Jamie Bowden: – The local lad who I’m hoping will follow in the footsteps of Harry Winks:
For many Spurs fans the name Jamie Bowden wouldn’t have meant an awful lot, up until our pre-season friendly against Girona at the beginning of last month. After the 17 year old who grew up off the park lane, came on in the 83rd minute of the game to make his first team debut for his boyhood club. For those of you who have read my match reports over the past two seasons, you’ll know how highly I rate the talented and terrifically consistent central midfielder. And after a sparkling start to the new 2018/19 season I thought I’d go into greater detail about the young prodigy, and considering it’s an international break at present I thought there was no better time to write my piece on the teenager from Tottenham. Especially, as I promised I would do in my report of our developments side encounter with Crawley last week, in which I awarded Jamie with the man of the match award for the second time in the space of just four days. A deep lying central midfielder with a distinctly creative style to his game, Jamie Bowden is currently in his second year of scholarship at Spurs. Bowden was a key component of the Tottenham under 18 side that reached the premier league cup final in the 2017/18 season. One of the youngest of Tottenham’s first year scholars. Bowden’s impressive performances cemented his place in the side over the course of the campaign, and he would go on to make 25 appearances for Parker’s side that same season. By no means a new name to me, I first saw Jamie play when he was only 14 years of age, in an academy showcase game involving Spurs and Ipswich’s under 15’s, back in March of 2016. Impressing in the centre of the park at Portman road, Bowden stood out with his passing range and composure both on and off the ball. The 14 year old also managed to find the back of the net courtesy of a stunning long range strike. The following season Bowden became an important member of our under 16’s side as well as earning a well deserved call up to the England under 16 team. The schoolboy made four appearances for our under 18’s during the 2016/17 campaign and with his maturity plain to see it was no wonder why.
However, it was in Bowden’s first year of scholarship at the club where he enjoyed arguably his greatest season yet. Making 25 appearances for Scott Parker’s side in all competitions along with two further appearances for the under 19’s in the UEFA youth league, Bowden was one of Parker’s most consistent performers. Bowden was a real force in the centre of the park, breaking up play effectively and keeping things tidy in the middle of the pitch. Young Jamie held his own against much stronger opponents, his reading of the game caught my eye very early on as did the teenagers tenacity and willingness to get to the ball before his man. Not only was the first year scholar an effective ball winner he was also one of our under 18’s most creative and influential players. A deep lying playmaker, Bowden’s exceptional passing range and fine vision for a pass contributed to many of the moves that led to our goals in the under 18 league. Bagging four assists and one goal throughout the domestic season, Bowden picked up many if not dozens of third assists and remained one of if not our best performer throughout the season. If you read back my match reports of last season you’ll know that I was raving about Bowden since the very first month of the season. From his decision making to his defending, and versatility across the park, not once did I see Jamie have a bad game. Filling in at centre half on numerous occasions during the season the teenager also impressed on the continent. And the youngster was awarded with the midfielder of the tournament award, for his string of excellent performances at the under 17 Borgaro Maggioni Righi tournament, in the spring of 2018. And Bowden has started the new 2018/19 season in exactly the same way, after impressing for our development side in pre-season Jamie has really upped his game in the under 18 southern league.
Bowden has put in a series of masterful and domineering performances in the centre of the park, the 17 year old has continued to shine. And after already matching his tally of four assists last season, Bowden is playing with even more confidence and flare to his game. After his superb display for our development side (on his competitive debut) during their Checkatrade trophy encounter with League two club Crawley Town last Tuesday, I thought it was about time I’d written a piece on our of most talented young players. Almost Carrick like in his play, Bowden is a deep lying central midfielder whose job is to act as a shield to the defence. Breaking up play, and keeping things ticking in the middle of the park like a Harry Winks type of player. Energetic and tenacious, Bowden is also exceptionally creative from deep and his excellent passing range has often been the difference for our under 18’s in games. With his deftly accurate passing and ability to read the game so well, Bowden reminds me of a young Harry Winks a player who he cites as one of his biggest influences. Like Winks, Bowden is a tireless central midfielder, a player who always manages to get back into his position at the vital time. Bowden is such an effective central midfielder who has a passing range just as impressive as the considerably older Winks. Young Jamie is a midfield technician who is able to combine his defensive duties with his devastating creativity. Like Michael Carrick, Bowden has that ability to take three or four players out of the game with a single pass, he also has the ability to dictate play from the middle of the park. Much more than a solid midfielder who can break up play and keep things tidy. The thing which impresses me time and time again about Bowden’s play is his awareness. He is constantly dropping into little pockets of space which allows him the time and the room to pick out other players who are higher up the pitch. Like his peer Oliver Skipp, Bowden reads the game with a maturity that is well beyond his years.
