A piece on Spurs’ versatile first year scholar Maxwell McKnight, and his fine debut full-time season with the club so far:

A right-back who has most often been playing as a winger out on the right flank so far this season (2021/22), Maxwell McKnight (17) is a player who in my opinion has had a very good first season as a scholar at Spurs, so far. The Colchester born first year scholar who was previously with West Ham United up until around five years ago, has been a key player for head-coach Stuart Lewis’ Spurs Under 18 side this season. McKnight joined Spurs on a full-time basis in the summer of 2021 and made his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 18 side in their opening Premier League South game of the season, against Fulham last August. The player who provided 12 assists for the Spurs Under 16 side last season as well as scoring some goals, has made an impressive total of 24 competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 side so far this season. The 17 year old has been really impressive this season, both at right-back and as a winger. He has created a really good number of chances for the forwards from out wide, and he has provided the most assists for his teammates in the Spurs Under 18 side (nine). McKnight has had several very good games for the Spurs Under 18 side this season.

So what type of player is Maxwell? Well regardless of whether he starts matches on the right flank as either a winger or as a full-back (he is also capable of starting out on the left flank), he is a very quick and direct player, and one who really likes to take on defenders. Whenever I have seen him play for Spurs at Academy level I have noticed that Maxwell is always looking to take players on, and that includes without the ball, when he is looking to get in a more forward position to receive the ball. Physical on the ball but also skilful with it at his feet, he has used his pace really well in matches this season, and with his quick feet he can be very difficult to defend against. Maxwell also has good balance on the pitch, works very hard off the ball and has shown a real determination to make a difference in matches this season for the Spurs Under 18 side. In many ways when playing as a winger, Maxwell reminds me of a very direct and traditional English winger, as someone who likes to take players on and deliver promising crosses into the penalty area, although he is also unpredictable with the ball.

Maxwell’s ability to cross a ball really well is very impressive, and he puts lots of pace and curl on his crosses (he can also hit a ball sweetly). McKnight also tracks back well after him as a winger, and he links up well with the right-back. As a right-back he manages to get into good defensive positions, while also getting forward well as well, to make good overlapping runs, as he showed in the most recent Under 18 game, between Spurs and Reading. In many ways I think that Maxwell is very much like a modern day full-back, and one who combines his defensive duties with getting forward to join the forwards well. Going back a few years to when Anthony Georgiou and Shilow Tracey played for Spurs out wide at Academy level, Maxwell reminds me a bit of both of those players, particularly Georgiou, because of his versatility, pace, tenacity and directness with the ball. It will be interesting to see which position he will be playing in on the pitch in the long term for Spurs.

Particularly impressive in two games against Crystal Palace and West Brom respectively this season. Both of these games showed in my opinion Maxwell at his best, at this stage of his career. In both matches he showed a real desire to get forward while starting as a winger on the right flank, and he was constantly creating space for himself to receive the ball, get forward with it and create chances for his teammates. He has been very unselfish in his play this season, and both of those games showed this. He got an assist in both of those games. Maxwell will be hoping to start for Spurs’ Under 17 side tomorrow evening, in their Under 17 Premier League Cup final against Manchester City at the Loughborough University Stadium. Maxwell is just at the beginning of his footballing career, and I would like to say well done for how he has done so far this season, as in my opinion he has done very well. I also would like to wish him all the best for the remainder of the season, and it will be interesting to see if he is included in the Spurs Under 19 squad that will compete in the end of season Terborg Tournament, in The Netherlands.

Some notes on Spurs player Harvey White and his season so far:

Harvey White has been a key player once again for the Spurs Development side, this season. The Maidstone born footballer, who has so often been playing as the furthest forward of the two central-midfielders during this season, because of Brooklyn Lyons-Foster almost always playing in the defensive-midfield role. Harvey has contributed by scoring an impressive seven goals from midfield and also providing seven assists, from 20 competitive appearances. Last season (2020/21) I thought that Harvey really impressed during the pre-season of that season, with the first team. He then continued to be a mainstay of the Spurs Under 23 side, during the first half of the season. However, he then went out on his first loan, moving to League One side Portsmouth, during the second half of the season. While there, the midfielder made 22 appearances for Portsmouth, scoring one goal and registering one assist. The loan move to the English south coast, must have been an invaluable experience for Harvey at that stage in his career. As although he wasn’t always starting matches for Portsmouth, he still got a good amount of minutes at senior level.

I watched quite a lot of the matches that Harvey played for Portsmouth, last season. I thought that he did well, didn’t look at all out of place at that level, and showed his technical quality on the ball, while also showing good movement off the ball, as well. This season, Harvey started pre-season with the first team, before playing the final friendly game of pre-season, for the Spurs Development side, in a game against Barnet. Harvey started the new season with the Spurs Development side really well, and he soon started getting a good number of goals and assists. Often captaining Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side this season, the midfielder was excellent in a Premier League 2 away game against Leeds United, earlier on in the season, which Spurs won 4-2. During that game the 20 year old showed great vision and passing ability with the ball, but he also showed really good tenacity as well, and also a real desire to want to win the game for Spurs. Always available to receive the ball, he looked very assured in the middle of the pitch.

