Some notes on Spurs loanee TJ Eyoma’s performance against Portsmouth:

It was a good and solid all round performance from 20 year old Spurs loanee TJ Eyoma for Lincoln City on Tuesday night, as they beat Portsmouth (Harvey White was an unused substitute) 1-0 at Fratton Park in a League One game. Eyoma operated at right-back as Lincoln lined up in a back four, and he was arguably one of their most impressive players during the game. Staying deep when he needed to, but also making intelligent forward runs on occasions as well, the England youth international completed the whole of the match. Early on in the game the Londoner did quite well to stop Republic of Ireland international and Portsmouth winger Ronan Curtis from getting past him with the ball, down Eyoma’s right hand side, and while it was nothing too important, it was good that Eyoma did stop Curtis from travelling forward with the ball. After Portsmouth right-back Callum Johnson received the ball down the right flank the 24 year old delivered the ball into the Lincoln penalty area, towards Curtis at the back post. However, Eyoma watched Curtis carefully and he got to the ball in time to make a good and important headed clearance. A couple of minutes later the Spurs man headed away a Ronan Curtis free kick from inside the box, as the game started at a good pace. The alert TJ Eyoma then did well to cut out Andy Cannon’s attempted pass to John Marquis inside the Lincoln box (Lincoln were the better team early on in the game). Eyoma was getting up and down the right flank well during the first half, and his decision making in general was good. 

Portsmouth left-back Lee Brown attempted to get past Eyoma down his flank, but the Lincoln defender did really well to hold off the Portsmouth player, get on the ball and drive forward with it before passing it to Jorge Grant who was fouled by Jack Watmough, who was then shown a red card. After receiving Anthony Scully’s pass out on the right flank, Eyoma was in an advanced position and he sent in a low whipped cross into the Portsmouth box, which went across the face of the goal (the final real piece of action from the first half, that TJ was involved in). Having kept Ronan Curtis quiet during the first half, Eyoma’s first involvement in the game in the second half came as a result of him getting in an advanced position. Jorge Grant tried to slip the ball into the path of Eyoma after he had made an intelligent run down the right hand side of the Portsmouth box, but a defender managed to intercept the ball in time. Soon afterwards Eyoma cleared a free kick from Ronan Curtis, as the Portsmouth players looked for a handball, but the referee was having none of it. Operating almost as a winger/wingback during the second half as Lincoln went in search of a winner, TJ’s constant forward runs down the right flank were rewarded in the 79th minute of the game. After receiving Jorge Grant’s pass down the right hand side of the Portsmouth box, Eyoma cleverly got past Curtis before putting the ball agonisingly across the face of the goal. 

Eyoma’s cross was latched onto inside the Portsmouth box by Conor McGrandles, who passed the ball to Morgan Rogers who finished from close range. Eyoma did drop deeper after Lincoln had scored the opener, as he looked to help them hold onto their lead during the closing stages of the game. The Spurs man did concede a free kick in quite a promising position for Portsmouth, not long after the game started again. However, the resulting effort from Ronan Curtis went high and wide, as Lincoln held on to claim a precious three points, in what was another good and influential performance from Eyoma.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Nathan Oduwa:

Nathan Oduwa was a very exciting winger during his days at Spurs as an Academy player. Born and raised in central London, Oduwa’s quick feet, pace and outrageous pieces of skill wowed many watchers of the Spurs under 18, 21 and 23’s side, during his time at the club as a full time player, from 2012 to 2017. Oduwa was at Spurs for quite a while before signing scholarship forms with the club in the summer of 2012, and he did spend a period of time (around six months) away from the club at West Bromwich Albion on loan, during the 2012/13 season. Making his competitive under 18 debut for Spurs during the 2011/12 season (Oduwa made a further three appearances in that particular campaign) during the following season Nathan Oduwa scored three goals from his first three under 18 league appearances. He made an additional three league appearances for the club at that level that season, as well as playing for Spurs in the NextGen Series, and also representing England at under 17 level. In fact the talented winger who was comfortable at operating on either flank, as a CAM or even as a centre forward, would play for England all the way up until under 20 level. A player with real technique and flair, Oduwa would later represent Nigeria at under 23 level, and during his second season of scholarship after he had returned to Spurs (2013/14), Oduwa made a really good impact on the under 18 side as they finished top of the Under 18 Premier League South that season. He scored 11 goals from 26 competitive under 18 appearances (league and cup) as well as registering a good number of assists at that level. The Spurs under 18 side that finished top of the Premier League South that season were a very talented team, and going forward they were quite literally unstoppable during that season, and Oduwa was a part of that potent forward line. Oduwa also made an appearance for Spurs’ first team against a Ledley King XI, in Ledley King’s testimonial at White Hart Lane in the May of 2014, scoring a really cool chip, after initially faking his effort from inside the box.

