Spurs under 18’s 3-2 Aston Villa: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-2 Aston Villa: (match report)

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Our under 18’s took on Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon knowing that they had to respond from their devastating 3-2 league defeat to Arsenal the previous Tuesday. John McDermott’s side did exactly that when they took on the ‘ Villains ‘ at their Bodymoor Heath training ground. It was another good performance from what was a much changed Spurs side than the one which played against Arsenal last Tuesday. Bolstered by the return of centre forward Troy Parrott who had been out for over seven weeks with a toe injury, in Parrott McDermott’s side had a much needed focal point up top. And the Dubliner’s presence on the pitch allowed Spurs to play their passing game to its usual effect. This was arguably the biggest psychological test of the season for the young Spurs lads who, for the first time during this league campaign had to bounce back from a defeat. The wonder boys of Hotspur Way dominated possession on Saturday afternoon although it was a far from one side affair. Spurs were unquestionably the better team and they created considerably more chances then David Hughes’ Aston Villa side. However, the ‘ Villains ‘ physicality and directness made life difficult for the Spurs defence on occasions. It is fair to say that it was quite a scrappy game of football. After starting the game well title challengers Spurs took the lead with less then six minutes on the clock. A well worked and incisive move ended with Elliot Thorpe picking out Troy Parrott in the middle of the Aston Villa penalty area, after floating in a cross from the left flank. Parrott battled with Aston Villa defender Myles Sohna to get to the ball, and he did just about enough to get to it and prod it past the ‘ Villains ‘ goalkeeper Akos Onodi to give Spurs the lead. Following the opening goal of the game Spurs started to play with more zip about them. After creating a number of good goal scoring opportunities Spurs doubled their lead nine minutes before the break. After the influential Chay Cooper had won a penalty, Parrott stood up to cooly slot the ball past Onodi to get his and Spurs’ second goal of the game. David Hughes’ Aston Villa side started to take considerably more risks during the second half.

A slight error of judgement from Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi ended in the 18 year old giving away a penalty early on in the second half. Dutchman Colin Odutayo stood up to convert the resulting spot kick to get Aston Villa back into the game. However, less than six minutes later Spurs regained their two goal cushion courtesy of a smart finish from Maurizio Pochettino on the half volley. However, the ‘ Villains ‘ did fight back and Ben Guy managed to pull a goal back for the hosts. During the 23 remaining minutes of the game the home team piled the pressure on our back four. However, the likes of Jubril Okedina and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster held strong to help Spurs to record another important win to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal. Sadly the ‘ Gunners ‘ defeated Reading 8-0 on Saturday to maintain their four point lead at the top of the Premier League South. John McDermott’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Saturday’s league match in county Staffordshire. Joshua Oluwayemi retained his place in goal while a back four of Rayan Clarke, Jubril Okedina, captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Dilan Markanday and Phoenix Patterson partnered each other in central midfield due to the absence of both Harvey White and Armando Shashoua. Maurizio Pochettino and Chay Cooper operated out on the flanks either side of CAM Elliot Thorpe, while Troy Parrott returned to the side to lead the line for the first time since January. Aston Villa got the game underway and it was the home side who had the first real chance of the game. After Ben Guy had passed the ball to Michael Tait down the left wing, the second year scholar burst forward towards the edge of the Spurs penalty area, where he let fly on his left foot. Tait’s powerful effort took a big deflection off of Jubril Okedina before looping narrowly wide of Joshua Oluwayemi’s goal. Makeshift holding midfielder Phoenix Patterson conceded a free kick in a dangerous position shortly afterwards however, Tait’s resulting effort flew straight into the Tottenham wall. At the other end of the pitch, Aston Villa defender Myles Sohna did well to clear a cross from Maurizio Pochettino a couple of moments before McDermott’s side took the lead, right out of the blue.

After pouncing on a loose ball inside Aston Villa’s half the alert Elliot Thorpe managed to latch onto the ball before passing it to Parrott. The Dubliner gave the ball back to Thorpe as he bolted forward down the left flank. The Wales under 19 international waited until Parrott had got into the penalty area before floating in a low cross towards the Spurs striker. Parrott battled it out with ‘ Villains ‘ defender Myles Sohna and he managed to just do enough to get to the ball first, and knock it past Aston Villa goalkeeper Akos Onodi on the volley, after just six minutes on the clock, 1-0. A couple of minutes later the lively Chay Cooper was given the ball by Thorpe on the edge of the Aston Villa box. The skilful Cooper came inside onto his right foot before forcing a good save out of Onodi from his powerful curling effort. After sprinting down the left flank Aaron Pressley passed the ball to Jaden Philogene-Bidace on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. However, the Aston Villa winger fired the ball over Joshua Oluwayemi’s crossbar on the half volley. There was a good tempo to the game and both sides were creating some decent early chances. Elliot Thorpe was on hand to flick a free kick from Jack Birch away from danger before Dilan Markanday managed to clear a teasing cross from Michael Tait, Myles Sohna then had an effort on goal blocked by Pochettino on the edge of the Spurs box. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to claim Philogene-Bidace’s hopeful ball into the Tottenham penalty area before Spurs broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch. After Chay Cooper had received Dilan Markanday’s pass he gave the ball to Pochettino down the right flank. The 18 year old floated the ball into the Aston Villa box where he attempt to pick out Parrott at the far post but Brad Burton was on hand to head the ball behind for a corner kick, before Parrott could attack it. Phoenix Patterson’s resulting corner kick was cleared by Mungo Bridge, but only to Pochettino who was waiting on the edge of the penalty area. The Barcelona born winger struck the ball sweetly on the half volley but his effort flew into the chest of Okedina who was in an offside position. The energetic Phoenix Patterson did well to track back and make an important interception to win the ball off of Aaron Pressley on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, before Oluwayemi managed to gather the ball.

After the balletic Dilan Markanday went on a surging run through the middle of the park he decided to thread a pass into the the feet of Cooper down the left side of the Aston Villa box. Cooper attempted to cut the ball back to Parrott but it was cleared away by Myles Sohna. The young Lilywhites were in control of the match. Maxwell Statham had a cross cleared by Mungo Bridge, before Elliot Thorpe came inside from the left wing before slipping the ball into Parrott inside the Aston Villa box. However, the tigerish Tottenham centre forward was intercepted by Sohna. A dangerous attack from the home side followed, after Michael Tait passed the ball to Philogene-Bidace down the left flank the skilful winger managed to skip past Okedina, before squaring the ball for Ben Guy on the edge of the Spurs box. However, Guy’s powerful, first time side footed effort was well kept out by the diving Oluwayemi who made a smart stop. Shortly after Troy Parrott won a free kick in a promising position, Phoenix Patterson fancied his luck from range. However, his resulting curling effort flew straight into the Aston Villa wall. A couple of minutes later Thorpe passed the ball to Statham on the edge of the oppositions penalty area. Statham whipped the ball into the penalty area but it was headed away by Mungo Bridge. The impressive Chay Cooper did ever so well to bring down a long pass from Brooklyn Lyons-Foster on the edge of the Aston Villa box. Cooper passed the ball to Parrott who then laid the ball off to Thorpe whose resulting curling effort flew high and wide of Akos Onodi’s goal. Chay Cooper had a cross cleared by the commanding Myles Sohna a couple of minutes later. A free flowing attacking move from Spurs led to them winning a penalty. After Markanday received Thorpe’s pass he slipped the ball into the feet of Cooper who had made a run down the left side of the Aston Villa box. Before Cooper could test Onodi he was aggressively barged off the ball by Villa’s Jack Birch, and the referee almost immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Penalty specialist Troy Parrott stood up to take the resulting penalty kick. The Ireland under 19 international cooly slotted the ball past Onodi and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to net his and Spurs’ second goal of the game, 2-0.

David Hughes’ side tried to respond before the end of the first half. After Philogene-Bidace received Jack Birch’s pass out on the left flank he came inside onto his right foot before curling an effort wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster then did well to clear Colin Odutayo’s cross away from the danger zone. Jubril Okedina did well to nod behind a corner kick from Jack Birch, before Maurizio Pochettino received the first yellow card of the game for a mistimed challenge. The alert Joshua Oluwayemi assertively claimed Brad Burton’s cross before the referee blew for half time. Spurs got the second half underway but it was clear from quite early on that the home side were now playing a lot quicker with the ball. Philogene-Bidace cut inside from the left flank before firing an effort wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. A couple of moments later the Spurs goalkeeper conceded a penalty. After latching onto Michael Tait’s through ball to Philogene-Bidace down the left side of the Spurs box. Philogene-Bidace was about to pull the trigger when Oluwayemi came rushing out to try and close him down. However, Oluwayemi slightly mistimed his run and he ended up missing the ball and bringing down the Aston Villa winger with his feet. Once again the referee pointed straight to the penalty spot. Colin Odutayo managed to tuck the resulting penalty kick past Oluwayemi and straight down the middle of the goal to get Aston Villa back into the game, 2-1. Jubril Okedina failed to deal with Jack Birch’s cross a couple of moments later, and the ball ended up bouncing up to Philogene-Bidace inside the Spurs box. The Aston Villa winger then forced a decent save out of Oluwayemi from a fabulous overhead kick which the Spurs goalkeeper was able to gather. After some good feet from Parrott on the edge of the Aston Villa penalty area the Spurs striker fired an effort wide of Akos Onodi’s goal. Rayan Clarke did well to clear Charlie Farr’s cross at the other end of the pitch, before Dilan Markanday did well to win the ball off of Philogene-Bidace inside the Spurs box, before Patterson managed to get the ball clear. 

Spurs managed to regain their two goal cushion in the 57th minute of time thanks to a fine strike from Maurizio Pochettino. After Cooper received Maxwell Statham’s pass on the left wing, the Spurs winger looked up before coming inside and spotting Pochettino who was in space down the right side of the Aston Villa penalty area. Cooper’s precise lofted pass was controlled well by Pochettino who chested the ball down before firing it past the helpless Akos Onodi on the half volley, and into the far left hand corner of the goal, 3-1. Shortly after the restart Michael Tait went on a surging run down the right wing before cutting the ball back to Aaron Pressley on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. However, the Aston Villa striker curled the ball narrowly wide of Oluwayemi’s goal and a corner kick was surprisingly given after the referee deemed his effort to have deflected off of Okedina. Elliot Thorpe did well to clear Colin Odutayo’s free kick before Spurs made their first change of the game, bringing off Troy Parrott for schoolboy Tarrell Whittaker up top. The potent Chay Cooper managed to slide the ball into the feet of Thorpe on the edge of the Aston Villa box however, Thorpe’s resulting curling effort was gathered well by Akos Onodi who made a fine save. Jubril Okedina made a good challenge on Pressley inside the Spurs box a couple of minutes later before the Spurs defender managed to put the ball behind for a corner. And it was from the resulting corner kick which the ‘ Villains ‘ netted their second goal of the game. Philogene-Bidace’s whipped delivery was flicked on by Sohna and the ball came to Ben Guy at the back post. Guy managed to weave his way around Pochettino inside the box, before firing the ball past Oluwayemi and into the roof of the goal, 3-2. Shortly after the restart Rayan Clarke conceded a free kick down the right flank. Colin Odutayo’s resulting delivery was confidently claimed by Oluwayemi. A couple of minutes later Michael Tait played the ball down to Pressley on the right flank. The ‘ Villains ‘ centre forward came inside onto his left foot before firing an effort straight at Okedina who made an important block. 

