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.

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