Some thoughts on Spurs starlet Anthony Georgiou’s loan move to Spanish club Levante U.D.:

Some thoughts on Spurs starlet Anthony Georgiou’s loan move to Spanish club Levante U.D.:

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Transfer deadline day was in full swing on Thursday evening when Spurs announced that our promising young winger Anthony Michael Georgiou had joined Spanish La Liga club Levante U.D. on loan until the end of the 2018/19 season. This news will have been of great interest to followers of our youth teams and development side, and of course myself as Anthony Georgiou is my favourite Spurs player as you will already have known. Although the 21 year old who has featured eight times for our development squad this season, has officially joined Levante’s first team it is to my understanding that he will in fact link up with their B team Atlético Levante. Fascinatingly the ‘ Granotas ‘ second team ply their trade in the Spanish Segunda Division B group III, the same league that fellow Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua plays in for Atlético Baleares. However, this doesn’t mean that Anthony cannot get into Levante’s first team during his loan spell and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him get minutes in La Liga over the coming months. Although he will turn 22 at the end of this month this is the Cypriot internationals first ever loan. And it will provide the hardworking left winger with the invaluable experience of playing competitive men’s football in the third tier of Spanish football on a weekly basis. A league which has already proved to have been so beneficial for young Samuel Shashoua this season. Since his days as a scholar at Spurs came to an end back in 2015, the Tottenham Academy graduate has enjoyed an eventful four seasons for the clubs development side however, some of those seasons were made very difficult for Georgiou who has suffered some unfortunate injuries. After establishing himself as a regular for what was then known as the under 21 side, during the 2015/16 season where Georgiou impressed at both LB and LW. The one time Watford schoolboy who was released by the ‘ Hornets ‘ prior to joining Spurs, had a far from ideal 2016/17 season. After putting in some bright performances during the early stages of the campaign, the second year pro suffered a serious injury which ruled him out for much of that season and in total he only made six appearances for the under 23’s.

However, the resilient youngster came back stronger than ever from that particular leg injury, and after impressing Pochettino in pre season he was included in the Spurs squad that travelled to the United States for the ICC cup. And it was after one particularly promising performance in a friendly against Italian side A.S. Roma, which seemed to open the door to the first team for the Lewisham born winger. And it was the 2017/18 campaign which was really a breakthrough season for the tireless wide man. Georgiou made his first team debut for Spurs in a UEFA Champions League game against APOEL Nicosia in his native Cyprus, he also featured on the bench for the first team on a couple of other occasions. The speedy and direct winger also ended the season as a full international for Cyprus after winning two caps in international friendlies against both Montenegro and Jordan respectively. After putting in a series of impressive performances for our first team in this campaigns pre season tour of the United States, the 21 year old ended up starting our under 23’s first two PL2 games of this season. And it was after he put in a heroic performance up at Anfield against Liverpool in August, at left wing back, that I assumed he would end up going out on loan before the summer transfer window shut. However, Anthony suffered another injury set back shortly after that Liverpool match and it ruled him out of action until mid December. Since returning from injury Georgiou has put in a string of excellent performances for Wayne Burnett’s development side, at both left back and as an out and out winger. The amount of effort that Georgiou has put into every single one of the PL2 matches that he has played in since his return from injury, has been astonishing. He tore the Liverpool defence to shreds with his skill and speed in a game last month, before going onto cause the likes of Norwich, West Ham and ironically Athletic Bilbao B major problems. However, the Cyprus international from a defensive point of view has also been top class. With his tireless tracking back and willingness to help out and to provide cover for whoever is playing at left back. From my in-depth match reports you’ll have seen just how much I have praised Georgiou for the well roundness of his performances, but none of that is new.

Upon hearing the news of Anthony’s loan move to Valencia based La Liga club Levante, I was absolutely delighted for him. In my opinion as somebody who has watched a great deal of the Spanish third division this season because of Samuel Shashoua, I think that playing in such a competitive environment is something which will be so beneficial to Georgiou, even if that is for a B team or reserve team. This league is a very feisty one and while the players do play a different brand of football to what Georgiou will have been used to at Spurs, this whole new environment will provide him with that experience of playing against mens teams on a week to week basis. The third tier of Spanish football has its fair share of amateur dramatics and off the ball drama, but 90% of the teams that I have seen so far this season play positive and attacking football. This is something which will suit Anthony’s direct and purposeful runs down the left flank, and it should result in him getting a fair few assists and goals throughout the remainder of the season. I have been doing a fair bit of research on the ‘ Granotas ‘ second team Atlético Levante since Anthony’s loan move was announced. As previously mentioned Levante’s B team ply their trade in the same league as fellow Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua does, the Spanish Segunda Division B group III. However, the Valencia based club actually play their matches in a town called Buñol some 40 km to the west of Valencia at the Ciudad Deportiva de Buñol. I believe that the stadium is a part of Levante’s training ground. If my research is correct the side usually lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation and the good news for young Anthony Georgiou is that they only have one other left winger on their books, in 23 year old Spaniard Manuel Viana. Luis Tevenet’s side currently sit in 12th place in the league table and they are only three points away from the relegation zone. I really do believe that Georgiou will thrive for the ‘ Granotas ‘ during this loan spell there, and there are a number of reasons why I think this. One big reason is his adaptability to games, but there are so many other qualities that the former Watford schoolboy has which will help Levante out over the coming months.

Over the last month Georgiou has looked really sharp for our development side, and it has been his blistering speed and driving runs down the flank which throughout his time in the youth ranks, has always managed to unsettle teams and cause issues for the oppositions defence. His speed, skill and close ball control have always made him a very dangerous attacker but the ridiculously hard working winger will offer Levante so much more. He is a very intelligent and traditional winger who times his runs well and is good at creating space out on the left flank. The accuracy and pace of his crosses is also something which will come in useful for Luis Tevenet’s side, as will his willingness to track back after him and help out the defence. These are just some of the talented wingers qualities which will only improve when he gets the opportunity to play on a regular basis for Levante’s B team, and hopefully their first team before the end of the season. I have a really good feeling about this loan move for Anthony and I’m optimistic that it will really help his development as a young and ever maturing winger. I have sung Georgiou’s praises for many seasons now and as I have previously explained he reminds me so much of Ireland international James McClean in regards to his movement, graft and unrivalled work rate. Anthony is an exceptionally hardworking player who has bounced back stronger, time and time again from injury. He is the perfect Pochettino player in so many ways and I still strongly believe that he will be the long term successor to Danny Rose at left back, at some point in the future. In the meantime the 21 year old will be hoping to get plenty of game time out in Spain to help him push back into the first team fold when he comes back to Spurs for the beginning of the 2019/20 season. I will be posting regular updates on my Twitter account about Anthony’s involvement with Atlético Levante over the coming months, I will also be writing regular reports from his games in the third tier of Spanish football. The Cyprus international is a model professional and a very talented young winger who has already shown his old club Watford what a big mistake they made when they let him go as a schoolboy. Anthony is an absolute credit to Tottenham Hotspur and I would like to wish him a very successful loan spell in Spain. I think it should also be mentioned that this a very brave move for Anthony to make. To go to a different country with a completely different footballing culture is something which should be greatly admired. I am hoping to make the Atlético Levante game against Samuel Shashoua’s Atletico Baleares in April.

Anthony Georgiou for our development side this season:

Appearances: 8

Goals: 1

Assists: 1

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

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

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After suffering back to back defeats for the first time this season, Matt Wells top of the table under 18 side return to league action on Saturday when they’ll be looking to bounce back against inform Southampton at Hotspur Way. Matt Wells‘ side will be looking to return to winning ways against Southampton on Saturday, after the great disappointment of being knocked out of both the FA youth cup and Premier League Cup in such a short space of time. A lot has happened since we last met the ‘ Saints ‘ in the reverse fixture back in September at their Staplewood training ground when we beat them 5-2 in a thrilling game down on the south coast. The ‘ Saints ‘ under 18 side who are now managed by Paul Hardyman have enjoyed a good season so far and after enjoying a good recent spell of form they currently sit in sixth place in the league table. Like ourselves, Southampton have already been knocked out of both the FA youth cup and the Premier League cup. Long famed for their academy set up the ‘ Saints ‘ have another good group of first and year scholars this season. Centre forward Christian Norton (17) is Southampton’s top scorer at this level this season with eight goals and he has been a regular starter for their under 18’s during recent games. Young Irish left back Kameron Ledwidge is a very solid defender, while highly rated French youngster Allan Tchaptchet is a very accomplished centre half who has impressed this season for Southampton’s under 18 side. However, it is another Irish youth international in Will Ferry who I will go into greater detail on later, who is arguably the ‘ Saints ‘ biggest attacking threat. Our last meeting with Southampton was a very interesting one. It was a game in which Matt Wells‘ side dominated and won comfortably however, it was also a game where the hosts showcased their attacking quality in the final third and they certainly worked our defence through wide players Rio Glean and Will Ferry. I would imagine that Spurs will field a stronger side to the one that lost against Derby County last Friday and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Troy Parrott return to the side after his recent involvement with the first team in training.

Funnily enough Parrott actually played for Southampton at the Milk Cup in Ireland as a schoolboy, prior to joining us back in 2016. This weekends match is a big one for our under 18’s in their quest to win the Premier League South. This is also an opportunity for Spurs to put some distance between second place Arsenal who face third place Chelsea on the same day. Southampton like to play attacking football and this could be to our under 18’s advantage on Saturday morning. Another positive is the fact that Southampton’s under 23 side are playing away to Manchester United on the Friday night, this will likely mean that some of Hardyman’s most talented under 18 players won’t be available for Saturday’s league game. This will be another tough test for the young Lilywhites when Southampton come to Enfield on Saturday, they are on a good run in the league and they have won three of their last four league games. I wish Matt Wells‘ side all the very best of luck for Saturday’s game, my in-depth match report of our encounter with the ‘ Saints ‘ will be published on Sunday.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Lyons-Foster, Walcott, Binks, White, Bowden, A.Shashoua (c), Bennett, Thorpe, Clarke, Parrott.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Tainio, Okedina, Pochettino, Asante.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Rafferty Pedder, Rodel Richards.

Doubtful: Enoch Asante, Dilan Markanday, Phoenix Patterson, Dennis Cirkin (possible involvement with the under 23 side the following day).

Previous meeting: Spurs 5-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

My one to watch: Ireland under 19 international Will Ferry had a fantastic game for the ‘ Saints ‘ in our 5-2 victory over them in September. Ferry is a very skilful and unpredictable winger and he really made Maximus Tainio work hard in that 5-2 win earlier in the season. The Bury born second year scholar has scored six goals for Southampton’s under 18 side so far this season.