Aston Villa continued to attack our defence and they were coming close to finding an equaliser. After Philogene-Bidace latched onto Michael Tait’s pass inside the Spurs box, the winger managed to dart past Patterson but he was then intercepted by Thorpe who made a terrific tackle before he could get his shot away. Aaron Pressley headed Jack Birch’s resulting corner kick narrowly over Oluwayemi’s crossbar. John McDermott then made a double substitution as he brought off both Phoenix Patterson and Elliot Thorpe for Rafferty Pedder and schoolboy Matthew Craig. Shortly after coming on Pedder was given the ball by Statham, he then advanced through the middle by going on a surging run, before he slipped the ball through to Whittaker down the left side of the Aston Villa box. Whittaker’s powerful low, first time effort was clawed behind impressively by Akos Onodi to prevent Spurs from reestablishing their two goal cushion. Joshua Oluwayemi then did well to gather a low cross from Michael Tait. Both sides were pushing for a late goal. After Cooper received the ball from Whittaker he managed to find Pochettino down the right side of the Aston Villa penalty area. However, this time Pochettino’s effort on the half volley was blocked by Charlie McConnachie. Aston Villa had one final chance to equalise after Michael Tait whipped the ball into the Spurs box where he managed to pick out Mungo Bridge. However, the central defenders low headed effort was saved well by Oluwayemi as Spurs held on to record all three points. Spurs will play their game in hand against Chelsea on Wednesday and as long as it is mathematically possible for McDermott’s side to win the league then they will not stop believing! The young Lilywhites battled well to beat the ‘ Villains ‘ on Saturday without a whole host of experienced players.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: Once again the 18 year old had another fine game in between the sticks and he had quite a lot to do on Saturday afternoon. Oluwayemi made three saves in total and in terms of his handling, anticipation and how he dealt with corners and set pieces was top class. Unlucky to concede a penalty in the second half, Oluwayemi did make three impressive saves however, his first one to deny Ben Guy from close range was probably the most pivotal of them all.
  • Rayan Clarke: Although the winger found it difficult at times to play at right back against Aston Villa, the 18 year old tried his very best to fill in for our regular right back Jubril Okedina. Clarke had the difficult task of defending against the ‘ Villains ‘ best player on the day in Jaden Philogene-Bidace. The Aston Villa winger did cause Clarke huge problems throughout the match but I still thought that he put in a good and well disciplined shift. 
  • Jubril Okedina: Due to the absence of both Luis Binks and Malachi Walcott, Okedina got to play in his favoured position of RCB on Saturday. The ever impressive second year scholar had a solid game alongside Brooklyn Lyons-Foster who he made some crucial defensive interventions with. Okedina read the game to great effect and he made a number of important interceptions and challenges. The 18 year old was also dominant in the air and he was vocal throughout the match.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Spurs captain led by example in the absence of  regular skipper Armando Shashoua. Lyons-Foster operated at LCB and I thought that like Okedina he had a solid game, and one thing which I really like about his performance was his positioning which I thought was very good. Lyons-Foster made a number of important clearances, interceptions and challenges. The second year scholar has now featured 16 times for our under 18 side this season and he is improving all of the time.
  • Maxwell Statham: Even though Statham was playing out of position at left back once again, the 18 year old filled in really well for the injured Dennis Cirkin. Defensively solid but not afraid to overlap Chay Cooper down the left flank, I thought that the second year scholar combined both of his duties really well. The tough tackling defender did a good job at defending against the speedy Colin Odutayo down the left wing and he should be proud of his performance.
  • Dilan Markanday: Interestingly the inform forward was playing in central midfield alongside Phoenix Patterson on Saturday afternoon. The slightly more advanced of the two midfielders, I thought that Markanday slotted in excellently to the role in which he was asked to play in. Not only did he help the forwards out with his driving and weaving forward runs from midfield, from a defensive point of view I thought that the 17 year old was very very good. He snuffed out danger well, was good at breaking up play and he made some crucial interceptions. His skill and balance helped him out on occasions to carry out his midfield duties so effectively. He is such a versatile young player.
  • Phoenix Patterson: This was the 18 year olds first competitive start since November but he looked very sharp alongside Markanday in central midfield. Defensively he was very good and disciplined, but he also moved the ball around the park well and his incisive passing and vision contributed to some good Spurs attacks during his time on the pitch.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: The 18 year old has been in fine form of lately for our under 18’s, and another impressive performance on Saturday resulted in him scoring his third goal of the season for John McDermott’s side. Pochettino’s skill and good close ball control caused problems for Aston Villa left back Charlie McConnachie. He did well to create space for himself out on the right flank and he whipped some good crosses into the danger zone. Furthermore, Pochettino linked up well with makeshift right back Rayan Clarke. The second year scholars second half finish on the half volley was superb, and he throughly deserved his goal.
  • Elliot Thorpe: The Wales under 19 international started the game in the hole and during the first half in particular he had a real influence on the game. It was an intelligent performance from Thorpe and for periods of the game his vision, off the ball movement and his ability to link play was something which the home side found very difficult to deal with. The 18 year old initiated and set up Troy Parrott’s opener, and he worked very hard to make an impact on the game during his time on the pitch. Hopefully he will start against Chelsea on Wednesday.
  • Chay Cooper: My motm, see below. 
  • Troy Parrott: Considering that this was the 17 year old centre forwards first competitive game of football for over seven weeks, I thought that his performance was superb. Parrott showed his usual sharpness and good movement as well as a real urge to press the defenders and drop deep in order to influence the game. The Dubliner did well to get to and score from Elliot Thorpe’s early cross. The first year scholars second goal from the penalty spot was a very composed finish and before he was replaced by schoolboy Tarrell Whittaker during the second half, Parrott managed to make such a positive impression on the game. He was ruthless in front of goal today but it was the all round intelligence of his performance and his hunger to get involved and make things happen, which was just so impressive. It is so good to see our under 18’s top scorer back playing football again.
  • Tarrell Whittaker: The 16 year old schoolboy came onto replace Troy Parrott up front during the second half. On his fifth appearance for our under 18’s this season Whittaker really impressed against Aston Villa. He was so sharp and alert in and around the penalty area, and I thought that his movement was top class. The schoolboy came desperately close to scoring today but for an excellent save from Aston Villa goalkeeper Akos Onodi.
  • Rafferty Pedder: It was another bright albeit brief cameo from the Maidstone born teenager on his 17th birthday. Operating in the CAM role he was involved in a couple of nice passages of play and he was always very positive whenever he had the ball at his feet. Shortly after he came on Pedder went on a lovely searing forward run before slipping a perfectly weighted pass into the feet of Whittaker inside the Aston Villa box, and the schoolboy came very close to scoring.
  • Matthew Craig: It was a tidy and slick performance from Matthew Craig in central midfield on only the schoolboys second ever competitive appearance at this level. 

My man of the match: On only his fourth start for our under 18 this season, first year scholar Chay Cooper (17) was my man of the match on Saturday for his excellent performance out on the left flank. The former Southend United schoolboy had a tremendous impact on Saturday’s league game. Cooper really expressed himself down the left channel and he managed to constantly get himself into good pockets of space to receive the ball. The versatile forward played with plenty of flair and he really oozed confidence. His intricate play, good first touch, vision and fancy foot work asked real questions of Aston Villa’s right back Brad Burton who he tormented throughout the match. Although he liked to dribble with the ball as well as cut inside onto his right foot to try and test the goalkeeper, I liked the fact that Cooper was difficult to read because he mixed up his game. The 17 year old was involved in two of our goals, both of which he set up. After doing well to win a penalty during the first half he went onto set up Maurizio Pochettino’s second half goal after picking him out inside the danger zone with a lovely lofted pass. It was a very exciting performance from the first year scholar on Saturday.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Clarke, Statham, Patterson (Matthew Craig 77), Okedina, Lyons-Foster (c), Pochettino, Markanday, Parrott (Whittaker 61), Thorpe (Pedder 77), Cooper. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Muir.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 14

Dilan Markanday – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  9

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 7

Harvey White – 6

Rodel Richards – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Maurizio Pochettino – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 12

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Dilan Markanday – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

J’Neil Bennett – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

Chay Cooper – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Elliot Thorpe – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 7

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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Spurs under 18’s versus Aston Villa: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Aston Villa: (match preview)

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Our under 18’s will be looking to bounce back from last Tuesday’s devastating league defeat to bitter rivals Arsenal, when they take on Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. John McDermott and Ryan Mason’s side will be looking to return to winning ways so as to keep their title challenge alive, as we enter the final three matches of the season. Tuesday was a day which will live with the wonder boys of Hotspur Way for a long long time, and for all the wrong reasons. After performing so well against Arsenal for the majority of the first half it seemed as if Spurs were destined to win the game after they went 2-0 up  inside the first 35 minutes. However, the dismissal of central defender Luis Binks less than five minutes later had a huge impact on a game which could only be described as a title decider. Although the ten men of Spurs did defend superbly well for large parts of the second half, the pressure in which the ‘ Gunners ‘ put them under proved to be too much in the end. After Arsenal scored two late goals in under two minutes, the Tottenham defence started to crumble and deep in stoppage time Arsenal managed to score a hugely controversial winner. Still with a game in hand, Spurs can still mathematically win the Premier League South although they will be relying on Arsenal to draw one of their remaining two fixtures. With a number of players missing tomorrow’s game such as Luis Binks (suspended), Dennis Cirkin and Armando Shashoua Spurs will have to rely on some of the younger and more inexperienced members of their squad. It is vital that McDermott and Mason’s side return to winning ways when they take on the ‘ Villains ‘ at their Bodymoor Heath training ground however, it will be a difficult task for the young Lilywhites to achieve. David Hughes’ Aston Villa sit in seventh place in the league table after picking up 25 points from their 19 league matches this season. The ‘ Villains ‘ play a nice brand of attacking football and they have some good young players coming through their ranks. Left winger Colin Odutayo is one of their main danger men however, a couple more players to keep an eye on tomorrow are centre half Mungo Bridge and goal scoring attacking midfielder Michael Tait who has scored seven goals so far this campaign.

Spurs will be hoping that they can get back to winning ways tomorrow by exploiting Aston Villa’s leaky defence. I will be traveling up to Staffordshire early tomorrow morning to report on what is another very important match. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for Saturday’s game and I hope it will be a similar outcome to when we last met Aston Villa back in October.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Okedina, Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Statham, Patterson, White, Markanday (c), Thorpe, Clarke, Whittaker.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Cooper, Pochettino, Parrott.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio, Enoch Asante, Rodel Richards, Dennis Cirkin, Luis Binks, Jamie Bowden, Armando Shashoua.

Doubtful: J’Neil Bennett, Troy Parrott.

Previous meeting: Spurs 6-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 5-2.

My one to watch: The ‘ Villains ‘ speedy Dutch winger Colin Odutayo, who will be one of Aston Villa’s main attacking threats tomorrow afternoon. The second year scholar (18) who primarily operates out on the left wing, has been in good form for David Hughes’ side this season. Odutayo has scored seven goals for their under 18 side across all competitions, one of those goals came against us in the reverse fixture when we beat them 6-1. The left winger is extremely quick and skilful and he has a good left foot on him.

My piece on 17 year old Spurs defender Luis Binks – One of England’s most exciting young centre halves:

My piece on 17 year old Spurs defender Luis Binks – One of England’s most exciting young centre halves:

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Spurs Academy player Luis Binks (17) is one of the most highly rated young centre halves in England, and with good reason. For those of you who have seen Luis play you will remember him for his ice cool composure, unique laser like diagonal passes and his ability to read the game so effectively for somebody so young. The first year scholar looks and plays like a young Toby Alderweireld. His likeness to our experienced Belgian centre half goes beyond his haircut, and it has always been something which has struck me even since I first saw Luis play, back in the 2016/17 season for Scotland’s under 16 side. The Gillingham born defender who has been at Spurs since the age of six and his rise through the ranks at the North London club over the past 11 years has been quite remarkable. One of the finest left sided centre halves of his age group in Europe, the tall and commanding Luis Binks is a defender who is remarkably well rounded for his age. Comfortable at bringing the ball out from the back, and somewhat of an expert at making cross diagonal passes, Binks is in many ways the complete defender. The teenager who has featured on 20 occasions for our under 18 side this season, is an intelligent and mature centre back who has the ability to read the game and anticipate situations so well. Furthermore, Binks is a very attentive player who constantly manages to get himself into good defensive positions in order to make blocks and challenges. The elegant 17 year old times each challenge that he makes to perfection, and as I will later go into in great detail, it is his calmness and his decisiveness which is what reminds me of defenders such as Toby Alderweireld and Virgil Van Dijk. A composed but forceful presence in the heart of defence the for our under 18 side this season, Binks’ progress during the 2018/19 campaign for both club and country has been a testament to the great talent that he possesses. In the following piece I will be going into great detail on this immensely talented young defender. I will be discussing his qualities, his traits and his individuals performances during the current campaign, and after his harsh dismissal against Arsenal earlier in the week I don’t think there’s been a better time than now to pen my piece on a player who I would describe as the young Toby Alderweireld.

A native of Gillingham in the county of Kent in southeastern England, Luis Binks (2001 born) has been at the Lilywhites since he was just six years of age. One of three Kent boys in our current under 18 side, Binks first came to my attention during the 2016/17 season after he was called up to the Scotland under 16 side. One of the games in which Luis was involved in was streamed by the Scottish FA and I was therefore able to watch the then Spurs under 15 player for the very first time. I was instantly impressed by Binks‘ assured defending and composure, but one thing which really stood out from his performance up in Scotland were his ambitious but incisive long diagonal passes. Something which he tried on numerous occasions throughout the game. A couple of weeks later the schoolboy was surprisingly included in our under 18’s match day squad for a league game against Aston Villa in the April of 2017, alongside fellow under 15 and current PSV Eindhoven player Noni Madeuke. Binks was only included in the squad due to the fact that our under 18’s had a hugely important FA Youth Cup semi final tie against Chelsea a couple of days later. While Binks wouldn’t come off the bench for John McDermott’s side in a game which they lost 2-1, the schoolboys inclusion in the squad at the age of just 15 spoke volumes. Binks would regularly play up for the under 16 side during the 2016/17 season when he was still an under 15, his height and strength helped him to make that step up. Binks would also feature for the England under 16 side before the 2016/17 season was up, it is worth noting that Luis is also eligible to represent Scotland through his grandfather. The following season The Howard School pupil made more huge strides for both club and country. Binks went onto become a key player for our under 16 side during the 2017/18 season where he formed a very strong partnership with fellow centre half Malachi Walcott. As well as impressing for Spurs at a number of international youth tournaments, of which included the Alkass International cup in Qatar and the Borgaro Maggioni Righi tournament in Italy. However, Luis’ impressive form for Spurs was also recognised by England and even though he was still a schoolboy Binks went onto become a key player and a regular starter for the England under 17 side during the 2017/18 season. However, the Kent born teenager wasn’t included in the England under 17 squad which head coach Steve Cooper named for the Under 17 European Championships, in the May of 2018.

