My end of season player reviews of Spurs’ development side (2019/20):

My end of season player reviews of Spurs’ development side (2019/20):

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Following on from my end of season review of Spurs’ under 18 side, I thought that I would also write my one of the under 23/development sides season, as I always do at the end of each season. Our development side, led by head coach Wayne Burnett enjoyed a fine pre-season, one which saw them finish in third place at the prestigious Tournoi Europeen out in France, before then competing in both the PL2 Division One (the U23 league) and the Checkatrade Trophy in the main part of the season. Burnett’s side had a solid season, but most importantly of all it provided so many players with the opportunity to test themselves at a higher level after having made that step up from under 18’s. Spurs finished in tenth position of 12 in the PL2, after recording 21 points from 18 games (we were six points away from the relegation zone). In the league Spurs started off really well by beating both Liverpool and Manchester City in their first two matches, and they were solid and consistent during the early parts of the season. However, they also had difficult periods like all teams, but a draw against Derby County and a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers during the latter part of the campaign helped to ensure that their PL2 Division One status remains for at least another season. Meanwhile in the Checkatrade Trophy where Spurs’ development side were pitted against EFL teams, Wayne Burnett’s side arguably put in their best performances of the season. After only narrowly losing to League One side Ipswich Town, Spurs beat Colchester United on penalties before then losing to Gillingham in their final group game (they finished bottom of their group).

In the following piece I will be doing a detailed review of each players season, including comments and statistics (from my view of watching the entirety of the 2019/20 season up and down the country, and at the pre-season Tournoi Europeen in France). For second year scholars who played up for the development side on more occasions than they did for the under 18’s, I will also be including them in this piece. The development side lads should be proud of all that they achieved over the course of the 2019/20 season.

Goalkeepers: 

Jonathan De Bie: The 20 year old Belgian goalkeeper who traveled with the first team to their pre-season tour of Asia last summer (he didn’t play a game for them), De Bie in his second year as a professional at Spurs, made six appearances for our development side and two for our under 19’s (he registered one assist for them) in the UEFA Youth League, during the season just gone. De Bie wasn’t the first choice goalkeeper for our development side for much of the season, hence his lack of game time for them. However, the Malines born shot stopper did put in a couple of noteworthy performances, of which two stood out for me. A solid performance against League Two side Colchester United in which the Belgium youth international saved a penalty kick in a penalty shoot out, and a performance against Leicester City’s under 23’s in the PL2 when he made a string of fine saves. A player with good potential (it is worth noting that De Bie ruptured his spleen while on international duty with Belgium’s under 17’s during the 2016/17 season) the former K.V. Mechelen goalkeeper was reportedly on trial with Belgian club K.A.A Gent earlier in the year according to a tweet on Twitter. If this were the case then one could assume that he might leave Spurs when the annual retained and released lists  are announced (usually in the first week of June). During his second year of scholarship at Spurs he was an outstanding performer, and was named as Spurs’ scholar of the season by the Premier League.

Brandon Austin: Highly rated Hemel Hempstead born goalkeeper Brandon Austin missed out on this seasons pre-season tour due to injury however, he more than made up for this by featuring on the bench for the Spurs senior team on six occasions. Austin, who was called up to represent England’s under 21’s during the season just gone, also was pictured training a lot with the Spurs first team when Mauricio Pochettino was in charge, and before Michel Vorm was signed once again by the club. The 21 year old also made five appearances for the under 23’s in the PL2 (he won the plaudits of former Liverpool under 23’s head coach Neil Critchley after making a string of superb stops in Spurs’ league opener against Liverpool back in August of 2019). The commanding goalkeeper who is also a terrific shot stopper who moves his feet so quickly, also put in a good performance against Chelsea’s under 23’s. Austin who is also eligible to represent the US Virgin Islands at international level clearly attracted the attention of a number of clubs who would have been seeking to sign him on loan for them after he had impressed during the last couple of seasons for our development side. And in January of this year he earned his first loan of his career by moving to Danish NordicBet Liga side Viborg FF until the end of their season (they play in the second division of Danish football). After impressing in a couple of mid season friendlies for Viborg, Austin who was given the number one shirt made his competitive debut for the high flying Danish side against Hvidovre IF where he was named man of the match after making some important saves. He then went on to play a further league game for Viborg which came against FC Frederica before the season was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

I believe strongly that the ever improving young shot stopper could be a future goalkeeper for Spurs’ first team in years to come, this will come as no surprise to those of you who have been reading my reports over the last couple of years. Austin has notably improved on his kicking this season in my opinion and that in my eyes was the only slight weakness of his game. Let us hope that the Danish second division does kick back off at some point during the near future, as it provides young Brandon with such a great platform to test himself in senior competitive football. 

