(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Almost a year since departing Spurs to move to Canadian MLS club Club de Foot Montréal, rising star Luis Binks has cemented his place in Thierry Henry’s Montréal side, secured a move to Serie A team Bologna and become one of the MLS’s most exciting young players. Centre-half Luis Binks is the second ex-Spurs Academy player who I will be looking at in my second piece in the series where are they now? Where I will look at how ex-Spurs Academy players from the last decade are getting on in the game. Another very recent player who was on Spurs’ books not that long ago at all, 19 year old Binks was at Spurs for a very long period of time. The defender made his competitive debut for our under 18 side as a schoolboy in a league game against Aston Villa during the 2016/17 season as substitute, along with now PSV player Noni Madueke. He would sign scholarship forms with the club in the summer of 2018, and he was part of a very talented age group which included the likes of Dennis Cirkin and Troy Parrott. The Gillingham born defender made 21 competitive appearances for our under 18 side during the 2018/19 season, becoming an almost permanent fixture on the team-sheet, Luis put in consistently excellent and strong defensive performances for the side that season. He was also a big reason why our defensive record was so strong that season as we competed with Arsenal for the Under 18 Premier League South title, Binks also stepped up to play for our under 19 side in the UEFA Youth league, and our under 23 side in the Premier League 2 on occasions. In his second year of scholarship at the club, Binks started the season really strongly with our under 18 side, and he was ever present in the UEFA Youth League group stages for our under 19’s. And it then wasn’t long at all before he became a regular for our under 23 side, he would remain almost exclusively with them until he departed the club in the February of 2020.
Binks was officially announced as a player of Canadian MLS club Club de Foot Montréal on February the 18th 2020, and he made his competitive debut for them against Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions League. He then made his MLS debut for Montreal against New England Revolution, and he impressed by putting in a solid performance in central defence. The left sided central defender who has a real wand of a left foot, would go on to really make his mark on the side from a defensive point of view. The England youth international who is also eligible to represent Scotland, would play Montréal’s next league game against FC Dallas and also a CONCACAF Champions League against Olimpia, before the MLS season was stopped in March. Upon his and Montréal’s return to competitive action at the MLS Is Back Tournament in July, Binks would start every game at that tournament, and when the MLS started again in the following month he played every game for them bar two, that he missed through suspension. With his tough no-nonsense approach to defending, fine distribution, well time challenges and excellent leadership within the side, Binks became a really important player for Thierry Henry over the course of the 2020 season, and he got a lot of praise off the Montréal fans and football pundits. Binks helped his new side to finish in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, as they qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs (he was signed by Italian side Bologna and loaned back to Montréal in August, for the remainder of the 2020 season). Unfortunately the MLS club were beaten by New England Revolution in a qualification round match in the MLS Cup playoffs.
For Binks, the season just gone at Montréal couldn’t have gone any better for him really, the maturity that he showed was phenomenal for that of a 18/19 year old. He took to what is a very competitive league like an experienced pro, and he was also oozing confidence out on the pitch. That confidence and the leadership that he shows has always been something which has greatly impressed me, going back to his Spurs days. However, the consistent quality of his performances in the MLS last season were very good (I watched a lot of his games), and Binks showed that the physicality of the MLS was not something that was an issue for him. Putting in many a solid performance, games against the likes of Toronto and New England Revolution stood out, but his overall performances were quality. Strong in the air and on the ground, intelligent in his positioning and excellent at making crucial blocks in games, Binks was a stalwart of the team. His ability to bring the ball out from the back for Montréal to start forward moves was important, and his passing in general was nice and crisp and accurate. I was gutted when he left Spurs, as not only did I think that Luis had the potential to play for the Spurs first team, I have personally always seen him (since he joined Spurs full time) as one of the most exciting young defenders of his age group in England, and I saw him as potential first team captain at Spurs. Not a centre-half that possesses great pace, the Englishman’s great reading of the game makes up for this, as he showed last season in the MLS on many an occasion. Later on in the last MLS season it was announced that the former Spurs man would have his loan move from Bologna to Montréal extended for the entirety of the 2021 MLS season.
Never afraid to encourage or even give constructive feedback to his teammates on the pitch, Binks demonstrated the maturity of a seasoned pro during his excellent first season in the MLS. This was recognised by his loan club Montréal, as Binks was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award, he was also nominated for the MLS Defender of the Year and Best Young Player awards, as well as coming 11th on the MLS’s best 22 on the under 22 list. A hugely exciting prospect, with a hugely exciting future in the game, and a player who I strongly believe will play for the English national senior team at some point in the future. The 2021 season will be a very interesting one for Binks, as he continues to improve and develop as a player. Come 2022 he could well already be getting regular game time in one of the top leagues in Europe, Serie A.