Spurs Under 23’s versus Crawley Town FC: (match preview)

Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side have so far had the perfect start to pre-season. They have won three of their three pre-season matches so far, scoring 13 goals and conceding no goals. The last time that a Spurs development side played Crawley Town was back in 2018, when a Spurs side containing a number of first year Academy players put in a very impressive performance, to record a 1-1 draw in normal time in the Papa John’s Trophy group stage. League Two side Crawley Town faced West Ham United’s Under 23’s in their last pre-season game. The match finished 2-1 to Crawley. Spurs played non-League side Hastings United in their most recent pre-season friendly, and it was a game which Spurs won 3-0. Crawley will be by far Spurs’ most difficult test of pre-season so far, and so it will be a challenging game for Spurs’ Under 23 side on Saturday (the game starts at 15:00pm and takes place a Crawley’s The People’s Pension Stadium). Unfortunately I am unable to attend and report on tomorrow’s game. However, I would like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Cesay, Muir, Okedina (c), Lavinier, Bowden, Devine, Santiago, Robson, Markanday, Etete.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Kyezu, Hackett, Michael Craig, Matthew Craig, Pedder, Mundle.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: 1-1 (Crawley Town won on penalties).

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: If he does play on Saturday then Spurs will be have to be aware of former Spurs Academy player Nicholas Tsaroulla (22). The left-back who loves to get forward and take players on for skill, was a player who I really enjoyed watching when he played for Spurs.

Remembering Spurs’ very popular and important former assistant manager Harry Evans: 

As a footballer Harry Alfred Evans was mainly a forward throughout much of his playing career. He started off with Sutton, who he played for after leaving school. He combined playing football with them while working at a wine and spirits merchants as a clerk. Harry Evans’ early years (he was born in 1919) must have been very difficult for him, as he lost his mother, father and one of his sisters to the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1921. The Lambeth born former footballer was brought up by an aunt during those early years. During the Second World War Harry Evans served as a PT instructor in Farnborough, Hampshire. During this period of time he also played football for Woking, Fulham and Romford, before joining Southampton (he also played as a guest for Aldershot) in late 1943. While there the Londoner played with the great Sir Alf Ramsey, but the vast majority of his games for them came during the Second World War. However, Evans did make five competitive appearances for Southampton after the war had ended. The latter years of his playing career saw Harry play for Exeter City and later Aldershot, who he played for in competitive competition. After having to retire from playing not long after returning to Aldershot after a bout of Peritonitis, this meant that he was unable to continue playing, but Evans worked hard to gain a number of important qualifications, of which included coaching qualifications.

Harry Evans took on the role of secretary-manager at Aldershot in the winter of 1950, it was a role in which Evans would remain in until he decided to go to Spurs as assistant manager to Bill Nicholson (after being sacked by Aldershot), after the Spurs manager was impressed by Harry following his application for the role. Harry and his family made home in Winchmore Hill, not too far from White Hart Lane. He was joined by a future Spurs legend in Scotland international John White, who stayed at his house not too long afterwards, and would later marry Harry’s daughter Sandra. In just a short number of years Bill Nicholson and his assistant Harry Evans, and a very talented group of Spurs players made Spurs one of the best teams around. They of course won the double in 1960/61, the FA Cup the following year, and they also reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. The polite and very popular Harry Evans was a big part of this. He was an intelligent footballing man who was respected by the Spurs players and also Bill Nicholson. He was in many ways the perfect assistant to Bill Nicholson, in the sense that he was in some ways like one of the players, such was his popularity amongst them, and also because he was a very sociable person too. I spoke to a small number of people that I know who were around Spurs at the time that Harry Evans was there, to try and get a better picture of what the former assistant manager was like during his all too brief time at the club.

One of the players who was around Spurs when Harry Evans was assistant manager, was youth, A team and reserve team player David Sunshine. In a recent conversation with David Sunshine he recalled to me how friendly a person Harry Evans was, but also how he was the complete opposite of the great Bill Nicholson. Sunshine also told me that in addition to Evans’ first team duties he also took training for the Spurs A team and youth team. Another former Spurs A and reserve team player Derek Tharme recalled to me how on the brief occasions that he came across Evans, how he was a pleasant and reasonable person to speak to. A first team and also reserve team player at the time who would have come across Harry Evans at Spurs more, was Eddie Clayton. I was speaking to Eddie just the other week and I asked him what Harry was like as an assistant manager. He explained to me how Mr Evans always did his best and on occasions would even take first team training when Bill Nicholson was unavailable. Mr Clayton also recalled how Harry Evans was a gentleman who got on well with everybody at the club. Not only was Harry Evans assistant manager at Spurs, but for a time he was also the main man when it came to the impressive scouting system at the club. 

Eddie Clayton’s older brother Ronnie Clayton is the last of the Bill Nicholson, Eddie Baily, Dickie Walker and Charlie Faulkner era. I recently spoke to Ronnie, who actually joined Spurs as a scout when Harry Evans was at Spurs and part of the scouting system at the club. He recalled how in addition to his first team and occasional work with the A and youth teams, that Evans would take training for Spurs’ then very talented and successful reserve team. He also recalled to me with great clarity a conversation that he had with Harry while the pair were watching a reserve team game between Spurs and Crystal Palace in the early 1960s. Ronnie has fond memories (although he didn’t know Harry too well) of both Harry Evans and his son-in-law John White from those great Spurs days in the 1960s. Harry Alfred Evans was without doubt a big and important part in his own right of the success that Spurs enjoyed during the early 1960s. He is an important person in the history of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and Spurs supporters should be proud of what he achieved in his relatively short career as a coach. Very sadly Harry Evans passed away in the December of 1962 at University College Hospital, after suffering from pancreatic cancer. Those who knew him and who are still around today remember him with such great fondness.