During the summer of 2018 one of England’s most promising young centre halves signed a two year scholarship with Spurs, and once again it has been a season of great progress for the ever improving defender. Since making his competitive debut for our under 18 side in a 6-4 opening day league win over Brighton back in August, Binks has made 20 appearances for our high flying under 18’s so far this campaign, chipping in with three goals and two assists. In addition, the first year scholar has also featured on four occasions for our development side as well as making five appearances for our under 19’s in this seasons UEFA Youth League. Luis has also managed to cement his place in what is a ridiculously talented England under 18 side, and just the other week he featured prominently for the three lions in a tournament out in the UAE. Binks started all three of the games that England played in at the Sport Chain Cup in Dubai. Our current under 18 side is one of the best that Spurs have had this century and although every single player in John McDermott and Ryan Mason’s side has been superb this season. From a consistency point of view there have been few players more influential than the tenacious centre half this season. Binks has been a mainstay in our title challenging under 18 side right since the campaign started last August. Alongside Malachi Walcott, Jubril Okedina and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster at RCB, not once have I ever seen the first year scholar have a bad game for Spurs across all levels this season. Luis has put in a number of outstanding performances so far this campaign for our under 18’s, 23’s and 19’s and he is a player who seems to be improving by each match. The son of the legendary former Chatham Town player Tom Binks, has oozed class whenever he has played for Spurs this season. Putting in match winning performances against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Fulham and Leicester City to name but a few clubs. Binks’ outstanding anticipation, reading of the game and the commanding nature of his defending has made him one of our under 18’s most important players during this title challenging season. Regardless of Binks’ unfortunate sending off against Arsenal on Tuesday, the Gillingham born centre backs imperious defending has had a lot to do with where we find ourselves in the Under 18 Premier League South.

Luis Binks has grown quite considerably over the last couple of seasons and he now stands at six feet and four inches tall. He is also developing physically all of the time, and he is becoming faster and more athletic as the season goes on. To give you all a better picture of Luis Binks the centre half I will go into great detail about what kind of defender Luis is and what his greatest attributes are. Like the slightly older Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Luis Binks is essentially a ball playing centre half who plays with a distinctive elegance about his game. A player who models himself on both Toby Alderweireld and Virgil Van Dijk, Binks plays football like a fine chess player would play chess. Every aspect of the 17 year olds play is cool and well calculated, he isn’t the type of defender who will make unnecessary challenges or rash decisions although he isn’t afraid to make big decisions in games. For a first year scholar Binks’ all round game is well beyond his years and one aspect of his game which has always impressed me has been his passing. A master of the long cross field diagonal pass, the England under 18 international has an absolute wand of a left foot. And the teenagers passing range and ability to pick out a teammate with such precision from a long pass is frightening. His long pings or laser like passes are Michael Dawson-esque however, they are also quite unique particularly for a defender of Binks’ age. He is a player who has excellent vision and technique, and while you do get a number of central defenders such as Toby Alderweireld, Michael Dawson and Alfie Mawson who are experts at picking teammates out with long pinged passes. I have never seen a player at under 18 level who has such perfect technique and confidence in his own ability to make such ambitious passes. Binks’ cross field passes have been influential in Spurs’ season but his more simpler passes have also been just as influential in my eyes. As I previously mentioned, he likes to bring the ball out from the back and go on fairly ambitious darting runs. While Binks’ short passing is nice and crisp, his passes through the middle of the pitch have opened up teams on more than one occasion this season. One game particularly stands out in my memory, that match was a Premier League Cup game against Middlesbrough back in December. During that particular game Binks’ clever long balls through the middle of the pitch were something which the oppositions defence simply couldn’t deal with, and it resulted in Middlesbrough taking measures to prevent Luis from having enough space to successfully make such passes during the latter stages of the game.

Apart from the 17 year olds ball playing skills and exceptional passing range Binks is also a very, very good defender. He reads the game like a player who is in his late 20’s and he has a remarkable defensive nous about him. The Gillingham born defender is excellent in the air and like his centre back partner Malachi Walcott he usually wins the vast majority of his aerial duels. In addition Binks’ headed clearances are cushioned and deft, much like second year scholar Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. An assured and composed player on the pitch, Binks is able to combine brains with brawn. The 17 year old reads situations so effectively in an almost Alderweireld-esque way. He also performs well under pressure and more often than not he manages to get the better of the oppositions centre forward for brains. Although he is aesthetically pleasing on the ball and he likes to be adventurous in possession like all of young centre halves, Binks also has a good no nonsense approach to games. He is a decisive young man who constantly manages to step in front of the oppositions attacker whenever they manage to get into dangerous positions in and around the penalty area. He has a cool head on him and he rarely lunges into challenges, and one thing which is very impressive is the immaculate timing of his challenges and interceptions. Again this links into the comparisons which I have made with Toby Alderweireld, a player who only tends to slide in as a very last resort. Luis is a very confident young defender who is good at marshalling the Spurs defence, and imposing himself well on matches. The England under 18 internationals impeccable positioning helps him to carry out his defensive duties so effectively, E.g. getting himself into good positions in order to make blocks and clearances. Even when he does make the occasional error his pace and strength are two things which help him to recover well. His pace and strength have improved considerably over the last couple of years. The first year scholar is a courageous young defender who will put his body on the line for his team. Like the slightly younger Malachi Walcott he is somewhat of an expert at making last ditch challenges and blocks, and it is his commitment and willingness to take risks which is something which will leave him in great stead over the years to come.

I see Luis as a future captain of our under 18 side, as he is a natural born leader who is vocal and confident on the pitch. Luis is also a team player who has demonstrated good organisation skills during matches so far this season. He is aggressive and assertive but above all else he will make brave decisions which other defenders won’t make. One such brave decision occurred in an under 18 league game against Fulham back in November. During this particular match Spurs found themselves in great trouble as Fulham came at them on the break. One of the Fulham players burst past both Binks and Walcott before surging into the Tottenham penalty area where he only had the goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi to beat. In this particular instance Binks took it upon himself to tug the Fulham player back and essentially take one for the team. Of course Luis was shown a straight red card by the referee and a penalty kick was awarded to the home side. Of course Luis could have let the Fulham centre forward go through on goal and score a late winner for the ‘ Cottagers ‘ however, he decided to be selfless by stopping Fulham from netting a late winner. Of course Joshua Oluwayemi’s heroics to keep out the resulting spot kick also proved to be pivotal in Spurs recording a valuable point, and maintaining their unbeaten record. In my humble opinion Luis has all the hallmarks of the complete central defender. He is combative, elegant, mature, decisive, combative but most importantly of all he is intelligent, and he has such a wonderful footballing brain. Although the whole under 18 side have been superb this season I personally think that Luis has been the most consistent performer in the side. Not once have I seen the Gillingham born defender have a bad game this season, and he has been involved in some very difficult matches. His well roundedness and adaptability to matches is something which makes him a fantastic prospect for both Spurs and England, and the fact that he is a regular for what is an immensely talented England under 18 side says so much about this young mans quality and potential. Without doubt one of the most important players for our under 18 side this season, Luis has also greatly impressed me whenever he has been called upon to play for our development side. After putting in an outstanding performance on his debut for the under 21’s in a Checkatrade Trophy game against Crawley Town. Binks has also put in fantastic performances against both Manchester City and Everton’s under 23 side in the PL2.

In the game against Manchester City Binks looked as if he had already played 100 games at that level, such was the ease in which he slotted into Wayne Burnett’s side to play in a back three. Luis Binks is a young player who I like a lot and I have such great hopes for him at Spurs. I admire not only his quality on the ball but also his knowledge of the game from a defensive point of view, and his all round play. Luis is in my mind the best 17 year old left sided centre half in England if not Europe, and as a young central defender there is not one single aspect of his game which you can criticise as supporters. Forget all about his sending off against Arsenal on Tuesday, that is of little importance for young Binks who has been one of the beating hearts of this exceptionally talented under 18 side this season where he has consistently performed to such a high standard. He should be ever so proud of all that he has achieved so far this campaign for both his club and for his country. Binks will only have to commit to England or Scotland once he has played a competitive game for them at youth level.

Some thoughts on our under 18’s unjust 3-2 league defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday afternoon:

Some thoughts on our under 18’s unjust 3-2 league defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday afternoon:

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On a cold, wet and windy afternoon in Hertfordshire there was a storm taking place. Two immensely talented under 18 sides and bitter rivals took on one another in a league game, which could only be described as a title decider. John McDermott’s undefeated Spurs side had the opportunity to avenge their old foes for knocking them out of the FA Youth Cup earlier on in the season, in controversial circumstances. Instead of doing an in-depth match report of Tuesday’s hugely important North London Derby, due to the fact that I left my notebook at home I will instead being giving my thoughts on what was an even more controversial game than the last time these two sides met back in January, I do apologise for this! Spurs made the short trip to Hertfordshire on the back of an impressive 4-0 win over Fulham at the weekend, our high flying under 18’s were also unbeaten in the league this season, going into Tuesday’s match. League leaders Arsenal on the other hand had won all ten of their home league matches since the season started back in August and Ken Gillard’s side had been in red form since the start of the year. McDermott’s side went into this game in similarly impressive form and even though the wonder boys of Hotspur Way have a game in hand over the ‘ Gunners ‘ who were one point ahead of them in the table, it was vital that Spurs didn’t lose Tuesdays match. Unfortunately Spurs did succumb to their first league defeat of this season however, it couldn’t have been any less deserved. McDermott’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the ‘ Gunners ‘ who had two of their finest young players in Bukayo Saka and Xavier Amaechi on the bench. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal for Spurs while a back four consisting of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Harvey White partnered up in central midfield, as Dilan Markanday and Paris Maghoma operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM and Spurs captain Armando Shashoua. In the absence of any recognised strikers winger J’Neil Bennett led the line for Spurs. McDermott’s side started the game with a really good energy about them and it was good to see them attack the Arsenal defence at every possible opportunity. Spurs’ fine start to the game resulted in them taking the lead in the sixth minute of the game through Paris Maghoma.

The heavy rain didn’t seem to affect the skilful Dilan Markanday’s balance, after he received Armando Shashoua’s pass out on the right wing. Markanday cut inside onto his left foot before cleverly tricking his way past two Arsenal defenders, before spotting and picking out Paris Maghoma who made a good run towards the Arsenal penalty area from the left flank. Maghoma opened up his body as the ball rolled towards him on the edge of the box, before calmly stroking the ball past the helpless Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith, and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. J’Neil Bennett had an effort harshly ruled out for offside a couple of minutes later, a matter of moments after Arsenal defender Mark McGuinness had heroically blocked a shot on goal from the Spurs forward inside the Arsenal box. Spurs were completely dominating the match and our back four was dealing well with Arsenal who were constantly looking to catch us on the break. Both Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham made hugely important early defensive interventions. Spurs continued to play with a high tempo and their aggressive off the ball pressing and fluent attacking football was really stretching the Arsenal defence. Luis Binks then managed to glance Harvey White’s dangerous in swinging free kick on to Tom Smith’s right hand post. A couple of minutes later a sloppy back pass from Zac Swanson put Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith under pressure inside his own penalty area. The alert J’Neil Bennett’s aggressive pressing and pace resulted in him getting to the ball before Smith, but he was cynically tripped by the Arsenal goalkeeper as he tried to take the ball around him. This resulted in the referee awarding a penalty kick to John McDermott’s side. The typically assured Harvey White stood up to tuck the resulting spot kick past Smith and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-0. Centre half Malachi Walcott managed to somehow keep up with Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun as he raced into the Spurs penalty area, before managing to get across Balogun to make a heroic last ditch sliding block, to prevent his powerful low effort from testing Olwuayemi.

All of Spurs’ excellent attacking football and imperious defending to keep out the potent Arsenal attack, was undone in the 40th minute of the game after one of our key players was shown a straight red card. A corner kick from Arsenal’s Sam Greenwood failed to pick out any Arsenal players inside the Tottenham penalty area and this seemed to frustrate the ‘ Gunners ‘ towering centre half Mark McGuinness as he tussled with Luis Binks at the back post. McGuinness decided that it was alright to elbow Binks and this unsurprisingly infuriated the first year scholar, who was absolutely livid with the Ireland under 19 international. Both Binks and McGuinness squared up to one another and in the end young Luis resorted to putting the imposing Arsenal defender into a headlock, before throwing him to the ground. About seven Arsenal players quickly surrounded Binks who was on the floor himself, they aggressively taunted him, and it was then that a massive scuffle between both sets of players ensued. The referee had missed the incident and after consulting the linesman on the far side they came to the ridiculous conclusion that only Binks had to go, while McGuinness was only cautioned with a yellow card. Unsurprisingly the young Tottenham defender was absolutely distraught as he left the pitch. Goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi made his first save of the game shortly afterwards and what a save it was to prevent Trae Coyle from pulling a goal back for Arsenal on the stroke of halftime. After Coyle had come inside from the left flank, the Arsenal winger tried to beat Oluwayemi with a terrific curling effort towards the top left hand corner of the Spurs goalkeepers goal. However, Oluwayemi managed to make an incredible flying save to tip the ball behind for a corner kick. Despite the ‘ Gunners ‘ numerical advantage John McDermott’s side came desperately close to extending their lead right at the beginning of the second half. Harvey White’s in swinging corner kick was glanced across goal by Lyons-Foster, towards J’Neil Bennett at the back post. However, the Spurs forward ended up narrowly poking the ball wide of the Arsenal goal from close range, before painfully colliding with the post.