Joshua Oluwayemi: First year professional Joshua Oluwayemi started off the 2019/20 campaign by making two appearances for our development side in pre-season friendlies, before then impressing at the annual Tournoi Europeen in France (I named Oluwayemi as Spurs’ player of the tournament). The 19 year old former England under 15 international did however, start the season off by playing for our under 18’s as an overage goalkeeper on three occasions. The Londoner then impressed on two occasions for our under 19’s in  the UEFA Youth League against both Olympiakos and Bayern Munich respectively (he would go onto make a further two appearances for our under 19’s in that competition). Oluwayemi had to wait until November before he could make his competitive debut for our under 23’s, that came in a PL2 game against Everton. And from then on he generally made that under 23 goalkeeping spot his own for the remainder of the campaign (he made five appearances for the under 23’s), until it was cancelled. After making some top saves against Everton, Oluwayemi further impressed in games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City. Although not the tallest of goalkeepers the Spurs youngster has a good jumping reach and this makes up for his lack of height. Furthermore, Oluwayemi who is also eligible to represent Nigeria at international level is another very good shot stopper that Spurs have on their books, and he is more often than not quick off of his line. This has been a positive season in my eyes for Joshua Oluwayemi and he’ll look to build on it next season by imposing himself as our development sides number one goalkeeper, especially if Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman are out on loan, and Jonathan De Bie has left the club.

Alfie Whiteman: London born Alfie Whiteman (21) now in his third years as a professional at Spurs, Whiteman only made five appearances for our development side in the season just gone. The former England under 17 international made three appearances for our under 23’s in the PL2 where he impressed in a home game against Derby County in which he saved a penalty kick as well as making some good saves. He also made two appearances for our under 21’s in the Checkatrade Trophy. A player who often trained with the first team, and who also went on the pre-season tour of Asia, Whiteman made the bench on five occasions for Jose Mourinho’s first team last season, owing to an injury to Hugo Lloris. Next season Whiteman will turn 22 and I would imagine that it is highly likely that he will go out on the first loan spell of his career before next season starts.

Defenders:

Tariq Hinds: A consistent performer for our development side during the 2019/20 season, second year professional Tariq Hinds of Goodmayes in London was a mainstay stay in Wayne Burnett’s side. Hinds could be seen in matches getting up and down the flank well, and with his aggression and tenacity he made himself an important player for our under 23’s for the second season running. Playing primary out of position at left back, owing to the younger Dennis Cirkin being injured for parts of the season, Hinds didn’t look at all out of place. Making 19 appearances in all competitions for our development side, Hinds also filled in at CDM and in his natural position of right back. I like Hinds and the consistently good quality of his performances last season should be admired. Good both in defence and attack, Hinds is a player who possesses a fair amount of pace, but it is his aggression, willingness and determination which is what I like the most about him. During his 19 appearances he also chipped in with two assists, and he generally did create a good number of chances for the team from out on the wide areas. Hinds was a very reliable member of Wayne Burnett’s side last season and he would have most certainly impressed scouts of EFL clubs who were looking for loan players. Now 20 years of age Tariq Hinds could well go out on loan next season, and I think that would be good for his personal development. Over the course of last season some performances of Hinds which stood out for the player who is also eligible to represent Jamaica, include games against Manchester City, Derby County, Everton and most of all his very well rounded performance at home to Liverpool at Hotspur Way when he registered an assist as well as defending solidly for the entirety of the game.

Jubril Okedina: After consistently putting in sterling performances for our under 18’s during the 2018/19 season, centre half Jubril Okedina now seemingly converted to a right back, carried on last seasons good form for our development side by making 15 appearances for them in all competitions in 2019/20. Okedina (19) like Tariq Hinds was a consistent and effective performer for the team and he stood out to me during the season just gone. The Londoner who is also eligible to represent Nigeria at international level was a steady player for our development side and overall he was the first choice for them. After a good pre-season he established himself well in the team, an agile player who is quick and direct, Okedina is a really good passer and crosser of the ball and that in particular really stood out to me last season, even more so than in the 2018/19 campaign. Chipping in with a single goal from his 15 appearances, the first year professional got better and better as the season progressed. Linking up well with both Dilan Markanday and Shilow Tracey down the right flank, Okedina knew when to make well timed overlapping runs and also when to stay deep and defend tightly. The teenager had fine games against the likes of Liverpool, Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers and he will be looking to build on a good debut season with our development side by asserting himself further in the team whenever next season starts. He should be proud of what he achieved during the season just gone.

Maxi Tainio: Unfortunately Finland under 19 international Maxi Tainio (the son of our former player Teemu) missed last pre-season due to injury. The right back who is also comfortable at filling in as a CDM did not make a single competitive appearance for our development side in the 2019/20 season. It is worth noting that the Auxerre born defender did miss a significant part of the second half of the 2018/19 season to injury. 