In Spurs Under 23 matches this season against for example Blackburn Rovers away (the game finished 3-3), a 3-1 away win over Manchester City, and also impressive wins over Leicester City and Everton, Harvey along with now former Spurs Academy player Dilan Markanday, were often the difference for Spurs in those games. Harvey has shown on numerous occasions in the Premier League 2 and also the Papa John’s Trophy, a real desire to make late runs into the penalty area, from midfield. The player who often used to play as a CAM during the early stages of his football career, is a good finisher who will get an impressive number of goals from midfield. However, he is also a very creative midfield player, who can change a game by taking a chance on the ball, and making a decisive pass. A set-piece specialist, who is often praised by fans for his quality left foot. The Spurs player can also make quality passes off his right foot, and also scores on his right foot, as well. During a 4-0 Premier League 2 home win over Everton, earlier in the season, Harvey White completely controlled the game from start to finish. He scored a really well taken goal, but also created numerous good chances for teammates as well.

In games this season Harvey has continued to show good skill on the ball. And he is capable of taking players on for skill. However, it’s his footballing brain and craft on the ball, which has seen him excel for Spurs through the scholarship years, to the Under 23 side, and which has now seen him get into the first team setup (he has already made two competitive appearances for the Spurs first team, and has made the bench on nine occasions for them so far this season). I very rarely say this about footballers at this level, but Harvey, just like his old Spurs teammate and friend Luis Binks, is a player who has just never seemed to have a bad game at Academy level. At least from all of the games that I have seen him involved in over the years at Academy level. He seems to have become more physical in games this season at Under 23 level, and has also become even more vocal in games, after often being given the captains armband during the first half of the season. Now often making the bench for the first team in recent games, it’s great to see Harvey involved a lot in Spurs’ first team setup, recently. And it really is greatly deserved.

I really hope that Harvey White gets a chance in the first team in the near future. However, training with the first team and under the guidance of the excellent Antonio Conte, I am sure that Harvey is really enjoying this invaluable experience of being around the first team setup. I would like to wish Harvey all the very best of luck for the remainder of the season. 

Some notes on Spurs Academy player Jamie Donley’s excellent start to the 2021/22 season:

Jamie Donley’s start to the 2021/22 season for the Spurs Under 18 side has been superb. The England Under 17 international who was born in Antrim, Northern Ireland, but brought up in Colchester, England, has shown great maturity during the Under 18 matches that I have seen him play this season, as well as in international games. Donley (16) is a centre-forward, but he is also very comfortable playing as a CAM as well. The first year scholar who has been at Spurs for many years, made his competitive Under 18 debut for the club in a 1-1 Premier League South draw with Leicester City, at Hotspur Way in November 2020. He scored Spurs’ only goal of that game. Donley made an additional 12 competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 side that season, scoring two more goals. An excellent individual performance against AFC Wimbledon in that seasons FA Youth Cup, which saw the centre-forward score a brace, would make sure that Spurs progressed to the fifth round of the competition that season. Jamie has started the following 2021/22 season really well. He has made eight competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 side so far this season, scoring a very impressive eight goals, and registering seven assists. In addition to his statistics from Spurs, Donley scored two goals from two appearances for Northern Ireland Under 19’s, and two goals from three appearances for England’s Under 17 side.

A tremendous athlete, who has a good amount of pace despite being tall, Jamie Donley has demonstrated some excellent athleticism so far this season. Strong in the air, and with a good jumping reach as well. Physical and good at holding the ball up and bringing others into play, Donley loves to drop deep into good pockets of space to really show his impressive range of passing (he has a consistently nice weight of pass, from whenever I have seen him play). He has shown that he is very clinical in-front of goal, and also that he scores all different types of goals, with some spectacular goals already scored this season. A player who likes to try and test the goalkeeper from long distance, Jamie is a good runner off the ball, and this season I have paid close attention to his impressive movement off the ball, and his willingness to make late runs into the box from playing in the CAM role. Donley is a very consistent performer and despite his great goalscoring form so far this season for club and country, he has really shown that he is a very unselfish player. He has really fine vision for a pass and he really does take responsibility with the ball. He is a creative and clinical forward who has already shown how effective him and centre-forward Jaden Williams are at linking up on the pitch in the Spurs Under 18 side.

Personally Jamie reminds me very much of Troy Parrott at the same age, in how creative he is with the ball and also his willingness to drop deep to get on the ball to try and create chances, even in these very early days. Both players press the opposition’s defence consistently well, and have a real tenacity about them. Whenever I have seen Donley play this season for Spurs and England, he has consistently shown a real desire to track back and make strong challenges to win the ball when out of possession. In addition both players have shown their ability to dribble really well with the ball, and also win a lot of free-kicks and penalties. Donley has really impressed me in all of the games that I have seen him play in so far this season for club and country, but the game against Reading, where he really showed the great all-round ability that he has, throughout the game and also that ability to link up so well with Jaden Williams, as both complimented each other for 90 minutes, was in my opinion his most impressive performance so far this season, that I have seen. Donley recently won the Spurs goal of the month competition for a simply outstanding overhead kick goal that he scored in a game against West Bromwich Albion, in October. Another excellent goal, this time a lobbed effort was scored against West Ham United during the previous month.