My preview of Spurs’ Under 18’s 2021/22 season:

Spurs’ Under 18 side begin the 2021/22 season with an away Premier League South fixture against current Premier League South champions Fulham at Motspur Park on the 14th of August. New Under 18’s head coach Stuart Lewis has a very big and talented Spurs squad this season, with 25 players a part of the Under 18 side. In addition to the 25 players there are also two goalkeepers – Thimothée Lo-Tutala and Isak Solberg, who are part of the Spurs Under 23 side, but who are still eligible to play for the Under 18’s as overage goalkeepers. Spurs’ first home game of the season is against Chelsea, before they travel to the English Midlands to face a new side in competitive competition in Birmingham City. They have been promoted to category one Academy status, meaning that there are now 14 teams in this seasons Premier League South. In addition to the Premier League South, Spurs will also compete in the prestigious FA Youth Cup as always, but there has been no communication on whether the Premier League Cup will return to how it was before, when it was just for category one Under 18 sides. Fulham and Chelsea are always tough games in the league, but also Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are in my opinion teams to watch out for this season.

Spurs’ Under 18 side played their first friendly of pre-season last Saturday when they played Ipswich Town. Spurs lost the match 3-2, with Jamie Donley and Rio Kyerematen getting our goals. Although there is technically 25 players who are part of the Under 18 side this season, I would personally expect a couple of players such as Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine to feature rarely for them, because of their involvement with the Under 23 side and first team. Centre-forward and new first year scholar Jamie Donley already featured (Rio Kyerematen and Alfie Dorrington also featured last season) for the Under 18 side on a good number of occasions last season. A tall and physical centre-forward who is clinical in front of goal, Donley has represented both England and Northern Ireland at youth level. I personally wouldn’t at all be surprised if he even stepped up to play for the Spurs Under 23 side on occasions this season. There is a very good number of England youth internationals in the Spurs Under 18 side this season. With Aaron Maguire, Brandon Bryan-Waugh, Alfie Dorrington, Jordan Hackett and Thomas Bloxham just some of them. Although I have hardly seen any of this seasons first year Academy players play apart from Jamie Donley, I have seen a lot more of the second year Academy players over the last two seasons.

Midfielder Khalon Haysman (17) made eight competitive appearances for the Under 18 side last season, but he is in my opinion a really good player, and after impressing for the Under 23 side during pre-season I would expect him to get more starts for the Under 18 side this season. Winger Roshaun Mathurin was in excellent form for the Under 18 side last season and I wouldn’t be at all surprised were he to feature for the Under 23 side in competitive competition this season. I have a good feeling about this season for the Spurs Under 18 side, and I would like to wish them all the very best of luck for the season.

The squad: 

Goalkeepers: Aaron Maguire, Adam Hayton, Luca Gunter.

Defenders: Jahziah Linton, Brandon Bryan-Waugh, Alfie Dorrington, Jordan Hackett, William Andiyapan, Dante Cassanova, Renaldo Torraj, Maxwell McKnight.

Midfielders/wingers: Oliver Turner, Rio Kyerematen, George Abbott, Billy Heaps, Riley Owen, Jez Davies, Khalon Haysman, Alfie Devine, Axel Piesold, Thomas Bloxham, Jaden Williams, Roshaun Mathurin.

Forwards: Dane Scarlett, Jamie Donley.

My piece on Spurs’ direct and very reliable Academy winger Romaine Mundle:

Romaine Mundle enjoyed a very good season in 2020/21 for Spurs’ Under 18 side. The 18 year old winger who signed scholarship forms with Spurs in the summer of 2019, made his competitive Under 18 debut for Spurs as a substitute against Norwich City in 2019. The Edmonton born footballer who recently signed a new contract with Spurs until 2022, would make 12 Under 18 Premier League South appearances in 2019/20, scoring one goal and registering three assists over the course of that season. However, during the following 2020/21 season Mundle became a really important member of Matt Taylor’s Spurs Under 18 side, making 24 competitive appearances, scoring three goals and registering eight assists. Romaine also featured in competitive competition for the Spurs Under 23 side on three occasions, registering one assist from those three matches. Capable of operating as a winger on either flank, Mundle can also play as a CAM or as a central midfielder. A really creative player who is quick and direct with the ball out on the flanks, the now first year pro who featured for the Spurs first team against Leyton Orient this pre-season, is so reliable on the ball and he rarely loses possession. A player who takes up intelligent forward positions both out wide and in the oppositions penalty area, he is a good passer of the ball and I have always been impressed with his crosses into the box.

A very technical footballer who is really skilful on the ball, the player who has been at Spurs for a long time tracks back and helps out the full-back well also, and he is a real team player. He is capable of beating players for skill alone, and his ability to pick a pass and get a really good amount of assists has made him a really important player for the Spurs Under 18 side over the last couple of seasons. The fact that he has already made his first team debut for Spurs is a really good sign, and it shows how far that Romaine has come and how well that he has done at Under 18 level during his two years of scholarship. I look forward to hopefully seeing Romaine establish himself in the Under 23 side this season, and I wish him all the very best of luck for the season.

