Some notes on Spurs’ Development side regular Yago Santiago and his impressive start to the 2022/23 season:

Yago Santiago has started the 2022/23 season well for Spurs’ Under 21 side. The versatile player from Vigo in Spain, who joined Spurs from Celta Vigo during the 2019/20 season, is now in his second season with the Spurs Under 21 side, full-time. Yago has featured in all of the matches that Spurs’ Under 21 side have been involved in so far this season, and he has definitely been one of their best and most influential players. The 19 year old forward, who is capable of playing on either flank, as a CAM, centre-forward and in midfield, is a player who is very technical on the ball. With good link-up play and excellent movement off the ball, Santiago has got better and better at his all-round game over the past couple of seasons, and he is now a very important player for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 21 side. Last season Yago scored two goals and provided two assists, and he was a mainstay of the Spurs Under 23 side.

During the 2022/23 season, Yago Santiago has so far scored two competitive goals, for the Spurs Under 21 side from 12 competitive appearances. Yago impressed with the Spurs Under 21 side during pre-season, and it was in a Premier League 2 fixture against Liverpool during the current season that I really appreciated just how fast the Spurs forward is. In that 3-3 draw, Yago scored two of Spurs’ goals in that game, and his excellent pace and ability to run forward, and go past players with ease was so impressive. Playing the game with so much confidence this season, Santiago is very good at creating space for himself, and his positioning on the pitch means that he gets into some really good goalscoring positions, in and around the penalty area. In the Spurs Under 21’s most recent match, against Stevenage in the Papa Johns Trophy, Yago again impressed so much with his movement off the ball. And his work-rate was as always, excellent.

Versatile and capable of starting matches in all of the forward areas of the pitch, the skilful forward has looked so composed on the ball in every game that he has played in this season. Often making things look effortless with the ball at his feet, Yago is a creative player, and he has shown already this season that he can create chances on his own, out of very little. Santiago is a player who will be very important for the Spurs Under 21 side this season. And I have been particularly impressed when he was started as a centre-forward in matches, when his pace and running in behind the defence has created opportunities for Spurs. I wish him all the very best of luck for the remainder of this season.

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

Spurs’ Under 18 side face Fulham on Saturday (the game starts at 11:00am), in a Premier League South fixture at Fulham’s Motspur Park training ground. Spurs’ Under 18 side have won their last two league matches (they have won three of their five league matches so far this season), while Fulham have won one of their five matches, and recorded one draw from five league matches. Fulham have been very good in the Premier League South in recent seasons, and last season they won all three competitive fixtures against Spurs at this level. In their last match, against Wolves in the Under 18 Premier League Cup, the game finished 3-3. Spurs did really well in that game, as they had been losing 3-0. Debutant Will Lankshear scored two goals during the second half of that match. I will be attending the league match against Fulham on Saturday, and I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Gunter (c), McKnight, Chaplin, Andiyapan, Linton, Abbott, Hall, Bloxham, Moore, Irow, Williams. 

Subs from: Krasniqi, Bryan-Waugh, King, Owen, Akhamrich, 

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Aaron Loupalo. The first year scholar has scored three goals and provided two assists from five Premier League South games this season, for Fulham.

Spurs Under 21’s 0-1 Stevenage: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 21 side faced League Two side Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium, on Tuesday evening, in their final group-stage fixture of the 2022/23 Papa Johns Trophy. Wayne Burnett’s Spurs side lost the game 1-0, meaning that they finished in fourth place in the group. Josh Keeley started in goal for Spurs, while Max Robson, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Alfie Dorrington and Marqes Muir started in defence. Captain Matthew Craig, Kallum Cesay and Nile John started in central midfield. Romaine Mundle, Yago Santiago and Jamie Donley started in the forward areas for Spurs, who got the game underway. Jordan Roberts hit a volleyed effort over the Spurs goal, from the edge of the Spurs box, early on in the game. After skilfully turning his way past a Stevenage player, Yago Santiago worked his way into the Stevenage penalty area, before having an effort saved by Aaron Chapman, and Santiago’s resulting pass was read well by a Stevenage defender. 

