My interview with former Spurs player Ally Dick:

My interview with former Spurs player Ally Dick:

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Ally Dick is a name in which Spurs supporters will remember fondly, the Scottish former professional footballer who was and still is the youngster ever Spurs player to play in a league game, featured on 17 occasions for Spurs scoring two goals. Dick would go onto have a fascinating career, linking up with Johan Cruyff’s Ajax before playing football in Australia for Heidelberg United. Alistair’s story is a fascinating one and I was privileged enough to get to interview the former Tottenham man talk about his time at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ in the early 1980’s.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Ally: My earliest footballing memory I had would of been when I was on holiday with my mum and dad in Mallorca when I was about 11. And I was playing keepy uppies with a wee plastic ball on my own and this guy was watching me. As I went back to my mum and dad, he came up to them and he said I’ve been watching your wee son and he’s going to be a football player. He’s got one of the best touches ever. And although I can’t remember who he was, he was a professional footballer player who I think played for Stoke but I can’t remember his name. That was the first time that it was ever brought to my attention that I was decent at football.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Ally: Ever since I was 14 I used to come down in the school holidays and play with the Tottenham youth team and normally be under an assumed name as you weren’t allowed to play if you were Scottish and under age. I would maybe play half a game with the youth team so I got to know the boys pretty well. So maybe once or twice a year during the school holidays I’d go down to Tottenham to train with them for a couple of days. One of the strongest memories I have was just before the 1981 FA cup final when they (Spurs) flew me my father and my brother down to the game against Manchester City which was 1-1. And in the evening we had tickets for the big fancy celebration banquet which was held at the Hilton hotel in Park Lane but obviously the game went onto a replay so the celebration turned into a muted celebration but I can remember that very well and I was only 15 at the time. I can also remember being sat down next to a guy called Danny Blanchflower so I was only 15 not really knowing who Danny Blanchflower was at the time but I was sat down next to him, and he spoke to me for 20 minutes and I remember that pretty well. So that Spurs and Man City game was one of my first Spurs games so that was a great way to start.

How did you come about joining the club?

Ally: Up here in Scotland I was pretty much the most sought after player, I was doing well with my local club and my school team and the Scotland youth team, so there was plenty of people after me. However, the thing I done which really set me apart was that I never signed an S form because my youth team manager told me that it didn’t mean anything and he was 100% right. I used to train with Celtic on a Tuesday, Hibs on a Thursday and on the weekend I’d fly down to Tottenham to play with their youth team. And then the following week I’d fly down to Aston Villa to play with their youth team and train with the squad, the following week I’d then go to Man City and train with their squad and they’d take me out and wine and dine me, so I had the best of both worlds. However, when I turned 15 which was the clincher I played in a Scotland schoolboys international at Wembley where Scotland beat England 5-4 and we had Paul McStay and John Robertson and Paul Ryder who scored a hat trick, and that was one of the most famous schoolboy internationals ever and it was live on tv with a 70,000 crowd and as I say was only just turned 15. I played really well and scored a goal but when they were talking about all the English players on that field, they’d signed with West Ham and Swindon and this club and that club while all the Scotland guys were signed with Celtic while Ally Dick was unattached and that was through choice. After that game the phone rang off the hook, honestly I was getting four of five calls a day from clubs asking me to train with them. 

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Ally: I enjoyed it but I was only a kid, I was only 16 and if you look into players who are breaking into any first team now I’d been their since I was 14 and I was only just turned 21 when I left, I was still a young guy. I was lucky to play the games that I had played when I was such a young guy and to this day I’m still the youngest person ever to start a game in a league game for Spurs. John Bostock came on as a sub in a European game and beat my record by about five days but it was easier then to get games for the first team. It was a very homely club, very close knit and it was all good. 

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?

Ally: I was always a Celtic supporter so when I was growing up I used to watch Celtic play as a youngster, and Kenny Dalglish was the main man which was kind of funny because my second game that I played with Tottenham (I was only 17) was against Liverpool. And Dalglish was playing along with Souness and Hansen who were all from my area, and to think only a couple of years before that I was going to watch them play and two years later as a 17 year old I was playing against them.

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Ally: When I first arrived at Tottenham I was very much an out and out left sided midfield player. In my first season at Spurs I went from scoring 40 goals a season to ten goals a season because I was playing with much better guys.

You made your Spurs debut on the 20th of February 1982 in a 2-0 win over Manchester City. Could you talk me through your memories of that day and how it came about?

Ally: I was still living in digs in Edmonton at the time and on a Friday morning I thought it would be a usual weekend, maybe playing with the youth team or maybe play with the reserve team. That morning my landlady came up to me as I sat down for breakfast and she said look at this and it was a newspaper saying youngster makes his debut for Tottenham, and I thought that can’t be true! And then I went into training that day and on a Friday we always had an eleven v eleven and it was the first team practicing their free kicks and their corners for the next day and right enough I was in the first team that day and I was fine about it. However, I remember on the day of the game I went out for a warmup and Stevie Perryman took me aside and took me out for a wee warm up and so we kicked a ball at each other, but my feet felt like two big marshmallows, the ball felt like a ping pong ball and I could hardly hit it. However, as soon as the game started I was fine and I felt right at home and the game seemed to whiz by very quickly and it was actually easier than playing with the reserves because you were playing with better players. So I enjoyed it and I wasn’t too nervous either, but my biggest memory was with me and Stevie Perryman before the game.

Who were you biggest influences at Spurs?

Ally: When I first went there the youth team manager was Robbie Stepney and he was one of the main guys who had brought me down from Scotland. He looked after me and kept in touch with my family and I always liked to do well for Robbie because he was probably the closest to me when it came to the coaches. I also got on well with Keith Burkinshaw who would always give me opportunities with the first team even when I wasn’t playing that great, but when it came to the players Stevie Perryman would always have time for you and he’d give you little bits of information to take into the next game which would stick with you.

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Ally: At the time probably it would be Tony Galvin who was playing in the position that I hoped to break into and things Tony was good at, I wasn’t too great at. Tony used to work very hard and he used to track back very well and he was a good tackler which were all things that I wasn’t. I was still slight of build and I wasn’t as fit as these guys so I had to do what Tony did. 

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Ally: Obviously my debut was very memorable but at the time I don’t think I realised that I was the youngest ever person to play for Spurs, because there was no internet or facts or figures flying about in those days and I can’t actually remember when I found out. I also remember in the youth team we had a lot of international tournaments where we’d go out to places like Switzerland and play a tournament and spend a week away with the guys. And I’ll always remember those weeks because they were such a laugh! 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Ally: If I think about it now it has to be making my debut as a 16 year old kid for a club like Tottenham Hotspur because that doesn’t happen every day. Also the game at Wembley as a schoolboy in front of 70,000 people was a really strong memory, and I played really well. To this day I still bump into people and they remember that game which for a schoolboy game is very unusual. Also playing in the UEFA cup final at White Hart Lane was also a great thing. 

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with? 

Ally: There’s a couple! If I had to pick a midfield player I’d say Glen Hoddle every day of the week and to play and train with him every day was a pleasure. He was such nice a guy. The first game I played with Ajax I played with Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman but of that lot Marco Van Basten was the standout player and he was also a nice guy. So Glen Hoddle and Marco Van Basten are the two stand outs.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham youth team?

Ally: The things I remember most about that was the trips that we used to have,  I can remember going to Switzerland one time and another place which I can’t remember where but you always got to play against teams from Holland, Germany and Italy. I used to enjoy playing against foreign opposition more than domestic teams. We were given a lot of freedom when we went abroad and we all used to have a laugh. I never actually played that many games with the youth team at Spurs because I was put in the reserves straight away, so what I would do I’d play half a game for the youth team in the morning and then I’d change and go and play for the reserves who were kicking off at 3pm, so I’d double up. I can remember Ron Henry who was the manager of the youth team the first year that I was there and he was a very funny man. I think when I first went there I wasn’t quite sure who he was and I didn’t realise that he was a famous old Tottenham player, but he liked me and I’ll always remember his funny team talks. So they are probably my biggest memories.

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Ally: I remember that I had not that long signed a new contract (I was only about 19) and Keith Burkinshaw had just left the club so I knew that it was going to be a little bit more difficult for me without Keith there because as I’ve said Keith was very good to me. He’d give me a lot of chances even when I probably didn’t deserve them, so I knew that it would be a bit more difficult without him. However, I can remember waking up one Sunday morning in Enfield and the back pages of the newspaper read that Spurs were going to sign Chris Waddle for a couple of million of pounds. As a kid at Tottenham you knew that regardless whether you played well players like Waddle were going to be playing in front of you, so I knew that my chances were getting tougher and tougher. Rather than being one of two guys who might have got a chance, I was going backwards and I was now the third or fourth choice. However, I was still only 19 and there weren’t many 19 year olds at that time who were playing in first teams but it was kind of the start of the end for me at Spurs because I knew that I wasn’t going to play much with Chris Waddle there. So about a year and a half later things hadn’t quite planned out how I’d hoped they would and so I left the club. I can remember then getting a phone call from Graeme Souness who was still playing at the time for Sampdoria and he said to me that a mate of his had just become the manager of Glasgow Rangers and he asked if I would be interested in signing with Rangers. I’m a catholic and up until that point Rangers had never ever signed a catholic and I told him that. I said to him do you know what school I went to? Anyway he explained to me that he was going to come to Rangers and change all the policy and he said he didn’t care about all of that. So I said that I didn’t care about all that either and that I’d sign with any club that was right with me. However, the newspapers managed to get hold of the story and it was a big thing up in Scotland and it all got a little bit too hot to handle and they phoned me back to say we’re going to leave it right now because it’s got a bit too political. And then about two days after that I got a phone call from Johan Cruyff which you don’t get everyday. At first I thought it was my mate winding me up. It was only later that I found at that Ajax had tried to sign Davey Cooper from Rangers but they didn’t want to sell.

Ajax then wanted to sign somebody who was very similar and played in the same position and it was Rangers who actually recommended me. I was invited to Amsterdam by Johan and I played in a couple of amateur friendly matches in Holland and my first game there was with Frank Rijkaard, Ronald Koeman and Marco Van Basten, so it was a very good team. I played really well and after a couple of days I was asked by Johan to sign for Ajax so it kind of happened very quickly and right away I was in the first team squad. I went from training once a day with Tottenham to three times a day with Ajax so I got very very fit. Soon into it however, in a game against Olympiakos I did my cruciate ligaments!  I was never the same after that.

Who was the toughest player that you ever came up against?

Ally: I used to hate playing against Graham Roberts in training because he was very tough. He was also great at tackling as well! So he’s the toughest player that I can remember.

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

When I was young the players I was close to were Allan Cockram, Mark Bowen and Micky McCabe. 