Looking back at the Spurs Under 17 side that won the 2001/02 FA Premier Academy League Group A:

“ We had a brilliant group of lads with a lot of talent and ability, who all got on really well. To win any competition is an achievement and we were delighted to be able to win the league. Jimmy Neighbour was an excellent coach and as the season went on he really got the best out of us. A lot of that side are still in contact and have remained friends which is great in itself, and myself and Danny Foster still speak regularly most days. ” (Mark Yeates) 

A talented Spurs Under 17 side who played good football, and of which included the likes of Philip Ifil, Mark Yeates, Jamie Slabber and Owen Price, would go on to win the 2001/02 FA Premier Academy League Group A (there were two Southern groups, with each team playing a total of 24 league games over the course of the season). In doing so Spurs qualified for the national play-offs to see who would be crowned national champions at that level, but Spurs were unfortunately knocked out by Sheffield United at the quarter-finals stage of the competition. Under the tutelage of head coach and former Spurs player Jimmy Neighbour, a man who the Spurs lads greatly respected, the Under 17 side started the 2001/02 season by recording three consecutive 2-2 draws against Wrexham, Newcastle United and West Ham United respectively. However, they soon started to turn draws into wins, starting with a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in game week four, courtesy of a goal from Jamie Slabber. Notable victories over the course of the normal league season included a 2-1 home win over Arsenal, a 4-0 win over Fulham and a 3-2 win against Millwall. Winning 13 of their 24 league games, drawing seven and losing just four, the late Jimmy Neighbour’s side had a very strong defence that season thanks to the solidity of the likes of Danny Foster, Philip Ifil and Ricky Dobson, Spurs conceded just 20 goals in group A, and scored 38. Very difficult to beat over the course of the normal league season, it was in fact Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal who were their closest challengers for top spot in group A. And it was actually very close between Spurs and Arsenal in the end, with Arsenal finishing in second place and just three points behind group/league winners Spurs’ 46 points. 

Taking four points from our two games with Arsenal proved to be Invaluable come the end of the regular season, but so was Spurs’ defence and difficultly to win against. The Spurs lads who played in Group A during the course of the season were given medals for winning the group/league, and they then had the national play-offs to look forward to (some of the players from that Spurs under 17 side were also part of the Spurs under 18 side that managed to reach the semi-finals of that seasons FA Youth Cup). Spurs played both Barnsley and Coventry City on one occasion in a three team mini league, and after drawing 1-1 away to Barnsley, Spurs crucially beat Coventry City 2-1 at home thanks to goals from Daniel Perry and Jonathan Black, which booked Spurs’ place in the quarter-final stage of the competition, where they would meet Sheffield United at home. However, Spurs lost 2-1 to Sheffield United in the April of 2002 and as a result of that they went out of the play-offs (Newcastle United ended up becoming national champions that season). However, to still have won Group A which had some really fine sides in it, was a great achievement for the Spurs players and coaching staff, and something that every player in that side was very proud of achieving. Six of the players from the 2001/02 season went on to play for the Spurs first team (includes first team friendlies), which is a really good achievement in itself. With the great help of a former Spurs player who played for the Under 19 side and reserves during the 2001/02 season in Paul O’Donoghue, I have been able to get a much better understanding of what the players in that Spurs Under 17 side were like (for example – style of play) from somebody who knew them very well. 

In this piece I will be looking back at every player that played for Spurs’ Under 17 side in the league during the 2001/02 season, talking about what kind of player they are/were, providing some statistics and also looking at where they went after leaving Spurs.

The squad:

Paul Rutherford: A good, solid and very consistent goalkeeper, Paul Rutherford is from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and he had previously played for Colchester United and Norwich City prior to joining Spurs as a youth player. Rutherford was an important player for the Spurs under 17 side during the 2001/02 season, and he made 24 competitive appearances for us in the FA Premier Academy League. The goalkeeper would go on to play for the Spurs Under 19 side during the following 2002/03 season, but at the end of that particular season he was released by the club. He joined Braintree Town in the summer of 2003, the first of a number of non-League clubs that he played for. Since leaving Braintree Town, Rutherford went on to play for the likes of Maldon Town, Wivenhoe Town, AFC Sudbury Town and FC Clacton. 

Nicky Eyre: A former England youth international (he played for England in the Victory Shield) from Braintree who had played for Ipswich Town as a youngster, goalkeeper Nicky Eyre only made five league appearances for our under 17 side in the 2001/02 season, as he was deputy to first choice goalkeeper Paul Rutherford during that particular season. Eyre was great at communicating to his defence and he was also a very good shot stopper who had great reactions, and he did go on to play for Spurs’ reserve side on occasions, but didn’t feature for the first team. After leaving Spurs the goalkeeper went on to play for the likes of Grays Athletic, Rushden & Diamonds and Chelmsford City before retiring from playing the game in 2014. 

Michael Eade: A then schoolboy goalkeeper who actually didn’t feature for the Spurs Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season, but who did make the bench in the league for them on one occasion. Michael Eade joined Spurs as a schoolboy after going on trial at the club, but he wasn’t offered YTS by Spurs. However, Michael joined Luton Town on YTS terms and he would play a good number of games for their various youth sides. However, Michael Eade was released by Luton at the end of the 2005/06 season after not being offered a professional contract by the club. The goalkeeper then decided to go to America to pursue a soccer scholarship, and he spent three years playing for Park University, and at the same time he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Michael still lives in America.

Daniel Perry: An unassuming full-back who did his job efficiently and had good technical ability on the ball, Daniel Perry was born in Welwyn Garden City and he joined Spurs as a schoolboy youth player. Perry made 24 (he started 22 of those games) FA Premier Academy League appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season, and the defender scored one goal for the team, with that coming in the 2-1 play-off victory against Coventry City, in the April of 2002. Towards the end of the following 2002/03 season and a season after he had been a consistent and important player for the Spurs Under 17 side, Daniel Perry joined Cambridge United on trial. And Perry signed scholarship forms with the Cambridgeshire based club at the end of the 2002/03 season. However, I am unsure about where he went after leaving Cambridge United.