Stevenage’s Danny Rose headed behind a cross inside the Spurs box, before a looping cross into the Spurs penalty area by Max Clark, was met by Jordan Roberts, whose volleyed effort went past Josh Keeley in the Spurs goal (he managed to get a hand on the ball), as it went into the goal, 0-1. Malachi Fagan-Walcott did well to clear away a low cross into the Spurs box by Kane Smith, shortly after the game got started again. Romaine Mundle had a curling effort from the edge of the Stevenage penalty area saved by Aaron Chapman, before Danny Rose volleyed over an effort inside the Spurs box, from a resulting free-kick. Danny Rose then had a free-kick effort from the right flank tipped over by Josh Keeley, in what was the final chance of the first half. 

Stevenage got the second half underway, and shortly after Jordan Roberts volleyed Max Clark’s cross (Nile John had received a yellow card, shortly before the chance) into the side-netting of Josh Keeley’s goal. Roberts was however, put off by Alfie Dorrington, who did well. Jamie Donley curled an effort wide from the right side of the Stevenage box, before Spurs made two substitutions, as Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Will Lankshear came on for Romaine Mundle and Matthew Craig respectively. A good long pass from Malachi Fagan-Walcott over the top of the Stevenage defence, was able to find the run of Nile John who entered the penalty area, before having his low effort saved by the feet of Aaron Chapman. It was to be Spurs’ best chance of the game. Malachi Fagan-Walcott managed to block Jake Taylor’s effort well, before then doing really well to make a sliding block to stop Josh Keeley from having to make a save from Arthur Read’s effort. 

Stevenage were doing well in the game, and after Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had blocked Arthur Read’s effort, Dean Campbell’s deflected effort on the edge of the Spurs penalty area was saved by Josh Keeley. First year scholar Damola Ajayi replaced Jamie Donley late on in the game, before Nile John was shown a second yellow card after making a challenge. Roshaun Mathurin replaced Yago Santiago for the final minutes of the game, before the referee sounded his whistle for full-time. Spurs’ Under 21 side face Fulham on Saturday in the Premier League 2, in their next match. 

My Spurs player of the match – Malachi Fagan-Walcott. The 20 year old central defender had in my opinion a good game on the right side of central defence, alongside Alfie Dorrington, who also did well. Malachi Fagan-Walcott read the game well, made some good sliding challenges and blocks, and he was good on the ball. Also, Max Robson did well at right-back (this was the first time that I’d ever seen him start a game in that position), and Marqes Muir did well at left-back. In the forward areas of the pitch, I was impressed with Yago Santiago, and his movement off the ball. Also, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster made a good impression on the game, after being substituted on during the second half.

Spurs Under 21’s versus Stevenage: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 21 side face League Two side Stevenage on Tuesday evening, at the Lamex Stadium. This fixture is a Papa Johns Trophy group-stage fixture, and it is both Spurs’ and Stevenage’s final group-stage fixture in the competition, this season. Spurs are bottom of the group, with one point after two games played (they mathematically can’t progress to the next round of the competition), while Stevenage are in top place with six points, after two matches. Steve Evans’ side have started the 2022/23 season really well. Stevenage are currently in first place in the League Two standings, after picking up 32 points from 14 league matches, and they are in really good form this season. This will be a really difficult game for Spurs, but it will be a really good experience for Wayne Burnett’s side. Spurs’ Under 21 side lost 4-1 to Wolves in the Premier League 2 on Saturday, but they will be hoping to get a good result against Stevenage. I will be in attendance at the game tomorrow. And I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Keeley, Cesay, Dorrington, Muir, Craig (c), Lyons-Foster, White, Mundle, Donley, Santiago, Robson.

Subs from: Maguire, Fagan-Walcott, McKnight, Abbott, John, Mathurin, Lankshear.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 4-3 (2021).