Some notes on Spurs loanee Connor Ogilvie’s performance against Accrington Stanley:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Connor Ogilvie’s performance against Accrington Stanley:

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Spurs loanee Connor Ogilvie (22) made his 20th competitive appearance of the season for his parent club Gillingham on Tuesday night, in their 0-0 draw against Accrington Stanley in League one. I made the trip down to the ‘ Gills ‘ Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday to watch our talented loanee in action. The Waltham Abbey born full back completed the full 90 minutes of Gillingham’s match where he operated at left back in a 4-3-3 formation. Connor put in a fantastic shift for Steve Lovell’s side against Accrington Stanley to help his team record a clean sheet. It was a performance where he should have been named man of the match such was the well rounded nature of his performance. Although he stayed deep and rarely opted to go forward down the left flank, Ogilvie was both aggressive and commanding at left back. He was also brilliant in the air, good on the ball and strong in the challenge. The 22 year old who turns 23 next month, anticipated danger well and all in all I thought that he defended really well against Accrington’s tricky winger Jordan Clark on the night. After a fairly eventful start to the game, Ogilvie’s first real piece of defending came after he managed to block a cross from Callum Johnson down the flank. While the former England under 17 international did go on a couple of overlapping runs down the left flank during the opening stages of the match he always remained defensively disciplined, and he would often come inside to provide cover for the central defenders. Ogilvie did well once again to block another cross behind from Johnson, this time from down the left side of the Gillingham penalty area. His first real attacking contribution to the game occurred a couple of minutes later after he received Mark Byrne’s pass down the left wing, before delivering a dangerous ball into the penalty area which took a slight deflection off of Johnson before causing some panic amongst the Accrington defence. Shortly before the interval Ogilvie made an important clearance inside the Gillingham box from Ross Sykes‘ cross to cap off a solid first half from the Spurs loanee.

Ogilvie was a lot more involved in the game during the second half as Accrington started to attack more down the channels. The left back did exceptionally well to get across Accrington’s Sean McConville inside the Gillingham penalty to clear Ben Richards-Everton’s dangerous, pacy cross. That was arguably one of the most important pieces of defending from any Gillingham player in the whole game, as McConville would have been able to just guide the ball home had it not been for the alert Connor Ogilvie. About five minutes later Ogilvie managed to clear another cross from Ben Richards-Everton but the ‘ Gills ‘ continued to see more of the ball. And Connor came close to giving the home side the lead after he managed to connect with a corner from Darren Oldaker at the back post of Jonny Maxted’s goal. However, the youngsters header ended up going narrowly over Maxted’s crossbar. The vocal and commanding Ogilvie then managed to be a hero at the other end of the pitch, after Richards-Everton’s cross was met by Billy Kee whose looping header was headed clear by Ogilvie on the line. Steve Lovell’s side were beginning to put the Accrington defence under increasing pressure and after Ogilvie had a whipped cross cleared by one time Spurs schoolboy Janoi Donacien, Gillingham hit the bar from Darren Oldaker’s free kick. Ogilvie then went on a purposeful galavanting run down the left wing a couple of minutes later before being dispossessed on the edge of the Accrington penalty area by Callum Johnson. The Spurs loanees next involvement in the game came after Tomas Holy’s goal kick was headed on to him by Elliot List down the left flank. Ogilvie continued forward before whipping a low cross into the danger zone, which courtesy of a deflection off of Johnson came to Josh Rees at the back post, but he was unable to turn the ball home and in the end Maxted was able to smother the ball. The ‘ Gills ‘ did have one late scare after Sean McConville pumped the ball into the Gillingham penalty area. Substitute Paul Smyth managed to get in front of Ogilvie at the back post but the Spurs man recovered well and he was able to block the QPR loanees effort behind for a corner kick despite getting hurt in the process. That was to be the last piece of action from what had been a surprisingly entertaining 0-0 draw.

It was a very mature performance from Connor Ogivlie on Tuesday night in so many respects. He defended solidly and he protected his side of the pitch well while also coming inside to help out Gillingham’s central defenders Gabriel Zakuani and Max Ehmer. I was focusing solely on Ogilvie throughout the match and as far as I am concerned he was the ‘ Gills ‘ best player on the night. Calm under pressure, disciplined and alert, Ogilvie was rarely caught out of position and it was his aggressiveness, aerial superiority and man marking which impressed me the most on the night. He made a couple of really important defensive interventions but none more so than the one which saw him get across Sean McConville inside the penalty area to get to Ben Richards-Everton’s dangerous cross. The former England under 17 international who once played in the same side as Dele Alli, was also good going forward and he delivered some promising crosses into the danger zone. This was a very good performance from the talented and ever improving fullback who has managed to reestablish himself as a regular in the Gillingham team. After putting in a really good shift for Gillingham on Tuesday night, Ogilvie will be hoping that he’ll start the Kent clubs next league game which is away to Coventry City on Saturday. I wish Connor all the very best of luck for the remainder of his loan at the League one club.

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

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

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Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua made competitive appearance number 19 of the season for his parent club Atlético Baleares in their league game against Ejea on Sunday. Shashoua completed the full 90 minutes of Atlético’s impressive 4-1 home win over Ejea at the Son Malferit. The 19 year old was arguably the best player on the park on Sunday afternoon and after opening the scoring with a glorious curling effort from inside the oppositions penalty area, Samuel went onto create many good chances for the home side. He was really threatening down the left flank and he made Ejea’s right back Kevin work hard all game. Shashoua started the game out on the left wing as Manix Mandiola’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. After Atlético’s goalkeeper Carl Klaus had managed to make a superb reflex save to prevent the home side from going behind early on, Samuel’s first touch of the ball occurred a couple of minutes later. After the teenager had received Rubén González pass down the left wing he managed to whip a dangerous low cross into the box, but it was cleared by Ejea defender Moustapha. Then in the seventh minute of the match the Balearic club took the lead through none other than Samuel Shashoua, who netted his fourth goal of the campaign. After passing the ball to Rubén González the Atletico defender gave the ball back to Samuel down the left side of the Ejea penalty area. The nimble footed winger then did exceptionally well to sort his feet out and to side step his way away from Kevin, before curling a sumptuous effort into the top right hand corner of Loscos‘ goal. It was a truly delightful finish from Shashoua but he showed excellent feet just to be able to get the shot away in the first place. However, the opposition equalised less than two minutes later through their captain Ramón. Samuel was making some intelligent runs both down the left wing and inside through the middle of the pitch. The Spurs loanees next involvement in the game came from one such run. After cutting inside onto his right foot down the left channel Shashoua tried to pick out Alberto Villapalos in the box with a delicate curling cross. However, the Atletico defender was just unable to make contact with his cross, and the ball ended up curling a fraction wide of the Ejea goal.

Following his early goal Samuel was still heavily involved in the game and after he received Marcos De la Espada’s pass down the left wing, Shashoua cut inside before travelling into the penalty area where he clipped in an inviting cross which was cleared by Moustapha at the back post. The teenager created a good chance for Nuha shortly afterwards when he received De la Espada’s down the left channel before shifting the ball onto his right foot and picking out Nuha in the box from his curling cross. However, the Atlético strikers powerful headed effort on goal was well saved by the alert Loscos. That was to be Samuel’s last involvement from a very good first half performance. Unfortunately for Shashoua he didn’t see much of the ball during the beginning of the second half as Atlético seemed to be reluctant to attack down the left flank, as Ejea grew in confidence. The Londoners first major contribution to the  half was winning a free kick in a promising position on the edge of the Ejea penalty area. Shashoua stepped up to take the resulting free kick but his curling effort up and over the Ejea wall was saved, and held comfortably by Loscos. After receiving Vallori’s pass Samuel attempted to play Nuha through on goal with a cleverly weighted pass however, Ejea defender Catalá managed to cut out his pass at the vital moment before it came through to Nuha inside the penalty area. Samuel started to get back into the rhythm of the game, and after picking up the ball on the edge of the oppositions penalty area he swivelled around before having a pop on goal. Shashoua’s effort took a big deflection off of Catalá before going behind for a corner kick. Atlético took the lead from the following corner kick through Vallori before Villapalos made it 3-1 less than three minutes later from another corner kick. And it was young Samuel who played a significant part in Manix Mandiola’s sides fourth and final goal of the game in the second minute of stoppage time. After latching onto Hugo Díaz’s long pass down the left side of the Ejea penalty area, Shashoua twisted and turned before slipping the ball into the feet of De la Espada. The midfielder then passed to Díaz who played a quick one two with De la Espada down the right side of the box before firing the ball past Loscos to cap off an excellent team performance.

This was a very good performance from Samuel Shashoua who played a major part in helping Atlético to overcome Ejea on Sunday. Apart from his wonderfully taken goal and clever feet inside the penalty area and the chances that he created throughout the match, there were so many positives that you can take away from Shashoua’s performance. Unsurprisingly he tracked back excellently and helped out Atlético fullback Rubén González defensively. Shashoua used the ball intelligently on Sunday and everything from the timing of his runs to his positioning, and the strength that he showed while he was on the ball, was really impressive. Samuel richly deserved his goal and it was great to see him find the back of the net again, for the first time in quite a while. The 19 year old was for me the best player on the park on Sunday and as he has demonstrated so often before this season it is his ability to change a game which has a lot to do with why Atlético are only three points of league leaders Villarreal B. It was a pleasure to watch Samuel play against Ejea and at only 19 years of age he is already one of the first names on the Atlético team sheet. Up next for Samuel and his parent club is an away game against Sabadell who they will face next Sunday. I would just like to say well done to Samuel on his goal today and on the fantastic season that he is having with the Spanish third tier outfit. The confident teenager is doing exactly the same stuff that I saw him do to such great effect for our under 18’s, when he was in his second year of scholarship at Spurs. 