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Ally: Soak up every piece of information. If I had my time again I’d go up and ask people things and I would try and retain it because things just whiz past you. So my advice would be to try and learn as much as you can off of everybody. Also you should never give up. 

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Ally: They will always be my favourite club because they were my first club and I was going there for seven years even though I was only signed there for five. Tottenham is and always will be my team.

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Spurs XI 2-2 Ebbsfleet United: (match report)

Spurs XI 2-2 Ebbsfleet United: (match report)

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Our development side returned to action after a summer break when they took on National League side Ebbsfleet United in their first friendly of pre-season, on Saturday afternoon. Wayne Burnett’s side competed well on a warm summers day in County Kent, and they did well against a very physical Ebbsfleet side. It was a close end to end game for large periods of the match although the first half was tough for Spurs, a number of second half changes made the game a lot more even. In particular midfielders Paris Maghoma and Armando Shashoua helped to energise the Tottenham midfield and move the ball about a lot quicker. The game was started well by the home side and after threatening the Spurs defence during the early stages of the game, the ‘ Fleet ‘ took the lead through towering centre half Ayo Obileye from a corner kick in the 15th minute of the game. Ebbsfleet continued to test the Spurs defence for the remainder of the first half but they were unable to extend their lead before halftime. Spurs started the second half well and a rather comical own goal from Ebbsfleet’s James Grimes put them level at the beginning of the half. However, an absolute pile-driver from Ebbsfleet’s Aswad Thomas saw the ‘ Fleet ‘ regain their lead less than a minute later. Spurs improved considerably during the second half and the game became a very even one, with chances aplenty at both ends of the pitch. Wayne Burnett’s side pushed for an equaliser and they finally got it in the 83rd minute of time through Elliot Thorpe. Spurs came close to finding dramatic a later winner through Paris Maghoma however, in the end both sides had to settle for a draw in what was a highly competitive pre-season friendly. Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday afternoon. In goal was trialist and former Southend United goalkeeper Edward Smith. A back four of Jubril Okedina, Maxwell Statham, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Tariq Hinds and captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster teamed up in central midfield, while Dilan Markanday and Shilow Tracey operated out on the flanks either side of CAM Tashan Oakley-Boothe. 18 year old centre forward Rodel Richards led the line for Spurs.

Spurs got the game underway at the Kuflink Stadium but it was Ebbsfleet who managed the first goal attempt of the game. The ‘ Fleet’s ‘ centre forward Gozie Ugwu forced an early albeit comfortable save out of Edward Smith with a speculative effort on the turn from about 20 yards out from goal. A mix up between Maxwell Statham and Jonathan Dinzeyi on the edge of the Spurs box shortly afterwards allowed Ugwu the space and time to test Smith however, he fired the ball over the goalkeepers crossbar. Ebbsfleet continued their strong start to the game after Myles Weston robbed Dennis Cirkin of the ball down the right flank but his resulting whipped cross was cleared away by Maxwell Statham in the Spurs box. Ebbsfleet were seeing a lot more of the ball during the early periods of the game. Ayo Obileye fired an effort wide of the Spurs goal from long range before a slip from Jonathan Dinzeyi on the edge of the Spurs box allowed Myles Weston to shoot. The Antigua and Barbuda internationals effort was parried by Smith before he smothered the ball. A couple of moments later makeshift central midfielder Tariq Hinds lost the ball to Alex Lawless who surged forward down the right side of the Spurs penalty area before dragging an effort across the face of the Spurs goal courtesy of a vital touch from Smith who then did well to hold Lawrie Wilson’s cross. At the other end of the pitch Dilan Markanday had an effort on goal deflected wide by James Grimes, after he had latched onto an excellent cross field pass from Lyons-Foster. Spurs were now enjoying a decent spell of possession in the game. Some good pressing from Shilow Tracey saw him come close to robbing Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore of the ball inside his own penalty area but the goalkeeper managed to clear the ball in time. Then in the 15th minute of the game the home side took the lead through Ayo Obileye after the central defender connected with an Ebbsfleet trialist’s corner kick. Smith was hesitant to try and claim the ball and Obileye powered an unstoppable header past the Spurs goalkeeper and into the middle of the goal, despite the best efforts of Lyons-Foster to prevent it on the line, 0-1.

Shortly after the restart Maxwell Statham blocked a shot from Gozie Ugwu inside the Spurs box. After Myles Weston had slipped the ball into the feet of an Ebbsfleet trialist (number 18) down the right side of the Spurs box, he fired an effort wide of Smith’s goal. Shortly afterwards Gozie Ugwu managed to find trialist A in the Spurs box, but the alert Edward Smith rushed out to make an important save. Shilow Tracey then went on an excellent galavanting run down the left flank before firing the ball into Nathan Ashmore’s side netting after entering the Ebbsfleet box. A good move from the ‘ Fleet ‘ at the opposite end of the pitch saw Weston pass the ball to Wilson, he gave the ball to trialist A but his shot was blocked by Jubril Okedina inside the Spurs box. Jonathan Dinzeyi cleared trialist A’s resulting corner kick. Another Ebbsfleet attack, this time resulted in Lawrie Wilson’s cross being headed back across the Spurs goal by trialist A for Gozie Ugwu in the middle of the Spurs box, but he headed the ball over Edward Smith’s crossbar. Dennis Cirkin did well to clear Aswad Thomas’ cross before Jonathan Dinzeyi glanced Tashan Oakley-Boothe’s cross wide of the Ebbsfleet goal. Then at the opposite end of the pitch Smith was called into action to catch a whipped cross from trialist A. After Jubril Okedina conceded a free kick out on the left flank, trialist A’s pacy free kick was punched away well by Smith. Spurs continued to try and see more of the ball. After receiving Jonathan Dinzeyi’s pass, Rodel Richards sublimely turned Ebbsfleet captain Jack King before testing Nathan Ashmore with a low effort which the ‘ Fleet ‘ goalkeeper dealt with relatively comfortably. Tariq Hinds then tested Ashmore long from range. Ebbsfleet then attacked Spurs. After Gozie Ugwu darted into the Spurs box he had a shot blocked by Dinzeyi, a couple of moments before Lyons-Foster cleared a cross from Myles Weston. Gozie Ugwu then headed trialist B’s cross late wide of Edward Smith’s goal in what turned out to be the final piece of action from what had been a lively first half of football.

Spurs made a number of changes at halftime as Wayne Burnett brought on Paris Maghoma, Armando Shashoua, Kazaiah Sterling and Rayan Clarke. Ebbsfleet got the half underway and it got off to the best possible start for Spurs who drew level less than three minutes in. After being put under pressure by the tigerish Armando Shashoua, Ebbsfleet defender James Grimes turned before passing the ball back to Nathan Ashmore. However, his pass had far too much pace on it, and it ended up rolling past the helpless Ashmore and into the back of the Ebbsfleet goal, 1-1. However, the home side regained their lead less than one minute later through Aswad Thomas. After the left back powered an unstoppable effort past the helpless Edward Smith from 25 yards out and into the top right hand corner of the goal. Spurs tried to respond, the lively Rayan Clarke tried to thread a pass through to Kazaiah Sterling inside the Ebbsfleet box but the Spurs striker slipped at the vital moment and Nathan Ashmore was able to gather the ball. A good passing move from Spurs resulted in Cirkin giving the ball to Maghoma out on the left flank. He passed it to Sterling in the middle of the Ebbsfleet box and the 20 year olds resulting effort appeared to strike the arm of James Grimes. However, the referee Alan Dale didn’t spot anything wrong and Dennis Cirkin ended up volleying the loose ball wide of Nathan Ashmore’s goal. A couple of minutes later Paris Maghoma connected with a cross from Shilow Tracey inside the Ebbsfleet box before shooting the ball over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar on the half volley. Kazaiah Sterling dragged a shot wide of goal a couple of minutes later from long range before Rayan Clarke came close to finding a leveller. After receiving Paris Maghoma’s pass on the edge of the Ebbsfleet penalty area Clarke drilled a low effort narrowly wide of Ashmore’s right hand post. Spurs were now seeing a lot more of the ball and Wayne Burnett’s side were growing in confidence. The ever involved Paris Maghoma sent a powerful dipping effort narrowly over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar before an Ebbsfleet trialist tested Edward Smith after he had gone down the left side of the Spurs penalty area, before Myles Weston forced a save out of the 23 year old from the edge of the box.

Spurs made a triple substitution when Wayne Burnett brought on Jamie Reynolds, Elliot Thorpe and goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi. Myles Weston’s cross managed to pick out number 17 in the Spurs box but his resulting header was cleared on the line by Jubril Okedina. Spurs then attacked the Ebbsfleet defence, Sterling brought the ball forward well before shifting it out to Clarke on the right wing. Instead of shooting, the Spurs winger whipped the ball across the face of Nathan Ashmore’s goal. An intelligent piece of play from Maghoma shortly afterwards saw him spot the good run of Armando Shashoua into the Ebbsfleet penalty area. Maghoma picked out Shashoua with a nice lofted pass, but the Tottenham midfielder who was at full stretch could only volley the ball over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar. A dangerous cross from Rayan Clarke a couple of moments later was cleared away by James Grimes, as Burnett’s side continued to push for an equaliser. A menacing cross from number 17 at the other end of the pitch was spilt by Oluwayemi before being headed over the crossbar by Tahjae Anderson. Spurs managed to draw level for the second time in the game on 83 minutes through substitute Elliot Thorpe. A good attacking move resulted in Rayan Clarke passing the ball to Oakley-Boothe down the right flank. Oakley-Boothe surged forward into the Ebbsfleet penalty area before squaring the ball for Elliot Thorpe who had made a run into the middle of the box. And the Wales under 19 international managed to turn Oakley-Boothe’s pass into the back of the net despite the best efforts of Ebbsfleet defender James Grimes on the line. The Ebbsfleet players had tired and Spurs’ good high energy levels were getting the better of them. Kazaiah Sterling fired an effort wide from distance before Jubril Okedina headed behind a potentially dangerous cross from number 17. Spurs came desperately close to netting a dramatic late winner in second half stoppage time after Kazaiah Sterling managed to latch onto a badly misjudged back pass from James Grimes to Ebbsfleet’s substitute goalkeeper Harry Palmer. Sterling shot early but it was saved by the chest of Palmer. The ball then ran out to Maghoma whose subsequent curling effort from over 30 yards out from goal, squirmed a fraction wide of the mark.

It was a very competitive friendly and it was a good test for Wayne Burnett’s young side who managed to give a good account of themselves against a very physical Ebbsfleet side. Next Saturday Burnett’s side will take on National league south side Dulwich Hamlet in their second friendly of pre-season. 

