Farewell and good luck Rafferty Pedder:

Technically gifted midfielder Rafferty Pedder has left Spurs, after it was mutually agreed to end his contract. He has since joined Queens Park Rangers, and will be hoping to establish himself as a regular for their Development side, during the remainder of this season. The Maidstone born footballer who joined Spurs early on in his footballing journey, had missed a lot of football prior to signing full-time with Spurs in the summer of 2018. However, after having to wait for a while to make his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 18 side, during the following 2019/20 season Rafferty became a key player for then head-coach Matt Taylor, and would finish the season with more appearances than anyone else in the side. Rafferty was consistent during that season, and the skilful and direct midfield player (capable of playing in central midfield or as a CAM) really showed his quality on the ball. Agile, very hardworking and with really good vision for a pass, the 19 year old is a real joy to watch play football. He is always looking to play the ball forward, loves to run forward at pace with the ball and is also a great athlete.

Regardless of whether he is playing as a CAM or as a central midfielder, Rafferty links the play really well and he is a very intelligent midfield player. Excellent performances against Norwich City and Southampton in the Premier League South during the 2019/20 season, really standout from looking back at all of the games that I saw him play for Spurs at all levels. However, Rafferty has always been a very consistent player, since I started watching him at Spurs. And he is the kind of player who gets fans off their seats, as he is just to purposeful with the ball. Rafferty made 13 competitive appearances for Spurs’ Development side, since the start of last season, providing two assists from those appearances. His last competitive appearance for Spurs’ Under 23 side was in a Premier League 2 game against Blackburn Rovers, in September of last year. I’ve really enjoyed seeing Rafferty play for Spurs, since joining full-time in 2018, and I will closely follow his progress at his new club. I would like to wish him all the very best for the future. Farewell and good luck, Rafferty.

Farewell and good luck Dilan Markanday:

Barnet born, boyhood Spurs fan and professional footballer Dilan Markanday departed Spurs yesterday, to join Championship club Blackburn Rovers on a permanent transfer. The highly skilful 20 year old winger had been having a sensational season for Spurs’ Under 23 side, scoring a highly impressive total of 12 goals and providing eight assists, from 17 competitive appearances for them. Dilan joined Spurs full-time in the summer of 2017, when he signed scholarship forms with the club. He made a number of competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side that season, scoring his first goal for them in a Premier League Cup game against Leicester City, back in the autumn of 2017. However, Markanday would become a key player for the Spurs Under 18 side during the following 2018/19 season, when Spurs came so very close to winning the Premier League South. Markanday was excellent throughout that season, and would also make some further competitive appearances for the Under 23 side.

The 2019/20 season saw Dilan make the permanent step-up to Wayne Burnett’s Under 23 side, as he continued his development at the club. Always a very creative player, who is never afraid to take defenders on for skill, the 2020/21 season, like the previous season, may not have resulted in Dilan getting the goals and assists that his performances deserved. However, he was continuing to improve and get stronger both on and off the ball. This resulted in Dilan enjoying an outstanding pre-season with the Spurs Development side, and his excellent form carried on into the competitive season, where he had been beyond outstanding, right up until his final game for the Under 23 side, which was against Manchester United, earlier this month. Markanday also made one competitive appearance for the Spurs first team, when he came on as a substitute against Vitesse Arnhem, in the UEFA Europa Conference League, earlier this season. Dilan is a brave and fearless creative and highly skilful winger, who will take players on for sheer skill. 

Dilan is able to ride a challenge superbly well (the best that I have ever seen from any Spurs Academy player), is unselfish on the ball and also has incredible balance, and can twist and turn his way past defenders with ease. He has become a lot more physical over the last 18 or so months, and has become even more clinical when inside the oppositions penalty area. He has always been a very talented player, but during the last 18 months Dilan has just got better and better, both on and off the ball. Always a player who has worked very hard off the ball, and has shown that he can play at full-back well, Dilan is in my opinion at his very best when he is playing out on the right flank. When running with the ball at pace, taking players on and also cutting inside onto his excellent left foot (he is also good with his right foot) and testing the goalkeeper, that is in my opinion where I see Dilan playing regularly at in the future. However, having said that he is also very comfortable and effective at playing as a CAM, out on the left wing and also as a centre-forward, which he has already shown that he can play as so well this season.

An absolute pleasure to watch play and excel for Spurs at Academy level over the years, I’m sad to see Dilan leave the club. He is a fantastic talent who will go on to achieve great things in the game, and I have no doubts about that. I very much look forward to following Dilan’s progress at Blackburn, over the coming years. And I do hope that he gets a chance to play for the England Under 21 side in the very near future. What a player and what a future in the game. Farewell and good luck, Dilan!

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

Spurs’ Under 23 side will play their first competitive game of 2022, when they face Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village, on Monday evening (the game starts at 19:00pm). Wayne Burnett’s side are currently in third place in the league standings, while Manchester United are in seventh place in Division One. When these two teams met in the league back in October, Wayne Burnett’s side won the match 1-0, but it was a very close and competitive game. Manchester United are a team of very talented players, such as Shola Shoretire, Charlie McNeill and Alvaro Fernandez. This will be another tough game, but Spurs are in great form at this level and if they play like they have recently then they have a good chance of getting a good result. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: Lo-Tutala, Lavinier, Fagan-Walcott, Omole, Cesay, Lyons-Foster, White (c), Markanday, John, Devine, Clarke. 

Subs from: Oluwayemi, PaskotÅ¡i, Matthew Craig, Michael Craig, Santiago. 

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-0.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Shola Shoretire. The Manchester United forward really impressed in the reverse fixture in October, and his skill on the ball was very good. Shoretire has scored four goals and provided two assists from ten Premier League 2 appearance this season. 

Spurs Under 18’s versus Arsenal: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side will play their first competitive game of 2022, when they face Arsenal on Saturday morning (the game starts at 11:00am). The game which will take place at Arsenal’s training centre, is the first competitive meeting between the two sides at this level this season. Spurs won 2-0 against Arsenal near the start of last season, before losing 4-1 in the reverse fixture. Arsenal are three places and seven points above Spurs in the league, in sixth place in the Premier League South. Always very competitive games at this level, the game on Saturday should be no different. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: Gunter, Bryan-Waugh, Dorrington, Sayers, Hackett, Willhoft-King, Cassanova (c), McKnight, Haysman, Hall, Williams.

Subs from: Hayton, Andiyapan, Linton, Davies, Bloxham.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-4.

My score prediction: 2-2. 

My one to watch: Khayon Edwards. The second year scholar has scored nine league goals and provided three assists for Arsenal at this level, so far this season.