The 2014/15 season saw Nathan step up to play for our under 21 side on a permanent basis, as he was now a first year professional. He showed the skill, directness in his play and ability to go past players, as well as working hard for the team during his first season with the development squad. Oduwa registered some  assists and scored four league goals from 11 under 21 appearances, and he notably scored an outstanding goal against Fulham’s under 21 side, where he came inside from the left flank onto his right, before powerfully directing the ball with real dip and swerve into the top right hand corner of the goal, from the edge of the Fulham box. He went out on his first senior loan halfway through that season, going out on loan to then League Two side Luton Town, who he ended up making 11 appearances for. At the beginning of the following 2015/16 season Nathan went out on a season long loan, along with Spurs teammate Dominic Ball, to Scottish side Rangers, who were then playing in the Scottish Championship, after playing one game for our under 21 side at the start of the season. Oduwa started the season really strongly at his loan club Rangers and he became popular with the fans at the Glasgow based club, and he showed the great skill (including a wonderful rainbow flick against Alloa Athletic) and ability that he had on the ball during those opening stages of the season. During his time in Glasgow, Oduwa made 19 appearances for Rangers, scoring one goal and registering five assists. However, his season long came to an early end, and he returned to Spurs in January 2016. Soon after returning to north London he joined then League One side Colchester United on loan for a month.

For Colchester United Nathan made only two appearances appearances before retuning to play for Spurs for the rest of the season. The start of the 2016/17 season saw the predominantly left sided winger join League One side Peterborough United on loan, after making three Premier League 2 appearances for our under 23 side at the start of the season. He made nine appearances for Peterborough before returning to Spurs in the January of 2017. Upon his return to Spurs the Londoner played four times for our under 23 side in the league, and I remember reporting on those four games well, and Oduwa was really really good. He put in some very strong performances against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and finally Liverpool at Anfield in the February of 2017. From those four appearances the confident winger was at times extremely difficult to defend against, and he was directly involved in a good number of goals from those four appearances, and I did hope that he might have got a chance in the first team squad, possibly at the start of the next season in pre-season. Dominant and strong down the flanks, the tall and quick winger showed on many occasions at youth level for Spurs his ability to do almost Yannick Bolasie-esque and Adel Taarabt-esque types of skill, and his trickery and ability to seemingly effortlessly weave his way around opposition defenders, was at times unreal. He could also cross the ball well, had a good eye for goal, and when playing the CAM role Oduwa’s linkup play and passing was good, and he showed this for England at youth level when playing that role. He could also hold the ball up well and bring others into the game, when playing as a centre forward. However, at youth level, and out on loan and even still now, Nathan is such an unpredictable player, who with his pace and trickery could give any defender a really difficult game on his day. He showed this on occasions even when playing his last game for Spurs’ under 23 side, when coming up against a young Trent Alexander-Arnold on the left flank at Anfield.

Nathan left Spurs on a permanent basis shortly after that Liverpool game, when he went to join Slovenian PrvaLiga side NK Olimpia Ljubljana on a three year deal in mid February of 2017. Oduwa would go on to make 25 appearances in total for the Slovenian club, scoring two goals and registering some assists for NK Olimpia Ljubljana, he played a part in helping them to finish as runners up in the Slovenian Cup in the 2016/17 season, and also help them to win the Slovenian PrvaLiga during the following 2017/18 season. Oduwa left NK Olimpia Ljubljana in the summer of 2018, and he then joined Danish Superligaen side Vejle Boldklub in September 2018, but after making just three competitive appearances for them, he left in the December of that year. Oduwa then signed for Israeli Premier League side Hapoel Hadera at the start of 2019, and during his time at Hapoel Hadera he made 16 competitive first team appearances, scoring one goal. However, most recently the former Spurs man  played for well known Irish Premier League side Dundalk, after leaving Hapoel Hadera. Oduwa joined the then reigning Irish Premier League champions in March of last year, but he had to wait until July of 2020 to make his competitive debut for Dundalk. The now 24 year old footballer who turns 25 in March, made 16 appearances for Dundalk during the season just gone, scoring two goals, which both came in the FAI Cup, against Bohemians and Athlone Town respectively, as Dundalk went on to win that competition. As well as playing in the league and cup for the Irish side, Nathan also made three appearances for them in the UEFA Europa League group stages (he created two goals in those games), and he also played once in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League. He left Dundalk at the end of the season just gone, and is currently without a club.

I recently caught up with two of Nathan Oduwa’s old Spurs Academy teammates, Kodi Lyons-Foster and Christian Maghoma to ask what it was like for them to play and train with Nathan at Spurs. Kodi said “ Nathan is someone who I regard as one of the most talented players I played with coming through the Academy. I can still remember magical moments he done to this day, whether it was in training or in matches. He was athletic, strong and quick and had all the technical attributes far beyond anyone else at the time, on top of that he was a great lad to have in the team, and was full of jokes and banter. I played in the age group above mine a lot when I was in the Academy so I spent a lot of time with Nath and he was just magical, he was able to do things that weren’t to be taught. From what I saw since leaving the club some of his highlights from his time at Rangers were even just a small amount of what he is capable of, despite him doing so well there. He’s a player with an abundance of ability and one I’m sure will surface to the top again soon. ” Christian said “ I think anybody who has played, trained or seen him play will agree when I say there’s not any player like him. Tall, strong, fast, powerful and so so skilful, it’s just a shame he hasn’t been able to show that yet to the world like he would have liked to. Absolute pleasure to play with and train with and I honestly think he’s one of the greatest youth team players ever. Hopefully he can boom on to the scene and show that to the world! ” Like what Kodi Lyons-Foster said about Nathan playing at the top again soon, I strongly agree with that, and I believe that he has the potential to play in a top league. I’m sure that Nathan will have a new club in the very near future, and I would like to wish the very talented player all the very best of luck for the future.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Luis Binks:

