Although I won’t be covering the Spurs Academy matches anymore, I will still be writing the occasional piece on the Spurs Academy players, especially as I’ve received so many nice and very kind messages in the past week from people. Tyrese Hall is a player who I saw live around a dozen times in matches for the various Spurs Academy sides, since the start of the 2021/22 season. A versatile player, who is capable of playing as a box to box midfielder, defensive-midfielder, CAM or as a winger. Tyrese is a very exciting, skilful and creative player, regardless of which position that he starts matches in. With his fine balance, vision for a forward pass and his excellent creativity, Hall is a player who I will very much be looking forward to following at Spurs during the future. Having featured for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, Tyrese signed scholarship forms with the club last summer, and only recently he signed his first professional contract with Spurs.
Impressing in the games that he featured for Spurs’ Under 18 side in last season while playing in a number of different positions, Tyrese was outstanding in a Premier League South fixture away to Reading, towards the end of last season. In that game, which Spurs won, he performed his role as the box to box midfielder with real maturity and skill. Providing an all important assist, it was Tyrese’s desire to receive the ball, take players on for skill and look to create chances for his teammates which really made the difference. In another game last season (this time for a Spurs Under 17 side in the Under 17 Premier League Cup final against Manchester City) Tyrese came on in the second half to make a good impression on the game, against a top Manchester City side. And only very recently against both Crystal Palace and Norwich City’s Under 18 sides, the 17 year old midfielder showed his class in midfield, and in the game against Norwich in particular, he was really, really impressive. And he really helped Spurs to win the midfield contest in that game.
A player with great ability on the ball. I’ve noticed in every game that I’ve seen Tyrese Hall involved in, that he is always very positive in his all-round play. Liking very much to receive the ball and go on long and very skilful surging runs, the Spurs Academy player is unpredictable with his dribbling on the ball, is more than capable of creating chances out of very little, and he with his consistently impressive weight and vision for a pass, he is also capable of making those all important forward passes. In fact Tyrese reminds me quite a lot of former Spurs Academy player Rafferty Pedder, in his style of play. Rafferty is a real talent and is now doing really well with QPR’s Under 21 side. Both having good pace, movement off the ball and a real desire to play the ball forward and create chances. Tyrese also has great ball control and the ability to evade challenges in tight spaces, similar to how Rafferty plays.
Tyrese Hall has goals and assists to his game also, and he likes to take efforts from distance. However, he is also a tenacious player who has a good defensive side to his game, and he demonstrated this really well in the recent league game with Norwich City, and also the game last season away at Reading. A player who from what I’ve seen has a big future at Spurs, the talented midfielder is a player whose style of play I am a really big fan of, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him earn a call-up to England’s Under 18 side/youth team in the near future. Along with other creative players in the Spurs Under 18 side, like Mikey Moore and Oliver Irow, Tyrese Hall will in my opinion be integral to Spurs’ Under 18 side doing well in the FA Youth Cup this season. I would like to wish Tyrese all the very best of luck for the rest of this season, and for his future at Spurs.
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.
Defender Charlie Sayers (17) recently joined Spurs on a permanent transfer from National League side Southend United. The player who is capable of playing as a left-back or centre-half, has so far made six competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side, and made the bench for the Under 23’s on one occasion. Sayers is a tall defender, but one who has good ability on the ball. The Southend born footballer who attended Beauchamps High School, was previously with Billericay Town and Bowers & Pitsea at youth level, prior to joining Southend United. Sayers made his competitive first team debut for Southend back in October of 2021, when he started at left-back in a National League game against Solihull Moors. He made an additional five appearances for the Southend United first team, before playing his first game for the Spurs Under 18 side (it was announced soon afterwards that he had joined the club) in an Under 18 Premier League Cup game with Fulham, at their Motspur Park training ground. Fulham won that game comfortably, and it was a difficult first game for Charlie Sayers to make his debut in (he was playing on the left side of central defence).