This has been a sensational start to the season from Jamie Donley, and I’m hoping that he’ll get a chance to play in the Spurs Under 23 side at some point this season, but all in good time. Donley will also be key for the Under 18 side in this seasons FA Youth Cup, and of course during the remainder of the league season.

My piece on Spurs’ very promising young defender Japhet Tanganga:

The 2015/16 Spurs Academy intake was an incredibly talented one at the club. It included the likes of Marcus Edwards, Samuel Shashoua, Brandon Austin, Alfie Whiteman, Jack Roles and of course Japhet Tanganga (22). A defender who is more than capable of playing anywhere at the back, the Hackney born footballer who joined Spurs at a young age has risen up through the Academy ranks at the club to so far make 24 competitive first team appearances for them. Tanganga has been at Spurs for many years and he even made his competitive debut for Spurs’ Under 18 side as a schoolboy footballer way back in the November of 2014. The Londoner signed scholarship forms with Spurs for the start of the following 2015/16 season, a season that he would do really well in, and he also made his competitive debut for the then Under 21 side during the same season. Japhet made 17 Under 18 Premier League appearances during the following 2016/17 season, plus additional appearances in the UEFA Youth League, FA Youth Cup and Premier League 2, in what was a very good season of development for the defender. Japhet was also a part of the Spurs Under 18 side that won the IMG Cup in Florida that season. 

After having made the permanent step up to the Under 23 side for the beginning of the 2017/18 season, Tanganga became a regular for Wayne Burnett’s side, and he would make 15 Premier League 2 appearances that season, in what was another good season for his development. The following 2018/19 season saw the player who has been capped all the way up to Under 21 level by England, again becoming a mainstay of the Spurs Under 23 side. Making over 20 competitive appearances for them that season, Japhet also made his first team debut for Spurs as a substitute in a pre-season friendly against Girona FC in Spain. I thought that the defender was very good for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side during the 2018/19 season, and the player who would often captain the side during the second half of the season really showed his leadership qualities, in my opinion. It was to be the 2019/20 season that Japhet was given his first chance with the Spurs first team in competitive football. He performed really well in pre-season with the Spurs first team before being given his competitive first team debut in a Carabao Cup third round tie against Colchester United in the September of 2019, when Mauricio Pochettino was still the Spurs boss.

It was when José Mourinho took over as Spurs boss during that season that Japhet was given his Premier League debut, and further appearances would follow. That game came in a home 1-0 Premier League defeat to Liverpool in the January of 2020, but the young defender stood out in that game for his defensive performance. Since that game the 22 year old has made 22 further competitive appearances for Spurs, but he would have surely made a lot more appearances were it not for troubles with injury. At Academy level for Spurs Japhet was in my opinion very, very good, but also very consistent as well. He did have injuries at Under 18 and 23 level, but he always came back into the team stronger than ever. At Academy level Japhet was at times unplayable. Great at making last ditch blocks  from central defence, so commanding inside his penalty area and also showing very good reactions in defensive situations. As a centre-half Japhet is really good in the air even though he is not the tallest, but he is great at getting up off the ground. In addition to that he is also very quick and he has a good positional sense, which helps him to cut out forward passes, something which he has always been very good at.

A vocal member of the defence at Academy level for Spurs, and one who was always very good at organising the defence. One such example of this came in a Premier League South fixture against Arsenal back in the autumn of 2016, at Hotspur Way. On that particular day Tanganga was immense when playing on the right hand side of central defence. He organised the defence superbly well, made some excellent blocks, challenges and defensive interventions against the likes of Eddie Nketiah and Donyell Malen. However, most importantly of all he kept Spurs in the game up until he was forced to come off because he had picked up an injury, and after that the Spurs defence just couldn’t deal with Arsenal, and they ended up losing the match 4-2. Since playing at right-back (Japhet also used to play at left-back for Spurs at Academy level on occasions) for Spurs’ first team Japhet has shown his fine ability to go forward with the ball. This is actually something that he used to often do when playing in central defence for Spurs at Academy level. He would often go on surging forward runs from out of defence with the ball, and even take on opponents with it on occasions. Another thing which he often showed at Under 18 and Under 23 level for Spurs was his ability to make a long Michael Dawson-esque pass from defence. Even if Japhet does play at right-back for Nuno Espírito Santo’s side then it is still something that I am sure Spurs fans will see in the future.

Another thing which I personally wouldn’t be surprised at all to see in the future is for Japhet to play as a number four in midfield. Although to my knowledge he never played in that position for Spurs at Academy level, I personally feel that the versatile defender would be more than capable of playing in that role. Last Sunday Spurs faced Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Japhet Tanganga completing 87 minutes of the match at right-back, before appearing to pick up an injury and being replaced by Serge Aurier. However, Japhet was excellent throughout the match and he defended really well in my opinion, and got up and down the right flank really effectively. He also did very well to set up Son, for his goal late in the game. It was an excellent all round performance from Japhet, but it was just such a shame that he picked up an injury late on in the game. If he can hopefully stay clear of injuries then I have no doubts that the very talented and promising young defender will get a really good number of games for Spurs’ first team this season, with most of those coming at right-back I would imagine. I would like to wish Japhet all the very best of luck for the 2021/22 season.