Player reviews: 

  • Edward Smith: The trialist and former Southend United goalkeeper (23) made six saves in total in what was an impressive performance from him. Smith who has formerly represented England at youth level was good at dealing with crosses and his distribution was also good. Although he could have done slightly better to prevent Ebbsfleet’s opening goal Smith made a number of very smart stops and I was impressed with how he played.
  • Jubril Okedina: A player who I thought had a very solid game both at RB and at RCB during the second half. Okedina was good in the air (he made an important clearance on the line) and he was effective in the way in which he protected the right flank. However, I thought that after transitioning to RCB he looked a lot more comfortable, and he made some important defensive interventions in that position. 
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: It was a good all round performance from the 19 year old at LCB. Dinzeyi looked composed in defence and he wasn’t bullied by Ebbsfleet’s physical centre forward Gozie Ugwu. Dinzeyi made a number of important interceptions and blocks throughout the game, and he was also strong in the air. 
  • Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old completed the the first half of yesterday’s 2-2 draw where he operated at RCB. Statham teamed up well with Dinzeyi in defence and he made a number of good headed clearances. Statham read the game well and like Dinzeyi he wasn’t fazed by physical Ebbsfleet centre forward Gozie Ugwu.
  • Dennis Cirkin: It was a solid showing at left back from young Dennis Cirkin (17) who dealt well with the pacy and experienced Ebbsfleet winger Myles Weston. Cirkin went on some good attacking forays and he also managed to defend tightly during his 68 minutes on the pitch. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Spurs captain completed the first half of yesterday’s match at CDM. Lyons-Foster did a sterling job alongside the energetic Tariq Hinds and he recycled possession well. He also made some nice forward passes, and he read the game to great effect and made some rather timely interceptions. Hopefully Lyons-Foster will play the whole of next Saturday’s game against Dulwich Hamlet.
  • Tariq Hinds: It was a very tidy performance from the energetic Tariq Hinds (19) in central midfield during the first half. Constantly on the move, Hinds was a real force to be reckoned with in central midfield which he patrolled around well. Hinds broke up play successfully and he also went on some nice surging forward runs. Furthermore, after reverting to RB for the second half he put in another very solid performance.
  • Dilan Markanday: The 17 year old put in a decent first half performance out on the right wing. Markanday managed one goal attempt and he did look tidy whenever he received the ball. 
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Impressing both as a CAM and as a CM Oakley-Boothe had a really positive influence on the game. Apart from setting up Elliot Thorpe’s second half goal, the 19 year old who has been linked with a loan move to Swansea City was, like Hinds a real force in central midfield, he used the ball well and he also moved about the park with real purpose. In addition Oakley-Boothe managed to get himself into some good goal scoring positions.
  • Shilow Tracey: Operating both on the right wing and the left wing, I thought that Tracey had a good game against his former club. The 21 year old went on a couple of good galavanting runs down the flanks, and he constantly made himself available to receive the ball. There was a lot of purposefulness about Tracey’s performance. 
  • Rodel Richards: I was really impressed with Rodel Richards’ first half performance as a number nine. The 19 year old led the line well and he worked tremendously hard to try and impact the game. Richards would often come deep to receive the ball and with his tricky and quick feet he did caused the Ebbsfleet players problems during his time on the field.
  • Paris Maghoma: The 18 year old helped to change the game in Spurs’ favour after he entered the field at halftime. Maghoma put in an industrious performance as a CAM, making some really intelligent passes and runs towards the danger zone. The energetic Maghoma came close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions yesterday. And I really liked how he linked up with central midfielder Armando Shashoua. The 18 year old was one of Spurs’ main danger men during the second half. 
  • Armando Shashoua: My man of the match, see below.
  • Rayan Clarke: I was impressed with the second half substitutes directness and skill yesterday. He also came close to finding the back of the net on one occasion, and he was involved in the build up to Elliot Thorpe’s late goal. 
  • Kazaiah Sterling: The 20 year old led the line well during the second half and he made himself a handful. Sterling carried the ball well, made some intelligent forward runs and also linked up well with the wide men. 
  • Elliot Thorpe: It was an impressive cameo performance from the Wales under 19 international who operated out on the left wing. Thorpe made a good, intelligent run and he took his late goal well. 
  • Jamie Reynolds: The Spurs trialist who was released by the club last month, put in a commendable performance at left back during the latter stages of Saturday’s game. Reynolds looked very solid at left back during his time on the pitch. 
  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The substitute goalkeeper didn’t have to make a single save during his short time on the pitch.

My man of the match: After coming on at halftime 18 year old Armando Shashoua helped to energise the Tottenham midfield with his sharp movement, low centre of gravity and quick feet, and it helped to change the game. Shashoua’s darting forward runs and link up play with the forwards made him difficult to defend against. That along with his clever one and two touch football made him a real threat going forwards. Shashoua’s aggressive pressing led to James Grimes’ own goal at the start of the second half. Overall it was a very positive day for the young midfielder who certainly didn’t let the physical Ebbsfleet players bully him. He is such an intelligent player who has such a great understanding of the game.

Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore (Palmer 77), King (c), Thomas (Trialist 71), Lawless, Obileye (Dainkeh 52), Grimes, Weston, Ugwu (Anderson 77), Wilson, Trialist (Trialist 71), Trialist.

Spurs: Smith (Tr) (Oluwayemi 68), Okedina, Cirkin (Thorpe 68), Lyons-Foster (c) (A Shashoua 46), Statham (R Clarke 46), Dinzeyi, Markanday (Maghoma 46), Hinds, Richards (Sterling 46), Oakley-Boothe, Tracey (Reynolds (Tr) 68).

Goals: Ebbsfleet – Obileye 15, Thomas 48; Spurs – Grimes (OG) 47, Thorpe 83.

Referee: Alan Dale.

Venue: Kufflink Stadium, Ebbsfleet.

Spurs XI versus Ebbsfleet United: (match preview)

Spurs XI versus Ebbsfleet United: (match preview)

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Our development sides first game of the 2019/20 pre-season takes place tomorrow afternoon at the Kuflink Stadium, when Wayne Burnett’s team take on National League side and former nursery club Ebbsfleet United. A Spurs XI as it has been described in the run up to the game, will be taking on the Kent based club for the third time in recent years, the previous two friendlies being part of the transfer of Shilow Tracey to Spurs back in January 2016. This will be a good first test of the new season for Burnett’s young side, who could be without a number of their more experienced players due to the forthcoming ICC cup tour of the Far East. This could mean that we see a lot of first year pros and second year scholars in action tomorrow, with the likes of Troy Parrott, Anthony Georgiou and Jack Roles unlikely to play. This could however, also be seen as a trial game for those who will be looking make the cut for Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-season squad. Ebbsfleet finished in eighth place in the National League last season, just outside the play offs and Garry Hill’s side will be hoping for another strong season this campaign. A solid and experienced side, the ‘ Fleet ‘ gave us a really good game the last time these teams met back in the summer of 2017. And although they ran out deserved 3-1 winners on that day, Burnett’s side held their own, played some attractive football and they weren’t fazed by the physicality of the non league team. Tomorrow’s game will present the young Spurs lads with an important opportunity to test themselves against some fine players, while also getting the invaluable experience of playing in front of a fairly big crowd. Burnett’s side will come up against some good players tomorrow, of which include solid and experienced goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore (he played in this fixture in 2017), central defender Ayo Obileye, experienced winger Myles Weston and left back Aswad Thomas. It will be a fascinating contest tomorrow and I am intrigued to see how we will fare. Tomorrow afternoons match kicks off at 3pm and tickets will be available on the gate. My in-depth match report of the game shall be out on Sunday. Finally I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck, and I hope that they enjoy the experience.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) De Bie, Hinds, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi, Cirkin, White, Bowden (c), Markanday, Maghoma, Tracey, Sterling.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Kurylowicz, Statham, Okedina, Binks, A.Shashoua, Clarke, Pochettino, Patterson, Richards.

Injured/unavailable: J’Neil Bennett, Jeremie Mukendi.

Doubtful: Malachi Walcott, TJ Eyoma, Marcus Edwards, Samuel Shashoua, Shayon Harrison.

My score prediction: 2-2.

Previous meeting: Ebbsfleet 3-1.

My one to watch: Ebbsfleet’s experienced left winger/midfielder Myles Weston is a player who could cause the Spurs defence bother tomorrow afternoon. The Antigua and Barbuda international has good pace and skill about him and he could potentially cause problems for whoever’s playing in the right back position for Spurs. Weston (31) made 40 league appearances for the ‘ Fleet ‘ last season.

Why I’m hoping that the 2019/20 season can be Spurs youngster Anthony Georgiou’s breakthrough season at the Lilywhites:

Why I’m hoping that the 2019/20 season can be Spurs youngster Anthony Georgiou’s breakthrough season at the Lilywhites:

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Now a fully fledged member of the Cyprus national team at the age of just 22, Spurs youngster Anthony Michael Georgiou has achieved a lot in his short career. Ever since I first saw the Lewisham born winger at the Milk cup in 2012 in County Derry (Castlerock) I’ve always been a massive fan, and it is somewhat appropriate that I am currently writing this piece in the place where I first saw Anthony play all those years ago. Almost seven years on from being a member of the Spurs side which competed at that tournament, Anthony is one of the few players remaining at Spurs who competed in that competition. The Cypriot international has overcome two frustrating injuries including one which almost kept him out for the whole of the 2016/17 season. Anthony also missed the opportunity to play in an FA youth cup semifinal due to a burst appendix. A semifinal for which he helped Spurs to reach. Georgiou is a pacy wide man who is direct and forward thinking. Georgiou can also fill in at left back where he has played at on several occasions over the last couple of seasons. He is versatile and I do believe that he could go onto follow Danny Rose’s path into the first team by transitioning into a top class modern  fullback as I alluded to in great detail in a piece in which I wrote about Anthony last summer. The season just gone may not have went as smoothly or as well as the promising young winger would have liked. Carrying on from an impressive 2017/18 season which saw Anthony make his competitive first team debut for Spurs in a UEFA champions league game against APOEL Nicosia. During Georgiou’s first two games of the 2018/19 season he put in two very impressive performances at both left back and on the left wing against Liverpool and West Ham at under 23 level. However, any possible loan moves which may have been in the offing for Anthony that summer failed to come to fruition due to an injury in which the youngster picked up shortly after the Liverpool game. This frustrating injury would keep the former Watford schoolboy out until mid December. It was only then that Anthony got a good run of games under his belt for Wayne Burnett’s development side. Putting in a series of strong and typically direct Bale-esque performances out on the left flank. Anthony impressed against the likes of Wolfsburg II, Norwich City, Athletic Bilbao B and Liverpool. During the Liverpool game Anthony tore the ‘ Reds ‘ defence to shreds, and by the end of the game he had two Liverpool players man marking him.