Maxwell Statham: An ever present player for our development side during pre-season, where he impressed both at centre half and out of position at fullback. The Southend born defender who is the son of our former player Brian Statham, unfortunately did not make a competitive appearance for our development side during the 2019/20 campaign. However, Statham did make the bench for our under 23’s on two occasions in the PL2, in games against both Brighton & Hove Albion and Derby County respectively.

Jonathan Dinzeyi: Making six appearances in total for our development side in 2019/20 (three of them came as a substitute). Skilful 20 year old centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi of Islington in London, was only used sparsely for Spurs during the 2019/20 Academy season. Dinzeyi is a tall defender who is good in the air and who likes to bring the ball out from the back, he is also a player who isn’t afraid to lunge in, in dangerous situations, and take risks. The former Highbury Grove pupil put in my eyes two good performances during the season just gone, they came in a 2-2 draw with Southampton and a narrow 3-2 defeat to Leicester City where he made a number of good challenges. Shortly before the Leicester game he went out on trial to fellow London club QPR where he played for their under 23’s in a league game. And Dinzeyi impressed for the ‘ Hoops ’ by scoring a goal and helping them to keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 away win over Coventry City. West London Sport reported that Jonathan Dinzeyi could become the latest of a number of Tottenham youngsters to join QPR last month. The one time winger who was also used as a centre forward by Wayne Burnett in the latter stages of a match last season, could well leave Spurs upon the expiration of his contract next month. Dinzeyi played once for Spurs’ first team when he came on as a substitute in a pre-season friendly against Girona back in 2018.

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The very versatile and adaptable defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster (19) made 16 appearances for our development side last season (he captained them on one occasion) and he also featured on two occasions for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League. The Islington born defender played in a variety of positions for Wayne Burnett’s side of which included RB, LB, his natural position of CB and CDM. Lyons-Foster is a tall ball playing centre half who although slim, is deceptively strong and dominant in the air. His calmness with the ball at his feet and his ice cool composure in defence makes him a very good defender. However, during the season just gone it was his versatility as well as his adaptability to situations and games which really did impress me the most. A member of the travelling Spurs first team squad which travelled to Asia (unfortunately Brooklyn didn’t get to play a minute of that tour) Lyons-Foster started the season off really well with our development side, particularly our under 23’s. He helped them to keep a clean sheet in a 4-0 win over Liverpool on the opening day of the PL2 season. He would then further impress in games against Derby County, Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Gillingham. Lyons-Foster impressed and was effective with his positioning, awareness, distribution and his positive forward passing in matches. Playing out at full back, he got up and down the pitch well, kept impeccable positioning and also showed good spatial awareness. Building on from a good 2018/19 season as a second year scholar, Lyons-Foster managed to establish himself as a regular from Wayne Burnett’s development side. From late November 2019 onwards he played in every game for our development side until the season came to a premature end in March. 

The first year professional would go on to do well in games against the likes of Chelsea, Derby County and Leicester City where he captained the team and played very well as a CDM. A player who is authoritative and takes responsibility in his game, after fellow centre half Luis Binks left the club to join MLS side Montreal Impact in January, he became alongside Malachi Fagan-Walcott the first choice centre half for our under 23’s. I personally think that this was another very positive season of development for Lyons-Foster who has improved further in his all round play. The only surprise for me was that he didn’t make the bench for the first team in any competitive games last season, or even play for them. His versatility and maturity beyond his years makes me believe that he would have been able to handle first team minutes for Spurs’s first team during the season just gone. I do hope that he goes on the next pre-season tour and gets minutes. Also with the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic likely to affect clubs spending in the summer transfer window, Spurs could be forced to promote played from their Academy set up. Lyons-Foster is a defender who in my eyes could replicate what the older Japhet Tanganga has  done. My favourite young defender at the club, Lyons-Foster could also potentially head out on loan next season to gain further experience.

Timothy Eyoma: 20 year old centre back Timothy Eyoma (also known as TJ) made 16 appearances for our development side and five for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League last season, chipping in with three assists. The Londoner who made his competitive debut for Spurs during the 2018/19 season was absent from last seasons pre-season tour of Asia due to injury however, he did return for a Spurs under 21 side at the pre-season Tournoi Europeen where he put in a solid performance against SM Caen in game two of the group stages. Eyoma would then go on to establish himself as a mainstay for our development side for the third season in a row, often captaining them. The former England under 19 international who is also eligible to represent Nigeria, was solid both at right back and centre half for our under 23’s and under 19’s. With good ball control, pace, reading of the game and aerial dominance Eyoma has all the attributes that a centre back needs to make it in the professional game. After being a good consistent performer for our development side in 2019/20 Eyoma earned himself a loan move to League One side Lincoln City (this was the first loan move of his career). However, Eyoma only made the bench on two occasions for Lincoln before the season was postponed in March. Next season Eyoma should hopefully get another League One loan if this season doesn’t resume. He is yet another good defensive prospect that the club have on their books who could go far in the game.