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 19

Goals: 4

Assists: 2

Spurs under 18’s 0-2 Derby County: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 0-2 Derby County: (match report)

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Our Premier League Cup quarter final against Derby County at the Loughborough University Stadium on Friday night resulted in yet more disappointment for Matt Wells‘ under 18 side, who crashed out of the competition after being defeated 2-0 by Derby County. This was the second cup that our under 18’s had been eliminated from in just over a week, it was also our second defeat in a row after having been on a long unbeaten run before our FA youth cup defeat to Arsenal the previous Thursday. It was a strange game of football in the sense that Spurs dominated the midfield for large periods of the game. However, it was Justin Walker’s extremely well organised Derby defence which Spurs just could not get past on the night after falling behind early on to Jack Stretton’s well worked goal. The ‘ Rams ‘ early opener set the tone for the rest of the game and while they did look dangerous whenever they entered our final third, it was their tenacious back line which caused Wells‘ side the most difficultly on the night. Although Spurs moved the ball about well and played some nice football, they were never really able to test the ‘ Rams ‘ goalkeeper Sam French after falling behind so early on in the game. Spurs, who were without a whole host of their players had to resort to playing an under 16 player (Tarrell Whittaker) up top on what was his first ever competitive appearance at this level. Derby on the the other hand fielded a very strong side with a number of their under 23 players dropping down for Friday’s important cup tie. The ‘ Rams ‘ did have a number of opportunities to double their lead during the second half but our goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi had been on hand to make some really important stops. However, the 17 year old could do nothing to prevent Jack Stretton from making it 2-0 with a close range finish right at the end. Derby’s second goal had come about because the Spurs defence had been so open after the team had pushed players so far forward up the pitch, as they went in search of a late leveller. It was a disappointing defeat for Spurs to suffer especially when you consider Matt Wells‘ side FA youth cup heartbreak only the previous week. However, Justin Walker’s Derby County side were the most well organised and well drilled side that we have come up against so far this season, and they deserved to go through to the semi finals of the competition.

Matt Wells side lined up in the slightly unusual 3-4-2-1 formation on Friday with goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi starting in goal for Spurs, while a back three of Okedina, Walcott and Lyons-Foster lined up in front of him. Maurizio Pochettino and J’Neil Bennett started as wingbacks either side of holding midfielders Jamie Bowden and Paris Maghoma. And most interesting of all was that Armando Shashoua and Harvey White were being played as attacking midfielders behind schoolboy Tarrell Whittaker who led the line for the first time at this level. It was the home side Derby County who got the game underway on a chilly night at the state of the art Loughborough University Stadium. And after a bright start the ‘ Rams ‘ took a slightly surprising lead through Jack Stretton after just five minutes of time. It was a well worked move from Justin Walker’s side which started from midfielder Louie Sibley who passed the ball to Kornell McDonald on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. McDonald quickly slipped the ball into the feet of Jack Stretton who had made a run into the Spurs box behind our defence. Stretton then struck a powerful low effort past the helpless Oluwayemi to finish off a well worked move, 0-1. Spurs looked to respond straight from the restart after Harvey White attempted to play young Tarrell Whittaker through on goal, but the strikers first time effort deflected off of Derby defender Lee Buchanan before being plucked out of the air by their goalkeeper Sam French. A couple of minutes later Spurs went close to drawing level through the lively Tarrell Whittaker. After captain Shashoua passed the ball to Bowden the midfielder sent a lovely curling cross into the danger zone which was met by Whittaker at Sam French’s near post. However, the schoolboys diving header flew a fraction wide of the Derby goal. Spurs continued to respond well to going behind so early in the game. After knocking the ball about well in the middle of the park Paris Maghoma played a pass to J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the box but the wingers resulting effort on goal was blocked by Eiran Cashin, before Maghoma fired an effort over from 25 yards out from goal shortly afterwards.

Tarrell Whittaker came close to making contact with J’Neil Bennett’s dangerous whipped cross into the Derby penalty area, a couple of moments before Paris Maghoma managed to find Bennett down the left side of the Derby penalty area. However, the wingers volley across goal deflected off of a Derby defender before going behind for a corner kick. Spurs were dominating the match but they just couldn’t break down the solid Derby back line. After picking the ball up on the edge of the ‘ Rams ‘ penalty area makeshift wingback J’Neil Bennett forced a decent save out of Sam French from his curling effort. The home side broke forward down the opposite end through Lee Buchanan who surged forward down the left flank before whipping a dangerous ball across the face of Oluwayemi’s goal. Buchanan went on another dangerous run a couple of minutes later before squaring the ball for Louie Sibley on the edge of the Spurs box. However, the midfielders first time effort was blocked by Malachi Walcott before coming back out to Sibley whose following effort was blocked by Lyons-Foster a couple of moments before Morgan Whittaker clipped a teasing ball across the face of the Spurs goal. The ‘ Rams ‘ had started to find their rhythm again and they were looking to double their advantage, and after Jason Knight slipped the ball into Whittaker inside the Spurs box, Lyons-Foster had to be alert to make a last ditch sliding challenge on the Derby wide man before he could pull the trigger. However, the 18 year old centre half almost made a costly error after his lofted pass towards Okedina was cut out by Irishman Jason Knight who darted into the Spurs penalty area, only to be dispossessed by Lyons-Foster who made a superb recovery challenge. Joshua Oluwayemi made his first save of the game when he managed to keep out Louie Sibley’s fizzing effort. Captain Shashoua conceded a free kick right on the edge of the Spurs box shortly afterwards when he committed a foul on Jason Knight. Morgan Whittaker stepped up to take the resulting free kick but his curling effort flew narrowly over Oluwayemi’s crossbar.

The alert Jubril Okedina did well to clear Tyree Wilson’s pacy cross into the Spurs box before Spurs tried to attack the ‘ Rams ‘ down the opposite end of the pitch. After Jamie Bowden had passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing the 17 year old darted past Callum Minkley and into the penalty area before trying to pick out Pochettino at the back post with a good low cross. However, Derby goalkeeper Sam French was able to get down to smother the ball before Pochettino could tap home. Spurs did create one further chance of note before the half was up when Bowden shifted the ball out to J’Neil Bennett on the left wing. Bennett quickly cut inside before firing an effort on goal which was well blocked by Derby defender Lee Buchanan. Spurs got the second half underway as they looked to try and breakdown the tenacious ‘ Rams ‘ back line. After Paris Maghoma passed the ball to Pochettino down the right side of the Derby penalty area, Pochettino attempted to pull the ball back across goal but Sam French came out to to gobble it up before any Spurs player could convert. After receiving the ball on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area Jack Stretton fired an effort against Harvey White which rebounded straight off Stretton before going over Oluwayemi’s crossbar. After Malachi Walcott lost the ball to Lee Buchanan the Derby defender darted into the Tottenham penalty area before being intercepted by Lyons-Foster. Spurs tried to work a clever opening after Maghoma received Bowden’s pass down the left wing before passing the ball to Shashoua who attempted to scoop the ball into Whittaker inside the penalty area, but French managed to get to the ball before the schoolboy to gather the ball. Spurs then created a good chance to draw level, after Shashoua received Okedina’s pass he shifted the ball into the feet of Pochettino down the right wing. He then sent in a low cross to Whittaker at Sam French’s near post, but his first time side footed effort went just wide of the mark. Joshua Oluwayemi was called into action at the other end after left back Tyree Wilson sprinted down the left flank before squaring the ball for Sibley in the middle of the Spurs box. However, the Derby midfielders powerful first time strike was impressively palmed behind for a corner kick by the alert Oluwayemi.

Matt Wells made his first change of the game after he brought off Maurizio Pochettino for Rayan Clarke as Spurs went for a more attacking approach as the clock ticked down. After Maghoma gave the ball to the substitute Rayan Clarke out on the right wing the 17 year old fired an effort into the side netting of Sam French’s goal. After receiving Harvey White’s pass down the left flank Bennett attempted to pick out Whittaker inside the box with a low cross but once again, Sam French managed to get to the ball before the young centre forward could. The ‘ Rams ‘ then broke down the opposite end of the park through Jordan Brown who surged forward down the left flank before crossing for substitute Liam Delap down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area. However, Delap’s powerful first time effort was well saved by Oluwayemi before Lyons-Foster managed to clear the ball. Spurs were trying desperately hard to try and carve their way through the Derby defence but it was proving to be extremely difficult. After receiving Harvey White’s pass on the edge of the Derby box the unusually far forward Lyons-Foster attempted to slip the ball into Maghoma inside the penalty area, but the midfielders first touch let him down and French was able to smother the ball. Luis Binks replaced Brooklyn Lyons-Foster shortly afterwards and shortly after coming on the defender managed to find Bennett on the right flank from his long pass. Bennett looked up before whipping the ball into the danger zone and it wasn’t dealt with properly by French who dropped the ball, but he managed to claim it before Rayan Clarke could get to it. Louie Sibley had an effort on goal blocked by Bowden before he had a golden chance to put the game to bed for the home side. After Sibley had received Delap’s pass inside the Spurs box he managed to swivel around Walcott but he then ended up firing the ball over Oluwayemi’s crossbar, much to the relief of the Tottenham goalkeeper. Oluwayemi was called into action a couple of minutes later later after he managed to palm away Louie Sibley’s powerful effort from long range.