David Tyrie: A robust and determined defender who liked a challenge on the pitch and also the physical side of the game, Norwich born ex-footballer David Tyrie had previously been with local side Norwich City prior to joining Spurs. During the 2001/02 season the player who often played as a centre-half for Spurs would make 25 league appearances for Jimmy Neighbour’s side, scoring one goal. Capable of playing as a central defender on either side, David Tyrie would later play for the Spurs Under 19 side during the following season, before later moving to Norwich City, where he mainly played for their Under 19 side. The defender would later move into non-League football where he played for Wroxham and Heybridge Swifts. David later moved to America, and one of the teams that he played for there was the Western Massachusetts Pioneers. He still lives in America.

Philip Ifil: A very highly rated full-back, Londoner Philip Ifil was an assured defender who had great confidence in his ability during his Spurs days. Ifil was also strong defensively but could also support the attack well. The defender made a single Group A appearance for Spurs during the 2001/02 season, when he played at right-back in a 0-0 draw with Charlton Athletic. Ifil would later go on to progress up the youth and reserve ranks at Spurs, to make five competitive appearances for the Spurs first team. Ifil would also become a regular starter for the Spurs reserve side during the 2000s. After going on some loans he departed Spurs in 2008 to join Colchester United. Ifil then later played for Dagenham & Redbridge and Kettering Town, before joining and playing for Watford Sunday League side Evergreen.

Marcel McKie: Former England youth international Marcel McKie was a first year scholar at Spurs during the 2001/02 season (he was an important player for the Spurs Under 17 side that season). The talented Edmonton born former player who made 17 league appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side during the season that we won Group A, was a good and technical left-back who was also a solid defender. McKie would works his way up the various ranks at Spurs to make a number of friendly appearances for Spurs’ first team, before later leaving Spurs in the mid 2000s. After going on trial with a number of clubs Marcel signed for Kettering Town in 2006. Other clubs that he later played for include St Albans City, Enfield Town and Butlins Bognor Regis, the club which he last played for.

Ricky Dobson: A centre-half with great pace, Ricky Dobson was a determined player who made 18 league appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side in 2001/02, and he was an important member of Jimmy Neighbour’s side. The left-sided defender would later play for the Spurs Under 19 side and the reserves now and again, before leaving Spurs permanently in 2004. To name some of the clubs that Ricky played for after leaving Spurs, he played for Grays Athletic, Billericay Town and Cheshunt.

Gareth Jenkins: A technically good defender with a fine left foot, Australian former footballer Gareth Jenkins made just one league appearance for the Spurs Under 17 side in the 2001/02 season. The Newcastle born former Spurs youth team player made more appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side during the following 2002/03 season, but Gareth was later released by Spurs before returning to Australia.

Liam Francis: A full-back with great stamina and who was also a solid defender, Liam Francis (he made four appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side in the league in 2001/02) joined Spurs as a youngster after being scouted by Micky Hazard. The left-back later progressed up to the Spurs Under 19 side, before leaving the club not long afterwards. 

Lee Barnett: A technical central midfielder who was reliable and rarely gave the ball away, Lee Barnett had good composure on the ball and he was a good passer of the ball also. Barnett made an impressive 27 league appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side in 2001/02, scoring two goals. I was unfortunately unable to find out where Lee Barnett went after leaving the club, after he had stepped up to play for the Under 19 side. 

Danny Foster: A commanding player who was a focused and sure footed defender, Danny Foster was a former England youth international. At Spurs for many years as a youth player prior to becoming a scholar at the club, the Enfield born former footballer was a really important defensive member of the Spurs side which won Group A in 2001/02. Foster made 22 league appearances and scored four goals, but it was not only his defensive qualities and organisation skill which made him such a valuable squad member, but he was also a great leader within the side. Later on playing for the Spurs Under 19 side and reserves in his Spurs career, the defender later had a good career in the game, playing for Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford and Wycombe Wanderers. After retiring from playing Danny was assistant manager at Wingate & Finchley for a short time.

Mario Noto: A local lad who was a highly skilful and energetic midfield player, Mario Noto was rated quite highly by Spurs but was unfortunate to have had a number of talented midfielders ahead of him in the Under 19 side. However, as an Under 17 player at Spurs in 2001/02 Mario scored four goals from 27 league appearances. He would often play on the right flank during that season, and he was a good team player who was intelligent on the ball. Mario’s career post Spurs took him to Reading, where he played as an Academy player, and later on he went into the non-League to play for teams such as Harlow Town, Boreham Wood and Enfield Town. Mario is currently the assistant manager of Enfield Town.

Joe Watson: A solid defensive midfielder who was able to break up the game well and win possession. Joe Watson made 15 appearances for the Under 17 side in 2001/02. Unfortunately I was unable to find out where Watson went after leaving Spurs, and whether or not he continued playing football.

Owen Price: Tooting born former footballer Owen Price was one of the youngest players to play for the Spurs Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season (he made 14 appearances for them that season). A good technical midfield player who arrived at Spurs with quite a bit of hype from Charlton Athletic, Owen Price was a popular player at Spurs and he particularly impressed with his distribution over a long distance. The former Spurs player who would later play one game for the first team during his time at the club (it was a friendly game against Falkenbergs), was also a regular for the Under 19 side and also the reserves. Price left Spurs in 2006 and went to play for GIF Sundsvall in Sweden for a time. Enjoying a long playing career which saw him play for a great variety of clubs such as Ljungskile SK, Lewes and Chatham Town. Owen is currently the assistant manager of non-League side Erith & Belvedere. 