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

Almost a year since departing Spurs to move to Canadian MLS club Club de Foot Montréal, rising star Luis Binks has cemented his place in Thierry Henry’s Montréal side, secured a move to Serie A team Bologna and become one of the MLS’s most exciting young players. Centre-half Luis Binks is the second ex-Spurs Academy player who I will be looking at in my second piece in the series where are they now? Where I will look at how ex-Spurs Academy players from the last decade are getting on in the game. Another very recent player who was on Spurs’ books not that long ago at all, 19 year old Binks was at Spurs for a very long period of time. The defender made his competitive debut for our under 18 side as a schoolboy in a league game against Aston Villa during the 2016/17 season as substitute, along with now PSV player Noni Madueke. He would sign scholarship forms with the club in the summer of 2018, and he was part of a very talented age group which included the likes of Dennis Cirkin and Troy Parrott. The Gillingham born defender made 21 competitive appearances for our under 18 side during the 2018/19 season, becoming an almost permanent fixture on the team-sheet, Luis put in consistently excellent and strong defensive performances for the side that season. He was also a big reason why our defensive record was so strong that season as we competed with Arsenal for the Under 18 Premier League South title, Binks also stepped up to play for our under 19 side in the UEFA Youth league, and our under 23 side in the Premier League 2 on occasions. In his second year of scholarship at the club, Binks started the season really strongly with our under 18 side, and he was ever present in the UEFA Youth League group stages for our under 19’s. And it then wasn’t long at all before he became a regular for our under 23 side, he would remain almost exclusively with them until he departed the club in the February of 2020.

 Binks was officially announced as a player of Canadian MLS club Club de Foot Montréal on February the 18th 2020, and he made his competitive debut for them against Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions League. He then made his MLS debut for Montreal against New England Revolution, and he impressed by putting in a solid performance in central defence. The left sided central defender who has a real wand of a left foot, would go on to really make his mark on the side from a defensive point of view. The England youth international who is also eligible to represent Scotland, would play Montréal’s next league game against FC Dallas and also a CONCACAF Champions League against Olimpia, before the MLS season was stopped in March. Upon his and Montréal’s return to competitive action at the MLS Is Back Tournament in July, Binks would start every game at that tournament, and when the MLS started again in the following month he played every game for them bar two, that he missed through suspension. With his tough no-nonsense approach to defending, fine distribution, well time challenges and excellent leadership within the side, Binks became a really important player for Thierry Henry over the course of the 2020 season, and he got a lot of praise off the Montréal fans and football pundits. Binks helped his new side to finish in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, as they qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs (he was signed by Italian side Bologna and loaned back to Montréal in August, for the remainder of the 2020 season). Unfortunately the MLS club were beaten by New England Revolution in a qualification round match in the MLS Cup playoffs.

For Binks, the season just gone at Montréal couldn’t have gone any better for him really, the maturity that he showed was phenomenal for that of a 18/19 year old. He took to what is a very competitive league like an experienced pro, and he was also oozing confidence out on the pitch. That confidence and the leadership that he shows has always been something which has greatly impressed me, going back to his Spurs days. However, the consistent quality of his performances in the MLS last season were very good (I watched a lot of his games), and Binks showed that the physicality of the MLS was not something that was an issue for him. Putting in many a solid performance, games against the likes of Toronto and New England Revolution stood out, but his overall performances were quality. Strong in the air and on the ground, intelligent in his positioning and excellent at making crucial blocks in games, Binks was a stalwart of the team. His ability to bring the ball out from the back for Montréal to start forward moves was important, and his passing in general was nice and crisp and accurate. I was gutted when he left Spurs, as not only did I think that Luis had the potential to play for the Spurs first team, I have personally always seen him (since he joined Spurs full time) as one of the most exciting young defenders of his age group in England, and I saw him as potential first team captain at Spurs. Not a centre-half that possesses great pace, the Englishman’s great reading of the game makes up for this, as he showed last season in the MLS on many an occasion. Later on in the last MLS season it was announced that the former Spurs man would have his loan move from Bologna to Montréal extended for the entirety of the 2021 MLS season.

Never afraid to encourage or even give constructive feedback to his teammates on the pitch, Binks demonstrated the maturity of a seasoned pro during his excellent first season in the MLS. This was recognised by his loan club Montréal, as Binks was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award, he was also nominated for the MLS Defender of the Year and Best Young Player awards, as well as coming 11th on the MLS’s best 22 on the under 22 list. A hugely exciting prospect, with a hugely exciting future in the game, and a player who I strongly believe will play for the English national senior team at some point in the future. The 2021 season will be a very interesting one for Binks, as he continues to improve and develop as a player. Come 2022 he could well already be getting regular game time in one of the top leagues in Europe, Serie A.