Matt Wells‘ side tried hard to try and open up the Derby defence with their short passing game but they were unable to succeed. A good passing move from Spurs ended in White passing the ball to Maghoma down the left side of the Derby box but, the midfielders effort on the stretch was comfortably saved by the diving Sam French. Maximus Tainio replaced Shashoua soon afterwards as Spurs reverted to a back four with Harvey White switching to left back. Jamie Bowden came close to picking out Malachi Walcott (who was playing as a centre forward alongside Whittaker) in the box from his cleverly weighted cross. However, any chance of a Spurs come back was virtually extinguished in the 87th minute after Derby doubled their lead through Jack Stretton who netted his second goal of the game. After Tyree Wilson had picked up the ball on the left flank the fullback went forward before passing the ball to Delap down the right hand side of the Tottenham penalty area. Delap quickly squared the ball to Stretton who just stroked the ball past Oluwayemi and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 0-2. Harvey White could be seen urging his teammates on as Spurs prepared to restart the game. A misplaced pass from Bowden came to substitute Liam Thompson who blazed over from range before Spurs kicked the ball down the other end of the pitch. Harvey White pumped a hopeful late ball into the oppositions penalty area but Malachi Walcott ended up heading an effort wide of Sam French’s goal. From the Derby goalkeepers resulting goal kick the ball came all the way up the field to Delap at the opposite end of the pitch, but the England under 16 international ended up firing the ball over Joshua Oluwayemi’s crossbar, in what was the final piece of action from the game. Matt Wells’ side played some really good free flowing football on Friday night but they lacked that bit of cutting edge in the final third and that is what cost them the cup tie. Up next for our under 18’s is a home league game against Southampton next Saturday. Spurs will be desperate to be desperate to return to winning ways when they host the ‘ Saints ‘ at Hotspur Way.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper was one of our best players against Derby. Oluwayemi made some really impressive stops (four in total) and I thought that his all round game was of a really high quality. The former England under 15 international was good in the air and he was very cool with the ball at his feet where he impressed with his distribution. Oluwayemi has been superb for Matt Wells’ side this season.
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old played the majority of the game on the right side of a back three before later slotting into the back four with Binks at centre half. Okedina made some really important clearances and interceptions on Friday, the second year scholar also looked really good on the ball. 
  • Malachi Walcott: The 16 year old played in the middle of the back three before going onto play up front with Whittaker for the the final minutes of the game. I was really impressed with Walcott’s positioning and awareness as well as his reading of the game. The England under 17 international was good in the air and he also made some important interceptions.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Londoner started the game on the left side of the back three and while the ball playing centre half was unlucky with a couple of his passes, I thought that defensively speaking he had a very good game. Lyons-Foster made three vital defensive interventions against Derby.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: The 17 year old completed 60 minutes of Friday nights 2-0 defeat to Derby. Pochettino played the game at right wing back where I  thought that he had put in a good shift, he tracked back well after him and he went on some promising attacking forays down the opposite end of the pitch. Pochettino looked good on the ball and he made some clever twists and turns.
  • Paris Maghoma: My motm, see below.
  • Jamie Bowden: Like Maghoma, Jamie Bowden played as a holding midfielder against Derby. And the 17 year old formed a particularly strong midfield partnership with Maghoma who he showed a real understanding with. Bowden moved the ball about well and he was nice and aggressive when he was out of possession. The lifelong Tottenham fan also created some some really good chances for Matt Wells’ side from his trademark curling crosses. I thought that Bowden put in a really intelligent performance.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The agile winger started the game at the unfamiliar position of LWB a position where the England under 18 international showed real discipline in. Bennett was our most dangerous attacking player on Friday and he really made Derby fullback Callum Minkley work hard to try and keep up with his searing runs down the flank. Bennett whipped some quality crosses into the box and throughout the game he was involved in some promising attacking moves. He was so positive and direct whenever he was in possession. Bennett moved out onto the right wing shortly after Rayan Clarke entered the game on the hour mark.
  • Armando Shashoua: The skipper operated as an attacking midfielder alongside Harvey White against the ‘ Rams ‘ where he played behind lone striker Tarrell Whittaker. Shashoua showed good leadership and he put in a typical workmanlike performance for Spurs, getting into some good positions and making some clever passes.
  • Harvey White: The 17 year old played alongside Armando Shashoua as an attacking midfielder against Derby. The tenacious holding midfielder had a good came as a CAM and he made some wonderful and ambitious passes to the likes of Bennett and Whittaker. White also demonstrated good leadership skills.
  • Tarrell Whittaker: It was great to see the under 16 striker make his debut for our under 18’s in such an important cup tie. Whittaker looked really lively and he got into some good goal scoring positions, and while he did have a couple of good chances to find the back of the net he was unlucky with his efforts. The schoolboy held his own despite his height and lack of physicality. I look forward to seeing more of young Tarrell over the coming seasons.
  • Rayan Clarke: The winger replaced Pochettino in the 60th minute of the game and he went on some promising attacking forays during his time on the pitch.
  • Luis Binks: The left sided centre back came onto replace Lyons-Foster in the 78th minute of the game. Binks made some good passes and while it was only a brief cameo he did look strong at the back.
  • Maximus Tainio: It was only a very fleeting cameo from the Finland under 19 international who slotted in at right back for the final minutes of the game.

My man of the match: Paris Maghoma. The silky midfielder operated as a holding midfielder alongside Jamie Bowden against Derby. And although that isn’t the attack minded Maghoma’s natural position, I thought that the 17 year old performed his role as a midfield enforcer to great effect. Maghoma did a good job at breaking up play, recycling possession and moving the ball around well in the central areas. The England under 18 international did move further forward as the game progressed and he initiated some good chances for the Lilywhites. Once again Maghoma has demonstrated just how versatile a midfielder he is and like winger J’Neil Bennett he showed really good discipline throughout the game.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Lyons-Foster (Binks 78), Bowden, Walcott, Maghoma, Pochettino (Clarke 60), White, Whittaker, A.Shashoua (c, Tainio 83), Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  8

Dilan Markanday – 7

Rayan Clarke – 7

Rodel Richards – 5

Armando Shashoua – 5

Harvey White – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Jubril Okedina – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 11

Armando Shashoua – 10

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Rayan Clarke – 4

Dilan Markanday – 3

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Luis Binks – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 5

Spurs under 23’s 5-4 Athletic Bilbao B: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 5-4 Athletic Bilbao B: (match report)

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Our under 23’s secured their place in the quarter finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup in style on Wednesday evening, by beating Spanish club Athletic Bilbao B 5-4 to go through as group winners. It was an exhilarating game of football and it was one in which both sides deserved to get something out of. However, it was Wayne Burnett’s resilient side who triumphed on the night. ‘ Los Leones ‘ fielded an older side than us on average but we were bolstered once again by the inclusion of Netherlands international Vincent Janssen who played the whole of Wednesdays match. It was a pulsating end to end game with chances aplenty at both ends of the pitch, but it was the maturity and determination of Spurs which saw them overcome the club from the Basque Country to go through to the quarter finals of the competition as group winners. It was a fiercely competitive game but despite the best attempts of the Bilbao players to wind up our lads by kicking and pulling at them, Burnett’s side managed to keep their cool for most of the game. It was a crazy match which was played at a high tempo on a bitterly cold night in Stevenage. Wayne Burnett’s side started the game really well and after Anthony Georgiou set up Vincent Janssen who opened the scoring after just three minutes the young Lilywhites looked to double their advantage straight from the restart. And on 15 minutes Spurs managed to do just that, thanks to a sumptuous free kick from Jack Roles. Spurs did have further chances to extend their lead before the half was up but Aritz Solabarrieta’s Bilbao side grew into the game as the half progressed, and they managed to pull a goal back just before halftime through their top scorer this season Asier Villalibre. However, Athletic Bilbao started the second half superbly well and it was only thanks to Jonathan De Bie that it took the Spanish side until 59 minute to draw level through Inigo Vicente. Athletic Bilbao continued to threaten our defence and they took the lead for the first time in the game through Victor San Bartolome less than four minutes later.

Spurs did strike back and thanks to a nice move involving Jack Roles and Vincent Janssen the former made it 3-3 with a smart finish from inside the penalty area. 20 year old winger Shilow Tracey was brought on shortly afterwards and it was the direct winger who really changed the game in Spurs‘ favour. After latching onto Jack Roles‘ clever pass down the right flank Tracey powered forward into the Bilbao penalty area before finishing emphatically past their goalkeeper Hodei Oleaga to make it 4-3 on 82 minutes. And Spurs‘ resurgence was completed when Anthony Georgiou netted his first goal of the season to turn home Shilow Tracey’s low cross to make it 5-3 less than five minutes later. The visitors did manage to pull a goal back in stoppage time through substitute Asier Benito but it wasn’t to matter as Spurs managed to hold on comfortably to record a quite incredible 5-4 win over the experienced Athletic Bilbao side, to book their place in the quarter finals of the competition. It was a very good team performance from Spurs even though some of our defending wasn’t great, it was a performance which showed real character and class to get back into the game after letting a two goal lead slip away. Our attacking players such as Anthony Georgiou, Shilow Tracey, Jack Roles and Vincent Janssen all played a massive part in helping us to overcome the Basque club on Wednesday evening. For the second consecutive game Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Belgian under 19 international international Jonathan De Bie making a rare start in goal for Spurs. A back four of Tariq Hinds, captain Japhet Tanganga, TJ Eyoma and 16 year old left back Dennis Cirkin on his first appearance for the development side, lined up in front of De Bie. George Marsh operated in the holding midfield role while Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Jack Roles played in central midfield, either side of wingers Anthony Georgiou and Shayon Harrison. And Netherlands international Vincent Janssen led the line for the development side for the fourth consecutive game.

Spurs got the game underway on a bitterly cold Wednesday night at the Lamex Stadium and Wayne Burnett’s side started the game well, and after a couple of good passes they took the lead after just three minutes through Vincent Janssen. It was the perfect start for Spurs and it was a really nice move which led to the goal. After Vincent Janssen shifted the ball out to Anthony Georgiou down the left wing the Cyprus international burst forward down the channel before stopping and waiting for Janssen to run into the Bilbao penalty area. Once Janssen had arrived into the box Georgiou laid off a perfectly weighted pass for the Dutchman who slid in between two Bilbao defenders, before prodding the ball into the bottom right hand corner of Hodei Oleaga’s goal, 1-0. Shortly after the restart Jonathan De Bie got his first touch of the ball of the game after he gathered Inigo Vicente’s cross into the Tottenham penalty area. The Belgium under 19 international managed to hold Vicente’s curling low effort from the edge of the Spurs box a couple of moments later, after he had received Gaizka Larrazabal’s pass. Both sides had looked dangerous going forward during the opening stages of the game and after Vincent Janssen passed the ball to Jack Roles, the Cyprus under 21 international managed to win a free kick right on the edge of the Athletic Bilbao penalty area. Jack Roles stood up to take the resulting free kick and the inform 19 year old managed to curl the ball up and over the Athletic Bilbao wall and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 2-0. It was a fantastic goal from Roles whose free kick had enough curl and pace on it to beat Hodei Oleaga even though he had been at full stretch. ‘ Los Leones ‘ tried to respond through Vicente who managed to get on the end of Larrazabal’s lofted pass at Jonathan De Bie’s back post, but Vicente’s headed effort was comfortably gathered by De Bie. TJ Eyoma managed to block Inigo Vicente’s effort on goal shortly afterwards, a couple of moments before the same player came close to pulling a goal back for the visitors.

After powering forward through the middle Vicente attempted to beat De Bie with a powerful curling effort from 15 yards out, but the alert Belgian goalkeeper did well to get down and push the ball away from danger. The game was being played at a very high tempo as both sides really attacked one another. George Marsh had a speculative effort from range comfortably saved by Oleaga before Anthony Georgiou caused some anxiety amongst the Bilbao defence. After latching onto TJ Eyoma’s pass down the left flank the speedy winger managed to work his way around Jon Sillero before whipping a dangerous ball into the box, which was only just about gathered by Oleaga. Vincent Janssen picked up the first booking of the game after he was shown a yellow card for a late sliding challenge on Unai Vencedor which the Atletico defender made the very most of. The Bilbao players reacted angrily to Janssen’s challenge and young Jack Roles had to put his arm around the Dutchman to take him away from the situation. A couple of minutes later midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe went on an excellent surging run down the right wing before winning a free kick near to the corner flag. Anthony Georgiou’s resulting delivery was flicked on by Marsh, who then managed to keep the ball in before lobbing it in to Harrison at Oleaga’s near post, but he somehow managed to glance the ball narrowly wide of the goal. A couple of minutes later Vincent Janssen was spared the embarrassment of missing an absolute sitter when he was ruled offside, after he had side footed Japhet Tanganga’s cross over Oleaga’s crossbar, from just five yards out from goal. However, Spurs would be punished for not putting the game to bed before halftime after Asier Villalibre pulled a goal back for ‘ Los Leones ‘ in the 37th minute of the game. A sharp and incisive passing move from Solabarrieta’s side had managed to cut the Spurs defence right open. After Jon Rojo had threaded a pass through to Vincente Bilbao’s number ten managed to slip the ball into Villalibre inside the Tottenham penalty area. The Spanish centre forward managed to get in between both Eyoma and Cirkin before calmly slotting the ball past De Bie who had come out to meet him and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 2-1.