Malachi Fagan-Walcott: The second year scholar (18) enjoyed a fine season for the Lilywhites often playing up for our development side. RCB Malachi Fagan-Walcott made nine appearances for our development side, six for our under 18’s and five for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League. The tall and athletic centre half missed pre-season and the early parts of the proper campaign due to injury however, he looked nice and sharp upon his return in an under 18 league game against Southampton in late August of 2019. The North Londoner who is good in the air and has a fine jumping reach, is also a good reader of the game who is somewhat of an expert at making last ditch blocks and challenges, and also at making important defensive interventions. Fagan-Walcott formed a strong central defensive partnership with Luis Binks for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League before then being promoted to our development side, and after impressing in a Checkatrade Trophy game against Colchester United he was a regular for our under 23’s in the PL2 right until the end of the season (Fagan-Walcott chipped in with one goal for them). Dominating defensively against teams as varied as Wigan Athletic, Liverpool, Everton and Fulham I noted down in my many reports that the teenager’s aerial prowess, numerous well timed interceptions and challenges as well as his long range passing and vision were all strengths of his game. Fagan-Walcott had a very fine season as a first year scholar in 2018/19 to make individual good progress as a defender. This good progress which continued last season was rewarded as he was handed his first senior competitive appearance for Spurs when he came on as a late substitute in our UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg tie against Red Bull Leipzig in February. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fagan-Walcott get more first team minutes next season while also becoming a key player for our development side in his first season as a professional at the club.

Japhet Tanganga: The 2019/20 season was central defender and Academy prospect Japhet Tanganga’s breakthrough season at Spurs (I have included Tanganga in this end of season review as he featured on two occasions for our development side). After the 21 year old was included on our pre-season tour of Asia and he put in some very solid performances during that tour and also at the subsequent Audi Cup in Germany, it was then that Tanganga started to train exclusively with the first team along with Troy Parrott. Although he did make two appearances for our under 23’s in the PL2, both of which came against Manchester City. Tanganga made his competitive senior debut against Colchester United in the third round of the Carabao Cup (he completed 66 minutes of that game) and he was solid however, he never got another chance to play again under Mauricio Pochettino. However, it was shortly after new manager Jose Mourinho’s took charge of Spurs that the England under 20 international got his first taste of Premier League football. The Hackney born defender highly impressed in that game against title challengers Liverpool and as they say the rest is history. Tanganga would go onto make ten more senior appearances for Spurs during the 2019/20 season and he was generally solid in every single game. He played in a variety of positions, including RB, LB and in his natural position of central defence. However, he never looked out of place when he played out wide at full back or as a wing back. Tanganga was good in the air (he has a tremendous leap which makes up for him being slightly short for a central defender) he also made some really good blocks and his overall defending was good, as well as him wanting to bring the ball out of the back effectively. However, there is so much more to his defending that many Spurs fans have not yet seen such as his ability to score headers from corner kicks, as well as his very accurate long passing and good leadership skills and authoritativeness. 

The 2020/21 season promises to be a hugely exciting one for this very talented young man. I shall be writing an in-depth piece on Tanganga at some point during the lockdown.

Luis Binks: My development sides player of the season, see below.

Midfielders/wingers: 

Jamie Bowden: After enduring an injury disrupted but overall positive 2018/19 campaign, 18 year old first year professional Jamie Bowden unfortunately suffered more injury troubles during the season just gone. However, this didn’t stop the local lad from Tottenham making good individual progress during the 2019/20 season for both club and country. The classy central midfielder made ten appearances for our development side last season registering three goals and one assist, plus an additional six appearances for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League (Bowden captained the team in every game). He started pre-season off by being selected by the then Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to go on their tour of Asia. Bowden featured as a late substitute in our 3-2 win over Italian side Juventus, but he didn’t feature again for the first team in pre-season. The teenager started off the proper campaign by playing for our development side (under 23’s) and he put in two sterling performances against both Liverpool and Manchester City in the opening two PL2 games of the season. Shortly after that Manchester City game he picked up an injury however, he returned to action in a game against Southampton where he played during the first half. During that game against the ‘ Saints ’ Bowden pulled the strings from central midfield, he was sharp and his vision for a pass was very good indeed. Bowden put in a further two decent performances against both Brighton & Hove Albion and Blackburn Rovers, he captained the team on both occasions. The midfielder who primarily operates as the deeper of the two CM’s also made his first ever appearance for the Republic of Ireland (he qualifies through his parents) when he turned out for Tom Mohan’s under 19 side in a friendly against Denmark in Sligo, in October. I was at the first of two games that Bowden played against Denmark and he played as a number six, in that position Bowden was very good and adventurous with his passing.