My piece on Spurs’ direct and very reliable Academy winger Romaine Mundle:

Romaine Mundle enjoyed a very good season in 2020/21 for Spurs’ Under 18 side. The 18 year old winger who signed scholarship forms with Spurs in the summer of 2019, made his competitive Under 18 debut for Spurs as a substitute against Norwich City in 2019. The Edmonton born footballer who recently signed a new contract with Spurs until 2022, would make 12 Under 18 Premier League South appearances in 2019/20, scoring one goal and registering three assists over the course of that season. However, during the following 2020/21 season Mundle became a really important member of Matt Taylor’s Spurs Under 18 side, making 24 competitive appearances, scoring three goals and registering eight assists. Romaine also featured in competitive competition for the Spurs Under 23 side on three occasions, registering one assist from those three matches. Capable of operating as a winger on either flank, Mundle can also play as a CAM or as a central midfielder. A really creative player who is quick and direct with the ball out on the flanks, the now first year pro who featured for the Spurs first team against Leyton Orient this pre-season, is so reliable on the ball and he rarely loses possession. A player who takes up intelligent forward positions both out wide and in the oppositions penalty area, he is a good passer of the ball and I have always been impressed with his crosses into the box.

A very technical footballer who is really skilful on the ball, the player who has been at Spurs for a long time tracks back and helps out the full-back well also, and he is a real team player. He is capable of beating players for skill alone, and his ability to pick a pass and get a really good amount of assists has made him a really important player for the Spurs Under 18 side over the last couple of seasons. The fact that he has already made his first team debut for Spurs is a really good sign, and it shows how far that Romaine has come and how well that he has done at Under 18 level during his two years of scholarship. I look forward to hopefully seeing Romaine establish himself in the Under 23 side this season, and I wish him all the very best of luck for the season.

My piece on Spurs’ skilful and versatile Academy midfielder Yago Santiago:

A technical midfield player who is also versatile, Yago Santiago (18) signed for Spurs during the 2019/20 season from Spanish side RC Celta de Vigo. Santiago made his competitive Under 18 debut for Spurs as a substitute against Southampton in a league game, which Spurs won 2-0 in the September of 2019. Santiago made a further nine league appearances for Spurs at Under 18 level that season (most of his appearances came as a substitute, and he scored one goal). However, during the following 2020/21 season the footballer from Vigo in Spain became an important player for Matt Taylor’s Under 18 side, making 23 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side. Yago scored three goals and registered five assists for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, and he also made his competitive debut for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side during the same season. Santiago has started the current 2021/22 season with Spurs’ Under 23 side, and the first year pro will now be with Wayne Burnett’s side on a full-time basis. Yago played and started the Under 23’s first two pre-season friendlies against Ramsgate FC and Enfield Town respectively, and he impressed in both of those matches. So what type of player is Yago? Well he is a versatile player who is capable of playing as a four or eight in central midfield, as a CAM or as a winger on either flank. However, after centre-forward Kion Etete had to be substituted in the friendly against Ramsgate, Santiago moved up top.

A midfield player with great balance, in the central areas of the pitch Yago is so slick on the ball and he is a midfield technician who is more than capable of making things happen and creating chances. A good passer of the ball and a player who is quick on his feet, Santiago is an intelligent player who can at times make things look effortless. As a CAM Santiago makes good forward runs off the ball and he also links the play well from that role. He likes to pass the ball forward (he holds onto the ball well) and he is a forward thinking midfield player who is a skilful and tricky player, but he is also a hard worker who helps out the team well. I have been most impressed with Yago whenever I have seen him play out wide, as with his fine pace and skill on the ball he can cause problems for full-backs and also create good chances from wide positions. From that position last season Yago got a good amount of goals and assists, and he showed his potency going forward in an FA Youth Cup fourth round tie against AFC Wimbledon in 2020/21. Playing out on the left flank he influenced the game well and showed some good bursts of pace down the left side of the pitch, while also showing nice skill on the ball. In another Under 18 game against Southampton during the previous 2019/20 season Santiago scored his first goal for the Under 18 side to cap off a fine individual performance in the CAM role, where he showed good composure and skill on the ball and he also linked the play really well.

In the recent pre-season win over Ramsgate Yago Santiago started the match out on the right flank, before later moving up top to play as a centre-forward. Considering that he is not a striker I thought that he did well in that role, and he impressed with his movement off the ball. I look forward to hopefully seeing Yago play Under 23 football on a regular basis this season and I wish him all the very best of luck for 2021/22.