The Athletic Bilbao players had been in a rush to restart the game after Villalibre’s goal and it was little wonder why. After Vicente managed to pass the ball down the right side of the Spurs box to Larrazabal the winger fired an effort over De Bie’s crossbar. It is worth noting that Georgiou had went out of his way to get back in front of Larrazabal to try and put the the Bilbao man off before he took his shot. Jonathan De Bie did well to gather Imanol Garcia De Albeniz’s cross shortly afterwards as the Basque club continued to finish the half strongly. The Spurs defence were beginning to struggle with how fast the Athletic Bilbao players were moving the ball in the final third. After Unai Vencedor managed to slip the ball to Vicente down the left side of the Spurs penalty area he tried to beat De Bie with a jabbed first time effort, but the young Belgian did well to the thwart the Spaniards strike to make the save. Bilbao came close to scoring a matter of moments later through Larazzabal. After Garcia De Albeniz had passed the ball to Vicente he gave the ball to Larazzabal down the left side of the Spurs box but his clipped effort was saved relatively comfortably by the diving De Bie. And the visitors had yet another glorious chance to draw level in first half stoppage time. A clever lofted pass from Jon Sillero resulted in him picking out Jon Rojo in the middle of the Spurs box but with only De Bie to beat, the fullback ended up volleying the ball over the Belgian’s crossbar in what was to be the final piece of action from the first period. Athletic Bilbao got the second half underway and it was the club from the Basque Country who continued from where they had left off in the first half. Another one of their incisive passing moves had managed to open the Spurs defence, after Gaizka Larrazabal had been able to feed the ball into Villalibre inside the Spurs box the centre forward then tried to poke the ball past De Bie but the 18 year old managed to make a spectacular reflex save to palm the ball away from danger. Spurs then gave away a cheap penalty a couple of minutes later after TJ Eyoma was deemed to have handled the ball inside the Tottenham penalty area.

Inigo Vicente stood up to take the resulting penalty kick but the fantastic Jonathan De Bie managed to prevent Vicente by getting a leveller after he managed to get down to his left to palm away the Bilbao mans curling effort. The Tottenham goalkeeper then managed to keep out Villalibre’s effort on the follow up after spreading himself well at his near post. And the Lloris-esque goalkeeper managed to tip over Asier Villalibre’s curling effort from the edge of the Spurs box a couple of moments later as the Bilbao onslaught continued. Victor San Bartolome had an effort on goal headed away by Japhet Tanganga before the Tottenham defender managed to clear Jon Rojo’s pacy cross. Spurs were being completely outplayed by the Basque club who had really upped their tempo during the opening stages of the second half. Asier Villalibre headed narrowly over after meeting Jon Rojo’s cross inside the Spurs box before Jonathan De Bie did well to push away Inigo Vicente’s low cross after another good passage of play from the away side. Spurs were somehow managing to hold on and De Bie did well to keep out a deflected effort on goal from Vicente before Aritz Solabarrieta’s side managed to open us up again with their quick short passing football. After Inigo Vicente had darted through the middle of the park he slipped the ball through to Imanol Garcia De Albeniz down the left side of the Spurs box, but fortunately for De Bie the wide man ended up firing the ball narrowly over the Belgian’s crossbar. ‘ Los Leones ‘ were all over us and it looked as if we would be unable to stop them. After Young Dennis Cirkin gave away a free kick on the edge of the Spurs box after committing a foul on Larrazabal. The same players resulting delivery into the Tottenham penalty area was cleared by Cirkin and it allowed Spurs to break forward through Janssen who ran at the Athletic Bilbao defence before shifting the ball out to Harrison down the left flank, but the 21 year olds resulting powerful low effort on goal was held by Oleaga. After a sustained spell of pressure ‘ Los Leones ‘ finally managed to get their equaliser and it stemmed from some sloppy passing out from the back by Spurs.

Spurs had been caught out while trying to play out from the back after a short pass from De Bie to George Marsh inside the box had put the Spurs midfielder under pressure. Marsh had been quickly intercepted by Villalibre who passed the ball to Vicente who then fired the ball past De Bie from close range, 2-2. The visitors needed to win in order to progress to the quarter finals and that is exactly what they set out to do after the restart. Larrazabal tested De Bie after coming in from the right flank and testing the Belgian who managed to hold his powerful low effort. However, De Bie could do nothing to prevent Victor San Bartolome from putting Bilbao in front for the first time in the game, a matter of minutes later. The goal had been coming and after Unai Vencedor had given the ball to Vicente he squared the ball to San Bartolome on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area and the Spanish midfielder managed to fire the ball past the Tottenham goalkeeper and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, sparking jubilant scenes amongst the Bilbao players, 2-3. That goal seemed to spark Spurs back into life and just three minutes after going behind the young Lilywhites managed to draw level through Jack Roles. After Dennis Cirkin had passed the ball to Janssen inside the Athletic Bilbao box the Spurs forward quickly gave the ball to Roles who managed to work his way around Bilbao defender Gorka Pérez before slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of Oleaga’s goal, 3-3. Jon Rojo whipped a menacing cross across the face of Jonathan De Bie’s goal shortly after the restart before Japhet Tanganga almost managed to pick out Janssen inside the oppositions box with a nice floated cross. The game continued to be played at a frantic pace as both sides continued to play at a high intensity, Jonathan De Bie managed to save Inigo Vicente’s curling effort from range before Spurs threatened down the other end through Vincent Janssen. After the centre forward had burst into the Bilbao penalty area he had an effort blocked behind for a corner kick by Jon Rojo. However, he had failed to spot Georgiou who had managed to ghost in at the back post.

Anthony Georgiou’s resulting corner kick was headed over by Shayon Harrison before Wayne Burnett made his first changes of the game. Tashan Oakley-Boothe and George Marsh were replaced by Dylan Duncan and Shilow Tracey as Spurs reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation. And the newly introduced Shilow Tracey made an almost instant impact after he regained Spurs’ lead in the 82nd minute of the game. After Jack Roles had picked the ball up in the middle of the park he swivelled around before spotting the run of Tracey down the right wing and then playing a perfectly weighted pass into the feet of the Spurs winger, who continued down the right side of the Athletic Bilbao penalty area before firing the ball emphatically past Oleaga at his near post, 4-3. Athletic Bilbao tried to respond through Villalibre but the striker ended up volleying substitute Asier Benito’s cross well over De Bie’s crossbar from inside the Spurs box. Then in the 87th minute of time Spurs finally managed to put the game to bed through the tireless Anthony Georgiou who managed to find the back of the net for the first time since April 2018. After Janssen had managed to control Dylan Duncan’s pass the powerful Dutchman laid the ball off to Tracey down the right side of the Bilbao penalty area. Instead of shooting, Tracey unselfishly pulled the ball back across the face of the goal for the sliding Georgiou to convert at the back post and he managed to hit the ball into the roof of the goal, 5-3. Gazika Larrazabal tried to have a go at Jack Roles shortly afterwards for an off the ball incident but Roles‘ fellow countryman Anthony Georgiou wasn’t having any of it and he stepped in to hold back the furious Larrazabal. Wayne Burnett’s resurgent side continued to attack the Athletic Bilbao defence and after Shilow Tracey won a free kick out on the right flank, Tariq Hinds almost managed to pick out Janssen at the back post from his resulting delivery. The visitors did however, manage to pull a goal back in stoppage time through substitute Asier Benito after he received Villalibre’s pass down the right side of the Spurs box before firing the ball into the bottom right hand corner of of the goal, 5-4. However, there was no time for Aritz Solabarrieta’s side to find an equaliser and the referee Tom Reeves blew for full time shortly afterwards.

It was without a shadow of a doubt the most dramatic and emotionally charged game that our development side have been involved in this season, but it was also a game from which they will be able to take so many positives from. Our under 23’s next game is not until the fourth of February when we face Brighton in the PL2. The draw for the quarter finals of the Premier League International cup should take place at the beginning of next month.

Player reviews: 