Nicky Wettner: An aggressive and physical midfielder who was a very committed and tough player. Nicky Wettner made 17 league appearances during 2001/02, and he would patrol the midfield well whenever he played that season. Wettner also played at left-midfield towards the end of that seasons FA Youth Cup run, and he did well. After progressing up to the Spurs Under 19 side and later leaving the club the midfielder played in the non-League, where he played for Aveley.

Jeffrey Seitz: A triallist from Spandau in Germany, Jeffrey Seitz made two substitute appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side in 2001/02. After not being signed by Spurs and going on to continue his playing career, Jeffrey went in to football coaching in Germany. He is currently the manager of SC Staaken.

Jonathan Black: A Northern Irishman from Larne in County Antrim, midfielder Jonathan Black was a highly rated Northern Ireland youth international who joined Spurs as a youngster. A good free-kick taker who wasn’t afraid of the physical side of the game, but who was also good on the ball, the midfield player made 20 appearances in 2001/02, scoring one goal. Jonathan Black later suffered a career ending injury at the age of 19, which very sadly ended his career in professional football. However, he has since began a promising coaching coaching career. He coached back in Northern Ireland, at Greater Osceola United and at Tottenham Hotspur. Jonathan currently resides in America, where he continues his coaching career.

David Hicks: A combative midfielder who had good potential, David Hicks made five league appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side over the course of the 2001/02 season. Hicks later stepped up to play for the Spurs Under 19 side in the following seasons, before moving to Northampton Town on a free transfer in the January of 2004. The midfield player later played for clubs such as Stevenage, Wealdstone FC and Enfield FC.

Mark Yeates: Dubliner and former Republic of Ireland youth international Mark Yeates was in former Spurs player Paul O’Donoghue’s eyes the best player in the 

Spurs Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season. A popular member of the Spurs Under 17 side, Mark Yeates made 26 league appearances (he often played as a CAM) in the 2001/02 season, scoring six goals. Yeates was and still is a very creative player with an outstanding skill level, Yeates is also very skilful on the ball and he has an eye for a forward pass. Going on to quickly progress up to the Under 19 side and reserves, Yeates made his first team debut for Spurs against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2004, and he got an assist on his debut. He made a decent number more appearances for Spurs’ first team, before leaving the club permanently in 2007 to join Colchester United. A long and successful career followed for the man who was unlucky not to win a senior cap for his country. Yeates played for clubs such as Middlesbrough, Sheffield United, Watford and Notts County. Now at 36 years of age and still going strong, the forward thinking player currently plays for non-Legaue side Bamber Bridge.

Tim Ford: Tim Ford was a slightly built winger who made 13 appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side in the league in 2001/02. Ford would often take corner kicks for the Under 17 side when he played for them. I am unsure where Ford went after leaving Spurs, unfortunately.

Jamie Slabber: A centre-forward who only needed half a chance to score inside the box. Enfield born former footballer Jamie Slabber had a real eye for goal and he more often than not caused problems for defenders. Jamie Slabber scored an impressive 12 league goals from 11 appearances for the Under 17 side that season, and the player who would often play up for the Under 19 side and later the reserves, would make one competitive first team appearance during his time at the club (it came as a substitute against Liverpool in a Premier League game in 2003. He got an assist). Slabber went on a couple of loan moves during his time at Spurs, before being released by the club towards the end of the 2004/05 season. The striker later played for a lot of clubs in England, such as Grays Athletic, Chelmsford City and Eastleigh. Slabber was also an England C international.

Michael Malcolm: A highly rated centre-forward who joined Spurs from Wycombe Wanderers as a schoolboy. Michael Malcolm scored 11 goals from 26 appearances for the Under 17 side in the league in 2001/02. A striker who liked the ball played in-behind, the Harrow born former footballer later played for the Under 19 side and the reserves. Michael Malcolm was released by Spurs in 2005, and he later played for a number of clubs in England, such as Stockport County, Weymouth and most recently Cray Wanderers. Malcolm made four appearances for Spurs’ team in friendlies during his time at the club.

Spurs Under 23’s versus Hastings United FC: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 23’s third friendly of pre-season will see them take on Hastings United FC at the TGS Pilot Field, on Tuesday evening (the game starts at 19:45pm). The match which is a testimonial for Hastings United captain Sam Adams, will be another good test for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side, who have already recorded 6-0 and 4-0 wins over Ramsgate FC and Enfield Town FC respectively during pre-season. During the last game against Enfield Town, Spurs put in an excellent first half performance, with J’Neil Bennett (he has been excellent this pre-season) causing Enfield many problems out on the left flank. Although Enfield improved during the second half Spurs were still comfortably in control of the game. Our opponents on Tuesday – Hastings United play in the Isthmian League South East Division, one tier below Enfield Town. However, it will still be a very good test for the Spurs Under 23 side to play against a senior team. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Lavinier, Muir, Okedina (c), Kyezu, Matthew Craig, Santiago, Mundle, Markanday, Bennett, Etete.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Hackett, Cassanova, Michael Craig, Haysman, Robson, Mathurin.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: Spurs 5-0.

My one to watch: Hastings United captain Sam Adams. The match on Tuesday is being played as a testimonial for Sam Adams, who has made 569 appearances for Hastings United.