My score prediction: 2-2.

My one to watch: Luke Norris (29). With four goals from 13 League Two appearances this season, experienced forward Luke Norris will be a player who the Spurs defenders will have to watch closely on Tuesday evening, if he is involved in the match.

Some notes on Spurs Under 21’s goalkeeper Josh Keeley and his impressive start to the 2022/23 season:

19 year old goalkeeper Josh Keeley joined Spurs from League of Ireland side St Patrick’s Athletic during the summer, and the Republic of Ireland youth international who is from Dunboyne, in County Meath, was recently called-up to the Republic of Ireland Under 21 side for the first time. However, Josh has in my opinion done really well since he joined Spurs, and in all seven matches that he has been involved in for the Spurs Under 21 side (including pre-season matches) he has impressed, and made some really good decisions and saves in those matches. From his debut against Bromley in a pre-season friendly, I noticed just how confident Josh Keeley was in his decision making, and also with the ball at his feet, and he kept a clean-sheet in that match. The goalkeeper has kept two clean-sheets from five competitive matches for the Spurs Under 21 side, so far this season.

With good and impressive distribution, Josh is so quick off of his line and out of his penalty area to clear the ball. And he is very good at doing this. He did well at the pre-season Tournoi Européen, in France, and after making some impressive saves on his Premier League 2 debut against Leicester City in August, Keeley impressed once again, in his next Premier League 2 match, against Everton. A game that I thought he was the Spurs Under 21’s best player in. Always alert inside his penalty area, the brother of Ballymena United player Conor Keeley, traveled with the Spurs first team to South Korea in pre-season for two friendly matches in July. However, in the Premier League 2 fixture with Everton, which Spurs lost 2-0, Josh Keeley made some very good saves to keep Spurs in the game.

 A commanding goalkeeper from set-pieces, Keeley had an excellent game against Wycombe Wanderers in a Papa Johns Trophy group-stage fixture, earlier this season. Making a number of impressive and very important saves during the match, as he helped Spurs to keep a clean-sheet in a 0-0 draw, in normal time. Although it’s still very early days in his career at Spurs, Josh has so far done really well in all of the games that he has been involved in with the Spurs Under 21 side, and not just in how good his shot-stopping has been, but also in his all-round game, and overall reading of the game. I would like to wish Josh all the very best of luck for the rest of the season. 

Spurs Under 21’s versus Wolverhampton Wanderers: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 21 side were unlucky not to win against Arsenal at Hotspur Way, last Saturday in a North London Derby Premier League 2 fixture, but in the end it ended in a 0-0 draw, despite a good performance in the second half from Spurs. On this Saturday morning (the game starts at 11:00am), Spurs’ Under 21 side face Wolverhampton Wanderers, at AFC Telford United’s New Bucks Head ground. Wolves won 3-0 against Spurs’ Under 18 side in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup, last season. A number of players from that Wolves side have stepped up to the Wolves Under 21 side this season. The last time these two sides met in the Premier League 2 was during the 2019/20 season. Troy Parrott really helped Spurs to get the win, in that game. 

Wolves are a good side, and so far in the league this season they have picked up eight points from eight matches. Defender Dexter Lembikisa really impressed in the FA Youth Cup game against Spurs last season, and forwards Tyler Roberts and Lee Harkin will also be players that Spurs will have to watch on Saturday. I unfortunately can’t make the game on Saturday, but I would like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Keeley, McKnight, Muir, Fagan-Walcott, Craig, Lyons-Foster, John (c), Robson, Devine, Mundle, Santiago. 

Subs from: Maguire, Dorrington, Abbott, Mathurin, Williams.

Injured/unavailable: Kallum Cesay (suspended), Jamie Donley (suspended).

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 3-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Dexter Lembikisa (18). The Wolves player really impressed me last season, in the FA Youth Cup fifth round tie, which Wolves won 3-0. The left-back is very good going forward with the ball, but he is also good defensively, as well.