Anthony caught the eye of Spanish side Levante who he joined on loan the following month. Although he would only play for Levante’s B team who ply their trade in the third tier of Spanish football, the loan move which was Anthony’s first, would have been an eye opener for the youngster who impressed on every occasion that I saw him play for the ‘ Granotas ‘. That’s why I was puzzled as to why he was constantly being subbed so early on in games for Luis Tevenet’s side. Georgiou returned to London before linking up with the Cyprus national team. He won two more caps for them, playing in Euro 2020 qualifiers against Scotland and Russia. During the Scotland game Anthony set up Cyprus’ only goal of the game. In the following piece I will be going into great detail on Anthony’s style of play and why I believe that the 2019/20 campaign could be his breakthrough season at Spurs. Anthony is in many ways a traditional left winger. He loves to run at defences and beat players, he is confident and direct, he takes risks but he is extremely unselfish. With blistering pace and good skill about him, Georgiou is a flair player to a certain extent. Some of his standout qualities include his extremely high work rate, and his ability to track back for the full 90 minutes of a game. He also has excellent off the ball movement and he is an intelligent player who reads the game well and has a wealth of footballing knowledge and good vision. Furthermore Georgiou is a good tackler which along with his pace makes him well suited to playing at left back. He is also good at creating space for himself and at whipping in high quality crosses. From that brief summary of Anthony’s style of play you get a feel for what type of player he is and what his qualities as a winger are. Having now mastered under 23 football Georgiou is still relatively untested at senior level. However, when I look at Spurs’ first team particularly at the depth of our squad we have very few impact players to bring off the bench in games that aren’t going our way. With the exception of both Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura, Georgiou is very much an impact player who offers pace, skill and intensity to games. He also thrives under pressure.

A championship loan this season or an EFL loan could well massively help Anthony’s development as a player. However, I’d love to see this exciting and persistent young talent get a run of games for Spurs’ first team. Having been on the previous two pre-season tours, Anthony will be hoping to feature for Mauricio Pochettino’s first team during this pre-season, with five games to look forward to. The experience of his loan to Levante as well as the invaluable experience of getting to play for the Cyprus national team will have helped Georgiou loads. There are two players who I would like to compare Georgiou to, one is of a similar age to Anthony while the other is 30 years of age. Those players are recent Manchester United signing Daniel James and Stoke City and Republic of Ireland international James McClean. James is a player who played a full season of football for the Swansea City in the Championship last season. He is a remarkably similar player to Georgiou in the sense that he is like a young Gareth Bale. Frighteningly quick, skilful and good at tracking back I believe with a full season of Championship football under his belt that Georgiou could emulate what the slightly younger Welshman has achieved. In regards to James McClean who I have previously likened Georgiou to, the Irishman is very similar to the Spurs youngster as both a left winger and as a left wing back. Georgiou and McClean are both pacy wide men who have a real talent at crossing a ball. They also have a pile-driver of a left foot and both like to test the keeper with low drilled efforts on goal. Furthermore like McClean, Anthony is defensively very well disciplined and he has a non stop high energy work rate. He is a selfless team player who is constantly looking to link up with other attacking players on the field. Drawing back to my comparisons with James McClean, in my time of watching football the pair of them are amongst the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. Georgiou is a fitness fanatic who is constantly testing himself both on and off the pitch. He is both determined and resilient, unaffected by his injury setbacks and fully focused on his future in the game.

Georgiou can be like an Aaron Lennon for Pochettino’s senior side during the dying moments of difficult games. A speedster who also has a good footballing brain, Anthony’s list of qualities are endless but it is his adaptability to games which is perhaps his best one. Whenever I have seen Georgiou slot in at left back he has done a sterling job, defensively well disciplined but also not shy to express himself down the left flank. There is a nice balance to the ever improving 22 year olds game. And it is that balance and versatility as well as a desire to make an impact on games which, will take Anthony a long, long way in the game. The youngster who was released by Watford as a schoolboy could in my opinion become a Gareth Bale like player for Pochettino’s Spurs in the future and I could really see the 2019/20 season being a breakthrough season for Georgiou at Spurs, whether that be at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ or on loan at another English club. With his blistering pace and quick feet, he has the ability to terrorise oppositions defences as he has shown on countless occasions over the last couple of seasons for our under 23’s. He also has the stamina needed to do that in the Premier League. There are few players as fast as Anthony is on Spurs’ books, he really is rapid over 100 metres and it is that type of traditional out and out winger which Spurs have lacked since the great Gareth Bale departed us back in 2013. Georgiou is a relentless presser whose hunger for work is inspiring and I would love more than anything to see him get a run of games for the Spurs first team once the new season has begun. He is a very useful young player who can be brought on as an impact player or as a defender. He is a polite young man whose on the field passion and admirable work rate is something which will appeal to Mauricio Pochettino who is a fan of the 22 year old. Anthony is a credit to Spurs and to the Cyprus national team and the exciting young winger has such a bright future for both Spurs and for his country. I look forward to hopefully seeing our number 42 back in action for the first team during pre-season and I also look forward to seeing what the 2019/20 season has in hold for him and for Spurs. He is an inspiring and tremendously talented young man who could well go onto become like a new signing for Mauricio Pochettino’s side during the 2019/20 season. 

My piece on Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – Tottenham’s classy and highly decisive young central defender:

My piece on Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – Tottenham’s classy and highly decisive young central defender: 

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In the latest of my series on some of Spurs’ most promising Academy players I will be focusing on 18 year old, ball playing centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. The Archway born defender who was seen training with the first team last month, overcame a number of frustrating injury problems during the 2018/19 season to enjoy another fine campaign for the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘. A player who I have previously written about, Lyons-Foster along with the slightly younger Luis Binks is one of the most promising young central defenders in English football at this present moment in time. For those of you who have had the pleasure of watching Brooklyn play then you will remember him for his Alderweireld-esque reading of the game, his ice cool composure in high pressure situations, and his John Stones like ability to bring the ball out from the back so effectively. Lyons-Foster has been at Spurs since he was an under 10 having previously been on Watford’s books. The second year scholar has made great strides since he signed scholarship forms back in the summer of 2017 and with the exception of a couple of unfortunate injuries the 18 year olds two years of scholarship have been highly positive on a developmental level for the defender from Islington, in North London. Not too dissimilar to a defender such as Matthijs de Ligt, Lyons-Foster plays the game as if he has been schooled at the Sportpark De Toekomst, such is the way in which he operates as a ball playing centre half. A player who loves to make positive forward passes, Brooklyn is more than just an excellent defender who reads the game so well. He is also very creative from deep and his adventurous surging forward runs make him adept at playing at CDM which he has played at on a couple of occasions last season. The 18 year old is a very mature defender who sees the danger which is in front of him. Commanding, decisive and unfazed by bullish target men despite his slim build, as I wrote last season he is another wonderful young talent who I will be going into detail on in the following piece. Despite a couple of injury problems throughout the campaign Lyons-Foster managed to make 30 competitive appearances for Spurs across all levels last season and it has meant that he has been able to get a lot of valuable playing time under his belt.

Born in Islington North London, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster has been at Spurs since the age of nine after joining us from Watford as an under 10. Having worked his way up the ranks, Lyons-Foster has often played ahead of his age group at youth level for both club and country. The highly rated defender made his debut for our under 18’s as a schoolboy in a league game against Aston Villa during the 2016/17 season, he would go onto make an additional appearance for John McDermott’s side that season to cap off a fine campaign which had also seen him represent England at under 17 level in the annual Algarve Cup. That summer Brooklyn signed his two year apprenticeship with the ‘ Lilywhites ‘. During his first year of scholarship Lyons-Foster became a key member of our under 18’s side. Often playing at LCB the classy ball playing centre half oozed both confidence and class during the first half of the season where he was easily Scott Parker’s sides best and most influential player. A mainstay in Parker’s side, Lyons-Foster’s season was prematurely ended in the March of that season after he picked up an ankle injury in the Premier League Cup final at Chelsea’s Cobham training centre. Just before he was about to link up with the England under 18 side for international duty. During the season just gone Lyons-Foster featured prominently for our under 18’s, 19’s and 23’s and the second year scholar managed to overcome a serious of frustrating injury problems early on in the season to become an important player for all three of those teams. The North Londoner would also go onto feature in a wide variety of positions during the 2018/19 campaign of which included RB, RCB, LCB and CDM. Impressing greatly across all levels for Spurs, the second year scholar put in some fantastic defensive performances against the likes of Swansea, Barcelona and Chelsea. Consistent and excellent at playing under pressure, Lyons-Foster showed over the course of the campaign that he had improved and become more mature than the 2017/18 season, and he was unlucky not to have received an England call up. In addition to his defensive contribution last season, Lyons-Foster also chipped in with a healthy three goals and two assists.

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster is an adventurous and confident ball playing centre half who looks up to the likes of Sergio Ramos and Toby Alderweireld, is like the slightly younger Luis Binks, a fantastically well rounded centre half. The former Watford schoolboy is a very attacking defender in the sense that he loves to bring the ball out from the back and even take on opposition players in the process inside his own half. He is cool, composed and elegant in his duties, always looking up and making positive forward passes something which statistically helped our under 23’s to avoid relegation to the PL2 division two last season. Defending is all about the decisive moment for Brooklyn who, always manages to time his interceptions well. He reads the game like a seasoned pro and he manages to see and anticipate danger, often waiting until the last moment before he slides in. Such decisive interceptions and challenges saved us last season in very big games. Another one of Lyons-Foster’s finest attributes is his near impeccable positioning which he manages to maintain throughout matches. The 18 year old is also good at making blocks and he is dominant in the air, always impressing me with his lovely deft and accurate cushioned headers. Furthermore, despite his slender frame the teenager is very strong in his defending and he doesn’t let bullish target men get the better of him for strength. Once again drawing comparisons with Luis Binks who he really is similar to as a centre half, Lyons-Foster is relatively two footed and as one on one defending goes he is one of the best in the business at youth level in England. To summarise him as a player he is a wonderfully well rounded centre half who has all the raw ingredients needed to become a world class modern centre back. The Islington born defender is a remarkably assured player who is fiercely intelligent and very combative. Strong in the challenge and unafraid to make big calls in big moments in games, the 18 year old who is a fantastic tackler and reader of situations is one of the coolest young centre halves in English football as I alluded to in greater detail in a piece which I wrote on Brooklyn during the 2017/18 season.

Without waxing lyrical about the young defenders qualities, he is a player who I have always been a very big fan of for the exciting, fearless and decisive nature of his defending. Brooklyn has shown time and time again that he has mastered under 18 football, now his next step is to master under 23/reserve level football for which I don’t think he is far away from doing if his performances for Wayne Burnett’s side last season are anything to go by. The pacy centre half who trained with the Tottenham first team in the run up to last seasons UEFA Champions League final, will be hoping to impress Mauricio Pochettino when the Spurs players report back to training on the 1st of July. It would be fantastic to see Lyons-Foster get a run of games with the first team in pre-season either in the ICC cup or in the Audi cup. I cannot wait to see how this hugely promising young defender gets on next season, we truly are so lucky to have him and the likes of Luis Binks on our books. Who in my humble opinion are two of England’s finest young centre halves! 