My piece on Spurs’ skilful and versatile Academy midfielder Yago Santiago:

A technical midfield player who is also versatile, Yago Santiago (18) signed for Spurs during the 2019/20 season from Spanish side RC Celta de Vigo. Santiago made his competitive Under 18 debut for Spurs as a substitute against Southampton in a league game, which Spurs won 2-0 in the September of 2019. Santiago made a further nine league appearances for Spurs at Under 18 level that season (most of his appearances came as a substitute, and he scored one goal). However, during the following 2020/21 season the footballer from Vigo in Spain became an important player for Matt Taylor’s Under 18 side, making 23 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side. Yago scored three goals and registered five assists for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, and he also made his competitive debut for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side during the same season. Santiago has started the current 2021/22 season with Spurs’ Under 23 side, and the first year pro will now be with Wayne Burnett’s side on a full-time basis. Yago played and started the Under 23’s first two pre-season friendlies against Ramsgate FC and Enfield Town respectively, and he impressed in both of those matches. So what type of player is Yago? Well he is a versatile player who is capable of playing as a four or eight in central midfield, as a CAM or as a winger on either flank. However, after centre-forward Kion Etete had to be substituted in the friendly against Ramsgate, Santiago moved up top.

A midfield player with great balance, in the central areas of the pitch Yago is so slick on the ball and he is a midfield technician who is more than capable of making things happen and creating chances. A good passer of the ball and a player who is quick on his feet, Santiago is an intelligent player who can at times make things look effortless. As a CAM Santiago makes good forward runs off the ball and he also links the play well from that role. He likes to pass the ball forward (he holds onto the ball well) and he is a forward thinking midfield player who is a skilful and tricky player, but he is also a hard worker who helps out the team well. I have been most impressed with Yago whenever I have seen him play out wide, as with his fine pace and skill on the ball he can cause problems for full-backs and also create good chances from wide positions. From that position last season Yago got a good amount of goals and assists, and he showed his potency going forward in an FA Youth Cup fourth round tie against AFC Wimbledon in 2020/21. Playing out on the left flank he influenced the game well and showed some good bursts of pace down the left side of the pitch, while also showing nice skill on the ball. In another Under 18 game against Southampton during the previous 2019/20 season Santiago scored his first goal for the Under 18 side to cap off a fine individual performance in the CAM role, where he showed good composure and skill on the ball and he also linked the play really well.

In the recent pre-season win over Ramsgate Yago Santiago started the match out on the right flank, before later moving up top to play as a centre-forward. Considering that he is not a striker I thought that he did well in that role, and he impressed with his movement off the ball. I look forward to hopefully seeing Yago play Under 23 football on a regular basis this season and I wish him all the very best of luck for 2021/22.

A short profile on every Spurs Academy goalkeeper (in the Spurs Under 23 side):

I thought that I’d write a little piece where I would do a profile on every Spurs goalkeeper who is part of the Spurs Under 23 squad. In the following piece I have tried to describe what the Spurs Under 23’s goalkeepers’ greatest attributes are, and also what their style of play as a goalkeeper is. We have some very promising young goalkeepers in the Academy setup at Spurs, and whilst I haven’t included Under 18’s goalkeepers Aaron Maguire, Adam Hayton and Luca Gunter (as I have hardly seen them play), they too are very promising goalkeepers that I’m sure Spurs fans will be hearing a lot more about over the coming seasons.

Alfie Whiteman: Although not technically part of the Spurs Under 23 squad, Alfie Whiteman is still under 23. The Londoner who is 22 and who has already made his competitive debut for Spurs’ first team (last season) is a former England youth international who has been at Spurs for many years. Part of the Spurs Academy age group which included Marcus Edwards, Japhet Tanganga and Samuel Shashoua, Alfie Whiteman was very good at Under 18 level for Spurs and he got a good number of games for the club at that level. At times stepping up to play for the Spurs Under 23 side when he was still an Academy scholar, Alfie first made a Spurs first team squad (made the bench for the first team) for the first time during the 2015/16 season. A goalkeeper with very good positioning and good reflexes, Alfie Whiteman has a good goal kick, is reliable and is also quite good at saving penalties. Often part of Spurs’ first team squads over the course of recent seasons, the goalkeeper hasn’t had a good run of games for the Under 23 side since the 2017/18 season, when him and Brandon Austin were the two main goalkeepers for the Under 23’s. Alfie has only featured on a small number of occasions for the Under 23 side in the seasons since then, and he has mainly been with the first team, where he has more often than not trained with them on a daily basis. It will be interesting to see whether the promising and clearly highly rated goalkeeper goes out on his first loan move this season, or whether he remains with the Spurs first team squad for another season.

Brandon Austin: An excellent young goalkeeper who is currently on loan at American MLS side Orlando City SC, Brandon Austin (22) was part of the same Spurs Academy age group as the previously mentioned Alfie Whiteman. The goalkeeper from Hemel Hempstead has been a regular at Academy level for Spurs since joining the Academy full-time in the summer of 2015. The former Chelsea Academy player was mainly the second choice goalkeeper to Alfie Whiteman in the Under 18 side during the 2015/16 season, but during the following season he got a lot more minutes for the Under 18 side. A regular and very important player for our Under 23 side during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, Austin went out on his first loan move to Danish side Viborg FF (they played in the second division at the time), halfway into the 2019/20 season, and he became their first choice goalkeeper, putting in a series of impressive performances during the second half of their season. Returning to Spurs for the following 2020/21 season, the goalkeeper who has been called up to the England Under 21 side on occasions over the past few years would go onto make eight competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 23 side last season. He joined MLS side Orlando City SC in early 2021, and although he has played five matches for them in the MLS during the current season, he is currently their second choice goalkeeper. Austin has done well when he has played for them so far and I’m hoping that he’ll get more opportunities to impress before the end of the MLS season.