A short profile on every Spurs Academy goalkeeper (in the Spurs Under 23 side):

I thought that I’d write a little piece where I would do a profile on every Spurs goalkeeper who is part of the Spurs Under 23 squad. In the following piece I have tried to describe what the Spurs Under 23’s goalkeepers’ greatest attributes are, and also what their style of play as a goalkeeper is. We have some very promising young goalkeepers in the Academy setup at Spurs, and whilst I haven’t included Under 18’s goalkeepers Aaron Maguire, Adam Hayton and Luca Gunter (as I have hardly seen them play), they too are very promising goalkeepers that I’m sure Spurs fans will be hearing a lot more about over the coming seasons.

Alfie Whiteman: Although not technically part of the Spurs Under 23 squad, Alfie Whiteman is still under 23. The Londoner who is 22 and who has already made his competitive debut for Spurs’ first team (last season) is a former England youth international who has been at Spurs for many years. Part of the Spurs Academy age group which included Marcus Edwards, Japhet Tanganga and Samuel Shashoua, Alfie Whiteman was very good at Under 18 level for Spurs and he got a good number of games for the club at that level. At times stepping up to play for the Spurs Under 23 side when he was still an Academy scholar, Alfie first made a Spurs first team squad (made the bench for the first team) for the first time during the 2015/16 season. A goalkeeper with very good positioning and good reflexes, Alfie Whiteman has a good goal kick, is reliable and is also quite good at saving penalties. Often part of Spurs’ first team squads over the course of recent seasons, the goalkeeper hasn’t had a good run of games for the Under 23 side since the 2017/18 season, when him and Brandon Austin were the two main goalkeepers for the Under 23’s. Alfie has only featured on a small number of occasions for the Under 23 side in the seasons since then, and he has mainly been with the first team, where he has more often than not trained with them on a daily basis. It will be interesting to see whether the promising and clearly highly rated goalkeeper goes out on his first loan move this season, or whether he remains with the Spurs first team squad for another season.

Brandon Austin: An excellent young goalkeeper who is currently on loan at American MLS side Orlando City SC, Brandon Austin (22) was part of the same Spurs Academy age group as the previously mentioned Alfie Whiteman. The goalkeeper from Hemel Hempstead has been a regular at Academy level for Spurs since joining the Academy full-time in the summer of 2015. The former Chelsea Academy player was mainly the second choice goalkeeper to Alfie Whiteman in the Under 18 side during the 2015/16 season, but during the following season he got a lot more minutes for the Under 18 side. A regular and very important player for our Under 23 side during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, Austin went out on his first loan move to Danish side Viborg FF (they played in the second division at the time), halfway into the 2019/20 season, and he became their first choice goalkeeper, putting in a series of impressive performances during the second half of their season. Returning to Spurs for the following 2020/21 season, the goalkeeper who has been called up to the England Under 21 side on occasions over the past few years would go onto make eight competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 23 side last season. He joined MLS side Orlando City SC in early 2021, and although he has played five matches for them in the MLS during the current season, he is currently their second choice goalkeeper. Austin has done well when he has played for them so far and I’m hoping that he’ll get more opportunities to impress before the end of the MLS season.

Austin is a terrific shot stopper who has great reflexes, is very quick on his feet, maintains good positioning throughout matches and also commands his box very well. Really good in my opinion at coming out to catch the ball from corner kicks and crosses, the Spurs man has also improved on his distribution during recent seasons. A very vocal goalkeeper on the pitch, Brandon talks his defence through matches really well. I definitely see him as somebody who has the potential to become a future Spurs first choice goalkeeper at some point in the future, as in my opinion Brandon has all of the important attributes needed to succeed.

Joshua Oluwayemi: London born goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was recently called up to the Nigeria senior national team for an international friendly against Mexico (he was unused substitute), after impressing for Spurs’ Under 23 side during the 2020/21 season. The 20 year old is not the tallest of goalkeepers but is still very commanding inside his penalty area. Oluwayemi signed scholarship forms with Spurs for the 2017/18 season, but during that campaign he only played a handful of games. During the following 2018/19 season Joshua established himself as an important player for the Spurs Under 18 side, and he made a really good number of appearances for them that season. During the 2019/20 season Oluwayemi made five Premier League 2 appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, but for the start of the following 2020/21 season he joined National League side Maidenhead United on loan. Oluwayemi made two competitive appearances for Maidenhead United before returning to Spurs and going on to make 12 appearances for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side, and he impressed in the games that I saw him play. A goalkeeper who is alert, has really good reactions, commands his box well and is also somewhat of an expert at saving penalties. Joshua made the bench for the Spurs first team against Colchester United in a pre-season friendly earlier in the week, and it will be very interesting to see whether or not he goes out on another loan this season. Joshua is another very promising Spurs Academy goalkeeper.