Later on in the year he made his competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland’s under 19’s in a 13-0 win over Gibraltar. Bowden chipped in by scoring two goals and registering two assists in that Euro Under 19 qualifier. Upon returning to Spurs he registered an unexpected hat-trick in a 4-0 PL2 win over Liverpool at Hotspur Way before then getting injured again. However, he did return in February as a late substitute in a league game against Leicester City before then playing the whole of our final game of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers. To describe Bowden as a player, he is a midfielder who can either operate as a four or as a number eight, he is a fairly skilful player who has great vision, in game intelligence and a good passing range (he is a progressive passer). In addition he is also tenacious and he likes to get stuck in and stamp his authority on the game. I am genuinely excited about next season for Bowden as providing he can stay injury free he could well make his competitive debut for his boyhood club in a domestic cup game. He could also potentially be yet another player who heads out on loan following the seeming shift in policy under Jose Mourinho. Either way Spurs fans should pay close attention to this young prospect.

Luke Amos: 23 year old London born defensive midfielder Luke Amos has spent the entirety of the 2019/20 season on loan at Championship side QPR. Amos who featured on a couple of occasions for our development side last season and is an Academy product, joined QPR long before the season started. In total he made 26 competitive appearances for the ‘ Hoops ’ scoring two goals after impressing in pre-season. Whenever I saw Amos play for QPR this season he was industrious and good on the ball. He is a real team player who contributes so much to games. After a very difficult injury hit 2018/19 it was so great to see Amos get such a good loan move in the first place and to see him perform so consistently for Nigel Warburton’s side, and become admired by their fan base is very satisfying indeed. It will be interesting to see what happens with Amos at Spurs next season.

Oliver Skipp: Another player who is not technically part of the development side but who is an Academy product, and who did play for them last season. Extremely hard working central midfielder Oliver Skipp has had an interesting season, he has featured on just eight occasions for Spurs’ first team with the latest appearance coming in a Premier League game against Burnley in March. He also completed the entirety of our FA Cup fifth round tie against Norwich City which he impressed in and also another game in which he was arguably the best player on the pitch came against Colchester United in the Carabao Cup. Spurs manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly been a big fan of the 19 year old and its not difficult to see why. At 19 years of age the Welwyn Garden City born player is already far too good for under 23 football such is his fine footballing brain and maturity. Skipp reads the game so well for somebody so young and he is so industrious and effective at what he does on the pitch. He is also a skilful player who can drive forward with the ball well (something we haven’t really seem him do a lot for the first team). Arguably Skipp’s best performance of the season came against Netherlands under 21’s for England in an international friendly, where he put in a very good all round performance against a very good Dutch team. Like Luke Amos it will be very interesting to see what happens to Skipp next season. Having already made 20 competitive appearances for Spurs’ first team he could well head out on his first ever loan (I believe he could easily do well for a high end Championship side at the very least). However, he could also be kept at Spurs and become a very useful squad player.

George Marsh: Pembury born defensive midfielder George Marsh has notched up 29 appearances for loan club Leyton Orient (this is his first loan) during the 2019/20 season. Marsh became an important and dependable member for the League Two side, filling in at both right back and in his natural position of CDM. The 21 year old tenacious player has had a very successful loan overall considering he has largely been played out of position at right back for the most part of it. Although the hard working midfielder lacks pace he makes up for it with his aggressiveness and tenacity on the field. Furthermore, Marsh is a versatile player who can also operate at centre half as he has proved on several occasions for Spurs at youth level over the years. A player who featured for Spurs’ first team during pre-season, Marsh has impressed many Leyton Orient fans over the course of the current campaign, and when I went to see him play he impressed me by defending solidly out of position at right back in a league game against Macclesfield Town. It is unknown whether he will go out on loan next season again when it resumes, or if he will stay at Spurs.

Harvey White: Maidstone born defensive midfielder Harvey White (18) made 16 appearances for our development side this season, while also making six for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League, plus an extra seven for our under 18’s. At all levels White chipped in with seven goals and registered five assists, this was a good campaign for the second year scholar who managed to establish himself as an important player for the development side. White started pre-season off by being selected by the then Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to go on their tour of Asia, where he impressed out of position at left back, particularly in a game against Manchester United. Calm and composed on the ball, White has a wicked left foot and he is an expert set piece taker whose deliveries from corners and free kicks are frighteningly good. The midfielder from County Kent who was a keen cricketer during his school days, is a technical midfielder who like the slightly older Jamie Bowden is a really good passer of the ball, but who also possess great vision. White often ran the show from midfield when stepping down to represent our under 18’s last season while also putting in several consistently good performances for our development side from central midfield. He impressed in games against Southampton, Ipswich Town and Arsenal where his individual qualities especially his footballing intelligence really shone through. Another player who is surely not too far away from making his senior competitive debut for Spurs, White who has previously represented England at under 18 level is arguably the best set piece taker at the club and that alone will surely really interest manager Jose Mourinho. Like Jamie Bowden next season will be a very interesting one for the young defensive minded midfielder.

