(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC).
Our under 18’s first competitive game of football since late February take place this Saturday, when Matt Taylor’s side take on London rivals West Ham United at Little Heath Sports Centre (kick off is at 11am). A match which they will have been looking forward to since the Premier League South Fixtures were released earlier this week, this league match will be one that our under 18’s will be really hoping to win, to the start the season well. After a good season last campaign in the Premier League South in which Taylor’s side finished in fourth place in the league, the young Lilywhites will be hoping to build on that fourth place finish this season. This weekends game against West Ham will be a tough one, as the East London club did the double over us in the league last season, beating us 3-2 at Hotspur Way and 3-1 in East London. A talented and attacking side, Kevin Keen’s team finished in third position in the league last season after having played 17 games. Keen’s side has some exciting and talented players who are eligible to play on Saturday, one of those players is 17 year old centre forward and Irish youth international Ademipo Odubeko who scored a brace against Southend United in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night. A clinical finisher in front of goal, it is worth noting that Odubeko could well play for West Ham’s under 23’s who play against Chelsea in the PL2 two days after the under 18 game on Saturday, but he is definitely a player to watch out for if he is involved. Left winger and England youth international Amadou Diallo is another potent attacking player, but the skilful second year scholar featured prominently for West Ham’s under 23’s last season and might not feature on Saturday against Spurs. However, some of our opponents players who are more likely to feature include right winger Kai Corbett who scored four goals in 11 Premier League South games for West Ham last season.
Two more players who could well be involved for the home side on Saturday are centre backs Jamal Baptiste (first year scholar) and Michael Forbes (first year scholar). Baptiste actually made seven appearances for West Ham’s under 23’s last season while still a schoolboy, while Forbes was recently signed from Northern Irish side Dungannon Swifts. There is no doubting that this will be a tough and highly competitive first game of the season for Spurs, but it will be really interesting to see how they line up and also how many first years scholars they include in their squad. I would like to wish our under 18’s all the very best of luck for Saturdays game which is being played behind closed doors due to the current situation. Hence I will be unable to report on the game however, there will be a match report published on the official Tottenham Hotspur site during the weekend.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala, Cesay, Matthew Craig, Muir (c), Hackett, Cassanova, Devine, Mathurin, Robson, Whittaker, Scarlett.
Subs from: Solberg, Kyezu, Mundle, Santiago, Donley.
Doubtful: Michael Craig.
Previous meeting: Spurs 1-3.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: A player with good pace and skill, as well as being a really clinical finisher, Republic of Ireland youth international and striker Ademipo Odubeko (17) could be West Ham’s main danger man on Saturday if he does play. The former Manchester United schoolboy scored in our last meeting with West Ham last February, and for me he really stood out in that game with his fine movement off the ball. He will definitely be a player to watch out for if he is involved in Saturday mornings game.