He knows when to make that cynical foul that is needed to thwart a dangerous attack, he also knows when he needs to feed the ball into the centre forward and with the deftness and the precision needed in order to paralyse the defence. However, it would be lazy to just draw comparisons with the likes of Carrick and Winks even though he reminds me of both, as for me Bowden is one of the least English, English midfielders at this level. From the way he reads the game, to the composure he shows whilst he is on the ball, Bowden is a typical Italian midfielder. With his almost Pirlo-esque passing and reading of the game, Bowden is able to do the nitty gritty side of the game to perfection whilst remaining focussed and aware of his surroundings. Despite his slight figure Bowden is strong in possession and rarely finds himself dispossessed, like his slightly older peer Oliver Skipp he keeps things simple and never overplays a situation. In many ways Bowden is quite similar to the more experienced Oliver Skipp, both are extremely attentive players who are very good at recycling possession and keeping their position. However, even if Bowden didn’t have that creative element to his game he’d still be an exceptionally talented player, but it’s that edge to his game which has always caught my eye. His all round ability on the football pitch is quite striking as he demonstrated so effectively against Crawley last week. Coming up against the physically imposing midfield duo of Dannie Bulman and Mark Randall, Bowden held his own in the middle of the park alongside his more offensive partner Paris Maghoma. The teenager stayed deep as he snuffed out danger, proving to be a vital cog in Burnett’s side. As the game progressed Bowden became more confident and assertive. And during the second half Bowden showed off his impressive passing range, pulling off some ambitious passes to feed the centre forward (Shayon Harrison) in.
The midfielder also showed this maturity in the Tournoi Europeen in pre-season, when he put in a string of highly effective midfield performances against older and more physical opposition. Bowden is an Irish Londoner who is eligible to represent Ireland at international level and considering how frequently scouts from the FAI turn up to watch games at Hotspur Way, I would be astonished if he wasn’t already on their radar. Having watched him play extensively over the past couple of seasons I can say that Bowden is undoubtedly one of the finest central midfielders of his age group, in this country and I was particularly surprised that the three lions didn’t call him up over the summer for the under 17 European championships. Jamie is a nuisance to come up against, he is tigerish and unrelenting, unafraid to get stuck in though he is astute in his defending and is never rash in the challenge. I’m not going to compare him with Skipp or Maghoma for the simple fact that they are all different types of midfielders, who all have different attributes and styles. However, Bowden is one special talent and an elegant one at that, so often you see technically gifted midfielders who don’t possess that impressive passing range. However, Bowden pings the ball about like a young Pirlo, he is a midfield craftsman as much as he is a defensive midfielder. He reads the game well, he has a decent shot at his disposal but what Bowden has that so many young midfielders don’t have is the ability to pick apart a defence with a single pass. The weight and sheer accuracy of his passing is just sublime. In my opinion Bowden is more than ready to make the permanent step up to the under 23 side, he is far too good for the under 18 league. And whilst he does lack in strength he makes up for it in intelligence and awareness, as he showed against Crawley he is ready to make that step up. If Bowden is promoted to the development side then he will provide Burnett with a real creative edge from the middle, something which they have really lacked so far this season, and I’m hoping that he’ll start against Manchester City on Friday to prove this.
Jamie Bowden has been at Spurs since the age of six, he is a lifelong Tottenham fan who has been immersed in the philosophies and traditions of the club. Without sounding overly positive in this article (which I am by no means being!) I couldn’t sing his praises highly enough, and like Skipp and Winks he is the perfect Pochettino player who ticks so many boxes. Like Skipp, Bowden strikes me as a quiet and unassuming lad, I just hope that he continues to enjoy his football and develop as he does so. He has a very big future with both Spurs and Ireland and he is a player who you will be hearing a lot more about over the course of the season.
Shayon Harrison on Jamie’s performance against Crawley Town last week: “Jamie in the midfield, in his first game, looked so comfortable and looked like he’s played in 100 games already!”