Kacper Kurylowicz: A former Poland youth international who was born in Luton but brought up in Milton Keynes. Kacper Kurylowicz is a goalkeeper who I am a big fan of, and now in his second year full-time with the Spurs Under 23 side Kurylowicz will be hoping to get more game time for the Under 23 side this season. The 19 year old only made three appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side during his first season of scholarship at Spurs. Kurylowicz then made 11 Under 18 Premier League South appearances during the following 2019/20, doing well in all of those games in my opinion. During the 2020/21 season Kacper made two competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, in what was his first season full-time with the Under 23 squad. Kurylowicz is a goalkeeper who is quick out of his penalty area and at sweeping up outside of his box, he is a really good shot stopper and has always impressed me with his distribution. Kacper is also good at dealing with crosses and set-pieces, but most of all he is a leader, and a goalkeeper whose organisation skills and encouragement of his defence are top quality attributes of his. In addition Kurylowicz is very good in one on one situations, and he often makes saves from those situations. I’m really hoping that Kacper gets a really good run of games for the Under 23 side during the 2021/22 season, as I think that he has a promising future in the game and is a goalkeeper that Spurs fans will hopefully be hearing more about over the coming seasons.

Thimothée Lo-Tutala: Paris born former Brentford youth goalkeeper Thimothée Lo-Tutala was often the captain of Spurs’ Under 18 side last season (2020/21). Lo-Tutala made 17 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, plus one appearance for the Spurs Under 23 side. A tall goalkeeper who has good distribution, is commanding from crosses and who reads the game well from inside his penalty area, Thimothée also has very good reflexes. After competing for a place in the Spurs Under 18 side with Kacper Kurylowicz during the 2019/20 season, Lo-Tutala improved even more last season as he became the first choice goalkeeper for the Under 18 side. And the fact that the now first year pro has already made his competitive Under 23 debut for Spurs, as well as featuring in two friendlies for them in pre-season (he impressed in the friendly game against Ramsgate) will help Thimothée for this season when he’ll be with the Under 23 side on a full-time basis.

Isak Solberg: Norway Under 18 international Isak Solberg is a very tall goalkeeper who is a good shot stopper, and who is also not afraid to be vocal on the pitch. Unfortunately I can’t really elaborate further on what type of goalkeeper Isak is, as he has only played one competitive game for Spurs (at Under 18 level) in two seasons. Solberg will be a part of the Spurs Under 23 side on a full-time basis this season.

My piece on versatile and tenacious Spurs Academy player Kallum Cesay:

Kallum Cesay (18) might not have been a Spurs Academy player that Spurs fans were too familiar with before our first team took on Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly last Saturday. However, the Newham born first year pro has been an important player and regular for Spurs’ Under 18 side over the course of the last two seasons. Previously with local club West Ham United, Kallum Cesay signed scholarship forms with Spurs for the start of the 2019/20 season. During his first season full-time at Spurs, the defender who primarily plays as a right-back (he can also play at left-back and in central midfield) made 11 league appearances for Spurs at Under 18 level (he also featured in a pre-season friendly for the Under 23’s against Enfield Town), and he also featured in the FA Youth Cup and Premier League Cup for Spurs at Under 18 level during the same season. Impressing throughout that season at both right-back and in central midfield (he scored two league goals that season), Cesay made 18 competitive appearances (he scored  four goals and registered four assists) during the following 2020/21 season for Matt Taylor’s Under 18 side. Cesay established himself as an important member of the side, and he also made his competitive debut for Spurs’ Under 23 side in a 3-0 Premier League 2 win over Manchester United at Hotspur Way that same season. Cesay has since started pre-season of the 2021/22 season with the first team. Making his debut (he started the game) for them against Leyton Orient last Saturday, Cesay also came off the bench to feature against Colchester United in Spurs’ most recent pre-season friendly.

As I said before, Kallum Cesay is primarily a right-back, but he is also capable of playing on the opposite flank at left-back, and as a central midfielder. The defender is an adaptable player, who is effective at both ends of the pitch. He can be a forward thinking right-back, as he likes to get forward and often go on overlapping runs down the right flank and into the oppositions box, where he tries to be available to get to any rebounds. And he is a defender who has a real eye for goal (his goalscoring and assist record at Under 18 level speaks for itself), owing to his fine positioning in forward areas, and Kallum is also a good striker of the ball. A tall player who has a decent amount of pace, and who also gets up and down the flank really well, Kallum Cesay has great stamina. Good at linking up with the winger in front of him, Cesay is an intelligent player who can pass the ball well, but he can also stay deep in matches, as I have seen him do this on numerous occasions. Strong in the challenge and not afraid to make sliding challenges, the 18 year old is difficult to get past and can give opposition wingers difficult games. Whilst he is a steady and adaptable defender, it’s worth noting that Cesay can also play in central midfield (often as a four) where he is good at carrying the ball, bringing it forward and at helping to protect the back four, whilst also breaking up the play in the central areas of the pitch. Good on the ball but tenacious out of possession, Kallum is a player that Spurs fans should keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons.

During an Under 18 Premier League South game against Southampton back in the 2019/20 season Cesay demonstrated all of his abilities at right-back, in what was a really fine individual performance. He really grew into that match, was solid in defence, got up and down the right-flank really well, scored a good goal from a tight angle and made some excellent forward runs off the ball. In another Under 18 league game against Norwich City during the same season, Kallum stayed really deep and rarely got forward, really showing the defensive side of his game and showing how difficult he was to get beyond down Norwich’s left side of the pitch. During the Leyton Orient friendly last Saturday Kallum impressed by creating a chance after taking an excellent first touch and going on a burst forward. I really look forward to hopefully seeing Kallum become a regular for Wayne Burnett’s Under 23 side this season, and I wish him all the very best of luck for the new season.