Some notes on Spurs loanee Troy Parrott’s performance against Bristol City:

Spurs striker Troy Parrott completed just over 62 minutes of Millwall’s 3-0 defeat to Bristol City on Saturday afternoon in the fourth round of the FA Cup, as they were knocked out of the competition. Millwall played in what seemed to be a 4231 formation, with Parrott playing just off centre forward Kenneth Zohore during his time on the pitch. The Republic of Ireland international who turns 19 next month, had a low early effort from distance blocked by a Bristol City defender. Not long after that, Parrott sprayed a good pass out to Tom Bradshaw on the right hand side of the pitch, to start off a decent Millwall move. After picking the ball up on the left flank Kenneth Zohore went forward with the ball before looking to pass to Parrott who was waiting on the edge of the Bristol City penalty area. Zohore’s cross/pass deflected off a Bristol City player before bouncing in front of Parrott, but his effort on the half volley was straight at goalkeeper Max O’Leary, although he could have possibly passed the ball to Bradshaw, who was running forward down the right (Bristol City took the lead soon after). Parrott was pressing well and working hard off the ball even though there weren’t a lot of goal scoring chances, he did however, make a couple of good passes into empty spaces out on the right flank. The Dubliner wasn’t involved very much in the second half of the game, and a run across the Bristol City penalty area into a promising position where he could have had the ball played into his feet, just before Alex Pearce had an effort saved by O’Leary from the edge of box, was the closest that Troy came to really influencing the game in the final third in that second half (he was replaced on 62 minutes, with Millwall 2-0 down).

 Although Parrott hasn’t been directly involved in a goal in any of his 14 competitive appearances for Millwall this season, he is working hard on the pitch and he is getting really valuable competitive senior game time. Of course his confidence is probably a little bit low, which is only natural if you’re a centre forward who hasn’t scored for a while. However, he is an excellent young player and a very special finisher too, and I’ve no doubts whatsoever that once he gets that first goal then more will follow. He has already shown his versatility for Millwall so far, which is a good thing and of course he was injured throughout the early parts of the season as well, which must have been difficult. Millwall’s next game is at home to Watford in the Championship, on Tuesday night.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Samuel Shashoua:

(this photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

I haven’t done one of these articles for a very long time now, but with the current lockdown and being unable to watch the Spurs under 18’s and under 23 side, I thought that I would return to writing this series of pieces. An occasional series where I will look back on former Spurs Academy players from the last decade, but also look at where are they now, and how they are doing at their current clubs (I,will look at some more recent Spurs players first, before going further back in the decade later on). The first ex-Spurs player that I will be looking at is the very talented Samuel Shashoua, who has been making a really good impact on LaLiga SmartBank side (Second Division) CD Tenerife of late. Still only 21 years of age, Samuel left Spurs permanently in the August of 2019 after spending the previous 2018/19 season on loan at Spanish Third Division side Atlético Baleares. A winger who is comfortable at operating on either flank, Shashoua joined Spurs full-time in 2015 (he made his competitive debut for the clubs under 18 side during the previous season) and he quickly became an important player in the side, enjoying a good 2015/16 season. The following season Shashoua became an integral part of the side, scoring and creating a great number of goals for the under 18 side, he also played up for the under 23’s on occasions. However, the highlight of that season for him, was being included on the bench for the first team against Leicester City in the Premier League towards the end of that season, and while he wasn’t brought on in that game it went to show just how highly rated he was by the club. Shashoua spent the next season (2017/18) playing primarily for the under 23 side (his first season as a professional at Spurs) while also featuring for our under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League. While he did have some issues with injury, Samuel stepped up to under 23 football with ease, and he put in some really strong performances over the course of the season, scoring some well taken goals in the process.

After one goal from one competitive appearance for Samuel during the 2018/19 season for Spurs’ under 23 side, the versatile forward went straight out on loan shortly after that game to Spanish Third Division side Atlético Baleares. He enjoyed a fantastic season in Mallorca with Atlético, scoring six goals from out wide and also registering a number of assists, as he played a big part in helping them to qualify for the playoffs, which they were unfortunately knocked out of at the last hurdle. Shashoua’s consistently excellent performances saw him attract attention from a number of Spanish clubs, and in the summer of 2019 he departed Spurs permanently to join LaLiga SmartBank side CD Tenerife. However, injuries stopped him from making his competitive debut for Tenerife during the 2019/20 season, and he was loaned back out to Atlético Baleares who had once again qualified for the playoffs. He actually got his first competitive minutes of the season in the March of 2020, when he came off the bench to feature for Atlético Baleares in a league game against UD Ibiza, soon before their season was stopped. Samuel did feature for Atlético in the playoffs against FC Cartagena, and he was without doubt their best player in that playoff game, which finished 0-0. However, to make what must have been a very difficult season with injury worse for Samuel, he unfortunately missed a crucial penalty kick after the end of extra time, which meant that Atlético didn’t win promotion to LaLiga SmartBank from that particular game. Atlético did have a second go to have a chance to possibly win promotion, but they lost 1-0 to UE Cornellà, although Samuel did put in a good performance during his 70 minutes on the pitch. So from the great disappointment of those games in the Third Division playoffs, as well as the injury troubles that he had during that season, Samuel ended up returning to Tenerife for pre-season for the start of the current 2020/21 season.

