Our under 18 side start 2021 by playing their first FA Youth Cup game of the season. A third round cup tie against Welsh side Newport County takes place on Tuesday at 1pm at Hotspur Way (behind closed doors), in England’s most prestigious youth cup competition. Last season Spurs were knocked out by a very talented Wigan Athletic side in the fourth round, a side which included Alfie Devine. However, this year Matt Taylor’s side who sit in second place in the Under 18 Premier League South, will be looking to do better as they look to build on finishing 2020 in such good form in the league. Newport County’s under 18 side play their league football in the EFL Youth Alliance south-west division, and they haven’t played a competitive game of league football since the fifth of December, 2020, when they beat Swindon Town by three goals to nil. Newport had to beat non-League side Brockenhurst FC (they won 3-2) to reach the third round of the FA Youth Cup, and this is the second season in a row that they have reached the third round of the competition (they lost 3-1 away to Blackburn Rovers at this stage last season). Newport do have a number of players who have joined them from category two academy sides, such as Harrison Bright (formerly of Cardiff City), Jack Karadogan (formerly of Swansea City) and Charlie Bullock (formerly of Bristol City). There is no doubting that this will be a tough game, despite the difference in leagues that the two sides play in. Newport will be really up for this, just like Matt Taylor’s Spurs side will be, but in a one off cup game anything can happen.
Usually these games are the first competitive ones that many of these under 18 players get to play in front of fans at a stadium, but due to the current situation this year will be very different, though it will still be a fantastic opportunity and experience for the Spurs under 18 side. Talented first year scholar Alfie Devine made headlines on Sunday when he became our first teams youngest ever scorer and player in a competitive game, by scoring against Marine in the third round of the FA Cup, as he played 45 minutes. Spurs will no doubt put out a very strong side against Newport County, but with our under 23 side playing Brighton later in the week, Devine could well be being saved for that game. However, I would imagine that top scorer Dane Scarlett will most likely play on Tuesday afternoon. This is a very big game for Spurs, and I would like to wish them all the very best of luck for the match. Here’s hoping that this talented side can become the first Spurs under 18 side to win the competition since 1990.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay, Muir, Matthew Craig, Hackett, Michael Craig, John, Mundle, Robson, Santiago, Scarlett.
Subs from: Hayton, Maguire, Kyezu, Torraj, Carrington, Mathurin, Whittaker.
Injured/unavailable: Paskotši (suspended).
Previous meeting: N/A.
My score prediction: Spurs 5-0.
My one to watch: Newport player and second year scholar Zack Maher. A midfielder by trade, Maher scored an important goal against Brockenhurst in the last round to help book Newport’s place in the third round of the cup.