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against UD Melilla:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against UD Melilla:

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Spurs youngster Samuel Shashoua helped Majorcan club Atlético Baleares reach the final of the promotion play offs to the La Liga 123 last weekend, when the Chelsea born winger completed 77 minutes of the ‘ Balearicos ‘ slender 1-0 win over UD Melilla in front of a bumper crowd at the Son Malferit. Samuel operated out on the left wing for what proved to be a desperately tight game of football. After tracking back well and showing good defensive discipline during the early stages of the game, Shashoua’s first involvement in the game occurred around the 15 minute mark after he received Marcos De la Espada’s pass, before embarking on a driving run through the middle of the pitch and then giving the ball to Nuha on the left wing. The Gambia international then recycled possession. A couple of minutes later Shashoua went on another good driving run through the middle of the park, from deep. As he surged forward towards the Melilla penalty area, Samuel did well to hold off Otegui before shifting the ball out to De la Espada on the left flank. Nuha Marong gave Manix Mandiola’s side the lead a couple of moments later with a composed finish past the Melilla goalkeeper Dani Barrio. Samuel continued to have a positive effect on the game and he was showing good energy out on the left flank where he was running up and down, nonstop throughout the first half. Nuha Marong attempted to play Shashoua through on goal with a clever lobbed pass however, Melilla defender Chakla managed to get in front of Samuel on the edge of the danger zone to get the ball clear. A couple of minutes later, Samuel received a pass from Rúben González around 20-25 yards out from goal, he then turned before firing an effort over Dani Barrio’s crossbar. Both Óscar Garcia and Moha Traoré came close to finding an equaliser for the visitors before halftime however, Mandiola’s tenacious side held strong and they went into the break with a slender advantage. Samuel hurt himself early on in the second half after he was caught late by Richi however, he was ok to carry on. Continuing to show good movement both inside and out on the left flank, Shashoua was constantly getting himself into good positions to receive the ball but he was also selfless in how he defended and helped out Rúben González down the left flank.

After pulling off an exquisite Marseille turn to beat Moha Traoré in the middle of the park Samuel darted forward before being dispossessed by Alfonso on the edge of the Melilla penalty area. Samuel then came close to picking out Nuha Marong with a cross deep into the oppositions danger zone before he was replaced on 77 minutes for Hugo Díaz, capping off another excellent and selfless performance from the energetic 20 year old. 

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 36

Goals: 6

Assists: 4

My interview with former Spurs player Andy Rollock:

My interview with former Spurs player Andy Rollock: 

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I caught up with former Spurs player Andy Rollock today to talk about his time as a youth and reserve team player at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ during the early 1980’s. A left sided forward, Rollock would go onto become a prolific scorer for Spurs at youth team and reserve level and he would also feature for England at schoolboy level. Andy kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at the world famous Tottenham Hotspur. 

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Andy: Probably starting about under 10’s I started playing for a team called Craig Park and then I went to play for another team about 11 or 12 in the local league. I then went to play for Eversley, managed by Don Ball who was a great influence on my football career. From there I got scouted to go to quite a few clubs, so at one point I was at Tottenham, QPR and Fulham training pretty much everyday of the week.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Andy: My earliest memory is probably training on a Tuesday and Thursday night at White Hart Lane. They had two gyms there, one was a smaller gym downstairs and the other was a big gym upstairs. You’d start off in the little gym and then once you got older and better you sort of progressed up to the top floor gym which was the bigger one. I got to join Spurs by being scouted through my Sunday club by Bill Nicholson who was the chief scout at Tottenham at the time, and he scouted me and took me to Spurs. He used to pick me up from school on a Tuesday and a Thursday and take me down to training.

What was the great Bill Nicholson like?

Andy: Bill Nicholson was unbelievable, you’d never think that he had been the manager who’d won the league and the cup for Tottenham and done the double. He was really down to earth and a really decent man and to be honest with you if it wasn’t for Bill I probably wouldn’t have gone to Spurs, but he had a lot of faith in me and made me join the club even though there were other clubs that wanted to sign me. Bill was like a father figure really and he pushed me to go to Tottenham which is where I ended up.

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Andy: I can’t say it was a bad experience because it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. There’s not many kids that get to sign for a club like Tottenham and I’d been there since I was 12 so I was lucky. 

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?

Andy: I think at Spurs I’d say Glen Hoddle because he was just an unbelievable player to watch, and to play with him was just second to none really. Also Garth Crooks was somebody who I spent quite a bit of time with and he’d give hints and tips, so I looked up to both Glen and Garth Crooks as well. 

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Andy: I was a forward and I used to play on the left wing, I was pretty quick back in the day and I always had an eye for goal, and I used to score quite a few goals. That was the only position I ever played for Tottenham.

What was it like to brush shoulders with some of the legendary players that were around at Spurs at the time?

Andy: It was an unbelievable experience, at the time you don’t realise it but as you get older and move on through the game you realise that you’ve rubbed shoulders with some of the greats, such as Glen Hoddle, Garth Crooks, Steve Archibald and Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles, two players who had just won the World Cup. However, back then they were just two players at Tottenham but when you look back now and look at the things that they’ve done in the game you think to yourself that you’ve been in the presence of two legends.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Andy: I’d say Bill Nicholson because he always had faith in me, and I’d also say youth team coach Peter Shreeves because he always used to look out for me and give me some hints and tips, and he used to try to drive me forward.

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Andy: Yeah I’d say obviously Glen Hoddle and Ricky Villa who used to play in a similar position to me. So I would watch him in training and I was lucky enough to train with him as well. I’d also say Garth Crooks as well because he was a natural finisher so as far as finishing was concerned I used to learn quite a lot from Garth, so I’d say them two. 

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Andy: I’d say probably the night they won the FA cup against Manchester City, we’d been to Wembley on the Saturday and seen them draw and then we’d seen them on the Wednesday night at Wembley, where Ricky Villa scored a wonder goal. So that was a great memory for me. Personal memory for me was coming off the subs bench against Charlton, I think there was 20 minutes to go and we were losing 2-0, and I scored a hat trick and we won the game so personally that was a good memory for me. Another one was actually training with the first team a couple of times, being on the same pitch as some of the other guys who I’d mentioned before was really special.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Andy: I’d say when I played for England schoolboys at Wembley against Germany. That game was televised and I scored a goal that day at Wembley, so for me that’s probably the greatest memory for me.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with? 

Andy: There’s been a few but I would say just for his pure goalscoring ability it was Terry Gibson. He was an absolute goal machine and I was lucky enough to play with him both in the youth team and the reserves and he was probably one of the best players I ever played with on a pitch to be honest.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham youth team?

Andy: I think the year that we got into the FA youth cup final against West Ham where we played the first leg at Upton Park and the second leg at Tottenham which we won, so I got an FA youth cup medal which was the highlight for me. And also playing at Old Trafford in the FA youth cup against Manchester United was another one and I can still remember it vividly. I’ve played at Wembley three times, but you walk out at Old Trafford and to be fair it’s just something special, it’s an unbelievable stadium. 

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites? 

Andy: Spurs offered me a contract to stay on for a year but I turned it down because I wanted a better contract. I then went to Arsenal for six months and played in their youth team and reserve team but I left them after about six months. After leaving Arsenal I went to Wolves before playing out in Finland for a year and a bit. I then went into non league football where I kind of dropped out of the professional game and I played for Enfield Town and Walthamstow Avenue and I did the non league circuit to be honest.

Who was the toughest player that you ever came up against?

Andy: I would say there’s two players, Nigel Winterburn when he was at Wimbledon and a lad called Keith Stevens who was at Millwall. They were two tough fullbacks who I didn’t get a lot of change out of!

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

Andy: I was close with Allan Cockram and we kind of went through the ranks together and it’s a shame that we lost contact. There was also another lad from Enfield called Steve Cox who I was pretty close with, we used to go to training together because we lived literally round the corner from each other,  so I would say that Allan and Steve were the two players who I was closest to at Spurs.

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Andy: I would say to them to not take it for granted and to listen to every piece of advice that they are given from coaches and senior players in the game. What got me is that I wanted it too soon and too quick, I thought that I should have been in the first team when I was competing with players who were World Cup winners!  Players should believe in their talent but they must listen to people because if you push yourself too far the chances are that you’re going to end up out of the game.

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Andy: Yeah definitely even though I’m not a Spurs supporter but I do hold the club in high esteem, and they’ll always have a piece of my heart. I’m actually proud to say that I played for Tottenham because back then they were one of the big clubs in English football and they are still a big club. So I’m extremely proud that I was able to represent the club and be a part of their history.

My interview with former Spurs player Glen Alzapiedi:

My interview with former Spurs player Glen Alzapiedi:

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In the latest in my series of interviews with former Spurs youth team players from the 1980’s I caught up with tough tackling midfielder Glen Alzapiedi, to talk about his time as a youth player at Spurs during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Alzapiedi who is now the assistant manager at St Albans, played in a richly talented Spurs youth team before going onto depart for Birmingham City and later Stevenage amongst other clubs, after doing the knowledge and becoming a London black taxi driver. Alzapieidi would also turn his hand to coaching where he coached the likes of Ware Town and Concord Rangers. I had the great pleasure of talking to Glen about his time at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ more than 40 years ago. Glen (pictured in the centre above) might just be the only ever Spurs player to wear an Arsenal shirt to training!

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Glen: The earliest memories I’ve got are getting an invite to go up to Tottenham to train. I’d been playing for Abbey youth under 12’s and Mike Varney (the Spurs physio) did a presentation evening for us and I suppose I got recommended to him, and that set the wheels in motion. So that’s how I got to train at Tottenham.

How did you come about joining the club?

Glen: Well the previous answer sort of tells that. I got the invite to go and train at Spurs and I must of impressed during the training and in the games that I played, so I got invited to train there every Tuesday and Thursday I think it was. 

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Glen: The first couple of seasons I was there I think I did quite well although I did spend practically a whole season out injured around the age of 14 going onto 15. Then the last season I was there I played a lot of football but ultimately I got released, so most of the time there was good.

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?

Glen: My favourite player was Liam Brady who was at Arsenal so there weren’t any Tottenham players I’m afraid! 

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Glen: I was a central midfield player who was very tenacious and an aggressive tackler and in all honesty that was my main strength. I was reasonably good at everything else but my outstanding strength was obviously my tackling.

What was it like to brush shoulders with some of the legendary players that were around at Spurs at the time?

