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!