Austin is a terrific shot stopper who has great reflexes, is very quick on his feet, maintains good positioning throughout matches and also commands his box very well. Really good in my opinion at coming out to catch the ball from corner kicks and crosses, the Spurs man has also improved on his distribution during recent seasons. A very vocal goalkeeper on the pitch, Brandon talks his defence through matches really well. I definitely see him as somebody who has the potential to become a future Spurs first choice goalkeeper at some point in the future, as in my opinion Brandon has all of the important attributes needed to succeed.

Joshua Oluwayemi: London born goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was recently called up to the Nigeria senior national team for an international friendly against Mexico (he was unused substitute), after impressing for Spurs’ Under 23 side during the 2020/21 season. The 20 year old is not the tallest of goalkeepers but is still very commanding inside his penalty area. Oluwayemi signed scholarship forms with Spurs for the 2017/18 season, but during that campaign he only played a handful of games. During the following 2018/19 season Joshua established himself as an important player for the Spurs Under 18 side, and he made a really good number of appearances for them that season. During the 2019/20 season Oluwayemi made five Premier League 2 appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, but for the start of the following 2020/21 season he joined National League side Maidenhead United on loan. Oluwayemi made two competitive appearances for Maidenhead United before returning to Spurs and going on to make 12 appearances for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side, and he impressed in the games that I saw him play. A goalkeeper who is alert, has really good reactions, commands his box well and is also somewhat of an expert at saving penalties. Joshua made the bench for the Spurs first team against Colchester United in a pre-season friendly earlier in the week, and it will be very interesting to see whether or not he goes out on another loan this season. Joshua is another very promising Spurs Academy goalkeeper.

Kacper Kurylowicz: A former Poland youth international who was born in Luton but brought up in Milton Keynes. Kacper Kurylowicz is a goalkeeper who I am a big fan of, and now in his second year full-time with the Spurs Under 23 side Kurylowicz will be hoping to get more game time for the Under 23 side this season. The 19 year old only made three appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side during his first season of scholarship at Spurs. Kurylowicz then made 11 Under 18 Premier League South appearances during the following 2019/20, doing well in all of those games in my opinion. During the 2020/21 season Kacper made two competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, in what was his first season full-time with the Under 23 squad. Kurylowicz is a goalkeeper who is quick out of his penalty area and at sweeping up outside of his box, he is a really good shot stopper and has always impressed me with his distribution. Kacper is also good at dealing with crosses and set-pieces, but most of all he is a leader, and a goalkeeper whose organisation skills and encouragement of his defence are top quality attributes of his. In addition Kurylowicz is very good in one on one situations, and he often makes saves from those situations. I’m really hoping that Kacper gets a really good run of games for the Under 23 side during the 2021/22 season, as I think that he has a promising future in the game and is a goalkeeper that Spurs fans will hopefully be hearing more about over the coming seasons.

Thimothée Lo-Tutala: Paris born former Brentford youth goalkeeper Thimothée Lo-Tutala was often the captain of Spurs’ Under 18 side last season (2020/21). Lo-Tutala made 17 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, plus one appearance for the Spurs Under 23 side. A tall goalkeeper who has good distribution, is commanding from crosses and who reads the game well from inside his penalty area, Thimothée also has very good reflexes. After competing for a place in the Spurs Under 18 side with Kacper Kurylowicz during the 2019/20 season, Lo-Tutala improved even more last season as he became the first choice goalkeeper for the Under 18 side. And the fact that the now first year pro has already made his competitive Under 23 debut for Spurs, as well as featuring in two friendlies for them in pre-season (he impressed in the friendly game against Ramsgate) will help Thimothée for this season when he’ll be with the Under 23 side on a full-time basis.

Isak Solberg: Norway Under 18 international Isak Solberg is a very tall goalkeeper who is a good shot stopper, and who is also not afraid to be vocal on the pitch. Unfortunately I can’t really elaborate further on what type of goalkeeper Isak is, as he has only played one competitive game for Spurs (at Under 18 level) in two seasons. Solberg will be a part of the Spurs Under 23 side on a full-time basis this season.

My piece on versatile and tenacious Spurs Academy player Kallum Cesay:

Kallum Cesay (18) might not have been a Spurs Academy player that Spurs fans were too familiar with before our first team took on Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly last Saturday. However, the Newham born first year pro has been an important player and regular for Spurs’ Under 18 side over the course of the last two seasons. Previously with local club West Ham United, Kallum Cesay signed scholarship forms with Spurs for the start of the 2019/20 season. During his first season full-time at Spurs, the defender who primarily plays as a right-back (he can also play at left-back and in central midfield) made 11 league appearances for Spurs at Under 18 level (he also featured in a pre-season friendly for the Under 23’s against Enfield Town), and he also featured in the FA Youth Cup and Premier League Cup for Spurs at Under 18 level during the same season. Impressing throughout that season at both right-back and in central midfield (he scored two league goals that season), Cesay made 18 competitive appearances (he scored  four goals and registered four assists) during the following 2020/21 season for Matt Taylor’s Under 18 side. Cesay established himself as an important member of the side, and he also made his competitive debut for Spurs’ Under 23 side in a 3-0 Premier League 2 win over Manchester United at Hotspur Way that same season. Cesay has since started pre-season of the 2021/22 season with the first team. Making his debut (he started the game) for them against Leyton Orient last Saturday, Cesay also came off the bench to feature against Colchester United in Spurs’ most recent pre-season friendly.