The introduction of England under 19 international Bukayo Saka by Arsenal shortly afterwards began to make life more difficult for the battling ten men of Spurs. Joshua Oluwayemi was able to make a fantastic reflex save to deny the newly introduced Xavier Amaechi’s curling free kick from going in, and the Spurs back four which now consisted of Okedina, Walcott, Lyons-Foster and Statham made made some hugely important defensive interventions as the home side started to overwhelm Spurs. Frustratingly for all of Spurs’ defensive might and discipline the ‘ Gunners ‘ managed to pull a goal back in the 86th minute of time, through the potent Bukayo Saka. The Arsenal winger managed to beat Oluwayemi with a scuffed effort from inside the Spurs box, before he then forced an equaliser less than a minute later. Unbelievably Saka had managed to latch onto Ben Cottrell’s pass down the left hand side of the Tottenham penalty area. Saka then let fly on his left foot but his powerful effort ended up being turned past Oluwayemi and into the back of the net by Lyons-Foster, as he attempted to clear the ball. John McDermott’s deflated side tried to respond straight from the restart through Paris Maghoma who came relatively close to beating Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith with a speculative effort from over 50 yards out from goal. Then in the 91st minute of the game the unthinkable happened and the ‘ Gunners ‘ netted a dramatic albeit hugely controversial late winner. After a corner kick from Amaechi ended up coming to Matthew Smith on the edge of the Spurs box, the Arsenal midfielder decided to let fly. However, his effort was well blocked by the sliding Rayan Clarke before it came back out to Tyreece John-Jules who then fired the ball into the box. John-Jules’s powerful effort appeared to strike Arsenal defender Harry Clarke who incidentally appeared to be in an offside position, on the arm. The defender then shifted it into the feet of Ben Cottrell who managed to slot the ball past Oluwayemi from close range to break the hearts of the Tottenham players who had given so much, and performed so well against their bitter rivals. The referee blew the final whistle a couple of minutes later and as if the ‘ Gunners ‘ had been crowned league champions all of their players started to celebrate with another.

Arsenal’s over the top celebrations upset the already devastated Spurs players and after a coming together between Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Miguel Azeez after the final whistle, there was yet another scuffle which involved both sets of players. Spurs had been well and truly robbed, and as John McDermott and Ryan Mason’s side made their way off the pitch I could see that their were tears in some of the Spurs players eyes. The look of devastation and disbelief on their faces could have spoken a thousand words. If Spurs are to win the league then they will now have to win all three of their remaining league fixtures and hope that Arsenal drop at least two points from their last two games against Reading and Fulham. I couldn’t have been more proud of the performance and of the character for which our young lads showed on Tuesday afternoon. This title challenge is far from over and the lads will look to pick themselves up when they face Aston Villa at the weekend.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The second year scholar made three saves in total on Tuesday, two of those were top class stops. Oluwayemi’s distribution was decent on the day but he was commanding inside his own penalty area and he dealt well and authoritatively with crosses and set pieces. Oluwayemi made an outstanding save to deny Arsenal’s Trae Coyle on the stroke of halftime before then doing really well to push away Xavier Amaechi’s curling second half free kick. The 18 year old showed real leadership and maturity during the big scuffle that took place shortly before halftime, and he showed good courage throughout the game.
  • Jubril Okedina: The right back was outstanding at times on Tuesday afternoon as he put in another rock solid performance for John McDermott’s side. Okedina (18) kept up well with Arsenal’s left winger Trae Coyle during his time on the pitch. After the skilful and pacy Bukayo Saka was introduced during the second half, life was made more difficult for Okedina but I thought that he still defended well against Saka before he was brought off in the 88th minute of the game for Maurizio Pochettino. Okedina performed well under pressure.
  • Malachi Walcott: Another player who put in a fantastic performance at the back was RCB Malachi Walcott. The England under 17 international defended superbly against the ‘ Gunners ‘ and he really stepped up after Luis Binks was dismissed late on in the first half. Apart from making a heroic challenge on Folarin Balogun in the first half to prevent an almost certain goal for the hosts, Walcott had a really solid game and he made some massive challenges, interceptions and blocks. The first year scholar constantly managed to get himself into good defensive positions throughout the game and he was dominant in the air.
  • Luis Binks: My motm, see below.
  • Maxwell Statham: Once again Maxwell Statham slotted in seamlessly at left back in place of the injured Dennis Cirkin. Although the Southend born second year scholar is a centre half by trade, he has really embraced the left back role during recent matches. Statham was assertive, focused and very aggressive while defending the left flank. After making a hugely important sliding challenge on Sam Greenwood during the first half to thwart a dangerous Arsenal attack, Maxwell went onto have a really strong game and he managed to keep the talented Greenwood in check for large periods of the game. The 18 year old linked up well with left winger Paris Maghoma and he did go on some good forward runs on occasions. I thought that he was one of our best performers on Tuesday.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The second year scholar started in central midfield for the second consecutive game, this time alongside Harvey White. After putting in a good and generally dominant performance during the first half, Lyons-Foster ended up playing the last 50 or so minutes of the game at LCB following the dismissal of Binks. The 18 year old partnered up well with Walcott and he made some good challenges and clearances. He was very unlucky to score a late own goal.
  • Harvey White: Young Harvey White dropped down to the under 18’s for Tuesday’s important game. The 17 year old put in a good performance in central midfield, White was tidy in his play and he helped to break up the game alongside Lyons-Foster and then Shashoua. The first year scholar whipped some good balls into the box from set pieces and he almost ended up setting up a Luis Binks goal in the first half. White cooly slotted home his seventh goal of the season from a first half penalty kick.
  • Dilan Markanday: The right winger had another influential game for John McDermott’s side when we took on Arsenal on Tuesday, particularly during the first half. After coming inside from the right wing and going on a mazy run to set up Paris Maghoma’s opener, Markanday went on a number of positive driving runs. The 17 years olds agility and close ball control managed to open up the ‘ Gunners ‘ defence on more than one occasion on Tuesday. Markanday’s off the ball movement and positioning was impressive, as always.
  • Armando Shashoua: The Spurs captain started the game in the hole although he would spend time playing in central midfield following Binks‘ sending off. Shashoua completed 71 minutes of Tuesday’s game before succumbing to injury and the tireless midfielder really caught my eye. Our most fouled player on the day, the creative 18 year old caused a number of problems of Arsenal with his sharp off the ball movement, incisive passing and driving forward runs. Armando covered vast amounts of the pitch and he was also the victim of some nasty fouls for which very few seemed to be spotted by the referee! Armando’s older brother and Spurs youngster Samuel Shashoua was in attendance on Tuesdays afternoon, the Atlético Baleares player is currently injured.
  • Paris Maghoma: The England under 18 international dropped down to the under 18’s due to the importance of Tuesday’s game. Although Maghoma was playing out of position on the left wing, he managed to make a very good impression on the game. After tucking home a lovely taken goal to give Spurs the lead inside the first six minutes of the game, the 17 year old continued to pose a danger going forwards during the first half and be managed to get the better of Arsenal fullback Vontae Daley-Campbell for both pace and skill, and he liked to come inside. Understandably Maghoma played in a more defensive role during the second half and his discipline and willingness to track back after him really helped out left back Maxwell Statham.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 17 year old led the line for Spurs on Tuesday in the absence of centre forwards Troy Parrott and Rodel Richards. Bennett put in a good shift up top and he worked tirelessly to press the Arsenal defenders and to get into good positions inside the danger zone. Bennett did have two golden chances to score on Tuesday but he couldn’t put those chances away however, he did do very well to win us a penalty during the first half.
  • Phoenix Patterson: The second year scholar returned after an almost five month injury lay off on Tuesday. Patterson came off the bench in the 71st minute to replace Armando Shashoua in central midfield, and I thought that the 18 year old did a good job after coming on, and he showed good energy.
  • Rayan Clarke: It was only a very brief cameo for Clarke who did make an important late block.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: He wasn’t on the pitch for long enough to make an impact.

My man of the match: While many people will be surprised that I have decided to give my man of the match award to Luis Binks after he was sent off so early on, on Tuesday, people shouldn’t be because when Luis was on the pitch he was absolutely outstanding once again. During his 40 minutes on the pitch the 

LCB defended impeccably alongside Malachi Walcott. His passing and long pings were superb right from the very start of the game, the 17 year old also played with great confidence about him and he played a big part at neutralising the threat which Arsenal danger man Folarin Balogun posed. The Gillingham born defender won the majority of his aerial duels and it was just a very classy overall performance from Binks who didn’t put a foot wrong. The first year scholar made a number of hugely important defensive interventions including an excellent sliding challenge on Tyreece John-Jules to prevent a goal scoring opportunity, and he also managed to cut out some dangerous passes from the midfielders. Without going on about his rather harsh sending off I didn’t think that there was another Spurs player who was as flawless as Luis was on the day. Young Luis will be heartbroken about what happened with Mark McGuinness but were it not for the England under 18 internationals superb consistent performances this season, our under 18’s would not be where they are in the league table! 

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina (Pochettino 88), Statham, Lyons-Foster, Walcott, Binks, Markanday, White, Bennett (Clarke 79), A.Shashoua (c, Patterson 71), Maghoma. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe. 

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

Dilan Markanday – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  9

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 7

Harvey White – 6

Rodel Richards – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 12

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Dilan Markanday – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

J’Neil Bennett – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Chay Cooper – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 7

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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

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

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A long time has past since Arsenal broke our under 18’s hearts back in January, after they knocked them out of the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, on a bitterly cold night in Hertfordshire. Over three months on from that crushing 5-2 defeat our high flying under 18’s have the chance to get Arsenal back when they play them tomorrow, in a huge league game at the ‘ Gunners ‘ London Colney training centre. Tomorrow’s match really is a title decider for John McDermott’s side, who are undefeated in the league this season after 18 matches. Arsenal lead the Premier League South by just one point although they have played one game more than the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘ who still have a game in hand. Both teams have had excellent seasons and although our bitter rivals aren’t unbeaten in the league they have been in excellent form all season. Ken Gillard’s exciting Arsenal team have won all ten of their home league matches their seasons, and the free scoring ‘ Gunners ‘ have been in frighteningly good form of late scoring an astonishing 25 goals from their last five league games. After putting in an impressive performance on Saturday to overcome a well structured Fulham team 4-0, the wonder boys of Hotspur Way will go into tomorrows huge match with just as much confidence and belief as the hosts. They will also most likely field a stronger side for the match, something which I am sure the ‘ Gunners ‘ will also do. I would expect Arsenal to include under 23 regulars Bukayo Saka, Xavier Amaechi and Tyreece John-Jules, two of those players featured in the FA Youth Cup defeat earlier in the year. McDermott’s side on the other hand could well include Troy Parrott, J’Neil Bennett and Paris Maghoma for tomorrow’s game. Both sides will be taking this match extremely seriously and for both sets of players it will be viewed as a must win game. After tomorrow’s match Arsenal have two more remaining league fixtures against both Reading and Fulham respectively. Going on their recent form Arsenal will probably win both of those matches. A draw tomorrow would still be a good result for Spurs however, Gillard’s side will view it as a game which they must win if they want to win the league. With the likes of Balogun, Saka and Amaechi expected to play I can see Arsenal really going for us tomorrow right from the start of the match.

This current Arsenal under 18 side are a very, very good team and their quality has really shown during our two previous encounters with them this season. During the reverse league fixture last November we defeated them 3-2 in a tight and highly dramatic game at Hotspur Way, after falling behind early on to a fine goal from Folarin Balogun. However, the FA Youth Cup fourth round tie ended in us losing 5-2, although it wasn’t a game which we deserved to lose after having been the better side for the majority of normal time. Arsenal like to play fast attacking football, and they love to play with width. Utilising the skill and speed of wide men Bukayo Saka and Xavier Amaechi who are both England under 18 internationals. Arsenal have great quality all over the pitch, and I really like their two commanding centre halves Mark McGuinness and Bayli Spencer-Adams as well as intelligent attacking midfielder Sam Greenwood and central midfielder James Olayinka. Tomorrow’s game is a massively important one for our title challenging side but I am sure that they will have the team spirit and the quality to stun their bitter rivals. I would like to wish John McDermott’s side all the very best of luck for what promises to be a fascinating game of football. I am predicting a high scoring affair!

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) De Bie, Okedina, Lyons-Foster, Binks, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Markanday, Maghoma, Bennett, Parrott.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Statham, Walcott, Cooper, Clarke.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio, Jamie Bowden, Enoch Asante.

Doubtful: Rodel Richards, Phoenix Patterson, Troy Parrott.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-5 (AET).