  • Jonathan De Bie: It may have been only his second appearance for the under 23 side this season, but the Belgian under 19 international was absolutely outstanding in goal for Spurs on Wednesday night. De Bie made an astonishing 11 saves in total against the club from the Basque Country and the 18 year old impressed in so many other aspects of his game. De Bie made about four top quality saves against Athletic Bilbao but the two which impressed me the most was the one to deny Inigo Vicente from the penalty spot, and his magnificent reflex save to deny Asier Villalibre from close range. De Bie dealt well with crosses and set pieces and his distribution, which apart from making a costly error in the second half was superb all night. 
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back had a good game on the whole and I thought that he got up and down the right flank well while also maintaining a good defensive discipline about him. Although he was more impressive going forward I thought that the 18 year old defended well against Athletic Bilbao winger Imanol Garcia De Albeniz.
  • Japhet Tanganga: The skipper had a good game at RCB where I thought that he dealt well with the threat of Athletic’s centre Asier Villalibre. Tanganga did well at bringing the ball out from the back and his passing was also good. The 19 year old made a couple of important blocks and defensive interventions.
  • TJ Eyoma: The 18 year old centre half had a good game alongside Tanganga where I thought that he snuffed out and anticipated danger well. Eyoma also looked very good on the ball against the Basque club.
  • Dennis Cirkin: This was the 16 year olds debut at this level and the first year scholar stepped up well at left back where I thought that he had a really good game. Cirkin got up and down flank well and he wasn’t afraid to take players on down the opposite end of the pitch. The Dubliner made some good strong challenges and defensively speaking he dealt really well with the threat that was posed by Gaizka Larrazabal down the wing. Cirkin put in a confident performance for Wayne Burnett’s side and while he was defensively sound I was particularly impressed with his attacking forays and close ball control. Cirkin also played a part in our third goal of the game.
  • George Marsh: For the second consecutive game Marsh operated in the holding midfield role, and during his 81 minutes on the pitch I personally thought that he put in a decent and combative performance.
  • Shayon Harrison: The 21 year old played the majority of the game out on the right wing where he worked hard to try and impact the game. Harrison was involved in some nice moves down the right flank but it was only when he moved into the hole during the latter stages of the game that he really started to look like a goal threat. The forward came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions throughout the match. This was the first full match that Harrison has played since September following his return from injury.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The under 17 World Cup winner played in central midfield on Wednesday and he impressed going forward while also moving the ball around well in the middle of the park. Oakley-Boothe went on some really nice bursting runs through the middle of the park and down the right flank which caused the Athletic Bilbao defence quite a few problems.
  • Jack Roles: The inform midfielder started in central midfield for the second consecutive game but the Cyprus under 21 managed to chip in with two goals and an assist. Roles was heavily involved in the final third where he posed a real goal threat. The 19 year old worked hard in order to try and influence the game and you can’t argue with how big a role he played in helping Spurs to win the game. Roles scored a wonderful free kick to make it 2-0 to Spurs early on in the game before then making it 3-3 with a really smart finish from inside the Athletic Bilbao penalty area. However, it was Roles‘ excellent pass and vision to set up Shilow Tracey for our fourth goal of the game which was arguably one of the most important moments in the game.
  • Anthony Georgiou: My motm, see below.
  • Vincent Janssen: The 24 year old Netherlands international led the line well for the fourth consecutive game for our development side on Wednesday night, and Janssen capped off another fine performance by chipping in with a goal and an assist. Janssen’s off the ball work and movement was impressive, as was his hold up play and link up play with Jack Roles who he has shown a real understanding with over recent games. The centre forward played with a real hunger about his game and after doing well to convert Anthony Georgiou’s cross early on in the game he went onto set up two further goals. I have been really impressed with the Dutchman since he returned from injury at the beginning of the month and it is great to see him playing with such confidence again.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 20 year old has had a tough time with injuries so far this season but the former Ebbsfleet United man really showed what he is capable of when he came off the bench for Burnett’s side with only nine minutes remaining, against  Athletic Bilbao. Tracey proved to be our super sub and it was the right winger who changed the game in Spurs‘ favour. Tracey was nice and direct with the ball at his feet  and after receiving Jack Roles‘ pass shortly after coming on he went on a lung bursting run into the Bilbao penalty area before powering emphatically past Oleaga. Tracey then did really well to set up Anthony Georgiou shortly afterwards to make it 5-3 and it was the 20 year olds purposeful runs which really opened up the tiring Athletic Bilbao defence.
  • Dylan Duncan: The central midfielder only made a very fleeting cameo but he did look tidy when he was in possession and he moved the ball about well.

My man of the match: For the second game in a row my man of the match award goes to left winger Anthony Georgiou for his sterling performance against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday night. While a lot of you will assume that I am giving it to him for his goal and assist, it was his selfless tracking back in order to help out and cover for the inexperienced Dennis Cirkin which really proved to be so crucial to us winning the game. The 21 year old could be seen giving advice to Cirkin throughout the match and he helped him to deal with Athletic Bilbao winger Gaizka Larrazabal. The hard working winger also had an excellent game going forward with his trademark surging runs. Georgiou managed to get the better of their right back Jon Sillero who found it extremely difficult to track the lively Spurs man. Georgiou did well to set up Vincent Janssen’s opener with a really intelligent pass into the Bilbao penalty area. And for the remainder of the game he pumped in some inviting crosses into the oppositions penalty area and he made some clever late runs into the box. A very good performance from Georgiou was capped off in style after he managed to convert Shilow Tracey’s low cross late on in the game. That was Georgiou’s first goal since last April and the delight on his face was plain to see. I would love to see him appear on the bench for our first team on Sunday against Crystal Palace in the FA cup. The Lewisham born winger has been playing so well since he returned from injury back in December.

Spurs: De Bie, Hinds, Cirkin, Marsh (Tracey 81), Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Harrison, Oakley-Boothe (Duncan 77), Janssen, Roles, Georgiou. Substitutes (not used): Freeman, Tainio.

Athletic Club Bilbao: Oleaga, Sillero, Rojo, Bernaola, Perez (c; Murua, 13), Vencedor, Larrazabal, Bartolome (Benito 79), Villalibre, Vicente, Albeniz (Salado 73). Substitutes (not used): Zarraga, Iruarrizaga, Prados, Artola.

Goals: Spurs – Janssen 4, Roles 15, 65, Tracey 82, Georgiou 86; Athletic Bilbao – Villalibre 38, Vicente 60, 90+2, Bartolome 64.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Janssen 32; Athletic Bilbao – Larrazabal 34, Sillero 53.

Referee: Tom Reeves.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Attendance: 465.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 8

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe -1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

Spurs under 18’s versus Derby County: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Derby County: (match preview)

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There will have been no time for Matt Wells‘ under 18 side to dwell on their painful first defeat of the season against Arsenal in the FA youth cup last week. Our under 18’s will have been busy in preparation for this Friday’s important Premier League Cup quarter final against Derby County, at the Loughborough University Stadium. This cup tie is the perfect opportunity for our youngsters to bounce back from the disappointments of last Thursday with a place in the semifinals of the Premier League Cup at stake. Without going into great detail about last weeks FA youth cup tie against Arsenal it was a game in which we deserved a lot more from. Beating Derby on Friday will be far from an easy task for Matt Wells’ side. Justin Walker’s Derby County side have been doing well this season and they currently sit in second place in the under 18 northern division ahead of both Man United and Man City. In fact Walker’s side have only lost two games in all competitions this season and it’s not surprising when you consider just how many quality young players that they have on their books. Some of Justin Walker’s talented players include midfielders Louie Sibley and Jack Stretton, silky Irish forward Jason Knight and wide man Morgan Whittaker. A lot of Derby’s most talented under 18 players are regulars in their development side and not to mention the likes of Max Bird who have already featured for the ‘ Rams ‘ first team, but they could all drop down for Friday’s big cup match. Derby’s impressive form this season will make them a difficult team to over come on Friday night but this is the perfect opportunity for Matt Wells side to get back into their rhythm and return to winning ways. Derby qualified for the quarterfinals of this competition after winning all three of their group games, and due to their excellent recent form they will fancy their chances against the wonder boys from Hotspur Way. But so will Spurs who although they might not be at full strength will be desperate to make it into the semifinals. We made the final of this competition last season and even without star man Troy Parrott they still have more than enough quality to play Derby off the park. Friday’s match will be played at a nice venue in the Loughborough University Stadium, and with a decent crowd expected to come along and watch the match it will provide some valuable experience for our youngsters.

I will be traveling up to Loughborough on Friday afternoon to report on the big game, and I would like to wish the lads all the very best of luck for their encounter with Derby.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Okedina, Walcott, Binks, Lyons-Foster, White, Bowden, Maghoma, A.Shashoua (c), Clarke, Bennett.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Statham, Thorpe, Cooper, Pochettino.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Phoenix Patterson, Enoch Asante.

Doubtful: Dilan Markanday, Rodel Richards, Rafferty Pedder, Troy Parrott (Possible first team involvement against both Chelsea and Crystal Palace), Dennis Cirkin (Played a full match for our under 23’s on Wednesday night).

Previous meeting: 3-3 (April 2017).

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: The ‘ Rams ‘ young midfielder Jack Stretton is their top scorer at under 18 level this season with 12 goals and he is a player who Spurs will have to be wary of on Friday night.

Spurs under 23’s versus Athletic Bilbao B: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Athletic Bilbao B: (match preview)

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Our under 23’s will face Spanish side Athletic Bilbao B tomorrow night at the Lamex Stadium, in their final group game of this seasons Premier League Cup. After recording a hard fought 2-2 draw with Norwich last week in their second group game, Wayne Burnett’s side know that they’ll need to pick something up against the Basque club on Wednesday to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition. After putting in a good performance against Norwich last Thursday despite drawing the game, Burnett’s side will be feeling confident that they will be able to get a result against ‘ Los Leones ‘ tomorrow night. Aritz Solabarrieta’s side lost their opening group game against Wolfsburg II before then beating Norwich at their Colney training centre. Solabarrieta’s side will have to go for the win tomorrow if they want to qualify from the group. Bilbao’s B team ply their trade in the Spanish Segunda Division B group II (the third tier of Spanish football). Like a lot of the European teams in the competition they will have had the benefit of playing against men’s football teams on a weekly basis. And the team from the Basque Country have been doing well in their domestic division so far this season. Solabarrieta’s side currently sit in 19th place in the league after picking up nine wins from their first 21 games. They have also scored the joint most goals in the division this season although they do have quite a leaky defence. Furthermore, they currently have the divisions top scorer in Asier Villalibre. Unless we decided to play Vincent Janssen for the fourth consecutive under 23 game then I would imagine that Bilbao will field an older team than us tomorrow night. With 23 year old centre half Gorka Pérez and their captain and former Spain under 17 international Aitor Seguín also 23, two of their more experienced players to keep an eye on tomorrow night. If the Basque club play anything like Villarreal B did when they played us in this competition last season with their quick passing game, then we will be in for a really difficult evening. However, that is what is so great for our young lads to experience at this stage in their careers.

This is an important game for our development side and they’ll really want to make sure that they get at least a point tomorrow night. I would imagine that we will field a similar side to the one which drew 2-2 against Norwich on Thursday. However, I do wonder if Janssen will play against Athletic Bilbao! I will be reporting on tomorrow nights match before publishing my report on Thursday afternoon. I wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for what will be a tough and very competitive game of football.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Hinds, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Reynolds, Marsh, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Roles, Georgiou, Janssen.

Subs from: Austin, Tainio, Duncan, Bowden, Harrison.

Injured/unavailable: Jonathan Dinzeyi, Luke Amos, Phoenix Patterson.

Doubtful: Kazaiah Sterling (Possible first team involvement against Chelsea on Thursday), Dilan Markanday, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: N/A

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: ‘ Los Leones ‘ top scorer this campaign is 21 year old centre forward Asier Villalibre who has scored 12 league goals for Bilbao so far this season. The Gernika born striker has played in Atletico’s two previous group games in this competition.