The former Spurs Academy player put in a series of impressive performances in pre-season for the club from the Canary Islands. Shashoua then patiently waited to make his mark on the side in competitive competition, and he ended up making his competitive debut for them in a LaLiga SmartBank game against Alcorćon as a substitute in September. A number of appearances off the bench followed for the former England youth international, before he got his first start for Tenerife against Espanyol in October. Since starting that game he has started six games for former Real Madrid player Luis Miguel Ramis’s side, as well as getting a good number of minutes in most of the games which he hasn’t started. From 17 competitive appearances for Tenerife this season Shashoua has scored three goals, he has also been somewhat of a creative force within the side, creating a number of fine chances for his teammates. I have watched virtually all of Shashoua’s games for Tenerife so far this season, and as you’ll all know I was a really big fan of him when he was coming up the ranks at Spurs. A player who is excellent technically speaking, the Londoner has also always had a phenomenal work rate, just like his younger brother Armando who currently plays for Atlético Baleares. He was consistently excellent at youth level for Spurs, and he was part of a very talented age group at the club. It’s really great to see him playing at a high level now, and also showing that quality and consistency too. So far this season for Tenerife Samuel has been playing quite a free attacking role and he has really showed his versatility during the first half of the season. He has played out on the right flank and the left (he is good with both feet, although he is right footed), and also as a number ten. He has liked to come inside off of either foot, and look to weave his way towards the edge of the penalty area or just inside the box, where he has always been so potent from.

All three of Samuel’s goals this season have come as a result of him coming inside from the flanks and dribbling with the ball before looking to test the keeper and try and find the far corner of the goal, which as I say he has managed to do on three occasions so far this season. From watching a great number of Tenerife games this season it is clear that Samuel is very confident in himself on the pitch, and he’s playing with a smile on his face as well. He’s always been a very intelligent and mature player for his age, with a great footballing brain, but Tenerife’s number 17 has improved a lot I feel even from that great first season with Atlético Baleares. He seems to have got quicker and even more confident, and with his excellent low centre of gravity and many clever twists and turns he has really made life difficult on occasions for some of the opposing defensive players that are playing in his league. Now a big creative outlet in this Tenerife side despite being one of the youngest current first team players, Samuel has fitted in and adapted very well to the Tenerife system, and after a bit of a difficult start to the league season, he has helped them to get some good points on the board of late, in what is quite a low scoring league. Strong performances against the likes of FC Cartagena, CD Castellón and Albacete of late will have made him even more popular with the Tenerife supporters who seem to really like him. The unpredictable nature of his game combined with his superb work rate and intelligent pressing makes him a great team player for the team, but apart from the important goals that he’s scored then you look at the creativity that he has produced on the field. His crosses into the box for the likes of forward Fran Sol to latch onto have been very good on occasions, and his understanding with his teammates on the pitch, such as right back and Anthony Georgiou’s old Levante teammate Shaq Moore has been very good, and as I say he has just fitted in really well to the team. 

Arguably already one of Tenerife’s most creative players, he has forced his way into the team of late and that great talent of his has really shone through. Such a cool player under pressure, he has shown at just 21 that he can handle the demands and the physicality of LaLiga SmartBank, and he’s only going to get better and better, and I’ve no doubts whatsoever that he will play in the LaLiga Santander in the future. Currently injured at the moment, the player who helped Tenerife to reach the Copa del Rey Round of 32 unfortunately missed out on playing in their narrow defeat to LaLiga side Villarreal, a game that he could potentially have made a real difference in. When he does return to playing (hopefully very soon!) I would expect him to get more and more starts for Tenerife, and help them to climb further up the table (they are currently eight points off the playoff places), and also improve even further as a player. What an absolute joy and a pleasure he was to watch at Spurs, and still watch now as he develops more as a player. I’m sure he is extremely proud of how well he has bounced back from the difficulties of last season. And I for one would absolutely love to see him return to Spurs one day in the future. But if not, then I have no doubts whatsoever that when given the chance (hopefully with Tenerife) to step up to play in one of the major European leagues, that he will take that opportunity with both hands, and show his quality and footballing magic at the very highest level.

Some notes on Spurs youngster Brandon Austin’s loan move to Orlando City:

Talented young Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin (22) has joined American MLS side Orlando City on loan for six months, with the option for another six months. Austin has been a regular for our under 23 side this season making eight appearances, and after a successful loan at Danish Second Division side Viborg FF in the second half of last season, Austin joins a very competitive league where competition for a place in the Orlando City side will surely be big. Oscar Pareja’s Orlando side seem to have Peru international Pedro Gallese as their main goalkeeper, with Brian Rowe also getting minutes during last season, so it will be a great challenge for Austin to try and make that number one goalkeeping spot his own. An extremely consistent performer for our youth sides since joining the club full-time in 2015, the former Chelsea schoolboy has demonstrated time and time again his quality as a shot stopper. He is also very good at commanding his box and organising the defence in front of him. The goalkeeper’s new side will I believe play in the Eastern Conference in the 2021 MLS season, where they will face teams like New York City, Atlanta United and The Montreal Impact. Orlando finished in fourth place in the Eastern Conference last season, and they also made the quarter finals of the play offs, with well known former Manchester United player Nani helping them to achieve that. Austin’s loan move to Viborg FF during the last January transfer window would have been really beneficial to him, and while in Denmark he was Viborg’s number one goalkeeper, and he really helped finish the season strongly, making many a fine save in the Danish Second Division.