My score prediction: Spurs 4-3.

My one to watch: The ‘ Gunners ‘ top scorer at this level this season is their 17 year old centre forward Folarin Balogun. The second year scholar has been in red hot form for Ken Gillard’s side, scoring 23 goals across all competitions so far this campaign. Balogun is a speedy striker who is a very clinical finisher, he also has excellent off the ball movement.

Spurs under 18’s 4-0 Fulham: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 4-0 Fulham: (match report)

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Our under 18’s took on London rivals Fulham on Saturday morning at Hotspur Way, for what was another important league match for John McDermott’s title challenging side. Once again the wonder boys of Hotspur Way put in an outstanding team performance, as they picked apart a very well structured and disciplined Fulham side, by playing their passing game to great effect. McDermott’s side which was missing a whole host of important players such as Harvey White and J’Neil Bennett, managed the game extremely well. Centre halves Luis Binks and Malachi Walcott were impressive at the back, while goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi made a number of important stops. However, it was the fluidity of our play and the energy in which we played with, which proved to be far too much for Colin Omogbehin’s Fulham side on the day. Particularly during the second half which we dominated from start to finish. The ‘ Cottagers ‘ started the match well and Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was forced into making a hugely important early save to deny Timmy Abraham. John McDermott’s side played some good football during the first half but they found it difficult to break down the Fulham defence. And they had to be wary as the visitors were quick on the break. Spurs broke the deadlock eight minutes before halftime, some fancy footwork from makeshift centre forward Rayan Clarke inside the Fulham box resulted in the 17 year old winning a penalty. Spurs captain Armando Shashoua calmly stood up to take it and his low effort came off the inside of the left post before hitting Fulham goalkeeper Luca Ashby-Hammond and going into the back of the net. The young Lilywhites started the second half with even more energy and aggression, and it was our second goal of the game on 53 minutes which effectively killed the game. The alert Armando Shashoua was on hand to poke home Chay Cooper’s parried effort from inside the Fulham penalty area. After doubling their advantage Spurs took full control of the game as the Fulham defence started to crumble. A fantastic finish from Dilan Markanday on 65 minutes made it 3-0 to the Lilywhites, before substitute Elliot Thorpe came on to net his first ever goal at this level, to make it 4-0 in the 78th minute. The young Welshman capped off what was another seriously impressive performance from a seriously impressive young Tottenham team.

John McDermott’s side was much changed from last Sunday’s historic league game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation at Hotspur Way, on Saturday morning. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal while a back four of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Captain Armando Shashoua and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster partnered up in central midfield while Maurizio Pochettino and Chay Cooper started out on the flanks, either side of Dilan Markanday who played in the hole. Rayan Clarke led the line for John McDermott’s side once again. Fulham got the game underway on a gloriously sunny morning in North London. After some good early movement from both sides it was Fulham who had the first real chance of the game. After right winger Harvey Elliot had embarked on a surging forward run the 15 year old slipped the ball into the feet of Fulham striker Timmy Abraham, down the left hand side of the Tottenham penalty area. However, the alert Joshua Oluwayemi  came rushing out of his goal to close Abraham’s angles down before smartly stopping and gathering his powerful low effort on goal. A couple of minutes later Abraham received a pass from Zico Asare on the edge of the Spurs box, before dragging an effort wide of Joshua Oluwayemi’s goal. Despite a couple of decent early chances for the visitors it was Spurs who were seeing considerably more of the ball. After Dilan Markanday was given the ball by Cooper on the edge of the Fulham box, he decided to let fly on his right foot. However, our under 18’s second top scorer this season ended up firing a venomous effort wide of Luca Ashby-Hammond’s goal. After Jubril Okedina had passed the ball to Markanday down the right hand side of the Fulham box, the skilful Spurs forward attempted to cut the ball back across goal in the hope of picking out Rayan Clarke however, the ball was cut out and cleared by Fulham defender Zico Asare. A good move from the visitors resulted in Harvey Elliot threading the ball into Sonny Hilton down the right side of the Spurs box. Hilton cut inside onto his left foot before trying to pass the ball to Abraham, but Okedina managed to clear it in time.

Assertive Tottenham defender Luis Binks did well to cut out Cody Drameh’s pass before it set Timmy Abraham through on goal. At the other end of the pitch the skilful Dilan Markanday did well to win a free kick right on the edge of the Fulham penalty area. Luis Binks’ resulting effort failed to test Ashby-Hammond and his powerful effort ended up flying over the Fulham goalkeepers crossbar. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to claim a corner kick from Ryan De Havilland before Spurs broke forward down the other end of the pitch. After Maxwell Statham passed the ball to Armando Shashoua, he surged forward before giving the ball back to Statham who had overlapped Shashoua, before bursting down the left side of the Fulham box. The fullbacks resulting low effort was held relatively comfortably by Fulham goalkeeper Luca Ashby-Hammond. After coming inside from the right flank Dilan Markanday attempted to beat Ashby-Hammond with a low curling effort on goal however, the Fulham goalkeeper was equal to it and he made a decent save. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had a whipped low cross into the Fulham penalty area cleared by Zico Asare, before Maurizio Pochettino had a cross cleared behind for a corner kick by Connor McAvoy. Dilan Markanday’s resulting delivery was almost met by Malachi Walcott inside the penalty area but he appeared to have his shirt tugged by Cody Drameh. However, Walcott’s subsequent appeals for a penalty were rubbished by the referee. A key moment in the game occurred shortly afterwards when Rayan Clarke was brought down unlawfully inside the Fulham penalty area. After receiving Maxwell Statham’s pass down the left side of the Fulham box, Clarke tried to take on Fulham defender Cody Drameh. After doing a couple of step overs Clarke attempted to cut inside Drameh, and it was then that the Fulham fullback stuck out a leg to bring Clarke to the ground, giving the referee no other choice but to point to the penalty spot. Captain Armando Shashoua cooly stood up to take the resulting spot kick. Shashoua’s low curling effort came off of the inside of Ashby-Hammond’s right hand post before cruelly striking the Fulham goalkeeper and going into the back of the net much to the delight of Armando Shashoua, 1-0. 

Luis Binks went on a darting run through the middle of the park before blasting an effort over Luca Ashby-Hammond’s crossbar from long range. That was to be the final piece of action from the first half. John McDermott’s side got the second half underway. After Maurizio Pochettino had managed to control Luis Binks’ pass out on the right flank, the Spurs winger whipped the ball into the danger zone but it was cleared behind for a corner kick by Zico Asare. Dilan Markanday’s resulting delivery came to Lyons-Foster at Ashby-Hammond’s near post. The defenders volleyed effort on goal struck the hand of Zico Asare before falling kindly for Luis Binks. However, the Spurs defender was excellently closed down by Ashby-Hammond who did ever so well to save his powerful, resulting effort on goal. The ball then fell to Clarke who attempted to get a shot away but it was cleared in time by Fulham defender Connor McAvoy. Armando Shashoua had an effort on goal blocked by Asare inside the Fulham box shortly afterwards. After latching onto Connor McAvoy’s long pass out on the right flank the skilful Harvey Elliot cut inside onto his left foot before firing an effort on goal. His powerful strike stung the palms of Joshua Oluwayemi who made an important save. Luca Ashby Hammond was forced to tip behind a menacing cross from Armando Shashoua as Luis Binks was lurking behind the Fulham goalkeeper. Malachi Walcott glanced Dilan Markanday’s resulting corner kick across the face of the Fulham goal. A fantastic forward pass from Binks to Shashoua on the edge of the Fulham box resulted in the Spurs captain shifting the ball out to Chay Cooper down the left side of the Fulham box. Cooper’s first time curling effort was only parried by Ashby-Hammond and Armando Shashoua was alive to the loose ball. The Spurs captain managed to get to the ball before Ashby-Hammond to poke it past the Fulham goalkeeper and into the back of the goal, 2-0. Jubril Okedina then made a good sliding challenge on Fabio Carvalho on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area to thwart a dangerous Fulham attack.

After Armando Shashoua passed the ball to Dilan Markanday the attacking midfielder sprinted through the middle of the park where he did well to hold off Fulham defender Idris Odutayo. He then attempted to thread a pass through to Clarke inside the Fulham box however, it was cut out by Asare who eventually cleared the ball. After Fabio Carvalho did well to pick out Fulham substitute Jean Pierre Tiehi the Fulham striker managed to turn around before eventually getting his shot away but it was blocked by the sliding Malachi Walcott. A couple of minutes later Armando Shashoua received the ball from Chay Cooper, Shashoua then curled an effort narrowly over Ashby-Hammond’s crossbar from over 25 yards out from goal. After Markanday passed the ball to Pochettino he shifted the ball out to Cooper on the left flank. The first year scholar came inside onto his right foot before curling an effort at goal, which Ashby-Hammond managed to gather. Spurs put the game to bed in the 65th minute of the game after Dilan Markanday emphatically made it 3-0 to the young Lilywhites. The goal was completely of Markanday’s own making, after he had managed to win the ball off of Idris Odutayo down the right flank, the 17 year old cut inside onto his left foot before continuing towards the edge of the Fulham box and rifling an unstoppable effort past Ashby-Hammond and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 3-0. John McDermott made his first change of the game shortly afterwards when he brought off Armando Shashoua for schoolboy Michael Craig. After being picked out by Fabio Carvalho inside the Spurs box substitute Showkat Ali Tahir attempted to head the ball into the back of Oluwayemi’s goal however, it was heading well wide of the goal when the decisive Luis Binks decided to get in front of Oluwayemi to clear the ball. Malachi Walcott did well to clear Fabio Carvalho’s cross before the same player managed to thread the ball down the right side of the Spurs box to Cody Drameh. The Fulham fullback was met by the outrushing Oluwayemi who managed to keep out Drameh’s low effort even if he ended up hurting himself in the process. Jean Pierre Tiehi nodded over Ryan De Havilland’s cross before Rayan Clarke attempted to dance his way into the Fulham penalty area down the other end of the pitch. 

After picking up Jubril Okedina’s pass down the right flank, Rayan Clarke cut inside onto his left foot, before dribbling his way into the Fulham penalty area where he was eventually intercepted by Sonny Hilton. Elliot Thorpe replaced Chay Cooper shortly afterwards, as McDermott’s side continued to dominate the game. Spurs should have been awarded their second penalty of the game after Cody Drameh fouled Rayan Clarke down the left side of the Fulham box, without getting any of the ball. The referee decided to take no further action. A good move resulted in Craig passing the ball to Thorpe he then gave the ball to Lyons-Foster down the left side of the Fulham box, but he ended up firing the ball across the face of Ashby-Hammond’s goal, and the Fulham goalkeeper ended up managing to gather the ball. Spurs made it 4-0 in the 78th minute through substitute Elliot Thorpe. Another good move led to the goal, after Clarke passed the ball to Craig down the left wing the Scotland under 17 international whipped a delightful ball into the penalty area, where he managed to pick out Thorpe at the back post. The 18 year old managed to just guide the ball past Ashby-Hammond and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 4-0. Thorpe celebrated his first ever competitive goal at this level, emphatically. Rafferty Pedder replaced Dilan Markanday shortly afterwards and it didn’t take the 16 year old long before he touched the ball. After being found by Binks down the right side of the Fulham penalty area Pedder flashed the ball dangerously, across the face of Ashby-Hammond’s goal. After receiving Malachi Walcott’s lofted pass out on the left flank, Pedder then knocked the ball down to Clarke who gave the ball back to Pedder down the left hand side of the box. However, the midfielder ended up firing the ball into the side netting. Luis Binks did well to clear Ryan De Havilland’s cross. De Havilland then managed to force a save out of Joshua Oluwayemi after he headed Cody Drameh’s cross straight at the Spurs goalkeeper, who was able to hold the ball.

The referee blew the final whistle a couple of seconds later to bring an end to another dominant Tottenham win. Once again McDermott’s young side were fantastic from start to finish. Everything from their defending to their passing and game management was of the highest quality. Spurs remain one point behind league leaders Arsenal in the table after the ‘ Gunners ‘ beat Swansea 8-0 on Saturday. We face Arsenal on Tuesday afternoon at their Colney training ground, in what could prove to be a deciding match. However, Spurs do still have a game in hand against Chelsea to look forward to. 