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

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

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Spurs youngster Samuel Shashoua made his 18th competitive appearance of the season for his parent club Atlético Baleares on Sunday morning, in their league game against Alcoyano in the Spanish Segunda Division B group III. Shashoua played the full match as Atlético drew 0-0 to Alcoyano on the Spanish mainland. It was, to be truthful not one of the most exhilarating games of football that I have ever watched, in fact it was quite a dour game for large periods. Alcoyano were well organised and they made it difficult for Samuel to create openings down the flanks although he did try his very best to break down the Alcoyano defence, and he came desperately close to scoring a late winner for Manix Mandiola’s side. The Balearic club wore their bright yellow away strip for Sunday’s match on a sunny morning in Valencia. After a fairly uneventful opening ten minutes which resulted in few touches of the ball for young Samuel, the Spurs loanees first involvement in the game came around the 15 minute mark. After the 19 year old attempted to play a clever lofted pass to Hugo Díaz inside the Alcoyano penalty however, their goalkeeper Bañuz was alert and he came out to claim the ball before Díaz could get to it. Although it appeared that Samuel had started the game as a number ten he was in fact operating as a left winger. Samuel teed off Díaz on the edge of the Alcoyano penalty shortly afterwards but the midfielders effort was blocked by an Alcoyano defender. Samuel was struggling to get involved in the game as the home side tried to prevent him from enjoying any sort of freedom down the left channel. After receiving the ball from Hugo Díaz down the left wing Samuel cut inside onto his right foot before quickly slipping the ball into the feet of Fullana on the edge of the Alcoyano penalty area but the Atletico captain curled an effort wide of goal courtesy of a deflection off an Alcoyano defender. A couple of minutes later Samuel had his first shot on goal of the game. It came from a Francesc Fullana’s corner kick which was headed towards Samuel on the edge of the penalty area by an Alcoyano player. The teenager set himself up well before volleying the ball narrowly over the Alcoyano crossbar. Samuel struck the ball so sweetly and he showed great technique to be able to strike the ball so cleanly and with such venom.

There continued to be very little to separate the two sides as the first half came to an end however, Samuel was involved in one more attacking move for the away side. After receiving the ball down the left flank Samuel cut inside onto his right foot before knocking the ball past Primi and then darting into the Alcoyano penalty area before being cut out by Tomás Ruso who slid in to win the ball off of him. Atlético came close to taking the lead shortly after the restart through Hugo Díaz who was only denied by a magnificent reflex save from Bañuz. A couple of minutes later Samuel went on a good run through the middle of the pitch before shifting ball out to Nuha down the left wing. The centre forward then passed the ball to Díaz inside the Alcoyano penalty area but he ended up snatching at the ball and firing wide. Samuel was becoming visibly frustrated down the left flank as the game started to slow down. After picking the ball up down the left channel Shashoua cut inside onto his right foot before forcing a decent save out of Bañuz from his powerful low effort on the edge of the penalty area. There were very few clear cut chances during the remainder of the game apart from one right at the very end which Samuel couldn’t convert. A good late move resulted in Fullana giving the ball to Samuel who surged forward through the middle before passing the ball to Nuha down the right as Atlético broke forward. Nuha unselfishly passed the ball back to Shashoua who had a made run down the left side of the Alcoyano box. With the goal gaping at his mercy Shashoua had only Bañuz to beat to net a dramatic later winner for Atlético. However, just as Samuel was about to shoot, the ball cruelly bobbled up and his lofted effort over Bañuz ended up grazing the crossbar before narrowly going over. Neither Samuel nor Nuha could believe that it hadn’t been a goal. It was such a shame for Samuel who was so, so unlucky with his late chance. In the end both sides had to settle for a 0-0 draw but even though the well organised Alcoyano defence frustrated Samuel at times throughout the match, the Spurs loanee gave another positive account of himself in a game which lacked that bit of creativity and sparkle which he tried so hard to provide.

He put some nice corners into the penalty area and he worked so hard to time his runs to perfection down the left flank. While at times unlucky due to the tenacity of the Alcoyano back line, Samuel worked tirelessly at both ends of the pitch and he tracked back well after him. He also initiated some nice little attacks for Atlético and he came the closest of any of their players to finding a winner. It was a performance that young Samuel can and should be proud of. Up next for Samuel’s parent club is a home game against Ejea next Sunday in the league, as Manix Mandiola’s look to get back to winning ways. I am hoping to watch that game.

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 18

Goals: 3

Assists: 2

Spurs under 23’s 2-2 Norwich City: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 2-2 Norwich City: (match report)

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Our under 23’s took on division two side Norwich City at their Colney training centre on Friday afternoon, in the Premier League International Cup. It was Wayne Burnett’s sides second group game in this seasons competition and it was imperative that Spurs got something out of Friday’s game, before going to play Athletic Bilbao B the following Wednesday in their final group game. While it was disappointing that Spurs didn’t win Friday’s match after going ahead on two separate occasions, I thought that it was a very good team performance from Wayne Burnett’s side who did well to record a 2-2 draw in Norfolk under some challenging circumstances. Burnett’s side of which included Netherlands international Vincent Janssen for the third consecutive game, played some good football against the ‘ Canaries ‘ and it was a good all round performance from the team who were unlucky not to get all three points. After a fairly even first half it was Spurs who struck first through Tashan Oakley-Boothe who netted his first goal of the season ten minutes before halftime, after playing a clever one two with Janssen before slotting home from inside the Norwich box. However, David Wright’s Norwich side fought back and disappointingly for the Spurs defence they drew level less than three minutes later through Adam Idah. For large parts of the second half Spurs were the better side although there still wasn’t much between the two teams. And after Spurs regained the lead in the 70th minute through Jack Roles following another well worked move, Spurs looked as if they were going to go on and win the game. However, Burnett’s side allowed Norwich to get back into the game and the ‘ Canaries ‘ punished them for it. Isak Thorvaldsson made it 2-2 in the 81st minute of the game after he was able to turn home Josh Coley’s cross. However, attentions quickly turned to Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin after he had went down worryingly after attempting to get to the ball. Austin received some lengthy treatment from the medical staff before going off the pitch in a stretcher and heading straight off to hospital. As Spurs had already made all three of their substitutions 17 year old fullback Maximus Tainio volunteered to go in goal for ten men Spurs. And the Finland under 19 international on only his third appearance at this level made a couple of smart stops to help Spurs see out the remaining 14 minutes of the game. Spurs only need a point against Athletic Bilbao B on Wednesday to top group c and book their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Brandon Austin starting in goal for Spurs, while a strong back four of Hinds, captain Tanganga, Eyoma and Reynolds lined up ahead of him. Jack Roles and Tashan Oakley-Boothe were the two central midfielders while Anthony Georgiou and Shilow Tracey operated out on the flanks. Meanwhile, 24 year old Dutchman Vincent Janssen led the line for Wayne Burnett’s side for the third game in a row. Norwich got the game underway on a bitterly cold afternoon in the Norfolk countryside, and after a quiet start to the game it was Spurs who created the first real chance of the match. After Tracey passed the ball to Oakley-Boothe down the right flank the midfielder pulled the ball back to Georgiou who had made a run into the middle of the Norwich box. The winger took a touch before having an effort blocked behind for a corner kick by Louis Thompson. Japhet Tanganga did well at the other end to cut out Josh Coley’s attempted through ball to Adam Idah. Vincent Janssen tested Norwich goalkeeper Aston Oxborough for the first time in the game shortly afterwards, from his powerful curling effort down the left side of the Norwich box which stung the palms of the Norwich goalkeeper who was just able to hold onto the ball. The Norwich City goalkeeper was called into action once again a couple of moments later to deny Janssen’s powerful low effort after he had the ball slipped into him down the left side of the Norwich box by Roles. It was quite an even start to the game with neither side really stamping their authority on the match. Brandon Austin did well to gather Josh Coley’s powerful effort from long range. Norwich came close to taking the lead a couple of minutes later after Bilal Kamal attempted to pick out Adam Idah at Austin’s back post with a whipped low cross. However, Idah was just unable to make contact with the ball and in the end Austin was able to claim the ball. Japhet Tanganga glanced Anthony Georgiou’s corner kick wide at the other end of the pitch before Isak Thorvaldsson became disgruntled with Spurs’ George Marsh.

And the Icelandic winger was right to be annoyed with Marsh who had barged him over the railings after winning the ball down the right flank, Marsh ended up escaping any punishment. The game continued to gather pace, Japhet Tanganga made a good interception on Louis Thompson inside the Tottenham penalty area before George Marsh headed Saul Milovanovic’s free kick away from danger. Spurs then broke down the left flank through Jamie Reynolds who played the ball down the line to Georgiou who whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Aston Oxborough’s goal. A couple of minutes later Jack Roles played a quick one two with Janssen down the left side of the Norwich penalty area, before opening up his body and trying to find the far corner of Oxborough’s goal with a curling low effort across goal. However, the Norwich goalkeeper got down quickly to make the save and to hold onto the ball. The ‘ Canaries ‘ threatened Spurs at the other end of the pitch soon afterwards through Josh Coley who burst down the left flank, before cutting the ball back to Anthony Spyrou inside the Tottenham penalty area. Spyrou’s resulting effort on goal took a hefty deflection off of Tanganga before being gathered by Austin, with the Norwich players claiming to the referee that Tanganga had handled the ball. Wayne Burnett’s side finally managed to break the deadlock in the 35th minute of the match through an unlikely source in Tashan Oakley-Boothe. The central midfielder finished off a good passing move from Spurs by playing a clever one two with Janssen on the edge of the Norwich penalty area. Oakley-Boothe then darted into the middle of the box before calmly tucking the ball into the the bottom right hand corner of Oxborough’s goal, 1-0. The 18 year old showed really good composure in front of goal to score his first goal of the season for Spurs. However, our lead wasn’t to last for long and a mere three minutes later the home side found themselves back level. Norwich centre half Saul Milovanovic caught Spurs out with a simple cross into the Tottenham penalty area from the right wing. Milovanovic’s pacy cross was met by the alert Adam Idah who managed to slot the ball past Brandon Austin at his back post, 1-1. Austin was visibly angry with his defence in the aftermath of the goal.