Elliot Thorpe: A player whose passion and confidence on the pitch is wonderful to see, the aggressive Elliot Thorpe who can operate as either a CAM or CM, was a player who shone during the 2019/20 pre-season for our development side. Thorpe who is a former Wales under 19 international, is direct and positive in his play, and last pre-season in his first year as a professional at Spurs the Hinchingbrooke born player really caught the eye despite having limited playing time. After scoring in a friendly against Ebbsfleet United back in July, Thorpe put in a similarly good performance against Dulwich Hamlet before then featuring in three of our four games at the Tournoi Europeen in France. At that tournament the young attack minded midfielder who plays with real bite, showed good flair and he also was direct, positive and purposeful in his play (his passing was nice and progressive). Our second game against SM Caen stood out for me as Thorpe’s best of the tournament. The former Cambridge United youth team player did however, have to wait a long time before he could, make his competitive debut for our development side (January 2019 to be precise). That came in a London derby against Chelsea’s under 23’s where Thorpe actually played as a CDM however, he looked very competent in that position on that day contributing well to both defence and attack. Thorpe made one more appearances for our under 23’s in a PL2 game against Derby County in which he scored in. Hopefully next season Thorpe will play a lot more for our development side. I am a big fan of the Wales youth international, this is a player who used to play in the same Wales youth team as Ethan Ampadu when they won the Victory Shield back in 2015 (Thorpe was playing up in age).

Armando Shashoua: Creative midfield craftsman Armando Shashoua (19) had a sensational 2018/19 season as captain of our under 18’s. And the attacking midfielder unsurprisingly took to our under 23 side pretty much like a duck to water during the season just gone. After impressing greatly in pre-season for our development side, the player with a great low centre of gravity made 14 competitive appearances for them during 2019/20 chipping in with five goals (our top scorer at that level) and three assists. A highly effective player whose footballing brain is unrivalled at this level, Shashoua made his first competitive start of the season in September of 2019 when he put in a really mature performance against Ipswich Town at Portman Road in the Checkatrade Trophy (he scored a goal in that game). The Chelsea born midfielder then put in a man of the match worthy display against Southampton before becoming a mainstay of Wayne Burnett’s side right up until late January. Shashoua capped off wonderful performances where he showed off his brilliant dribbling ability, movement and fine reading of the game by scoring braces in games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton. The silky attacking midfielder who is a real grafter off the ball, also impressed in games against Arsenal and Chelsea before rumours from Mallorca started to circulate on Twitter that Spanish third tier side Atlético Baleares were interested in signing Shashoua on loan. The Balearic club had previously had Armando’s older brother Samuel on loan during the 2018/19 campaign. Armando eventually ended up signing on loan for the Spanish Segunda División B Grupo 1 side in late January until the end of their domestic season. After receiving international clearance the younger of the two Shashoua brothers made his senior competitive appearance for Atlético as a second half substitute against Pontevedra in February. The first year professional then made his full debut against Coruxo FC the following week, it was a game that he performed well in. Shashoua would make two more appearances for Atlético before the season was postponed in March.

To summarise Armando’s season for our development side he was one of our very best performers and without him we would simply not have avoided relegation to division two!

Jack Roles: 21 year old Cyprus under 21 international Jack Roles, like his fellow Tottenham teammate George Marsh enjoyed a very good season at his loan club. The Londoners team was League Two side Cambridge United and the attacking midfielder despite having some injury problems over the course of the season, managed to make 25 appearances for the ‘ U’s ’ scoring five goals over the course of the campaign. Roles was another player who featured for Spurs’ first team during pre-season before heading out on loan to Cambridge United. Impressing for them with his excellent off the ball movement and knack of being in the right place at the right time, Roles scored some fine goals and created some key chances, he was also rewarded with a number of man of the match awards during his time there. I wouldn’t be at all surprised for the young player who made the Cyprus senior squad for the first time this season, to get a loan at maybe a League one or even a Championship club next season.

Rayan Clarke: Speedy and skilful right winger Rayan Clarke made ten appearances for our development side during 2019/20. Clarke who can often be seen cutting inside and shooting from the right flank did however, struggle for starts last season (he only made one for our development side and an additional one for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League). The North London born 19 year old impressed most in my eyes in the UEFA Youth League group stage 1-1 draw against Olympiacos where he operated on the left flank. Clarke went on some good skilful runs during that game.

Dilan Markanday: Barnet born winger Dilan Markanday (18) made 19 appearances for our development side last season, plus an additional six for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League. Markanday scored three goals for our development side and registered five assists (the joint most with Shilow Tracey). The skilful wide man who likes to go on weaving forward runs, was a consistent player for Spurs’s under 23’s and 21’s. After playing for both our development side and our under 19’s in pre-season Markanday hardly missed a game for Wayne Burnett’s side during the season proper. The technically astute winger put in some big performances over the course of the campaign, these came against Southampton, Everton, Liverpool and Leicester City. Markanday operated on both the left and right wing over the course of the season despite being left footed. Furthermore, Markanday at full pace is a nice player to watch as he is very hard to get the ball off of, he is also a very hard worker for the team and he tracks back very well after himself. Markanday had a good overall 2019/20 season.