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The 17 year old shot stopper had a really good game on Saturday. Oluwayemi impressed in his all round game especially in how he dealt with corner kicks and set pieces. However, the second year scholar made four important saves including a massive one to keep out Timmy Abraham so early on in the game. Had Abraham had managed to score that then it would have been an entirely different game of football. 
  • Jubril Okedina: It was another rock solid performance from the 18 year old at right back. The South Londoner defended extremely well against dangerous left winger Fabio Carvalho who he managed to nullify for the entirety of the game. Okedina played with a lot of a confidence about him, and his decision making as well as his reading of the game was very impressive.
  • Malachi Walcott: The right sided centre half put in a strong defensive performance alongside Luis Binks. Walcott made many important blocks, interceptions, challenges and clearances on Saturday and he always managed to get himself into good defensive positions. The England under 17 international made an very important sliding block to deny an almost certain goal for Jean Pierre Tiehi during the second half.
  • Luis Binks: My motm, see below.
  • Maxwell Statham: Like the rest of the defenders Maxwell Statham had a very solid game in the unfamiliar position of left back against Fulham. Statham managed to keep the skilful Harvey Elliot in check for large periods of Saturday’s game. Statham stayed deep and he defended with aplomb. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: It was interesting to see the second year scholar start in central midfield for our under 18’s. Lyons-Foster operated as a CDM alongside Shashoua and the ball playing centre half slotted into the anchorman role with such ease. The 18 year old did a really good job at breaking up play and keeping things moving in the middle of the park. The amount of challenges that he won was seriously impressive. Lyons-Foster would play the final moments of the game at centre half after he switched positions with Malachi Walcott. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The Spurs captain had a tremendous influence on Saturday’s game from central midfield. The tireless midfielder put in a fantastic shift for John McDermott’s side and he managed to impact the game at both ends of the pitch. Shashoua helped to open up the Fulham defence with his driving forward runs and excellent dribbling, he also helped Lyons-Foster to break up play and recycle possession. However, it was the 18 year olds involvement in two of our goals which will get him a lot of the plaudits. Although it would go down as an own goal, Shashoua did well to tuck away his first half penalty before then showing the awareness to poke home a second goal during the second half. Armando has been directly involved in 19 goals for our under 18 side this season!
  • Maurizio Pochettino: Another player who had an excellent game today was right winger Maurizio Pochettino. On his 18th birthday Pochettino put in one of his best performances of the season for our under 18‘s. The second year scholar caused numerous problems for Fulham’s right back Cody Drameh with his many mazy runs and impressive close ball control. Pochettino played with real flair and he created some good chances for his teammates, while also tracking back well after himself. 
  • Dilan Markanday: The 17 year old had another lively game as a CAM against Fulham, where he chipped in with a goal. Markanday’s clever jinking runs through the middle of the pitch helped to open up the ‘ Cottagers ‘ defence. Markanday’s movement was impressive and he managed to get himself into some good goalscoring positions. Markanday’s fantastic second half strike makes him our under 18’s joint top scorer this season with 12 goals. The North Londoner continues to come up with moments of magic when it matters.
  • Chay Cooper: This was a rare start for the first year scholar who completed  75 minutes of Saturday’s game out on the left wing. Cooper made a positive contribution to the game and one thing he always managed to do well was create space for himself out on the left wing. Cooper went on some positive attacking forays and he whipped some good crosses into the danger zone. He also managed to test Luca Ashby-Hammond on a number of occasions and he got the assist for Armando Shashoua’s second half goal, after the Fulham goalkeeper could only parry Cooper’s shot on goal.
  • Rayan Clarke: The 17 year old led the line well despite his lack of experience playing as a centre forward. Clarke’s movement was good and I thought that he held the ball up well. He also did well to win us a penalty in the first half and after he switched out onto the left wing during the latter stages of the game he posed much more of an offensive threat.
  • Michael Craig: On only his second ever appearance for our under 18’s the schoolboy and Scotland under 17 international impressed me once again during his second half cameo. Craig showed good vision during his time on the pitch and his passing was nice and crisp. The midfielder did well to assist Elliot Thorpe’s late goal after sending a lovely cross into the Fulham box for Thorpe to latch onto.
  • Elliot Thorpe: It was an eventful 15 midfielder cameo for the technically gifted midfielder who operated as a CAM during his time on the pitch. Thorpe linked up well with the forwards and he showed good off the ball movement which was rewarded with him scoring a late header. That was the 18 year olds first ever competitive goal for Spurs at this level. 
  • Rafferty Pedder: The 16 year old came off the bench to make only his fifth appearance for John McDermott’s side this season. The central midfielder had a bright albeit brief late cameo, where he did catch my eye. Pedder went on one good darting run through the middle of the park and he also came close to scoring a goal after he fired the ball into the side netting late on. He is a very fast player who has a good low centre of gravity.

My man of the match: 17 year old Luis Binks was once again my man of the match after he put in another sterling performance at LCB for our inform under 18 side. This was another extremely impressive performance from the England under 18 international, and his qualities not only as a defender but as a leader really stood out on the day. Binks marshalled the back four by example and like his partner at centre half Malachi Walcott, Binks’ positioning and decision making was second to none. The Gillingham born defender defended well against two good centre forwards in Timmy Abraham and Jean Pierre Tiehi. He was dominant in the air, committed in the challenge but above all else Luis Binks took charge of the Spurs defence, and his confidence and defensive nous played a big part in us overcoming Fulham on Saturday. Apart from all of his important defensive interventions and blocks and challenges, it was Binks’ excellent passing through the middle of the pitch which was perhaps his greatest contribution to the game. He pinged some excellent passes out to Maurizio Pochettino on the right flank and an excellent defence splitting pass from the 17 year old helped to create our second goal of the game. It was an excellent all round performance from the first year scholar.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Statham, Lyons-Foster, Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Shashoua (C) (Craig 68), Clarke, Markanday (Pedder 79), Cooper (Thorpe 75). Substitutes (not used): De Bie.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

Dilan Markanday – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  9

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 7

Rodel Richards – 5

Harvey White – 5

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 12

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Dilan Markanday – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Chay Cooper – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 7

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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

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

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After the ecstasy of last Sunday’s historic league match against Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, John McDermott’s title challenging side will return to reality on Saturday morning when they take on London rivals Fulham at Hotspur Way. The whole experience of last Sunday will stay with our young players for the rest of their careers, and it should give them a huge boost going into the remaining five league games of the season. McDermott’s side have a busy schedule coming up and after Saturday’s game against Fulham the side will turn their attentions to a massive North London Derby with Arsenal on Tuesday. However, before the wonder boys of Hotspur Way can even begin to think about that game they will have to try and overcome Colin Omogbehin’s talented Fulham side. Our undefeated under 18 team had quite a fright when we played the ‘ Cottagers ‘ in the reverse fixture, last November. A very well structured Fulham team came very close to inflicting our first league defeat of the season, but for some late heroics from our goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi. I personally thought that Omogbehin’s team were technically one of the best that we have come up against this season. Defensively speaking they were very difficult to break down on the day and they used the width of the pitch well to stretch our defence. However, the West London clubs league form since we last played them has been anything but impressive. Fulham occupy seventh place in the league table, having picked up 24 points from the 18 league games that they have played this season. The ‘ Cottagers ‘ away form has been particularly poor and Omogbehin’s side have picked up just seven points from their nine away matches in the league. Fulham do have a number of talented young players in their under 18 side, of which includes centre forward and their top scorer this season with seven goals Terry Ablade. Skilful winger Harvey Elliott is another one of Fulham’s danger men along with attacking midfielder Sonny Hilton and winger Fabio Carvalho. Another player worth mentioning is Fulham’s captain and commanding centre half Scott Armsworth.

I think that Saturday mornings match will be a tough one for John McDermott’s side regardless of Fulham’s recent poor form. However, if our young lads manage to start the game with the same energy and positivity which they started the Southampton game with, then they are in with a fighting chance of continuing their excellent league form to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal. I would like to wish our lads all the very best of luck for Saturday’s important game. I am hoping that we will see some important players return from injury to play in Saturday’s London Derby. My in-depth match report will be published on Sunday. 

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Okedina, Walcott, Binks, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Bennett, Markanday, Clarke, Whittaker.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Statham, Thorpe, Pochettino, Patterson.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio.

Doubtful: Jamie Bowden, Phoenix Patterson, Enoch Asante, Troy Parrott, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: 1-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 5-1.

My one to watch: The ‘ Cottagers ‘ promising winger Harvey Elliott (15) made national news earlier on in the season, after he became the youngest ever player to feature for their first team. The Fulham schoolboy came off the bench to appear in a league cup game against Millwall. The England under 17 international is a very skilful left footed winger who has a good burst of pace and low centre of gravity about him. The tricky wide man has scored five goals for Fulham’s under 18 side so far this season and he is a player that the Spurs defence will have to be wary of.

Spurs under 18’s 3-1 Southampton: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-1 Southampton: (match report)

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A very historic under 18 game took place on Sunday afternoon in North London, when Tottenham Hotspur’s under 18 side hosted Southampton in a league game, in what was the first ever match to be played at Spurs’ brand new 62,000 seater stadium. Not only was it a massive day for all of our under 18’s, it was also a must win game for John McDermott’s title chasing side, who were only four points behind league leaders Arsenal going into Sunday’s match. Everything about Sunday afternoon was special. Walking into our state of the art new home, the walk down Tottenham High road, watching a football match for the very first time at the new stadium, and the sheer enormity of the stadium quite simply took the Spurs fans breath away from them. It was a glorious day in the history of our football club in so many ways, and for our under 18 squad it was a day which none of them will ever forget. This exceptionally talented side were the talk of Tottenham for one day with over 28,000 Spurs supporters turning out to watch the stars of tomorrow take to one of the finest stages in European football for the grand opening of the new White Hart Lane. Our undefeated under 18 side certainly rose to the occasion on Sunday afternoon and they didn’t let the pressure of the day get to them. John McDermott fielded a strong side for Sunday’s important league fixture with Oliver Skipp, Harvey White and J’Neil Bennett all included in the starting 11 to face Southampton. Spurs’ passing game suited the slick pitch at the new stadium, the size of the pitch also helped wide men J’Neil Bennett and Dilan Markanday to influence the game. Spurs rose to the occasion and they were able to play their passing game to great effect against a ‘ Saints ‘ side who were missing a number of important players. McDermott’s side started the game well and the wonder boys of Hotspur Way played with a good energy about them. After impressing during the opening stages of the match Spurs took the lead after just 11 minutes through J’Neil Bennett. The first year scholar made history by becoming the first ever player to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The 17 year old caught out Southampton goalkeeper Jack Bycroft after he came inside from the left wing, before curling an unstoppable effort into the far corner of his goal. 

After J’Neil Bennett’s opener Spurs grew in confidence, and they were starting to overwhelm Southampton particularly in the centre of the park, through the dominant midfield pairing of Oliver Skipp and Harvey White. John McDermott’s side continued to grow in confidence as the game went on and the crowd became noisier. The lively Dilan Markanday managed to win a penalty kick for Spurs in the 20th minute of time after being fouled by Southampton’s James Morris inside the Southampton penalty area. The typically assured Harvey White stepped up to clinically tuck the ball past Bycroft from the resulting spot kick. Spurs continued to create chances during the remainder of the half but they were unable to extend their lead over a Southampton side who had barely entered the Tottenham half. John McDermott’s side didn’t start the second half with the same aggression which they had ended the first half with. The young ‘ Lilywhites‘ ‘ football wasn’t as fluent and this allowed Southampton to get back into the game. One such sloppy error resulted in the visitors pulling a goal back on 62 minutes through Kornelius Hansen. However, McDermott’s side regrouped well and they created a number of good chances which they should have put away. Fortunately for Spurs the alert Dilan Markanday secured all three points for Tottenham, after he was on hand to slot home Harvey White’s parried effort in the 77th minute of the game. Spurs comfortably saw out the remaining minutes of the match to record a hugely important and iconic win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. After the final whistle had went the young Spurs players including those who had missed Sunday’s game to injury came out onto the pitch to take in the atmosphere, and saviour the moment. Every single one of our under 18’s did the club extremely proud on Sunday afternoon. John McDermott’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Sunday’s historic match. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal while a back four of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Harvey White and Oliver Skipp partnered up in central midfield as Dilan Markanday and J’Neil operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM and Tottenham captain Armando Shashoua. In the absence of any recognised strikers Rayan Clarke led the line for the first time this season. 

After walking out into the bowl of our world class new home to the booming sound of the Tottenham supporters, it was John McDermott’s side who got the game underway on a sunny afternoon in North London. Spurs started the game brightly and they didn’t appear to be letting the occasion get the better of them. After Dilan Markanday had managed to win a free kick right on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, set piece specialist Harvey White prepared to take it. And the 17 year old midfielder forced the first save of the game from Southampton goalkeeper Jack Bycroft. White managed to get his curling effort up and over the wall but it was saved by Bycroft who managed to hold onto the ball before it flew into the top left hand corner of the goal. Spurs continued to play with a good energy about them as they knocked the ball around the park freely. A free kick delivery into the Southampton penalty area, from Harvey White was cleared away by Kayne Ramsay. Spurs came close to taking the lead a couple of moments later. After Okedina had passed the ball to Markanday down the right wing he cut inside onto his left foot before picking out the unmarked Shashoua in the middle of the Southampton box, with an inch perfect cross. The Tottenham captain tried his luck first time with a looping header however, it flew narrowly over Jack Bycroft’s crossbar. Southampton had barely gotten out of their own half and McDermott’s sides stranglehold on the game was causing them a lot of problems. Winger J’Neil Bennett went into the Tottenham Hotspur history books after he netted the first ever goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, to give Spurs the lead in the 11th minute of the match. After Oliver Skipp had passed the ball to Bennett on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, the former QPR schoolboy cut inside onto his right foot, before curling a wonderful effort past Jack Bycroft and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. It’s fair to say that Bennett and the Spurs supporters enjoyed the goal and after the ball hit the back of the net, a deafening roar ran out through the stadium. Spurs were in full control of the game. After Kayne Ramsey gave the ball straight to Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Southampton box, the tricky Spurs winger surged forward through the middle before curling an effort towards the bottom left hand corner of Bycroft’s goal. However, Markanday’s fine, curling effort was impressively tipped onto the post by the diving Southampton goalkeeper, before it went behind for a Spurs corner kick.