Vincent Janssen conceded a free kick in a dangerous position just before half time. However, Saul Milovanovic’s resulting delivery was gathered by Austin before Spurs were awarded a free kick in a promising position down the other end of the pitch, but Jack Roles’ delivery was cut out by Caleb Richards before Tanganga could head home at the back post. The referee blew for halftime a couple of moments later. Spurs got the second half underway but it was the ‘ Canaries ‘ who created the first real chance of the half after Bilal Kamal’s dangerous cross was headed away by Tanganga before being volleyed well wide by Spyrou on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Spurs tried to respond down the left flank through Georgiou who went on a good surging forwards run before laying the ball off to Jack Roles in the Norwich box. But the Cyprus under 21 international didn’t quite get his angles right and he ended up curling an effort well wide of the Norwich goal. Spurs threatened again shortly afterwards when Tracey played the ball down the line to Oakley-Boothe on the right wing, but the midfielders pull back which had been intended for Janssen inside the box was easily gathered by Oxborough. There was a slightly worrying moment for Spurs a couple of minutes later after Anthony Georgiou had lost the ball to Louis Thompson down the left wing before going flying in on Thompson to try and win the ball back. Georgiou fell to the ground in some pain and it didn’t look good for the 21 year old who had only recently returned from injury. Thankfully Georgiou recovered and he was booked by the referee once he got to his feet for his sliding challenge on Thompson. Spurs had a penalty claim waived away by the referee Alan Young after a challenge from Milovanovic on Tracey inside the Norwich penalty area. The right winger was replaced shortly afterwards by Shayon Harrison who made his first appearance  for the development side since September after returning from injury. Spurs were playing with a lot more width during the second period and it had begun to cause the Norwich defence quite a few issues.

After Jamie Reynolds played the ball down the line to Georgiou on the left flank the speedy winger burst forward before passing the ball to Janssen inside the penalty area. The Dutchman tried to sort his feet out but his low effort was comfortably saved by Oxborough at the Norwich goalkeepers near post. Spurs continued to cause problems down the left hand side and after George Marsh sprayed the ball out to Georgiou on the the left wing, the young Cypriot pumped another pacy cross into the danger zone. However, Georgiou’s delivery was headed away by Louis Lomas. Tariq Hinds then had a dangerous low cross gathered by Oxborough before Spurs finally managed to break down the ‘ Canaries ‘ defence through the inform Jack Roles. Tariq Hinds found Georgiou out on the left wing with a long pass. Georgiou quickly gave the ball to Roles down the left side of the Norwich box and the midfielder played a one two with Janssen, before stroking the ball past Oxborough and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-1. However, Norwich almost made an immediate response through Isak Thorvaldsson straight from the restart. After Adam Idah had burst down the right wing he pulled the ball back to Thorvaldsson on the edge of the Spurs box. The Icelandic youngsters powerful side footed effort forced a great reaction save out of Austin before Eyoma managed to poke the ball behind for a corner kick before Spyrou could convert. Spurs made a double substitution shortly afterwards when they brought off Jamie Reynolds and Jack Roles for Maximus Tainio and Dylan Duncan as Hinds switched to left back. Once again Burnett’s side were unable to hold onto their lead and less than 11 minutes after Jack Roles‘ goal the ‘ Canaries ‘ managed to pull level for the second time in the game. The danger came from Josh Coley down the left wing after the wide man went on a darting forward run before crossing the ball into the danger zone. Unfortunately Austin was unable to hold the ball as Idah attacked it and the ball fell to Thorvaldsson who was able to poke the ball home from close range, 2-2.

Attentions quickly turned to the injured Brandon Austin who had fallen to the floor while attempting to catch Coley’s cross. The 20 year old received some lengthy treatment on the field by the medical staff before eventually being taken off in a stretcher and then going off in an ambulance. As Spurs had already made all three of their substitutions this meant that Spurs had to put an outfield player in goal. The recently introduced Maximus Tainio volunteered to go in goal and after being prepared by substitute goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie he put on the goalkeeping shirt and went in between the sticks. Due to Brandon Austin’s injury the fourth officials board signalled that there would be 14 minutes of additional time. Norwich quickly piled the pressure on the Tottenham defence and although Anthony Spyrou had been ruled offside Tainio made an impressive stop with his feet to deny the attacking midfielder. George Marsh managed to block the same players shot a couple of moments later before TJ Eyoma cleared Caleb Richards low cross. Norwich came close to finding a winner through the potent Spyrou a couple of minutes later after he had the ball fed into him by Idah down the right side of the Spurs box, before having his powerful strike thwarted by the alert Tainio. Norwich substitute Alfie Payne then fired an effort a fraction wide of Tainio’s goal before the Norwich players tried to bully the 17 year old from a corner kick a couple of moments later. Thorvaldsson’s corner came to Norwich substitute Tom Scully on the edge of the Spurs box, but his powerful effort flew narrowly wide of the Tottenham goal. Thankfully for Wayne Burnett’s side that was to be the final piece of action of the game as Spurs held onto record a valuable point under testing conditions in Norfolk. It was a good performance from our lads who now only need to record a point against Athletic Bilbao B in their final group game on Wednesday, to progress to the next round of the competition.

 

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The 20 year old had another good game in goal for Wayne Burnett’s side. But before I talk about his performance it was great to hear that Austin is ok after picking up a worrying injury late on in the game, which forced him to go off to hospital. Austin played well during his time on the pitch and he put in a typically authoritative performance in the Spurs goal where he dealt well with crosses and set pieces. Austin made three saves in total and the pick of the bunch was his excellent reaction save to deny Isak Thorvaldsson’s powerful curling effort late on in the game.
  • Tariq Hinds: In my opinion the right back had an excellent game for Spurs on Friday afternoon. Although he would play the latter stages of the match at left back Hinds didn’t put a foot wrong against Norwich. The 18 year old read the game extremely well and he neutralised the attacking threat of Josh Coley during his time down the right hand side. Hinds also went on some promising attacking forays.
  • Japhet Tanganga: The Spurs captain put in a commanding performance at centre half alongside TJ Eyoma against Norwich. Tanganga was excellent in the air and he made some really important blocks, interceptions and clearances. The Londoner was also good with the ball at his feet.
  • TJ Eyoma: The 18 year old put in a solid performance at LCB where he dealt well with the threat of Norwich’s potent centre forward Adam Idah. Eyoma made some well timed interceptions and like Tanganga he was good in the air. I really like how good he is under pressure and how he plays out from the back.
  • Jamie Reynolds: The 19 year old made only his second appearance of the season for our development squad on Friday where he played at left back. Reynolds completed 79 minutes of our 2-2 draw with Norwich and the energetic fullback put in a really impressive shift for Spurs. Reynolds defended well against both Isak Thorvaldsson and Bilal Kamal down his side of the pitch and the teenager anticipated danger well. The Essex born defender also went on some good forward runs and he linked up well with Georgiou who he would overlap on occasions. It’s great to see him back playing regularly again after suffering such a bad injury at the same venue last April, while playing for our under 18’s.
  • George Marsh: The 19 year old had a good game as a holding midfielder for our under 23’s. Marsh did the nitty gritty side of the game well and he certainly stamped his authority on the match as a ball winning midfielder. Marsh sprayed some nice passes out to Georgiou and Tracey on the flanks.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The Lambeth born midfielder played in his natural position of central midfield against Norwich. And the talented midfielder had a good game for Spurs where he did a good job as a box to box midfielder for Wayne Burnett’s side. Oakley-Boothe was slick in midfield and he engineered some good attacks for Spurs. He topped off a fine individual performance by scoring a well taken goal during the first half, after playing a clever one two with Vincent Janssen.
  • Shilow Tracey: The winger worked tirelessly down the right flank and he went on some good attacking forays down that side of the pitch. Tracey also tracked back well after him.
  • Jack Roles: The Cyprus under 21 international is a young man who is in a rich vein form. And Jack Roles capped off another fine performance by netting his sixth goal for the development squad this season. The skilful midfielder was involved in some really good attacking moves and he always showed a real desire to create, and to link up with the centre forward Vincent Janssen. Roles scored what should have been the winner in the 70th minute of time after playing a clever one two with Janssen inside the Norwich penalty area.
  • Anthony Georgiou: My motm, see below. 
  • Vincent Janssen: The 24 year old played his third consecutive game for the development side as he works his way back from a foot injury which kept him out for most of last season. Janssen continues to look sharper by each game and although he missed a couple of decent chances to get on the score sheet I thought that he had a good game. He held the ball up exceptionally well and he played with a real awareness about him. The Netherlands international set up both of our goals on Friday.
  • Shayon Harrison: It was great to see the 21 year old return to action following a four month injury lay off. Harrison came on as a second half substitute to replace Shilow Tracey out on the right wing. He was involved in some intricate play during his time on the pitch.
  • Maximus Tainio: Friday’s game was one that will live long in the memory of young Maximus Tainio. The Finland under 19 international came on late in the second half to replace Jamie Reynolds but following Austin’s injury he elected to go in goal as Spurs had already made all three of their substitutions. And Tainio impressed by making two good stops to help Spurs see out the remainder of the game.
  • Dylan Duncan: The 19 year old midfielder only made a short cameo but he he looked nice and tidy in the middle of the park.

My man of the match: Cyprus international Anthony Georgiou is a traditional winger in so many ways and over the years his direct style of play has been something which has always impressed me. For me the 21 year old left winger was our best player against Norwich on Friday afternoon and it was his direct style of play down the left wing which caused so many problems for the Norwich defence. Georgiou was up against a talented young player in Bilal Kamal who operated at right back for the ‘ Canaries ‘ but it was Georgiou who came out on top. His powerful surging runs combined with some fancy foot work and sharp twists and turns proved to be too much for Kamal who couldn’t keep up with the speedy winger. Anthony worked extremely hard to create chances for his teammates and it was his trademark Bale-esque galavanting runs and pacy whipped crosses into the danger zone, which helped to force mistakes out of the Norwich defence. Georgiou created some fantastic chances for Spurs but he also defended well and he did a good job at covering for Jamie Reynolds who would often overlap him, and as I have said many times before it is that hunger in his game which reminds me so much of James McClean. He is looking sharper, fitter and more dangerous by each passing game and it is only a matter of time before he starts to get goals and assists. It is also worth noting that Georgiou played his part in Jack Roles’ second half goal. I am hoping that the Lewisham born winger will play against Athletic Bilbao B on Wednesday.

Norwich City: Oxborough, Kamal, Richards, Lomas, Jones (c), Milovanovic (Payne 59), Thorvaldsson, Thompson (Scully 59), Spyrou, Idah, Coley. Substitutes (not used): McCracken, Omobamidele.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Reynolds (Tainio 79), Marsh, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Tracey (Harrison 60), Oakley-Boothe, Janssen, Roles (Duncan 79), Georgiou. Substitute (not used): De Bie.

Goals: Norwich – Idah 38, Thorvaldsson 81; Spurs – Oakley-Boothe 35, Roles 70.

Yellow cards: Norwich – Jones 9, Thorvaldsson 56; Spurs – Georgiou 50.

Referee: Alan Young.

Venue: Colney Training Centre, Norwich.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 6

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Vincent Janssen – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1