(Charlie is pictured in the centre of the front row of the above photograph)
After first being part of Millwall’s youth set up Charlie Sheringham joined Spurs’ academy as a 14 year old in the early 2000’s. The centre forward who is the son of former Spurs great Teddy Sheringham, would play for the Lilywhites at youth team level until he was 16 and when he was not offered a YTS. He would later be on the books of Ipswich Town and Crystal Palace before playing for the likes of Welling United, Bournemouth, AFC Wimbledon, Ebbsfleet United and Saif Sporting Club. Now 32, Sheringham currently plays for National League South side Dartford United. I recently had the pleasure of catching with Charlie about his time in the Tottenham youth set up during the 2000’s.
What are your earliest footballing memories?
Charlie: That would be watching my dad from the age of five and watching him play football for Nottingham Forest and Tottenham when I was very young.
What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Charlie: I was there for a couple of years from the age of about 14 to 16 when Micky Hazard was my manager for a couple of years. And Jimmy Neighbour was sort of the under 16/under 17 manager at the time, and yeah we used to train at Luxborough Lane in Chigwell and I grew up around the area. So it was a good time for me training and playing for Tottenham Hotspur, I couldn’t have asked for more.
What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?
Charlie: I was young and I didn’t get offered a scholarship in the end, and so I was just playing in the youth teams and having a couple of training sessions a week, and then playing at the weekend. However, it was good and it was tough, but obviously I enjoyed it.
It must have been very difficult not being offered YTS by Spurs. What was that like for you?
Charlie: It was quite frustrating as I had kind of been led to believe that I was going to get one funnily enough. However, then I was a small and slender kid at around 15 years old and they had some big strong boys in my age group and they went down that route. So I was obviously gutted not to get one but things happen and you move on.
Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?
Charlie: My dad was number one really as a kid, and obviously he was the one person who I looked up to, especially playing football.
Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in during your time at Spurs?
Charlie: I was a centre forward and a clever goal scoring centre forward is how I would describe it.
Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?
Charlie: While I was there Micky Hazard was my coach and he was just brilliant, he was fantastic as a coach and he had a good way about him. I used to enjoy coming into training as he had a lot of enthusiasm and he used to join in with us and he was still really skilful, obviously playing against 14 year olds he still looked great, but yeah he was really good. He was the main coach.
Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?
Charlie: Well as a kid you try and do anything to make it to the first team so I suppose I was looking at them all.
What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?
Charlie: Well what prompted it was that I wasn’t offered a YTS so I wasn’t wanted anymore. And then I ended up playing for a few teams, I went to Ipswich and Crystal Palace as a young professional and then was between the Conference and the lower leagues. So I played for Wimbledon, Bournemouth and Dartford in the Conference and they were the main clubs that I’ve played for, and I’m still playing for Dartford now.
What has been the greatest moment of your footballing career so far?
Charlie: When I ended up leaving Tottenham I ended up winning the youth cup the next year with Ipswich. Then making my debut and scoring a goal for Bournemouth in League One against Brentford has got to be one, so probably scoring my first professional goal in the league has got to be up there.
Who has been the greatest player that you have had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?
Charlie: I used to play against Gareth Bale most times we used to play Southampton, I think that he was my age or the year below me, so I used to play against Gareth Bale a lot. Adam Lallana and Theo Walcott were also all in that same Southampton side, and another who might not go down well with Tottenham is Nicklas Bendtner as a kid, and he was exceptional. So from my Tottenham days that was who I used to play against at that age.
Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the various Tottenham youth teams.
Charlie: It’s a long time ago now but it was just a good time and obviously it’s just an unbelievable club and just to be part of it at a young age was great. I think that we went on a couple of tours and we played in the Nike Cup which was fun, but just being around Tottenham was great.
Who is the toughest player that you have ever come up against?
Charlie: When I made my debut for Bournemouth I played against Harry Maguire and that was tough.
How big an influence has your father former Spurs great Teddy Sheringham had on your footballing career?
Charlie: Obviously he was a massive influence, most people’s dads usually are in the football world, and mine just so happened to be a professional footballer at the same time.
Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?
Charlie: There’s a few who I still talk to and have a little bit of contact with such as Stuart Lewis, Josh Cooper and Luke Prosser are the ones that I’m still in touch with, and get in contact with now and again.
What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?
Charlie: Make sure you give it your best shot and 100% as it all goes very quickly, because it’s a massive opportunity.
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?
Charlie: Obviously I was very young and I was only at Spurs for a couple of years, so I didn’t quite make it to the YTS set up which was a shame. However, it was just a good time.