Spurs continued to move the ball around the pitch well and by each passing minute John McDermott’s side grew in confidence. After a slightly sloppy pass from J’Neil Bennett was well kept in by Markanday out on the right flank, the Spurs winger came across goal, and he took the ball into the Southampton box where he was faced by James Morris. Markanday managed to go around Morris courtesy of a sublime piece of skill, knowing that he was in trouble Morris decided to tug Markanday from behind. The second year scholar fell to the floor and the referee Craig Pullen pointed to the penalty spot without any hesitation. The ice cool Harvey White stood up to calmly convert from the resulting penalty kick. The Spurs midfielder clinically slotted the ball past Bycroft who dived the wrong way, and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to spark further scenes of jubilation on the terraces, 2-0. Shortly after the restart, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to cut out former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean’s lofted pass towards Southampton striker Benni Smales-Braithwaite. Harvey White then did well to cut out Rio Glean’s low cross in the middle of the Spurs box before clearing the ball to safety. Spurs broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch. After J’Neil Bennett had received Harvey White’s pass on the edge of the Southampton box, Bennett had a pop on goal. However, his effort was blocked by ‘ Saints ‘ defender Dare Olufunwa. We continued to test the Southampton defence throughout the remainder of the half. After Dennis Cirkin had passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing he whipped the ball into the Southampton penalty area where he managed to pick out Shashoua who was unmarked once again. However, the Spurs captain just missed the ball and it ended up going behind for a goal kick. The defensively solid Jubril Okedina did well to make an important interception on Kornelius Hansen down the left side of the Spurs penalty area, after Southampton had caught us on the break. Malachi Walcott did well to clear Hansen’s corner kick a couple of minutes later. After Harvey White had been given the ball by Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Southampton box, he tried his luck on goal. However, his hopeful effort was blocked by Alex Jankewitz. A good passing move from John McDermott’s side resulted in Bennett passing the ball to Skipp who shifted the ball out to Shashoua on the left flank. He managed to pick out Markanday who had made a run into the Southampton box but he was intercepted by Caleb Watts. Dennis Cirkin had a cross cleared by the same player a couple of moments later. 

After latching onto Dennis Cirkin’s pass, Oliver Skipp passed the ball to Rayan Clarke who had his back to goal on the edge Southampton box. However, the makeshift centre forwards resulting effort on the turn was blocked by Dare Olufunwa, before J’Neil Bennett then blazed an effort wide on the follow up. Spurs continued to attack the struggling ‘ Saints ‘ defence. After Markanday had received White’s pass out on the right flank he decided to play the ball down the line to Okedina. The Spurs right back then curled the ball across the face of Jack Bycroft’s goal and in the end the ball was kept in by Cirkin on the opposite flank. Southampton tried to respond by using the width of the pitch to test our defence. After James Morris had received Kornelius Hansen’s pass down the left flank, the Southampton fullback whipped a low cross into the Spurs box, but it was gathered by Oluwayemi. A couple of minutes later the skilful Hansen managed to jink his way past both Okedina and White down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area before squaring the ball for Smales-Braithwaite in the middle of the box. Lyons-Foster threw himself in front of the Southampton striker and it was in fact his attempted clearance, which forced Oluwayemi into making his first save of the game to prevent the ball from going in. Spurs continued to play some wonderful one and two touch football during the remaining minutes of the first half. After Markanday received the ball from Shashoua he attempted to slip Clarke through on goal with a clever pass into the Southampton box. However, his pass had too much pace on it, and Bycroft was able to come out and smother the ball before Clarke could get to it. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to gather Rio Glean’s cross at the other end of the pitch, before Cirkin managed to pick out Markanday in the middle of the Southampton box with a clever cross from the left flank. However, Markanday’s resulting header on goal was blocked by Allan Tchaptchet who ended up hurting himself in the process, and the game was temporarily halted by the referee as Tchaptchet received treatment. Dilan Markanday came close to extending Spurs’ lead shortly before the break. After he had received Walcott’s pass on the edge of the Southampton box, he decided to cut inside onto his left foot before curling a decent effort a fraction wide of Jack Bycroft’s goal. Craig Pullen blew the whistle for half time a couple of seconds later. McDermott’s side could easily have been leading 4-0. 

Southampton got the second half underway but it was Spurs who managed to have the first shot on goal of the half. After Rayan Clarke had received Markanday’s pass on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, he decided to come inside onto his left foot before testing Bycroft with a powerful low effort, which the Southampton goalkeeper managed to gather. After embarking on a long surging run through the middle of the pitch Oliver Skipp managed to slip the ball into the feet of Markanday down the right hand side of the Southampton box. Markanday managed to cooly skip past the outrushing Jack Bycroft but he couldn’t slot the ball into the back of the goal. The 17 year olds powerful low effort was blocked on the line in superb fashion by the sliding Pascal Kpohomouh. At the other end of the pitch Malachi Walcott did well, first to clear a cross from Kornelius Hansen and then to block a shot on goal from Benni Smales-Braithwaite. Although the second half was a much more even affair, it was Spurs who were still in control of the game. After the overlapping Cirkin managed to latch onto Bennett’s pass down the left flank, the Spurs fullback decided to whip the ball into the Southampton box. His cross ended up coming to Skipp down the right side of the penalty area. Skipp cut inside onto his left foot before picking out Shashoua in the centre of the box with a nice lofted pass. However, the 18 year couldn’t manage to keep his header down and it ended up going wide of Jack Bycroft’s goal. The dominant Oliver Skipp did well to win the ball off of Jack Turner in central midfield before testing Bycroft from long range. However, the ‘ Saints ‘ goalkeeper managed to hold his effort before Southampton attacked us down the opposite end of the pitch. After Smales-Braithwaite had managed to find Hansen down the left side of the Spurs box, the Southampton winger attempted to pull the ball back across the face of the goal, but Lyons-Foster was on hand to clear it. Malachi Walcott did well to clear a dangerous low cross from Jack Turner as Spurs’ hold on the game started to slip away from them.

Paul Hardyman’s resurgent Southampton side managed to pull a goal back in the 62nd minute of the game. After Spurs had been caught out playing about with the ball inside their own half, Jack Turner managed to win possession before giving the ball to Kornelius Hansen who was in too much space, on the edge of the Spurs box. Hansen was allowed to get a shot away on goal and his powerful effort caught Oluwayemi slightly by surprise, and although the Spurs goalkeeper was able to get a hand on the ball he couldn’t prevent it from going into the back of the net, 2-1. A couple of minutes later Hansen managed to pick out Allan Tchaptchet at Oluwayemi’s back post from a corner kick. The unmarked Tchaptchet was able to head the ball across the face of the Spurs goal, but Oluwayemi came out to confidently claim the ball. Spurs had allowed Southampton to get back into the game. After being given the ball by Hansen out on the left wing, James Morris found himself in a lot of space. However, Oliver Skipp managed to track back and make a great crunching challenge to win the ball off of Morris before he could cross the ball into the penalty area. Spurs should have made it 3-1 after J’Neil Bennett had a fantastic chance to put the game to bed. After Markanday passed the ball to White, the Spurs midfielder threaded a perfectly weighted pass through to J’Neil Bennett in the Southampton box. Bennett found himself one on one with Bycroft but he didn’t have enough time to open up his body and tuck the ball around the Southampton goalkeeper. Instead Bennett tried to beat Bycroft with a first time side footed effort which ended up squirming narrowly wide of the goal. Chay Cooper was introduced shortly afterwards in place of Rayan Clarke, as Dilan Markanday moved up top to lead the line for Spurs. The Spurs striker ended up sloppily giving the ball to Southampton’s Jack Turner who ended up giving the ball to Smales-Braithwaite but his resulting cross into the Spurs box, was cleared away by Walcott. After Lyons-Foster had failed to clear Kayne Ramsay’s dangerous low cross into the Tottenham penalty area, Walcott was forced to clear the ball. A couple of moments later Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was forced into action. The second year scholar did well to beat away a powerful first time strike from Jack Turner on the edge of the Spurs box. At the opposite end of the pitch J’Neil Bennett had an effort from long range blocked by Alex Jankewitz.

Spurs finally managed to secure the win in the 77th minute of time after the potent Dilan Markanday restored Spurs’ two goal cushion. After the ball had come to Harvey White on the edge of the Spurs box, the central midfielder let fly on his left foot. His powerful effort was parried by Bycroft but only into the path of Markanday down the right hand side of the penalty area. The North Londoner took a quick touch before slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 3-1. McDermott made a double substitution shortly afterwards when he brought off Jubril Okedina and J’Neil Bennett for Maxwell Statham and Maurizio Pochettino. The latters introduction drew rapturous applause from the Spurs fans. Maxwell Statham did well to block Rio Glean’s effort inside the Spurs box. Oliver Skipp almost managed to play Chay Cooper through on goal but his pass was cut out by Southampton’s Allan Tchaptchet before Malachi Walcott managed to clear Caleb Watts’ cross at the other end of the pitch. A wayward pass from Statham came to Kornelius Hansen on the edge of the Spurs box. He slipped the ball into the feet of the newly introduced Roland Idowu down the right side of the penalty area. The Irishman had managed to cut inside Statham who had raced back to try and make a recovery. Idowu’s resulting effort on goal was superbly blocked by Malachi Walcott. Maxwell Statham then managed to head away James Morris’ cross before Walcott cleared the same players corner kick a couple of moments later.  After Chay Cooper had received Maurizio Pochettino’s pass down the left flank, the first year scholar did well to keep the ball in before driving forward all the way into the Southampton box, where he ended up curling the ball into the side netting of Jack Bycroft’s goal from an acute angle. After Jack Turner had passed the ball to Benni Smales-Braithwaite down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area, the Southampton centre forward managed to cut inside Statham before forcing a decent save out of Oluwayemi at his near post, Statham was then able to clear the ball. Smales-Braithwaite hit a late free kick into the Spurs wall before Chay Cooper made a good sliding challenge to win the ball off of Dare Olufunwa on the edge of the box. 

The referee Craig Pullen blew the final whistle shortly afterwards to bring an end to a historic game for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way. John McDermott’s side are now only one point behind league leaders Arsenal and we still have a game in hand. Up next for Spurs is a home league game against Fulham next Saturday morning at Hotspur Way.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The second year scholar had another good game for our under 18’s on Sunday when we took on Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Oluwayemi made three saves in total and he impressed me with his overall play. Oluwayemi made a couple of smart stops and he dealt well with crosses and set pieces. He was unlucky not to keep out Kornelius Hansen’s second half strike.
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old put in another solid shift for John McDermott’s side at right back. Okedina defended well against one of Southampton’s best players on the day in Kornelius Hansen. Okedina kept good positioning throughout the game and he made some timely interceptions, including an important one on Kornelius Hansen inside the Spurs penalty area during the first half. Okedina was very cool on the ball.
  • Malachi Walcott: Operating at RCB Malachi Walcott (17) put in a very solid shift against the ‘ Saints ‘. Walcott defended well throughout the match, he was dominant in the air, strong in the challenge and he made many good blocks and interceptions. The England under 17 international asserted himself well on the game and he made life difficult for Southampton striker Benni Smales-Braithwaite.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Walcott’s partner at centre back was ball playing defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. Operating at LCB the 18 year old had a very solid game albeit it against a not too threatening Southampton attack. Lyons-Foster made some important defensive interventions and overall he had a very good game. The second year scholar brought the ball out well from the back.
  • Dennis Cirkin: The attacking left back caught the eye once again by putting in a well rounded performance under testing circumstances on Sunday afternoon. Cirkin linked up really well with left winger J’Neil Bennett throughout the match. Bennett is a player who he seems to have a very good understanding with and the pair always play on the same wavelength as one another. Cirkin defended well against his old Spurs teammate (Southampton winger) Rio Glean and he rarely let the first year scholar get the better of him down that side on the pitch. The 16 year old went on some good attacking forays of his own down the left flank, but it was his defensive work which impressed me most, on the day.
  • Oliver Skipp: The most experienced member of the squad dropped down to our under 18’s for the first time on Sunday to make his first appearance for them since April 2018. Skipp put in an outstanding performance in central midfield alongside Harvey White. The 18 year old looked as if he was a man playing against boys, such was his dominance and the impact that he had on the game. Skipp controlled the midfield for the entirety of the match where he performed his duties as a midfield technician and destroyer so diligently. The second year scholar was involved in some nice passages of play for Spurs. He got the assist for J’Neil Bennett’s opener after picking out the winger with a nice pass. Skipp also managed to keep things moving in the middle of the park, and he made some superb crunching challenges and interceptions, as well as going on some excellent surging runs through the middle of the pitch. It was an excellent all round performance from one of England’s most exciting young talents.
  • Harvey White: Another player who put in a sparkling performance in central  midfield was the elegant Harvey White. The 17 year old looked very mature alongside Oliver Skipp and from both an offensive and defensive point of view he was very good. White created some good chances for the forwards, he also showed good vision and awareness. The Kent born first year scholar capped off an excellent performance by chipping in with a goal and an assist against Southampton. The tenacious midfielder cooly tucked away a first half penalty before getting the assist for Dilan Markanday’s late goal after testing Jack Bycroft with a powerful effort on goal. White also created an excellent chance for J’Neil Bennett to score a second goal after slipping the winger through on goal with a perfectly weighted pass.
  • Dilan Markanday: My motm, see below.
  • Armando Shashoua: The proud Spurs captain played in the hole on Sunday as oppose to as a CDM where he has played for most of this season. Shashoua led the team by example particularly during the second half when he dropped slightly deeper. Shashoua managed to get himself into some excellent goalscoring positions and his sharp movement almost resulted in him scoring a couple of headed goals. Shashoua’s off the ball work was very good and he helped to break up play in the middle of the park.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The first year scholar had an excellent game out on the left wing particularly during the first half when he tormented Southampton right back Kayne Ramsay. Bennett entered the Tottenham Hotspur history books after he scored the first ever goal at the new stadium after just 11 minutes of Sunday’s game. The Camden born forward curled home a lovely effort after cutting inside from the left flank. The speedy wingers unpredictably and flair made him a difficult player to defend against and he was one Spurs’ most potent players on the day. Bennett worked hard and he tracked back well after him. He will be disappointed that he couldn’t have netted a second goal in the second half, after being played through on goal by Harvey White.
  • Rayan Clarke: The 17 year old was forced to play in the unfamiliar role of centre forward due to our lack of available strikers. Clarke led the line well and he did a good job at managing to create space for himself. The second year scholar managed one shot on target during his time on the pitch.
  • Chay Cooper: Second half substitute Chay Cooper played out on the left wing for John McDermott’s side. It was a bright cameo from the skilful midfielder who went on a couple of good attacking forays down the left channel. The energetic 17 year old went on a good surging, long run, late on in the game which ended in him firing the ball into the side netting of Jack Bycroft’s goal.
  • Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old bolstered the Spurs defence after he replaced Jubril Okedina at right back late on in the game. Statham was dominant in the air during his time on the pitch.  
  • Maurizio Pochettino: It was a positive cameo appearance for Pochettino who impressed out on the right wing. He had a couple of nice touches and he made some impressive passes during his time on the pitch. He was very positive in possession and he was constantly looking to take on Southampton fullback James Morris.