Jeremie Mukendi: Versatile London born winger Jeremie Mukendi suffered a serious knee injury for our under 18’s back in December 2018, this injury kept Mukendi out for over 13 months until he returned to action for a Spurs development side in a friendly against Chinese team Beijing Renhe (Mukendi scored on his return). The 19 year old then made three competitive appearances for our under 23’s in the PL2 before the season was called off. Mukendi’s best performance came as a CAM in a 3-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers where he contributed a goal and an assist in what was a very good performance from the fast winger.

 

Phoenix Patterson: Former Scotland under 19 international Phoenix Patterson made 16 competitive appearances for our development side during 2019/20 after missing most of pre-season due to injury. The skilful High Wycombe born winger who also operated as a CAM and as a centre forward throughout the season put in some strong performances for Wayne Burnett’s side. Patterson is a player who has a high work rate and who reads and understands the game very well. Arguably Patterson’s best performance of the season came when he found his one and only goal in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea’s under 23’s. Like many of our attacking and creative players Patterson has good vision and he also times his runs down the flank well.

Maurizio Pochettino: Seemingly having found some new found pace last season, right winger Maurizio Pochettino did well for both the under 19’s and the development side. The Barcelona born player who made nine appearances for our development side and five for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League, scored one goal and registered four assists across all levels last season. Pochettino is a very direct player who is especially good at whipping dangerous crosses into the oppositions penalty area. The 19 year old first year professional would have found it very difficult to see his father Mauricio sacked by the club back in November however, Maurizio stayed put at Spurs and he put in some fine individual performances out on the right flank. Pochettino did really well in both of our league games against Wolverhampton Wanderers before then providing good service for our strikers in the away game against Leicester City. Furthermore his two assists in our home UEFA Youth League game against Crvena zvevda capped off a really good late cameo. One does wonder however, if Maurizio will still be here next season especially if his father does take up another managerial job.

Anthony Georgiou: Cyprus international Anthony Georgiou (23) did well once again in pre-season for Spurs’ first team where he performed out of position at left back. Then in August of 2019 the left winger who possesses searing pace went on the second loan move of his career to one of League Ones leading teams Ipswich Town. Paul Lambert’s acquisition should have been the perfect match for an Ipswich side which lacked in pace and flair, and after a really promising and lively debut against AFC Wimbledon things were really looking up for the player who has won seven international caps for Cyprus. However, for some reason Georgiou was not given sufficient playing time in the league despite looking good whenever he got minutes. Lively and inventive whenever he got more than 30 minutes of game time, Georgiou impressed in games against the likes of Rotherham, Colchester United and Lincoln City however, he he was never handed a league start at Ipswich. In late December and after making 13 appearances for the ‘ Tractor Boys ’ Georgiou’s time on loan at Ipswich came to an end. He had to wait due to injury until transfer deadline day in January to join fellow League One Club Bolton Wanderers. This promised to be a really positive move for the direct winger but after making two appearances off the bench for the ‘ Trotters ’ the season was postponed. For those of you that don’t know Georgiou is a lightening quick and nimble footed winger whose strengths include his ability to cross the ball as well as strike it sweetly. In addition his good defensive awareness, high work rate and determination are some of the other pluses of his game.

Shilow Tracey: Arguably the second fastest player we have in our entire Academy set up after Anthony Georgiou, former Ebbsfleet United winger Shilow Tracey of Northfleet in Kent was once again a mainstay of our development side during most of 2019/20. Tracey (22) made sixteen competitive appearances for our development side during 2019/20 and after doing well at the pre-season Tournoi Europeen in France where he scored two goals, Tracey started the season with a bang by netting one goal and registering five assists during the early stages of the league season. Putting in really purposeful performances against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea the direct winger played without fear and when he was running at full speed with the ball at his feet he was very difficult to catch. In January of 2020 Tracey went out on loan to struggling League Two side Macclesfield Town. He became an instant starter for Mark Kennedy’s side, the winger impressed me when I went to watch his debut against Leyton Orient. He made a further six appearances for Macclesfield, scoring one goal in a league game against Plymouth Argyle. 

Forwards: 

Rodel Richards: South London born striker Rodel Richards (formerly of Arsenal) may not have been prolific in front of goal during 2019/20 however, his graft off the ball and determination on the pitch was hugely admirable and it helped the team out. Richards (19) scored four goals and registered four assists from his 21 combined appearances for both our development side and under 19’s. Still a clinical finisher who has good off the ball movement however, he wasn’t always given the best service last season. Rodel did score some clever goals in games against Bayern Munich, Brighton & Hove Albion, Derby County and Liverpool. He also created some good chances for his teammates too. He was also the first choice striker for our development side for much of the campaign owing to Troy Parrott training exclusively with the first team.