Called up regularly for England’s under 21 side over the last year, the goalkeeper from Hemel Hempstead is such a good all round goalkeeper in my opinion. I think that from watching him play last season, that he had got even better with his kicking, and just got even better as a goalkeeper all round. A player who has terrific reflexes, Austin is a player who has great potential, and who I strongly believe could play for Spurs’ first team in the future (he signed a new contract with the club last year which runs until 2022). This loan move will challenge Austin even further, and when he plays he will come up against some very good forwards, and I’ve actually watched a lot of MLS football during the season just gone as I’ve been watching ex-Spurs player Luis Binks play, and it’s a really competitive league. I believe that this is a great loan for Brandon’s development, and it will be a great experience for him. The 2021 MLS season hasn’t started yet, so Brandon will have a lot of time to settle in at his new club before the new season starts. This will be a great step up for Austin, he is a real leader in teams, and he is always confident and composed in his box. He showed that he could adapt to playing in a different country in a new league for him in Denmark, and so I’ve no doubts that this will be a successful loan spell for the 22 year old despite the obvious competition for a place in the side, and I’m sure that he will rise to the challenge. I would like to wish Brandon all the very best of luck for this loan move, and I very much look forward to watching him play in the MLS this season.

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

Matt Taylor’s Spurs under 18 side will play their first league game of 2021 when they take on north London rivals Arsenal at their London Colney training ground on Saturday morning (the game starts at 11am). Spurs actually only lost two league games in the year 2020, and that means that they are still in with a good chance of winning this seasons Premier League South league (Spurs are currently two points off league leaders Crystal Palace). We beat Arsenal 2-0 at Hotspur Way in game week two of the season back in September, and that days opponents Arsenal have won four league games since that match, and they currently occupy seventh spot in the league, after picking up 16 points from nine matches. And Arsenal have the best home record in the league so far this season, so this will be another tough game for Spurs, who come into this match after recording a 6-2 win over Newport County in the third round of the FA Youth Cup earlier in the month. Arsenal have influential players who are eligible to play tomorrow, such as Charlie Patino, Marcelo Flores and forward Luke Plange who has scored four league goals from eight appearances so far this season. I believe that for Spurs defender Maksim Paskotši should be able to return to the team after suspension, following the red card that he picked up against West Brom last month. I would like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for this north London derby. A win for Spurs could move them up to the top of the league table.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Lusala, Muir, Paskotši, Hackett, Matthew Craig, Michael Craig, Whittaker, Mundle, Santiago, Scarlett.

Subs from: Hayton, Cesay, Casanova, Robson, Donley.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-0.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Skilful central midfielder Charlie Patino, who has made eight appearances for Arsenal at this level this season.

Spurs under 23’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

After emphatically defeating Brighton 5-1 down on the south coast last Friday, Spurs’ under 23 side take on east London club West Ham United this Friday (the game starts at 16:00pm) at West Ham’s Rush Green Stadium. Still in with a good chance of winning the Premier League 2 Division One league, a win for Spurs over West Ham tomorrow would make it three league wins in a row for Wayne Burnett’s side. Dmitri Halajko’s West Ham side haven’t played a competitive game of football since the 14th of December, and while they have only played ten league games so far this season, West Ham have only picked up five points from those ten games, and they currently occupy bottom spot in the league standings. We faced tomorrow’s opposition in game week two of the 2020/21 season, and from following West Ham’s live blog it sounded like West Ham had quite a few good chances early on in the game, but Spurs did end up winning the game 3-0, thanks to goals from Harvey White, Rodel Richards and George Marsh. Some West Ham’s forwards that the Spurs players will have to be aware of tomorrow include prolific striker Ademipo Odubeko, 22 year old skilful winger Nathan Holland, forward thinking fullback Sam Caiger and forward Sean Adarkwa. This West Ham side is full of talented players, and while the results haven’t been going their way this season (they beat Manchester United 2-0 at home not too long ago), they’ll be really up for this London derby, as they return to playing competitive football.

A key player for our under 23 side in creative midfielder Harvey White left the club to join Portsmouth on loan until the end of the season, while Anthony Georgiou left the club on a permanent transfer to Cypriot side AEL Limassol, so obviously neither player will be involved in tomorrow’s game. It was great to see centre half Malachi Fagan-Walcott return to get some minutes against Brighton in our last game, after being out injured for a long while, so he could potentially play some part in tomorrow’s game, which will be another tough one for Spurs, but they do have the joint best away record in the league. While tomorrow’s game is being played behind closed doors, West Ham are doing a live blog of the game on their website. Finally, I would just like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Marsh, Lyons-Foster (c), Omole, Lavinier, Bowden, John, Pochettino, Thorpe, Markanday, Etete.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Fagan-Walcott, Roles, Pedder, Mukendi.

Injured/unavailable: Alfie Devine (suspended). 

