chief scout for Watford, he found Lloyd Doyley and other players like that. But this was just after Spurs really and at Spurs it was a little bit stand offish and you had to work your way into the circle so there was no one who really influenced me there which is the truth. 

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

Aron: I remember playing with one of the best players I’d ever seen and Johnny Moncur although he was two or three years younger than me was on a different level because he was just naturally brilliant and I expected him to be an England international football player.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Aron: My honest opinion as a Tottenham fan it was walking into the ground to train for the first time and possibly also my first appearance for them. It was a surreal experience to put the Spurs shirt on. 

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

Aron: Neil Webb, Gary McAllister and Graham Roberts are all names which come into my head but the most talented one of all was Gary McAllister. 

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

Aron: What I do remember about them (the matches) was the sheer difference from stepping up from one level to another, and the pace and the physicality of game. It was fantastic pulling on the shirt but the reality for me was the purpose, was I good enough to play at that level? For the games that I did play for Spurs I was trying to get used to the pace so there wasn’t an awful lot of time to enjoy it.

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

Aron: I wasn’t getting picked and I wasn’t playing so I sort of just fell away even though Spurs didn’t release me. I was offered the opportunity to go to Luton Town and I sort of just jumped ship for want of a better word because I wasn’t getting a look in. I didn’t realise what opportunity I had at Spurs and I’m not sure that I took it that seriously. I just wasn’t as determined or as fit as the other boys who were there.

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

Aron: I didn’t play against him but Glen Alzapiedi was a really really tough boy however, the toughest boy was a boy from our age called Dougie McClure who ended up being the England schoolboys captain, and he was like playing against a man. 

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

Aron: No not really, you lose contact with most of them and in those days the majority of the boys were from a little group called Enfield Rangers who were the top club at the time, I came from Finchley so all of my pals were at QPR. And I wasn’t there long enough to get involved in a camaraderie situation.

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Aron: Attitude and understanding it. I tell all of my youngsters and the boys that I’ve coached over the years that it took me until I was 35-40 years of age until I understood what attitude was. So you need to understand what attitude is and you need to make sure that all facets of your game are in place. If you’re abilities there and you happen to have all of those other facets then there is no reason why you can’t break through. When the opportunities there make sure that you grasp it. 

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?

Aron: Listen I’ve supported Spurs since I was a young man, I used to walk there on my own at seven years of age and watch the games. The interesting thing was watching last seasons Champions league final when I’m telling my kid to turn the television off because we’ve got no chance of winning so there you go! I’ve seen all ends of it but retrospectively I made a lot of stupid mistakes as a youngster and I was possibly too immature to understand the opportunity that I had there at Spurs to really get my head down and show some determination and there are huge regrets.