Of the 11 Academy players that left Spurs on Thursday with their contracts almost coming to an end, one player from the very talented 2018/19 Academy first year intake was also on the list. Harlow born winger Chay Cooper had previously been at Southend United prior to joining Spurs as a schoolboy, and then later signing scholarship forms with the north London club in the summer of 2018. A versatile and creative player who is capable of playing out wide on either flank, as a CAM or even in central midfield, Cooper had shown his versatility during his time at Spurs in their Under 18 side. Chay made his competitive debut for Spurs’ Under 18 side in a Premier League Cup game against Wolves in the September of 2018. And although he didn’t get a lot of competitive game time during the remainder of that season (he made the bench on one occasion for our development side in the EFL Trophy), Chay did put in a terrific performance against Aston Villa, at their training ground, in a league game. With the then first year scholar causing so many problems for the Aston Villa defence, in a game which Spurs won 3-2. That performance was a sign of things to come for Chay, who during the following and curtailed 2019/20 season would put in a series of really good performances. Performances of which included some really memorable moments for Chay, and during that season he contributed to the Under 18 side by scoring five goals and registering six assists. Always more than capable of wowing with with his skill, agility and ability to score from long range (he is good with both feet), Cooper impressed me very much in Under 18 Premier League games against the likes of Swansea City, Southampton and Norwich City. He also came off the bench against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup to score a really nice goal, to help us progress into the next round of that competition.
His ability on the ball to create chances out of nothing, as well as his pace and defensive work are some of his main attributes, which in my opinion saw him do so very well during the 2019/20 season. In a piece which I wrote on Chay during the 2019/20 season, I mentioned a few similarities he has as a player with Nathan Oduwa. Nathan was more than capable of producing magnificent pieces of skill at Spurs, and some of the outrageous pieces of skill that Chay managed to produce home and away, did remind me of Nathan. One standout piece of skill in an Under 18 league game against Arsenal, saw Chay knock the ball over an Arsenal player before then deftly putting the ball through the legs of another player. He then skilfully turned away from another Arsenal player before setting up Kion Etete, who scored after receiving Chay’s nice and accurate lofted pass inside the Arsenal penalty area. Although Chay featured in three pre-season friendlies for Spurs’ Under 23 side during pre-season of the season just gone, he wouldn’t play a competitive game for the Spurs Under 23 side that season. He returned to his old club Southend United on a development loan, which saw him play for their Under 23 side. Chay wouldn’t play again for Spurs at Academy level. An unpredictable and highly skilful player, I am sad to see Chay leave Spurs, but I really do believe that he has a very bright future in the game to look forward to, wherever that may be. The player whose favourite footballer is Lionel Messi, will in my opinion no doubt go on to achieve really good things in the game. I very much look forward to following his footballing journey, and I wish Chay all the very best of luck for the future.