Glen: I only ever had contact with first team players at Tottenham once and that was in pre-season just before I turned 16 in 1980. I went in for two or three weeks during the summer holidays and trained and I remember the warm up was with the first team players. I can remember Glen Hoddle and I can also remember Terry Naylor as well as Chris Hughton and Graham Roberts. I had contact with Roberts once or twice because I had an injury playing for my school and I was treated by Mike Varney, and Graham was getting treated at the same time as me. I can also remember Terry Yorath saying to me who are you and I replied with my name and then he said again who are you, rather flippantly for a 15 year old boy. But like I said I was an Arsenal fan so I wasn’t star struck by Tottenham players. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Glen: Well to be honest with you I thought that I was really treated well at Tottenham by the coaches there such as Robbie Stepney and Peter Shreeves. And in particular by a coach called Dave Lister who was very supportive of me during a difficult time for me, because I had real problems off the field in my personal life. However, I can’t complain about how I was treated by Tottenham.

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Glen: Only youth team players really and the players who played in the same position as me who I had contact with were Allan Cockram and Ian Crook. And I can remember Ian Crook used to play a lot of one touch football which impressed me and I tried to improve my game in that way, but they were both very technical players whereas I was a rat who got around the pitch and kicked people. I suppose in terms of who I tried to aspire to be it would have been someone who was an out and out defensive midfield player. There was no one I ever tried to model my game on, I just tried to improve my game and with all the things that were going wrong for me at the time it was difficult.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Glen: Well in terms of playing experiences I can remember playing at White Hart Lane in the league cup semi final against Swindon in the second leg. The stadium was empty but it did seem huge and I enjoyed playing there. I can also remember scoring a few goals for Tottenham such as scoring against West Ham that season in a 1-0 win, I think that George Parish was marking me on that day. Most of the time at Tottenham I enjoyed but I practically had a whole season where I was out when I needed to get treatment. And in the last season I had a strong start to the season and a poor second half to the season and ultimately I didn’t get an apprenticeship because of that. Basically what happened during my second last year of school my mum had died at the beginning of the year so by the time I got to my last year at school my life had unravelled. She had been the discipline in the family and held everything together and I subsequently became a bit of a loose cannon at school. I became ill disciplined and that carried over into my football because I became petulant and over aggressive, and although the coaches at Tottenham did their best to try and reign me in and help me, I didn’t listen to anyone at that time. And during the second half of the season things just went from week to week, worse to worse and my attitude was absolutely awful and it cost me an apprenticeship there. So it wasn’t a good time for me in my last year but I can’t blame Tottenham for any of that because they did their best for me. It was purely down to attitude and there have been better players than me who didn’t make it because of poor attitude. So it’s one of those things and I accept that, and it’s not something that I hold any grudges about. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Glen: As a coach the best moment I had was helping Concord Rangers get promoted to the National League South along with Danny Cowley (now of Lincoln), because they were such a small club. Another great moment was getting Ware Town to the first round proper of the FA Cup so that was really good as well. As a player I had a really bittersweet experience at Stevenage Borough where I helped the club get promoted to the national conference. However, I snapped my cruciate ligaments a couple of months before the end of the season and that was that really. I regret not getting the chance to play in the conference for Stevenage because by the time I’d got to my late 20’s my attitude had changed and I had become a much more effective and professional player than I had been throughout my younger years. For three years I didn’t really play because at the age of 19 when I didn’t get a contract anywhere I finished playing for three years and did the knowledge, and it was only friends dragging me back into semi professional football that got me involved and I’ve been involved ever since as a player, coach and as a manager.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with? 

Glen: When I was at Birmingham City as an apprentice I played in training games against the first team. And the first team then had Frankie Worthington and Archie Gemmill playing for them so I would have to say Archie Gemmill who I ended up cleaning his boots. He was an excellent player who really stands out as a star for me.

Did you play abroad at any youth tournaments for Spurs and if so what was that experience like for you?

Glen: No but I can remember playing against foreign teams for Spurs but I can’t remember going abroad with Tottenham. 

Who was the toughest player that you ever came up against?

Glen: In all honesty there’s two and there for totally different reasons. I played for Birmingham City’s youth team against Nottingham Forest’s youth team and their player manager at the time was a man called Liam O’Kane who was an Irish international. I was marking him and I never got a kick because he was playing one touch football all around me all day and I couldn’t get near him even though I was a 17 year old boy full of running and he was well in his 30’s. I also played against Paul Allen for Birmingham City when he was at West Ham and I had a bit of a running battle with him. But the hardest player I played against was in non league football and his name was Paul Hobbs and he played for Hemel Hempstead. He was as hard as nails and we just spent the whole game kicking lumps out of each other, but I respected him because he didn’t give me any verbal. So he was my toughest opponent.

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

Glen: Robert Brace was a friend of mine who stayed at Tottenham and got an apprenticeship for them. We were very close and I was also close with Gary Rudkin who joined us from Crystal Palace and he was my best mate but he sadly past away a long while ago, but they were the players who I was closest to.

As a coach what would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Glen: Work hard, listen to your coaches then go and work even harder!

Could you tell me about the time you wore an Arsenal shirt to training?

Glen: Well when we used to train on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the training ground behind the West stand. I can remember Ron Henry taking training once (the former left back in the double winning season) and I had an Arsenal away shirt on. Ron said to me what are you doing wearing that shirt and I said what do you mean. And he replied by saying you can’t wear this shirt here and I said I can wear it because I’m an Arsenal fan, anyway he said that I don’t think you should wear it here and I had a big smug grin on my face. However, I cannot remember Ron Henry speaking to me at all after that! 

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Glen: Like I said I enjoyed most of my time at Tottenham and the fact that I failed to progress there was down to me not them. However, I cannot say that I hold them close to my heart because I am an Arsenal fan but I do have a healthy respect for the achievements of Tottenham and how the present coach is managing them. Any team that gets to the Champions league final is a good team coached by a good manager and I acknowledge that with gritted teeth.

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My end of season player reviews of our under 18 side:

My end of season player reviews of our under 18 side:

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It is exceptionally difficult to put our under 18’s 2018/19 rollercoaster ride of a season into words. It was an incredible season for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way but for one reason or another it ended without them winning any silverware. Playing superb free flowing attacking football, with a high press and intensity about them, under the tutelage first of Matt Wells and then John McDermott and Ryan Mason were, absolutely outstanding as a team. 95% of the teams in which we played, we played them off the park. Such was our excellent fitness levels and high intensity style of play, along with the sheer fluidity of our fast attacking football. Matt Wells deserves great credit for the way in which he managed the boys before departing them in February to link up with former Spurs man Scott Parker at Fulham, before academy chief John McDermott took the reigns along with Ryan Mason for the latter parts of the season. In my eyes the wonder boys of Hotspur Way were the best team in England this season regardless of the fact that we finished four points behind Arsenal in second place in the Premier League South. Although we were ahead of Arsenal for large parts of the season it was our controversial meeting with the ‘ Gunners ‘ back in April when we lost 3-2, which effectively ended our title charge. Regardless of what went on at Arsenal’s training centre, the season as a whole has been a roaring success. And the experience for which it has provided for our young developing scholars has been invaluable. I have never seen an under 18 team as good as the class of 2018/19. They were an absolute pleasure to watch and report on. Apart from finishing in second place in the Premier League South, McDermott and Mason’s side reached the quarter finals of the Premier League Cup where they were knocked out by Derby County. They also reached the fourth round of the FA youth cup where once again they were outdone in controversial circumstances by their bitter rivals Arsenal. A number of our under 18’s also played in the UEFA youth league. We reached the last 16 of Europe’s most prestigious youth competition.

From the goalscoring exploits of Troy Parrott, to the leadership and craft of captain fantastic Armando Shashoua, to the defensive solidity of the likes of Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. The 2018/19 season is one in which I and many Spurs fans will look back on with great fondness, and from the bottom of my heart I can’t say how very proud I am of our under 18’s for all that they have achieved over the course of this long and at times gruelling season. In the following piece I will be going into great detail about each of our under 18’s players seasons. 

Goalkeepers: 

Joshua Oluwayemi: After only playing two games for our under 18’s during the 2017/18 season the following season was a breakthrough season for Oluwayemi who, made 21 appearances for our under 18’s as he enjoyed an excellent campaign for John McDermott and Ryan Mason’s side. Oluwayemi was a key player for our under 18’s and he was one of their most consistent players. The former England under 15 international who is also eligible to represent Nigeria and Grenada was, an extremely reliable presence in between the sticks and it was the sheer consistency of his performances which impressed me the most this season. An excellent shot stopper who made some absolutely outstanding reflex saves throughout the campaign, from the second year scholars 21 competitive appearances for our under 18’s he kept an impressive seven clean sheets. Oluwayemi also became somewhat of a penalty saving specialist during the 2018/19 season by keeping out an impressive five penalties last season, something which really saved us in big games. Joshua has made great strides as a player and he has become a lot well rounded as a goalkeeper. Not only is he an excellent shot stopper, despite his relatively short size for a goalkeeper Joshua was authoritative inside his box last season. Claiming almost every ball which came into his box, the 18 year old also impressed me with his distribution and calmness and composure in which he showed, when he had the ball at his feet. Some of Oluwayemi’s games of the season include our 4-0 league defeat of Leicester City in December, our 2-0 Premier League Cup defeat to Derby County where he made a string of impressive saves, a 2-0 league win over Chelsea, and our under 18’s infamous 3-2 defeat to Arsenal where he made one of the saves of the season to keep out an excellent strike from Arsenal’s Trae Coyle. Oluwayemi has enjoyed a superb season but, now one of our under 18’s most important players will have to adapt to under 23 football next season, that is something which will be a big step up for Oluwayemi as he continues to develop as a goalkeeper. 

Kacper Kurylowicz: The Luton born Polish youth international was our under 18’s second choice goalkeeper this season. Kurylowicz only made three competitive appearances for our under 18’s during the 2018/19 season but he did have an interesting season and he impressed when called upon. After spending some of the early parts of the season on loan at Barnet’s youth team, Kurylowicz who was often on the bench for our under 18’s during the first part of the season, made his competitive debut for them in a Premier League Cup group stage match against Middlesbrough around Christmas time. After making a number of impressive stops in that 2-2 draw up in County Durham, Kurylowicz would go onto make a further two competitive appearances for our under 18’s that season. One of which came as a substitute in a 5-3 league win over West Ham, and our final day 4-3 league defeat to Leicester City in late April. Very much a sweeper keeper who likes to stand on the edge of his penalty area, Kurylowicz is like Oluwayemi in the sense that he is an excellent shot stopper and good all round goalkeeper. The first year scholar also made two appearances (which he impressed in) for our under 19’s at the end of the season Terborg tournament. Next season Kurylowicz will likely be our under 18’s number one goalkeeper.