As I said before, Kallum Cesay is primarily a right-back, but he is also capable of playing on the opposite flank at left-back, and as a central midfielder. The defender is an adaptable player, who is effective at both ends of the pitch. He can be a forward thinking right-back, as he likes to get forward and often go on overlapping runs down the right flank and into the oppositions box, where he tries to be available to get to any rebounds. And he is a defender who has a real eye for goal (his goalscoring and assist record at Under 18 level speaks for itself), owing to his fine positioning in forward areas, and Kallum is also a good striker of the ball. A tall player who has a decent amount of pace, and who also gets up and down the flank really well, Kallum Cesay has great stamina. Good at linking up with the winger in front of him, Cesay is an intelligent player who can pass the ball well, but he can also stay deep in matches, as I have seen him do this on numerous occasions. Strong in the challenge and not afraid to make sliding challenges, the 18 year old is difficult to get past and can give opposition wingers difficult games. Whilst he is a steady and adaptable defender, it’s worth noting that Cesay can also play in central midfield (often as a four) where he is good at carrying the ball, bringing it forward and at helping to protect the back four, whilst also breaking up the play in the central areas of the pitch. Good on the ball but tenacious out of possession, Kallum is a player that Spurs fans should keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons.

During an Under 18 Premier League South game against Southampton back in the 2019/20 season Cesay demonstrated all of his abilities at right-back, in what was a really fine individual performance. He really grew into that match, was solid in defence, got up and down the right-flank really well, scored a good goal from a tight angle and made some excellent forward runs off the ball. In another Under 18 league game against Norwich City during the same season, Kallum stayed really deep and rarely got forward, really showing the defensive side of his game and showing how difficult he was to get beyond down Norwich’s left side of the pitch. During the Leyton Orient friendly last Saturday Kallum impressed by creating a chance after taking an excellent first touch and going on a burst forward. I really look forward to hopefully seeing Kallum become a regular for Wayne Burnett’s Under 23 side this season, and I wish him all the very best of luck for the new season.

My piece on Spurs’ complete Academy centre-half Marqes Muir:

Lambeth born defender Marqes Muir (18) has been part of Spurs’ Academy setup since a young age, and the centre-half has been a player who has made big strides since joining the Academy full-time in the summer of 2019. Muir first made a Spurs Under 18 squad in a competitive game back in the April of the 2018/19 season as a schoolboy footballer, when he made the bench against Aston Villa in a league game (he didn’t play in that game). Signing scholarship forms with Spurs in the summer of 2019, Marqes Muir made his competitive Under 18 debut for Spurs in a 4-0 opening day league defeat to a very talented Fulham side at the start of the 2019/20 season. During that season which ended early Marqes made over 15 competitive appearances for Matt Taylor’s side, and I felt that he improved by each game. Muir also featured for the Under 23’s in a pre-season friendly against Enfield Town just before the season started. During the 2020/21 season Marqes made 24 competitive appearances (all starts) for the Spurs Under 18 side, captaining them on a good number of occasions, and he also made two competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side (his first two competitive appearances for them). An important player for Matt Taylor’s Under 18 side last season as a second year scholar, Muir has started this pre-season with Spurs’ Under 23 side, now that he is a first year pro with the club. He played the Under 23’s opening pre-season friendly against Ramsgate FC last Saturday, and also our most recent one against Enfield Town, playing well in both at RCB.

So what type of defender is Marqes Muir? Well he is mainly a centre-half, who plays on the right hand side of defence. Although he is also capable of playing at right-back, a position that I have been impressed with him playing at. However, as a centre-half, Marqes is one of the best Academy centre-halves that I have ever seen at bringing the ball out from the back. He brings it out with such ease and skill, something which helps him to play right-back so effectively. A leader in defence, Muir is in my opinion a complete centre-half, in the sense that I don’t think that there are any real faults to his game. He is an alert centre-half who is quick, has a great positional sense, has very good distribution and is courageous when defending. Really good at making blocks, owing to his fine positioning, the Londoner has so many very good and important attributes. A player that I really enjoy watching defend, Marqes is a good one on one defender whose strength and ability not to get bullied by defenders makes him a real defensive force. However, Marqes also has good reactions, and he is a commanding player. Dominant in the air and calm under pressure, Muir is good at making well timed interceptions and challenges (he is intelligent and only slides in if he has too), and also at stepping in front of forwards, being assertive and winning the ball in important areas of the pitch. A classy defender who is so good on the ball, I have been really impressed with his ability on the ball ever since I first saw him play.

There are some games that Marqes has played in for Spurs during recent seasons, that I would just like to focus in on. A league game against Fulham’s Under 18 side at home during the 2019/20 season saw Marqes play at right-back, where he defended against Fulham winger Imani Lanquedoc. Muir totally neutralised the threat that the Fulham player posed, and he also stayed tight to the Fulham player, kept really good positioning and also defended solidly throughout the entirety of the match. In another game during the same season and this time playing at RCB, Marqes Muir had to defend against Norwich City’s then Under 18 centre-forward Tyrese Omotoye, and again Muir put in a very good defensive performance, as he teamed up with former Spurs player Aaron Skinner at centre-half. During that game Marqes made countless blocks, interceptions and clearances, and he was also very strong on the ball, as he put in a very intelligent defensive performance. During the two Under 23 pre-season friendlies played so far this summer Marqes has looked very solid. Good at bringing the ball out from the back in both games against Ramsgate FC and Enfield Town, Muir made a fine block in the Enfield game and also cut out a promising attack for the home side. And he put in another strong defensive performance in the game against Ramsgate. I’m really looking forward to seeing Marqes hopefully get a really good amount of games for the Under 23 side this season. And I wish him all the very best of luck for the new season and congratulate him on two fine years of scholarship at Spurs.