(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Elliot Morgan Thorpe is a 19 year old central midfielder/CAM who currently plays for Spurs’ development side. The Hinchingbrooke born player who attended Longsands School, has been at Spurs since a young age following his switch from League Two club Cambridge United, and is now a second year pro with the Lilywhites. Thorpe may not be a name that a lot of Spurs supporters are aware of due to the fact that he hasn’t played a lot of football over the course of the last couple of seasons. However, the youngster who has risen up the various youth ranks at Tottenham, has developed nicely over that time in my opinion, and he also had quite a big growth spurt during that period. The following piece like I do with all of our young academy players, is about giving Spurs fans who may not have seen much of our up and coming players a feel for what type of players they are i.e. attributes and style of play. As an under 15 Thorpe who is eligible to represent Wales at international level, was a part of a very talented Welsh under 16 side that included Ethan Ampadu, which won the 2015 Victory Shield. Capped all the way up to under 19 level for Wales, the attacking midfielder also almost always played up in age group for his country. The teenager from County Cambridgeshire however, didn’t feature for our under 18’s as a schoolboy, and he had to wait until he was almost halfway through his first year of scholarship at the club (he signed terms in the summer of 2017) until he played a competitive game for them. I believe that this was down to injury problems however, he finally did make his debut when he came off the bench late on to feature in our under 18’s pulsating 6-3 league victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in January 2018.
Thorpe would go onto make three more competitive appearances (all from the bench) for our under 18’s during that 2017/18 campaign, showing glimpses of his quality on the ball during the short time that he did play (he was also part of a Spurs under 19 side that travelled to the Netherlands to compete in the annual Terborg Tournament at the end of that season). The following 2018/19 season Elliot saw more game time for our under 18’s and he made his first competitive start for them in a Premier League Cup fixture against Swansea City in November 2018. He would go onto play in nine more competitive games for our under 18’s before the end of that season, as well as coming off the bench to make his debut for our development side in a 3-0 defeat to Oxford United in the Checkatrade Trophy. The young midfielder moved up permanently to our under 23 squad for the start of the following season, and Thorpe enjoyed quite some 2019/20 pre-season. The then first year pro started it off by scoring a late goal against Ebbsfleet United in friendly number one during his short cameo. Thorpe then impressed in another short cameo in the next friendly against Dulwich Hamlet before heading off to Brittany, France with our development side to compete in the prestigious Tournoi Europeen. At this under 21 tournament Thorpe played excellently, playing in all four games and getting valuable minutes under his belt, he showed his class both on and off the ball. He looked incredibly sharp at that tournament and he oozed confidence too, he also did also play in a further pre-season friendly against Enfield Town before the start of the proper season.
While Thorpe did have to wait until January 2020 before making his first competitive appearance of the season, that coming in a PL2 game against Chelsea. The midfielder played well in that particular game, where although he played out of position as a number four, he did put in a very competent shift in that role. He also played a further game against Derby County in the following fixture, this time as a CAM where he again did well, and also scored his first goal at that level in a 2-2 draw. Thorpe didn’t play anymore games before the 2019/20 season was curtailed however, he is contracted for this seasons 2020/21 campaign. And the attack minded midfielder did play well in our under 23’s first friendly of pre-season against Leyton Orient. Impressing with his sharpness and movement off the ball, Thorpe netted a well taken goal in that 6-2 defeat to the League Two club, before coming off midway through the second half. So what type of player is the 19 year old? Well he is an attack minded one who although he can play a variety of midfield roles, is probably used most as a CAM/number ten and then as a number eight. A very technical player with great technique, the nimble footed Thorpe has silky skills and he is a bit of flair player, a bit like Erik Lamela in that sense if I would compare him to any of Spurs’ current first team players. However, he is positive and purposeful in his play and often looking to drive forward with the ball whenever he get it into his feet when he will embark on a tricky forward run. The midfielder whose footballing inspiration is Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, also possesses a good first touch and he is also a progressive passer of the ball, as well as being very skilful on the ball and looking to take on and beat players.
Constantly looking to play the ball forward or to run forward with it, during the season just gone I really admired Elliot’s weight of pass and it reminded me in some of ways of how Marcus Edwards and Samuel Shashoua used to just slide the ball through at youth level for Spurs. However, there is also a lot to admire about the Wales youth internationals play off the ball as well, with his aggression and willingness to press players. A terrific presser who presses tirelessly on the pitch, Thorpe plays the game with real bite and he has a real tendency to do the unappreciated sides of the game well i.e. getting stuck in and making forceful and crunching challenges. A relatively quick player who has a great work ethic and who tracks back well after him, in addition the teenager is an energetic player who gets around the pitch really well throughout long periods of matches. Although it’s his movement off the ball and numerous well timed late runs into the danger zone which is perhaps his greatest off the ball attribute. He demonstrated this perfectly in the Leyton Orient game when he made a perfectly timed run into the oppositions penalty area, before smartly finishing off a low ball which was delivered towards him from the right hand side. Thorpe is clearly a player who has a lot of potential and I really enjoy watching him play, and what is great about watching him play, is that he plays the game with a smile on his face. He also seems like a great lad off the pitch and he will always go out of his way to say hello to me at games, which of course is something that I greatly appreciate. I think that this season for Thorpe with the development side presents a really good opportunity for him to impress, and I’ve got a really good feeling that this could be a really good year for the 19 year old. I of course wish Elliot all the very best of luck for the 2020/21 campaign and I look forward to seeing him continue to develop as a player.