Defenders: 

Maximus Tainio: The Finland under 19 international made 14 appearances for our under 18’s during the 2018/19 campaign. Primarily featuring at right back, the son of our former player Teemu put in some sterling defensive performances in big games including against the likes of Chelsea and West Ham. The Auxerre born defender also showed improvement from last season and he impressed with his reading of games and his anticipation of danger. Tainio also made two appearances for our under 23’s and in one of those games he ended up going in goal after goalkeeper Brandon Austin had sustained an injury late on in a game, and Spurs had already used all three of their substitutions. Unfortunately after enjoying a good first half of the season Maximus missed much of the second part of the 2018/19 campaign through injury and he recently had an operation, so hopefully he’ll be fit again for the start of next season where he’ll be competing with Tariq Hinds and Jubril Okedina for a right back spot in our under 23’s. However, the versatile former HJK Helsinki schoolboy can also fill in at CDM if required. I like Tainio’s aggression and commitment on the field and I was impressed with how he played during the 2018/19 season.

Jubril Okedina: Tainio’s injury problems opened the door to the under 18 side to a player who had had his own injury problems the previous season. Centre half Jubril Okedina only made two appearances for our under 18’s during the 2017/18 season and after not starting the campaign as a regular for Matt Wells’ side, Tainio’s early injury problems meant that the RCB got given the opportunity to fill in for the Finn at right back. And Okedina did an absolutely outstanding job in Tainio’s absence, really making that right back spot his own the South London born defender made 21 competitive appearances for our under 18’s this season, most of which he played in as a right back. Okedina who is of Nigerian descent impressed greatly with his tight defending and solidity down the right flank. Good at locking in wingers and marking players out of the game. The second year scholar who also featured on one occasion for both our under 19’s and 23’s is a player who loves to be on the ball. And it is his comfortableness on the ball and his ability to turn at pace which has helped him to excel at right back for our under 18’s. The Greenwich born defender has been consistently excellent for the under 18’s this season and it has been the quality of his performances as well as the guile for which he has shown while operating at both fullback and centre half which has made him so effective. A calming presence in the side, Okedina is a very well rounded defender who has good pace and skill. However, he is a highly intelligent defender who isn’t rash in the challenge and he doesn’t panic when he is under pressure. What I like about Jubril is that he is a very skilful player who is comfortable at bringing the ball out from the back, but most of all he is an excellent defender. After enjoying a fine season on the domestic stage in his newfound position of right back. Okedina also performed well at the recent Terborg tournament in the Netherlands where he played all five games at right back. Next season Jubril will be hoping to become the first choice right back for our under 23’s however, his versatility will stand him in good stead over the course of the campaign.

Dennis Cirkin: One of our under 18’s best players this season has been Dublin born left back Dennis Cirkin. A wonderfully talented attacking fullback who loves to embark on jinking forward runs down the left flank. Cirkin was a mainstay in our under 18 side last season while in his first year of scholarship and the England under 17 international was consistently excellent for McDermott and Mason’s side. Young Dennis is a combative left back who gets up and down the flank excellently well. Cirkin is a young player who is constantly improving at left back, the former left winger was a mainstay in our title challenging under 18 side this season, and the quality of his performances have been just as good as anybody else’s. Putting in a string of superb performances against the likes of Leicester City, Fulham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona across the various age levels this campaign. Cirkin made 19 appearances for our under 18’s, four for our under 19’s and a further six for our under 23’s, he also featured at two post season tournaments (the Future Cup and the Terborg tournament) as well as being a member of the under 17 side which won the Euro Youth Cup in Germany at the beginning of the campaign. A skilful player who likes to take players on, Cirkin is also a very aggressive and tough tackling defender who is assertive and committed in his defending. Physically adept at playing under 23 football Cirkin has looked very good whenever he has made that step up this season, and the same can be said about his performances in the UEFA Youth League for our under 19’s. Cirkin has enjoyed an excellent season as a first year scholar and due to a lack of competition for the left back spot I could see him establishing himself as our under 23’s main left back for the 2019/20 season.

Malachi Walcott: A tall and skilful centre half who is excellent at making last ditch challenges and blocks. England under 17 international Malachi Walcott who featured for the Three Lions at the European under 17 championships in Ireland this year, has been an important player for our under 18’s over the course of the campaign. Walcott featured on 16 occasions for our under 18’s last season and him and Luis Binks would often form a strong partnership in central defence. Walcott also featured on two occasions for our under 23’s, and on three occasions for our under 19’s. It has been a very positive campaign for the centre half despite having a couple of injury problems throughout the season. Solid and consistent whenever he was called upon, the 17 year old first year scholar who chipped in with one goal has been an extremely reliable player for McDermott’s and Mason’s side. Making many an important block, last ditch challenge and clearance over the course of the campaign. Walcott is also very good in the air and like Lyons-Foster and Binks he manages to maintain impeccable positioning throughout games. Some of the first year scholars best game this season came against the likes of Chelsea, PSV, Crawley Town and Arsenal. Next season I would imagine that Walcott would play quite a few more games for the under 23’s. Malachi was a member of the 17 sides which competed in the Future Cup and the Euro Youth Cup.

Maxwell Statham: After enjoying an excellent pre-season with our development squad where the commanding centre half impressed greatly away in France at the annual Tournoi Europeen. However, after some injury problems early on in the campaign meant that it was hard for Statham to get himself back into our under 18 side. This meant that he had to show his versatility right from early on in the season, and for much of this campaign Statham has been playing at fullback (both right and left). However, the second year scholar slotted in seamlessly to his new positions and during his 17 appearances for the under 18’s he did a sterling job, putting in some excellent performances at both left back and right back, and the son of our former player had definitely improved from last season. One of his best performances came up against tricky Irish winger Shane Flynn when we played Leicester City in a league game back in December. On that day the aggressive Statham marked Flynn out of the game. All in all it has been a very positive season for the Southend born defender who will now be looking to break into the development side for the 2019/20 season. It is worth noting that the 18 year old did spend a short time on a youth loan at Norwich City this season. Statham completed the full 90 minutes for the ‘ Canaries ‘ under 23 side of a 4-0 PL2 defeat to Wolves back in February. 

Luis Binks: Gillingham born LCB Luis Binks enjoyed a marvellous first year of scholarship at Spurs during the 2018/19 season where he made 21 appearances for our under 18’s. Ball playing centre half Binks was one of our under 18’s most integral and consistent players and the quality of his defending in big games was unrivalled by anybody else. The son of the legendary former Chatham Town player Tom Binks, has oozed class whenever he has played for Spurs this season. Putting in match winning performances against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Fulham and Leicester City to name but a few clubs. Binks’ outstanding anticipation, reading of the game and the commanding nature of his defending has made him one of our under 18’s most important players during the title challenging season. Binks who also featured on four occasions for our under 23’s, and five for our under 19’s was at times unplayable at the back. Mature beyond his years young Binks along with Armando Shashoua and Dilan Markanday was one of our most important players. A member of the Euro youth cup winning side, Binks was a regular for England under 18’s, and he also featured for our under 19’s at the post season Terborg tournament. With a wand of a left foot and a wonderful understanding of the game, Binks’ consistent performances have greatly impressed me this season and from a physical point of view he could well establish himself as a regular for our under 23’s during the 2019/20 campaign. However, he should be very proud of all that he has achieved this season.

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Ball playing centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster overcame a number of injury problems during the first part of the season to enjoy another season of great personal development. The Islington born defender who also featured at CDM and fullback on a number of occasions throughout the season, divided his time playing under 18 and 23 football. Making 21 appearances for both our under 18’s and 19’s, Lyons-Foster also made nine appearances for our development side. The second year scholar was a highly influential player for both our under 18’s and 23’s. The rock solid centre half who chipped in with an impressive three goals and two assists is not too dissimilar to a defender such as Matthijs de Ligt, Lyons-Foster plays the game as if he has been schooled at the Sportpark De Toekomst, such is the way in which he operates as a ball playing centre half. A player who loves to make positive forward passes, Brooklyn is more than just an excellent defender who reads the game so well. He is also very creative from deep and his adventurous surging forward runs make him adept at playing at CDM. The 18 year old is a very mature defender who sees the danger which is in front of him. Commanding, decisive and unfazed by bullish target men despite his slim build, as I wrote last season he is another wonderful young talent. Despite a couple of injury problems throughout the campaign Lyons-Foster managed to make 30 competitive appearances for Spurs across all levels this season and it has meant that he has been able to get a lot of valuable playing time under his belt. Lyons-Foster played a big part in us reaching the last 16 round of the UEFA youth league and whenever he was involved for our under 23’s we were statistically a lot better as a team such is the attacking and defensive influence which Brooklyn has on games. Two performances from last season come to mind when I think of Lyons-Foster’s 2018/19 season. Those were against both West Ham and Barcelona and you can refer back to my match reports from last season to find out why. Next season I would be surprised if the highly promising centre back wasn’t a mainstay in our development squad. Look out for an in-depth piece which I am currently writing on Brooklyn. I recently named him as Spurs’ best player at this years recent Terborg tournament in the Netherlands.

Midfielders: 

Armando Shashoua: A skilful and ridiculously determined midfield craftsman whose high work rate and on the field intelligence made him our under 18’s man to go to last season. Our under 18’s captain fantastic operated at both CAM and CM during his 34 competitive appearances for our under 18’s, 19’s and 23’s during the recent season. Shashoua chipped in with an impressive seven goals and 12 assists (a great improvement from last seasons goal involvement tally of three) but they only tell half the story. Captain fantastic literally carried our under 18’s at times during the season. Demonstrating great leadership qualities, Armando was the beating heart of John McDermott’s team. Impressing with his passing ability, jinking forward runs, vision and razor sharp movement and ability to get to loose balls in and around the danger zone. Shashoua captained our side in every game that he played in apart from one (our opening day victory over Brighton) and the West Londoner did so with great aplomb on every occasion. So often the man to initiate chances and thwart dangerous attacks, Shashoua’s all round game was on completely another level this season. He could run at full pelt for 90 minutes of a game regardless of the score or how it was going and it was his sheer desire to get on the ball which impressed me so much, amongst other things. Shashoua starred in big games throughout the season and to be quite honest with you he never had a bad game. He was a constant source of encouragement on the field as he gave out instructions and barked out orders. Along with Dilan Markanday he was one of Spurs’ most fouled players last season but despite his small stature he was one of the strongest players on the ball in the team. He fought for every ball, tracked back relentlessly after him and he always made himself available to receive the ball as he constantly managed to drop into little pockets of space. Our under 18’s captain fantastic showed in his second year of scholarship that he was far, far too good for under 18 football. He had mastered every aspect of it, and his incredible footballing intelligence and guile meant that he always looked so comfortable and adept whenever he made the step up to play for our under 19’s and 23’s. It really does amaze me that neither England, Spain, Venezuela, America or Egypt haven’t called the technically gifted central midfielder up to represent their youth teams.