Kazaiah Sterling: 21 year old centre forward Kazaiah Sterling started pre-season off by playing with our development side, he scored three goals for them. The Londoner then played in our under 23’s opening PL2 game of the season against Liverpool where he netted a brace before going out on loan to League One side Doncaster Rovers. In total Sterling made four appearances for Doncaster, scoring one goal and registering one assist before he picked up a dead leg. This dead leg however, developed into an nfection and it ruled Sterling out for a significant period of time. He would go onto join former club Leyton Orient on loan until the end of the season during the January transfer window while still injured, but he never got a chance to play for them before the season was postponed in March.

Troy Parrott: Dubliner and Republic of Ireland international Troy Parrott (he made his senior debut for Ireland back in November in a friendly against New Zealand) enjoyed another season of fine progress in his second year of scholarship at the Lilywhites. The 18 year old who impressed in pre-season for Spurs’ first team played his first game of the proper season with our under 23’s by scoring two well taken goals in a 3-1 PL2 win over Manchester City. Shortly afterwards Parrott who trained almost exclusively with the senior team last season, made his competitive debut for Spurs’ first team in our Carabao Cup third round defeat to Colchester United in September 2019. He would go onto make three more appearances for Spurs’ first team in 2019/20. The highly clinical and skilful striker did make an appearance for our under 18’s in their FA Youth Cup third round tie against Liverpool (he scored two goals and assisted two in that game). He also played a further game for our under 23’s in a 3-2  PL2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderer in which he scored one goal in, and was involved in the build up play to the other two. And in the UEFA Youth League for our under 19’s Parrott was unplayable scoring six goals and assisting one from four appearances. On the international stage part from making his senior debut for the Republic of Ireland, Parrott also made a couple of very impressive appearances for Ireland’s under 21’s. I’ve got a feeling that we will be seeing a lot more of the physically ready and ridiculously talented Irishman next season or if the current one resumes (you can read more about Parrott in my in-depth piece that I wrote about him late last year).

My goal of the season: Troy Parrott’s sumptuous finish in our under 23’s 3-2 win over Manchester City in August of 2019. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s pass with his back to the Manchester City goal inside the penalty area, Parrott sorted his feet out superbly and swivelled quickly around before whipping an unstoppable effort into the top left hand corner of the goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

My save of the season: 19 year old shot stopper Joshua Oluwayemi’s superb reaction save to push away Ellis Simms bullet header in our under 23’s 3-1 PL2 win over Everton in November 2019.

My game of the season: Our under 23’s 3-1 PL2 win over Manchester City in which we picked apart a fine team by performing superbly as a team, and also playing our passing game to great effect.

My development sides player of the season 2019/20: A natural born leader and communicator, tall and physical centre half Luis Binks (18) was consistently imperious at the back for our development side before he left the club to join MLS side Montreal Impact in January. The Gillingham born defender who made ten appearances for our development side and an additional ten for our under 18’s, as well as six for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League, never seemed to have an off day. Binks’ reading of the game, impeccable positioning, strength and his aerial dominance makes him the complete young defender (not to mention that he’s improved on his pace). The England under 19 international also has a wand of a left foot and his cross field diagonal passes are truly special. After putting in a string of very solid performances at the Tournoi Europeen out in France with our development side during pre-season Binks started the competitive campaign off with our under 18’s, which he found too easy. He was soon promoted to the development side which he dominated just as much in every sense. Colossal defensive performances against senior teams Gillingham and Colchester United as well as under 23 teams Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City would only have intensified any interest from other clubs, and very sadly in January he decided to move onto Thierry Henry’s MLS side Montreal Impact. Binks walked straight into the starting eleven, making four competitive appearances for Montreal before the MLS season was postponed (I highly recommend any Spurs fan to watch a Montreal game just to see how good the 18 year old is). Binks will go onto become a top player in my eyes but who knows maybe Binks’ and Spurs’ paths will cross again at some point during the future.

Spurs under 23’s statistics: 

Goals: Armando Shashoua – 5

Harvey White – 3

Rodel Richards – 3

Jamie Bowden – 3

Dilan Markanday – 3

Troy Parrott – 3

Kazaiah Sterling – 2

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 2

Shilow Tracey – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Luis Binks – 1

Malachi Fagan-Walcott – 1

Jubril Okedina – 1

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Assists: Shilow Tracey – 5

Dilan Markanday – 5

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 3

Armando Shashoua – 3

Rodel Richards – 3

Harvey White – 3

Tariq Hinds – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Jamie Bowden – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Kazaiah Sterling – 1

TJ Eyoma – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 1

Joshua Oluwayemi – 1

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