My man of the match: For the second week in a row it has to go to Dilan Markanday for putting in another game changing performance. Markanday started out on the right wing against Southampton and during the first half he was one of our best players. The North Londoner made the ‘ Saints ‘ left back James Morris work hard, as he found it difficult to defend against the tricky and agile Spurs winger. After creating a fantastic early chance for Armando Shashoua to open the scoring, Markanday went on to win a penalty after cutting inside from the right wing and working his way around James Morris in the penalty area. Markanday came close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions before he netted his 11th goal of the campaign in the 77th minute of the game. The alert forward was in the right place at the right time to tuck the ball past Jack Bycroft from close range after he had spilt Harvey White’s shot. Markanday’s positioning and razor sharp movement was top class and his sheer creativity was a big factor behind our dominant performance. The 17 year olds off the ball work was also very good and he tracked back well after him to help out Okedina at right back. 

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina (Statham 78), Cirkin, Skipp, Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Markanday, White, Clarke (Cooper 71), A.Shashoua (c), Bennett (Pochettino 79). Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe.

Southampton: Bycroft, Ramsay (c), Morris, Watts (Defise 86), Olofunwa, Tchaptchet, Glean (Kpohomouh 46), Jankewitz, Smales-Braithwaite, Turner (Idowu 78), Hansen. Substitutes (not used): Wright, Cluett.

Goals: Spurs – Bennett 11, White 21 (pen), Markanday 77; Southampton – Hansen 62.

Yellow card: Southampton – Jankewitz 81.

Referee: Craig Pullen.

Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Attendance: 28,987.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

Dilan Markanday – 11

J’Neil Bennett –  9

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 6

Rodel Richards – 5

Harvey White – 5

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 11

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Dilan Markanday – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 6

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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

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

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I think that it is quite fitting that the wonder boys of Hotspur Way will be the first Spurs team to play at our state of the art stadium, when they take on Southampton’s under 18’s in a league game, on Sunday. John McDermott’s under 18 side will be preparing for the game of their lives when they take on the ‘ Saints ‘ at our brand new 62,000 seater home on Sunday afternoon. This is a historic occasion for all of those associated with Spurs however, the young players themselves must be feeling a whole different level of excitement. This is the third preview that I have written for this game. The previous two were both cancelled. Our high flying under 18’s are in a title race with bitter rivals Arsenal who are currently four points above Spurs at the summit of the southern division, having played two games more than John McDermott’s side. This game comes in the middle of an international break and both sides will be affected by this. Paul Hardyman’s Southampton side have been doing quite well of late. They sit in fourth place in the league table, and from their last five league games they have picked up ten points. They have a squad which is brimming with attacking talent and while we did beat them 5-2 in the reverse fixture back in September, Hardyman’s side showed their attacking quality during that game. With pacy forward and former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean impressing along with tricky Irish winger Will Ferry, who is unavailable for Sundays game. Technically speaking Southampton’s under 18’s have been one of the best in England over the last five or so years, and they have never been afraid to attack teams. The ‘ Saints ‘ have a number of players who I like, of which include Irish fullback Kameron Ledwidge, French centre half Allan Tchaptchet and Southampton’s top scorer this season with nine league goals, Christian Norton. However, at least two of those three players will be away on international duty, and will miss Sunday’s league game. one thing I do know is that Southampton are a well drilled side who like to play fast attacking football, and in the previous seasons they have always impressed me.

For those of you who don’t know much about of our under 18 side ahead of Sunday’s match which will be played in front of 30,000 spectators, then the following is a little introduction of the team. This seasons under 18’s has been one of the most impressive Spurs youth teams of the 21st century. Former head coach Matt Wells’ had his side playing sparkling attacking football ever since the domestic season kicked off last August. Since defeating Brighton 6-4 in our opening game, our under 18’s have impressed with their sublime brand of attacking football. A type of football which has been no different to how our first team have played when they have been at their very best this season. Not only are our under 18’s an exceptionally talented side, they are also a team who show great fighting spirit. And it is such fighting spirit which has got them to where they are in the league this season. Still unbeaten in the league after playing 16 games, our lads have conceded the fewest amount of goals this season (16) and they have also scored the joint most alongside Arsenal (64) who have played two games more than us. Although we will be missing a number of important players on Sunday due to injuries and the international break, McDermott will still have a strong squad to select from. There are so many stars in this group however, some of those to look out for on Sunday are dazzling CAM/winger Dilan Markanday, aggressive left back Dennis Cirkin, tricky Zaha-esque winger J’Neil Bennett and talented ball playing centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. However, there is one player in particular who you should all keep an eye on, on Sunday afternoon. This players name is Armando Shashoua and he is the captain and beating heart of this team. Shashoua (18) is a wonderfully technical central midfielder who always manages to influence the game at both ends of the pitch. As I have said so many times before, the second year scholar plays with the craft and skill of a player who has come through the ranks at a top Academy in Spain. To see him leading out the team on Sunday is something that will be wonderful to see.

Our match against Southampton will be no ordinary game for our under 18 side, it is a historic occasion which none of the players will have experienced anything like before in their careers. First of all this is a very important game in Spurs’ season and it is a game that they will be desperately hoping to win, and I am confident that they will do so. I would like to wish our lads all the very best of luck for what promises to be an incredible day in the clubs history. I am sure that our under 18’s will saviour every moment of the day and enjoy it just as much as all of us fans will. I cannot wait for the match!

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Okedina, Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Bennett, Markanday, Clarke, Richards.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Statham, Thorpe, Pochettino, Whittaker.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Paris Maghoma, Luis Binks, Maximus Tainio.

Doubtful: Jamie Bowden, Phoenix Patterson, Enoch Asante, Troy Parrott, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: Spurs 5-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

My one to watch: Former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean is a direct winger who likes to take on and beat players. Glean is a skilful winger who has good pace and a low centre of gravity. He impressed in the reverse fixture back in September by scoring a late goal, in total the first year scholar has scored two goals for the ‘ Saints ‘ under 18 side this season. He is certainly a player to watch out for on Sunday afternoon. 

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against S.D. Ejea:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against S.D. Ejea:

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Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou was in action for Spanish club Atlético Levante on Saturday evening when the ‘ Granotas ‘ took on S.D. Ejea in the Spanish Segunda Division B Group III. This was Georgiou’s fifth appearance for Levante’s B team, and under difficult conditions, the 22 year old put in another good performance for the third division side. The Cyprus international completed 71 minutes of Levante’s 1-0 win over Ejea on Saturday, Georgiou started the game out on the left wing as Luis Tevenet’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. It is worth noting that Ejea have an astro turf pitch at their Municipal De Ejea stadium, and this would have made life more difficult for young Georgiou out on the left flank. The Cyprus international started Saturday evenings game well and after some good, early pressing Georgiou managed to put the ball into the back of the Ejea goal, with less than three minutes on the clock. After making a good run into the Ejea penalty area Georgiou was able to meet Shaq Moore’s cross inside the danger zone before heading the ball past Ejea goalkeeper Eduardo Loscos and into the back of the net. Unfortunately for Anthony the referee had already awarded a free kick against Levante, and Georgiou’s goal would not stand. The game was pretty scrappy during the opening stages of the first half. After Anthony had received the ball out on the left flank he decided to whip a teasing ball into the Ejea penalty area. Georgiou’s cross was an excellent one, and it managed to pick out centre forward Juan Delgado. The Spaniards bullet header was spectacularly saved by the acrobatic Eduardo Loscos, before the Ejea defence managed to clear the ball away from the danger zone. A couple of minutes later Georgiou went on an excellent sprint through the middle of the pitch, all the way into the centre of the Ejea penalty area where he attempted to meet Juan Delgado’s low cross. However, it was cut out by Ejea defender Andriu before it could roll through to Georgiou. The 22 year old was playing with an energy about him which I couldn’t see from any of the other players on the pitch. He was also getting himself into some good positions out on the left flank, and in the danger zone.

After entering the Ejea penalty area the ‘ Granotas ‘ centre forward Juan Delgado tried to pick out Georgiou after he had made a run towards goal, at the back post. However, Delgado’s cross was punched away by Eduardo Loscos. The Lewisham born winger continued to have a positive influence on the game. After being given the ball by Arturo Molina out on the left wing, Georgiou tried to whip the ball into the danger zone but it was blocked by Ramón López before the ball came back to Georgiou. The young Cypriot tried his luck once more, but his resulting cross was again blocked by the tigerish López. Anthony was proving to be somewhat of a focal point on the left wing for Luis Tevenet’s side. Shortly after receiving Pepelu’s pass, Georgiou whipped the ball into the Ejea box but it was cleared away by Andriu. A couple of moments later the hard working winger tracked back some 40 yards down the left wing to successfully win the ball off of Ramón López on the edge of the Levante penalty area. Georgiou then went on a surging run down the left wing before passing the ball to Pepelu. Shortly before the end of the first half Anthony managed to control Shaq Moore’s long pass out on the left wing. Georgiou cut inside onto his right foot as he attempted to bring the ball into the Ejea box, but he was intercepted by Kevin Lacruz before he conceded a foul against the Ejea right back. That was to be Georgiou’s last involvement in the first half. Anthony managed his first effort on goal shortly after the beginning of the second half, after he managed to latch onto Pepelu’s pass down the left side of the Ejea penalty area. Georgiou managed to get the ball out of his feet before letting fly on his right foot however, his powerful low effort was saved by Eduardo Loscos who managed to keep hold of the ball. The game continued to slow down as the second half went on. After Delgado had received Manuel Viana’s pass down the right side of the Ejea box he attempted to cut the ball back to Georgiou who had made a darting run towards the back post. However, Delgado’s pass had far too much pace on it, and it ended up evading Georgiou.

Young Anthony saw very little of the ball during the remainder of his time on the pitch, and in the 71st minute of the game he was brought off by Luis Tevenet. The ‘ Granotas ‘ would go onto win the game 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Aitor Pascual in the 81st minute. Considering the poor quality of the pitch I thought that Georgiou did a very good job for Levante. Georgiou brought a lot of energy and positivity to a game which was very slow and laboured. Apart from going on some good attacking forays down the left flank, Anthony whipped some quality crosses into the danger zone. However, it was his excellent tracking back and defensive work which impressed me the most on Saturday evening. This was another impressive performance from the 22 year old who seems to have adapted well to life in southern Spain. Georgiou will miss Levante’s next game as he will be away on international duty with the Cyprus national team for their two important Euro 2020 qualifiers against San Marino and Belgium. I am hoping to be able to watch both of those games. I would like to wish Anthony all the very best of luck for both of those matches. At just 22 years of age the Lewisham born winger has already won two caps for his country!

Anthony Georgiou for Atlético Levante this season:

Appearances: 5

Goals: 1

Assists: 0