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 3-0.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

My one to watch: A player with good pace and skill, as well as being a really clinical finisher, Republic of Ireland youth international and striker Ademipo Odubeko (18) could be West Ham’s main danger man on Friday if he does play. The former Manchester United schoolboy scored twice for West Ham’s development side in the EFL Trophy against Southend United earlier this season, and for me I have been impressed with his fine movement off the ball whenever I have seen him play against Spurs. He will definitely be a player to watch out for if he is involved in Friday’s under 23 game. Odubeko made his first team for West Ham in a recent FA Cup game against Stockport County.

Farewell and good luck Anthony Georgiou:

(this photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

23 year old Cyprus international and south London born Spurs winger Anthony Michael Georgiou has departed the Lilywhites to join Cypriot First Division side AEL Limassol FC (he will wear the number 38 shirt) on a two and a half year contract, (AEL Limassol are currently in second place in their league). Georgiou had been at Spurs since joining from Watford as an under 14 player, after being released by the Hertfordshire club. A versatile player who has represented Cyprus on eight occasions so far, Anthony Georgiou is as you will have known from reading my many academy match reports over the years, one of my favourite ever Spurs academy players. A good technical winger who has a great left foot and who is also skilful, Georgiou also possess a fantastic amount of pace, something which he has demonstrated ever since I first saw him play for Spurs in 2013. Georgiou is the last of the 2013/14 first years intake to leave the club, an age group which included Josh Onomah, Kyle Walker-Peters, Luke Amos, Shayon Harrison and Anton Walkes. The Londoner joins a famous and successful Cypriot side in AEL Limassol, who are currently challenging for their first Cypriot First Division league title since 2012. Anthony joined Spurs full-time for the start of the 2013/14 season and he enjoyed a fine season, scoring eight league goals from 26 appearances for our under 18 side and registering countless assists. Georgiou made a really good impression during his first year as a scholar at the club. In the following 2014/15 season Georgiou improved further as a player and he continue to develop a really good on the field relationship with Shayon Harrison, who he assisted many times at under 18 level throughout the season.

During that 2014/15 campaign Anthony Georgiou was a part of the Spurs side that won the IMG Cup in Florida, America. He also made two appearances for the under 21’s during that season, but his greatest moment came in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup against Manchester United at White Hart Lane, when Georgiou scored two goals as Spurs won 3-1. However, sadly he ended up missing the semi-finals of that seasons competition through injury, as Spurs went out to a very talented Chelsea side. The 2015/16 season was another one of good development for Georgiou as he stepped up permanently to play for the development side, putting in some really strong performances at both left back and as a left winger. However, the 2016/17 season was a very difficult one for Anthony as he missed the vast majority of the season through injury. A player with an outstanding work ethic on the field, Georgiou has always been a player who tracks back tirelessly when playing as a left winger, helps out his teammates and who is incredibly unselfish with the ball at his feet. Some of those qualities would have undoubtedly impressed then Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino enough to include Georgiou in the Spurs first team squad for their pre-season tour of America in 2017. He came off the bench to feature in an International Champions Cup game against Italian side AS Roma in New Jersey. Exciting, positive and direct, Georgiou really impressed during his second half performance, constantly looking to successfully take on AS Roma right back the very fast Bruno Peres, and beat him for pace. Georgiou was always trying to get to the byline and whip crosse into the danger zone during his time on the pitch, it was a very good debut from the then 20 year old. 

Anthony did play a further two games for the Spurs first team during that pre-season, before he would go on to make his competitive senior debut for the club against Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia in a UEFA Champion League group stage game. Georgiou came on in the 84th minute of the game to replace Moussa Sissoko in what was a very special night for Anthony and his family, given his Cypriot heritage. That senior competitive debut was richly deserved for Georgiou, and while he wouldn’t play for the first team again that season, he did make the bench for them on two occasions, including in our UEFA Champions League game away to Real Madrid. The left sided winger again played for the first team during the 2018/19 pre-season, but the first half of the competitive season was disrupted by injury, and he didn’t return to action until December. He put in some strong performances for our under 23 side before going out on loan to Spanish side Levante, where he played for their B team in the third tier of Spanish football. Georgiou impressed during his 11 appearances for Levante despite the fact that he was being played out of position on the right flank for some of his games (he scored his first goal in senior football for Levante against Hercules CF, on his 22nd birthday). Anthony returned to Spurs at the end of that season before being included once again by then Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino as part of his pre-season first team squad (Georgiou played at left back in every game that he played  a part in, and considering that he is an out and out winger I thought that he did well in those games).

A loan to League One side Ipswich Town was announced in the August of 2019 however, Anthony didn’t really get to show his full potential during that half season loan (again he did look very exciting when he did play), as the vast majority of his 13 appearances for Ipswich came from the subs bench. Returning to Spurs in late December after his loan had ended, Anthony joined League One side Bolton Wanderers on loan until the end of the 2019/20 season late on in the January transfer window. However, he only made two appearances for Bolton when the season was cancelled in March. Bringing us up until the current season, Georgiou had spent virtually all of his time with the Spurs under 23 side who he played for in pre-season, and who he made two appearances for in the Premier League 2 prior to joining AEL Limassol this month. It has certainly been an eventful time at Spurs for the talented winger who despite being released by Watford all those years ago, has shown what a talented player that he is. To play for the Spurs first team is something that every academy players dreams of and want to achieve, and Anthony managed to achieve that, and to have played for them on a good number of occasions is an incredible achievement. His outstanding pace, directness, fine skill and quick feet as well as his top defensive work rate, made him a player that I really really enjoyed watching. So unselfish in his play and a real team player, Georgiou was always consistent, and had things gone a bit differently for him then I really think that he could have played a lot more competitive games for Spurs than he did. 