My piece on Spurs’ complete Academy centre-half Marqes Muir:

Lambeth born defender Marqes Muir (18) has been part of Spurs’ Academy setup since a young age, and the centre-half has been a player who has made big strides since joining the Academy full-time in the summer of 2019. Muir first made a Spurs Under 18 squad in a competitive game back in the April of the 2018/19 season as a schoolboy footballer, when he made the bench against Aston Villa in a league game (he didn’t play in that game). Signing scholarship forms with Spurs in the summer of 2019, Marqes Muir made his competitive Under 18 debut for Spurs in a 4-0 opening day league defeat to a very talented Fulham side at the start of the 2019/20 season. During that season which ended early Marqes made over 15 competitive appearances for Matt Taylor’s side, and I felt that he improved by each game. Muir also featured for the Under 23’s in a pre-season friendly against Enfield Town just before the season started. During the 2020/21 season Marqes made 24 competitive appearances (all starts) for the Spurs Under 18 side, captaining them on a good number of occasions, and he also made two competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side (his first two competitive appearances for them). An important player for Matt Taylor’s Under 18 side last season as a second year scholar, Muir has started this pre-season with Spurs’ Under 23 side, now that he is a first year pro with the club. He played the Under 23’s opening pre-season friendly against Ramsgate FC last Saturday, and also our most recent one against Enfield Town, playing well in both at RCB.

So what type of defender is Marqes Muir? Well he is mainly a centre-half, who plays on the right hand side of defence. Although he is also capable of playing at right-back, a position that I have been impressed with him playing at. However, as a centre-half, Marqes is one of the best Academy centre-halves that I have ever seen at bringing the ball out from the back. He brings it out with such ease and skill, something which helps him to play right-back so effectively. A leader in defence, Muir is in my opinion a complete centre-half, in the sense that I don’t think that there are any real faults to his game. He is an alert centre-half who is quick, has a great positional sense, has very good distribution and is courageous when defending. Really good at making blocks, owing to his fine positioning, the Londoner has so many very good and important attributes. A player that I really enjoy watching defend, Marqes is a good one on one defender whose strength and ability not to get bullied by defenders makes him a real defensive force. However, Marqes also has good reactions, and he is a commanding player. Dominant in the air and calm under pressure, Muir is good at making well timed interceptions and challenges (he is intelligent and only slides in if he has too), and also at stepping in front of forwards, being assertive and winning the ball in important areas of the pitch. A classy defender who is so good on the ball, I have been really impressed with his ability on the ball ever since I first saw him play.

There are some games that Marqes has played in for Spurs during recent seasons, that I would just like to focus in on. A league game against Fulham’s Under 18 side at home during the 2019/20 season saw Marqes play at right-back, where he defended against Fulham winger Imani Lanquedoc. Muir totally neutralised the threat that the Fulham player posed, and he also stayed tight to the Fulham player, kept really good positioning and also defended solidly throughout the entirety of the match. In another game during the same season and this time playing at RCB, Marqes Muir had to defend against Norwich City’s then Under 18 centre-forward Tyrese Omotoye, and again Muir put in a very good defensive performance, as he teamed up with former Spurs player Aaron Skinner at centre-half. During that game Marqes made countless blocks, interceptions and clearances, and he was also very strong on the ball, as he put in a very intelligent defensive performance. During the two Under 23 pre-season friendlies played so far this summer Marqes has looked very solid. Good at bringing the ball out from the back in both games against Ramsgate FC and Enfield Town, Muir made a fine block in the Enfield game and also cut out a promising attack for the home side. And he put in another strong defensive performance in the game against Ramsgate. I’m really looking forward to seeing Marqes hopefully get a really good amount of games for the Under 23 side this season. And I wish him all the very best of luck for the new season and congratulate him on two fine years of scholarship at Spurs.

My piece on Spurs’ skilful and highly promising midfielder Alfie Devine:

It was not long before the first lockdown when I had first seen Alfie Devine (16) play live. Although it wasn’t for too long (around half an hour) Devine came on with half an hour to go against non-League side Croydon FC in the third round of the 2019/20 seasons FA Youth Cup for Wigan Athletic’s Under 18 side, up in Wigan. I had travelled up there on the day of the game to see who Spurs’ Under 18 side would face in the fourth round of the competition, and I was also intrigued to see Wigan’s very talented Under 18 side play. That Wigan side contained Sean McGurk (now of Leeds United) who was also excellent in the following round against Spurs, and a player who I was hoping that we would sign. However, Warrington born midfielder Alfie Devine came on and scored a well taken headed goal after connecting with a cross from the left, following a good run into the Croydon box. What I really noticed about Devine during that 8-1 win to Wigan was the passion and desire with which he showed on the pitch, and also his commitment to the game, and to his team. Devine came on late on in the game against Spurs, which Wigan (they had been unbeaten for a long period of time) comfortably won 2-0. I do remember Devine stopping a late attack from Spurs well during his brief time on the pitch. The then 15 year old player who was a regular and important player for Wigan’s Under 18 side during the 2019/20 season, and who also impressed later on in the FA Youth Cup in a game against Manchester United, would join Spurs from Wigan for the start of the following 2020/21 season. 