Harvey White: Another player who enjoyed a remarkable season was first year scholar Harvey White. The Maidstone born CDM was involved in 21 goals from 33 appearances across all levels for Spurs last season, the now England under 18 international put in many a dominant performance in central midfield for our under 18’s, 19’s and 23’s. White enjoyed an excellent first part of the season for both our under 18’s and 19’s where he was one of Matt Wells’ most creative players. During the early parts of the season White was an important part of the Spurs under 17 side which won the Euro youth cup and it was he who netted Spurs’ winning goal in the final against Anderlecht. An industrious and hardworking midfielder (formerly an AM) who would also fill in at left back throughout the campaign, White would later go onto cement his place in the development side. The 17 year old who is a set piece specialist, did an excellent job at breaking up play and recycling possession throughout the season, and the excellent passer created many good chances for the forwards in the games that he played in. The well rounded and valiant midfielder enjoyed an excellent season for his club and it was recognised by his country (England) who he won his first competitive caps for at the under 18 Slovakia Cup last month. Next season I would imagine that White would spend the vast majority of his time playing for our development side. He will also be an important player for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League. White’s performance of the season (in my opinion) came in a league game against Norwich City.

Elliot Thorpe: Welsh attacking midfielder Elliot Thorpe made 11 appearances for our under 18’s last season, most of which came during the second half of the season. CAM/CM Thorpe who is a technically gifted and skilful midfielder put in some impressive performances for our under 18’s in both the hole, and in central midfield. The Cambridgeshire born midfielder who also featured once for our development side put in his best performance of the season in our Premier League Cup game against Swansea City in November which was on his first ever competitive start for our under 18’s. Thorpe would go onto score his first goal for our under 18’s in a 4-0 home league win over Fulham. Next season the Wales under 19 international who is a wonderful passer of the ball, will be looking to break into Wayne Burnett’s development side.

Rafferty Pedder: The first year scholar made only six appearances for our under 18’s last season but the Maidstone born midfielder impressed during all six of those games. Pedder, who also featured at the Euro Youth Cup, the Terborg tournament and the Future Cup is a very technical central midfielder/number ten. Pedder is a seriously pacy player who is skilful and intelligent both in and out of possession. Furthermore, one of the youngest of our first year scholars the midfielder has good vision and a good weight of pass. Next season Pedder will be hoping to be a lot more involved with our under 18’s. Pedder chipped in with one assist last season.

Phoenix Patterson: The skilful winger started the season well and in good form, and after he put in an excellent performance against Portsmouth on his first ever start for the development side, things were looking up for Patterson. However, a fractured fibula set the former Wycombe Wanderers youth player back. And he had to wait until April before he could make his return. On his return Patterson made four appearances for our under 18’s before then going onto feature for our under 19’s out in the Netherlands at the annual Terborg tournament. The 18 year old played in a whole variety of positions this season, including CDM, CAM and out in his natural position of LW. The Scotland under 18 international made 22 competitive appearances for Spurs last season, chipping in with three goals and four assists. The second year scholars outstanding performance against Portsmouth in the Checkatrade trophy was his best of the season, and Patterson will be hoping to put in more performances like that when he represents our development side again next season. Phoenix is a sharp and pacy player who has a fantastic understanding of the game for somebody so young.

Chay Cooper: The silky attacking midfielder/left winger made ten appearances for our under 18’s last season while in his first year of scholarship with the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘. The former Southend United schoolboy put in some bright performances last season, and in a variety of positions. Cooper impressed at CM, CAM and in particular out on the left wing where his good spurts of pace, first touch and lovely skill caused problems for teams. Since making his competitive debut for our under 18’s in a Premier League Cup game against Wolves in September, Cooper chipped in with three assists. Next season the attacking midfielder will likely get a lot more playing time for our under 18’s and he will hopefully feature for our under 19’s in Europe. It is worth noting that Cooper scored a stunning goal in the final of this seasons Euro Youth Cup in Germany against Anderlecht, back in the early stages of the season. I am a big fan of the Harlow born player and I have been impressed whenever I have seen him play. 

Forwards: 

Maurizio Pochettino: The technically gifted right winger made 21 appearances for our under 18’s and two for our under 23’s this season. The gaffers son chipped in with three goals and one assist from those matches and he showed great improvement from the 2017/18 campaign. Pochettino was consistent in his performances and he put in a number of impressive ones over the course of the season. The 18 year old impressed me with his passing/crossing and his close ball control. Next season Pochettino will be hoping to get a good number of games for our under 19’s and 23’s. He should be proud of all that he has achieved this season.

Dilan Markanday: With his many weaving runs and sensational close ball control 17 year old starlet Dilan Markanday was one of the stars of the season for our under 18 side. Chipping in with an impressive 12 goals and six assists from 24 appearances for our under 18’s. Markanday also featured on a number of occasions for our under 19’s and 23’s. The North London winger played in a variety of positions last season but it was out on the right wing where he was most effective. A good reader of the game, Markanday has a sharp footballing brain and his off the ball movement is something to be admired. He is good at creating space for himself down the flanks and the timing of his runs down the channels is quite impressive. As much of a creative force as Dilan is with his darting runs and attacking forays, and good weight of pass Markanday is also a real goal threat. He is particularly dangerous on the edge of the penalty area where he will often look to test the goalkeeper with a curling low effort towards the far corner of the goal. The winger is also very quick to loose balls inside the danger zone and he is often the first to efforts which have been parried by the goalkeeper. While Markanday is a good finisher who scores a good amount of goals per season, he was one of John McDermott’s most influential players during the 2018/19 campaign. Markanday impressed greatly with his skills and mazy driving runs, as well as his tireless tracking back and defensive work (he is an excellent tackler!). Next season Markanday will likely be an important player for our under 23 side out on the right wing. 

Jeremie Mukendi: The pacy and direct winger started the season well and after finding the back of the net twice in a league game against Southampton in September, things were looking up for Mukendi, who had struggled for game time during the previous season. He made eight appearances in total for Spurs this season, playing eight games for our under 18’s and making the bench on one occasion for our under 23’s. However, Mukendi’s season sadly came to an end in December after he sustained a season ending injury in a league game against Leicester City.

Rayan Clarke: The direct winger had a Keanan Bennetts-esque season as a second year scholar chipping in with eight goals and nine assists from 23 games for our under 18’s. Clarke also featured on five occasions for our under 23’s and on two for our under 19’s. Clarke would often go on long surging runs down the flank before cutting inside and looking to test the goalkeeper with a thumping effort at goal. Clarke had some great games for the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘ and he would also go onto fill in at right back and at centre forward on a couple of occasions last season. The positive wide mans best performances of the season came against both Norwich and Leicester. The aim next season for Clarke will be to replicate some of those performances for our under 23’s who he has played well for so far whenever he has been selected. Clarke reminds me a lot of Andros Townsend in the way that he operates as a winger and overall I thought that he enjoyed a very positive 2018/19 season.

J’Neil Bennett: Fancy wide man/forward J’Neil Bennett had a very positive season for Spurs during the 2018/19 campaign, featuring heavily for both our under 18’s and 23’s the skilful and pacy Bennett had some great games down both the right and left flank. The Zaha-esque former QPR schoolboy scored ten goals and assisted a further seven last season. Difficult to defend against due to his blistering pace and dazzling skill, the first year scholar put in some fantastic performances for both our under 18’s and 23’s and what I liked about him this season was his unpredictably in games and that he wasn’t afraid to try FIFA Street like skills in big moments in games. Bennett is a hardworking player who tracks back well after him down the flank. As well as featuring for our under 19’s in the UEFA youth league the 17 year old also featured at the post season Terborg tournament in the Netherlands.

Enoch Asante: Unfortunately the centre forwards season was plagued by injuries and he only made two competitive for our under 18’s during the early parts of the season. Next season Asante will be competing with Kion Etete, Troy Parrott and Tarrell Whittaker for a starting berth in our under 18 side.

Troy Parrott: It has been an excellent season for the highly rated young Irishman, who excelled at under 18 level during the 2018/19 campaign. Tall and physical centre forward Troy Parrott scored an impressive 15 goals for our under 18’s from just 12 appearances and he laid off a further six. Parrott has made great strides this season, putting in big performances for both our under 18’s and 23’s in big games. Not only was he a prolific goalscorer who had a Kane-esque influence on games. Parrott also worked tirelessly for his teammates across the park and it was that sheer grit and determination which really shone through especially when he came up against very physical defenders in games our under 23’s. The Dubliner was directly involved in a remarkable 29 goals from 29 games across all levels for Spurs last season and in my opinion he isn’t that far away from playing for the first team! See my in-depth piece on Parrott for a greater understanding of the Irishman’s style of play and traits.

My goal of the season: Paris Maghoma’s wonderful solo goal on the opening day of the season has to win it for me. After receiving a pass from Armando Shashoua, Maghoma shimmied his way around two Brighton defenders on the edge of the ‘ Seagulls ‘ penalty area before then firing an unstoppable effort into the top right hand corner of the goal.

My save of the season: Joshua Oluwayemi’s magnificent stop to prevent Arsenal’s Trae Coyle from finding the top left hand corner of the Spurs mans goal after he cut inside from the left flank, in our 3-2 defeat to the ‘ Gunners ‘ has to win it. Coyle’s effort couldn’t have been anymore in the top corner of the goal but still Oluwayemi was able to get a hand on it to push it away from danger.

My game of the season: There were many superb performances over the course of the campaign however, for me, my game/performance of the season came when we faced Chelsea in game week three of the league season. On that day Matt Wells’ side were simply flawless from the back four right up to the makeshift centre forward J’Neil Bennett who ran the Chelsea defence ragged. We defended imperiously and played some beautiful attacking football in a game that we won 2-0 against a strong Chelsea side. 

My under 18’s player of the season: Our under 18’s captain fantastic Armando Shashoua was in my opinion our best and most influential player last season. The beating heart of the side, Shashoua led by example in every game that he played in. Furthermore, the Londoner was one of our most creative players but his goal involvement tally of 19 tells only half the story. For it was the skilful midfielders sheer desire to influence games and initiate chances which for me put him head and shoulders above anyone else in the team. He is one of my favourite ever youth players and I have no doubts at all that he has all it takes to become a premier league footballer in the future.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 15

Dilan Markanday – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  10

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 7

Rodel Richards – 7

Harvey White – 6

Paris Maghoma – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Maurizio Pochettino – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 12

Rayan Clarke – 9

Troy Parrott – 6

Dilan Markanday – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

J’Neil Bennett – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

Chay Cooper – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Elliot Thorpe – 2

Malachi Walcott – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 7

Jonathan De Bie – 2