Some games from Georgiou’s time at the club which I remember fondly include his excellent display against Benfica B in the Premier League International Cup in 2018, that excellent performance against Manchester United in the FA Youth cup, and a game against Manchester United’s under 23 side in 2016 when he was unstoppable down the left wing. There are of course many other games that I remember Anthony playing in for Spurs which do standout in my memory. In regards to his permanent transfer to AEL Limassol, I think that this is a really good move for him in the next stage of his development, and it will give him the invaluable opportunity to play a lot of competitive senior football. I do personally believe that at some point in the future Anthony will return to England, and I think that he’ll have a really good career in the game, but for now his focus will be on helping AEL Limassol to win the league. The Cypriot First Division is a good league, and a recent example of a player who has played there and then been transferred to an English club is former Manchester United youngster Nicholas Ioannou (currently on loan at Aris) who joined Nottingham Forest from APOEL Nicosia last summer. I look forward to following Anthony’s career in the game as he continues to develop as a footballer, and I would like to wish him all the very best of luck for the future. He is a great young player and I have no doubts that he will return to England one day and play at a very high level. Farewell and good luck, Anthony!

My interview with former Spurs player Bobby Scarth:

Outside-left Bobby James Scarth was born in Chatham, Kent in 1954. The son of former Spurs player Jimmy Scarth, Bobby was playing for local non-League side Haringey Borough when he was scouted by Spurs, and he joined the club in 1970. Scarth was a quick and direct winger, who like Steve Outram on the opposite flank, had the main job of getting to the byline and delivering crosses into the box, although he did also have a good eye for goal. Playing for our youth and reserve side during his time at Spurs, Bobby was released by the club at the end of the 1972/73 season. Scarth went in to the semi-professional game after leaving the club, and he played for the likes of Royston Town, Hertford Town, Ware and Enfield (after retiring from the game he used to play for the Spurs legends side). I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of catching up with the former Spurs man.

What are your earliest footballing memories and how did you come about joining Spurs?

Bobby: I played at a match for Haringey Borough and the scout Charlie Faulkner was there, and afterwards he came up to me and said would l like to train on Tuesday and Thursday with Tony Want and John Pratt who took the training. I used to go from school and go up there in 1970, so that was one of my earliest memories.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Bobby: Well the year before l signed as an amateur and played in the junior and youth, we used to go up to Cheshunt to train now and again with Ron Henry our manager, and l really liked him. Then in the year next year when l signed as an apprentice professional we used to train in the morning and than do jobs in the afternoon, or sometimes we’d do weights.

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

Bobby: Alan Gilzean was the main one. l used to love wingers, so people like Roger Morgan, Jimmy Neighbour, Ralph Coates and Jimmy Pearce.

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

Bobby: I was number 11/outside-left. l was fast and my game was to get the ball and cross it. l would always cut inside and shoot at the goal and also get to the byline and get it over.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Bobby: Tony Want and John Pratt were really good l learnt from them. Ron Henry was an influence and also scout Charlie Faulkner.

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

Bobby: Steve Perryman was one of them, but also Jimmy Neighbour the winger was another one along Alan Gilzean who had a great touch, and could flick and head the ball well.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories or ones which stand out from your time in the various Tottenham youth teams and reserves?

Bobby: Winning the youth league and London youth Cup and reserves league, and also when the first team won the League Cup in 1973, and we went to the Savoy which was a fantastic feeling with all the first team players around. Good times!

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Bobby: It was a fantastic feeling being signed by Spurs and invited for the training and being given a season ticket. Wonderful feeling. Amazing!                       

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

Bobby: Alan Gilzean. I could say Graeme  Souness as l played with him in reserves three times together.

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

Bobby: Graeme Souness was so hard and John Pratt too. He was pretty hard as well.

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

Bobby: Pat Welton came up to me and said you’re not going to make the grade, but l already knew that he didn’t like me. l was very disappointed as l trained very hard and had a very good attitude. After that l went semi professional.

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

Bobby: The first two years were really good as a schoolboy and an amateur, and then I signed apprentice professional, but I didn’t get on with Pat Welton who was the youth team manager, but l did get on with Ron Henry who always gave me confidence. Eddie Baily gave me my chance to play for the reserves and l will never forget that time. l alway supported Spurs since l was small.

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

Bobby: Roger Gibbins and Wayne Cegielski from our youth team. We keep in touch on text message. Roger and l have played in charity games.

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

Bobby: l would say to players to knuckle down and train hard and have a good attitude, and don’t give up like l did, whether you make it or not.

Your father Jimmy Scarth also used to play for Spurs. How big an influence was he on your footballing career?

Bobby: Yes my father played for Spurs from 1948-1952. Yes he did influence me and he made sure that l worked hard and had a good attitude, and also keep my feet on the ground. He helped my confidence in everything.

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?

Bobby: I still always love Spurs and that will never change since l was small, and I will never forget when I went to the Savoy. l wish l could go back and enjoy those times again.