Not long after turning 16 in the August of 2020 he made his first team debut for Spurs’ first team in a pre-season friendly win over Ipswich Town as a substitute, before the start of the competitive season (potentially Spurs’ youngest ever player to feature in a first team friendly). He made an additional appearance against Reading in another friendly at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that summer. Devine started the first competitive game for the Spurs Under 18 side (2020/21), the following month, and by all accounts he was excellent in central midfield, as Spurs won the game 4-1. During last season Alfie Devine made an additional 11 competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 side, scoring two goals and registering two assists. Devine also stepped up to make 12 competitive appearances for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side, scoring two goals and registering one assist. His fine form for both the Under 18’s and 23’s was rewarded by then Spurs manager José Mourinho, who gave Devine his competitive first team debut (youngest ever player and goalscorer for Spurs’ first team as a substitute against non-League side Marine), in the third round of that seasons FA Cup. Devine scored a well taken goal against Marine, and he showed great confidence on the ball during his 45 minutes on the pitch, and was always looking to receive it in good areas. The young midfielder also made the bench on two other occasions for Spurs’ first team in competitive games (although he didn’t feature in either of those games). Alfie is the son of talented former St Helens Rugby League player Sean Devine, who played as a half-back for St Helens, during his time at the club.

So what type of player is Alfie Devine? Well the England youth international is mainly a midfield player, who can play as a four, eight and as a CAM. Devine is also capable of playing out wide (mainly on the left), although last season for Spurs he played in a variety of positions at Under 18 and 23 level. For England at Under 16 level the midfielder played as the deepest of a midfield two, where he is capable of spraying the ball around the park from deep, and also pushing forward at times. Devine is a very tough player who is strong in the challenge and tenacious off the ball, but as a deep-lying midfield player he is very capable of patrolling that area of the pitch well, and also at keeping the ball moving in the central areas. The technical midfield player can also play a far more advanced midfield role, which allows him to influence the game more in the final third. A highly intelligent player who has great reactions on the pitch, Devine takes up clever forward positions, and he times his forwards runs into the oppositions box very well. Sharp and quick on the ball, the former Wigan Athletic player who also spent time in Liverpool’s Academy setup, has demonstrated in games his ability to score goals from a variety of positions. Good in the air and with a powerful shot at his disposal, Alfie Devine also registers a good amount of assists. With fine vision for a forward pass, I’ve noticed in games that he has played in that the Englishman likes to try and play lofted balls over the top of defences, to try and put the centre-forward through on goal.

Devine’s passing ability is in my opinion of his greatest attributes, and the weight and accuracy of his forward passes are consistently very good. He is just so confident on the ball and he seems to believe a lot in his own ability on the pitch, which will help him a lot as he continues to progress at Spurs. Devine is also very skilful on the ball, and in the games that I have watched him play he has always looked to take on and beat players for skill, and he is an agile player as well. Just as impressive off the ball, Alfie Devine is a strong and physical player who can more than hold his own in situations. He works incredibly hard off the ball and presses players to great effect, whilst also not being at all afraid to make forceful sliding challenges (he has a good amount of aggression to his game, and he plays the game with real bite). A mature player for his age, Alfie put in some of his best performances from games that I saw him play in last season, in two particular matches. The first one against Chelsea Under 18’s in a league game, saw him dictate the match from the CAM role for large periods of his 62 minutes on the pitch. Aggressive and assertive, and showing his usual great skill on the ball, Devine got an assist for one of Spurs’ goals in the second half, after making a really clever pass with the outside of his boot from a wide position to force an error from a Chelsea defender. He took up wide positions a fair bit in that game, demanded the ball in good positions and also worked very well off the ball.

In the second game which I will briefly write about, Devine also played as a CAM, with this game an Under 23 game against Derby County, up in Loughborough. Spurs were reduced to ten men early on in that game, but Devine really stepped up and put in a very mature performance. He worked really hard for the team, tried to influence the game by making clever forward passes, and also came close to scoring after going on a good forward run with the ball. However, it was his sheer determination to want the ball, try and create and also show tenacity when tracking back in the midfield areas of the pitch, which made him by far Spurs’ most influential player. Probably still too young to go out on loan this season, Devine featured off the bench for Spurs’ first team in a pre-season friendly against Leyton Orient last Saturday, and he’ll be hoping to get plenty more opportunities during pre-season. And with the first team playing in the UEFA Europa Conference League this season, the very promising young player will most certainly be hoping to get a good amount of game time in that competition. I think it goes without saying that Alfie has a big future in the game, and he’s at a great club to continue developing his game. He should be very proud of what he has achieved in his short career so far, and I for one am really looking forward to seeing the former Wigan player play a lot more this season, after having a big influence on the Under 18’s and 23’s last campaign.