Sayers captained the Spurs Under 18 side on his next appearance for them, in a 3-0 Premier League South defeat away to Crystal Palace. Then he started again (starting at centre-half once again) for the Under 18 side against Leicester City, in a league game. And while in my opinion he did well in that game against Leicester City, I though that his best performance to date for Spurs at Academy level, came in an FA Youth Cup third round tie with Ipswich Town, in December of 2021. In that 5-1 win for Spurs, I thought that Charlie had a really strong game game in central defence. He made two really important defensive interventions during the first half, kept really good positioning throughout the game and was really assured in defence, working well with right sided centre-half and first year scholar Alfie Dorrington. Sayers continued his good start to life at Spurs by helping their Under 18 side to a 2-1 league away win over Southampton, earlier this month. With the second year scholar scoring an 88th minute winner for Spurs, in that game. He then scored another goal in his most recent appearance for the Under 18 side in their 6-1 FA Youth Cup fourth round tie win over West Brom, last week.
The versatile defender has so far played all of his games for Spurs at Academy level at centre-half, and in that West Brom game Charlie Sayers and Alfie Dorrington worked really well together again, in central defence. Both players helped to keep talented West Brom forward Reyes Cleary fairly quite throughout the game. Although it’s still early days, I have been impressed with the former Southend United player in regards to his positioning, overall defending and also his ability on the ball, and his willingness to get on the ball and bring it out of defence, and make some good forward passes. Sayers seems to be strong in the air, and he also reads the game in an impressive way. He recently made the squad for the Spurs Under 23 side, for the first time, which I think was really well deserved. While I hope that he does to get to make his competitive Under 23’s debut during the remainder of the season, Sayers will be very important for the Under 18 side as they look to continue their FA Youth Cup run. I wish Charlie all the very best of luck for the rest of the 2021/22 season, and congratulate him on having joined Spurs during late 2021.
J’Neil Lloyd Bennett was famously the first ever player to score a goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, when a Spurs under 18 side took on Southampton in a stadium test event back in March of 2019. Bennett has been at Spurs since under 14/15 level having previously been on fellow London club QPR’s books, the winger who is now a first year professional at Spurs, has worked his way up the various youth ranks at the club and is now a permanent member of Spurs’ under 23 squad. The Londoner who grew up in Camden and attended the the Haverstock School, has been an almost ever present member of our under 18 side over the last three seasons however, he has stepped up to play for our development side on a good number of occasions during that period of time. The speedy winger who signed a new contract with Spurs last season, enjoyed another fine season of development during the 2019/20 campaign, and as I have been doing quite a few Spurs academy player articles before the academy season starts, I thought that I would write a piece on the exciting J’Neil Bennett. The following piece like I do with all of our young academy players, is about giving Spurs fans who may not have seen much of our up and coming players a feel for what type of players they are, i.e. attributes and style of play. Having started the 2017/18 season as a schoolboy playing with our under 16’s, J’Neil Bennett burst onto the scene as a 15 year old when he made his competitive debut for Spurs’ under 18’s in a 5-2 league victory over Swansea City in November 2017. Bennett registered an assist in that game, and he would then go onto play in six more under 18 league games during that campaign. He would also play a good number of games for our under 18’s in the FA Youth Cup and in the inaugural Premier League Cup, and he played an important part in helping the side reach the final of that competition (he chipped in with two goals and six assists).
Apart from impressing greatly on the domestic stage for our under 18’s as a schoolboy, J’Neil also impressed on the global stage for Spurs at under 17 level. Bennett put in several good and positive performances at the ALKASS Cup in Qatar, as well as helping Spurs to reach the final of the prestigious Torneo Internazionale Maggioni-Righi in Italy (he played at wing back on occasions in that tournament, and did a fine job). His experience of playing under 18 football as a schoolboy would stand him in good stead for the following season after he had signed scholarship terms during the summer of 2018. The then first year scholar had a really good 2018/19 season, a mainstay in the under 18 side, the winger who predominantly featured out on the left flank was an important member of the side that mounted a Premier League South title challenge. Bennett started the season off well and he was a member of the Spurs under 17 side that won the Euro Youth Cup out Germany. The teenager who scored four goals in our under 18’s first two games of that season, also put in a really good shift up top as a centre forward in a 2-0 PL South win over Chelsea during the early stages of the season. He made 15 competitive appearances for our under 18’s (scoring ten goals and registering four assists) as well as 11 for our development side (he registered two assists for them), and six for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League (registering one assist). Bennett was also a part of the Spurs under 19 side that competed in the annual Terborg Tournament in the Netherlands and he helped them to reach the semi-finals of that tournament. When he did step up to play for our development side during that particular season Bennett didn’t look at all out of place, and he put in impressive performances against the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City’s under 23’s, he also made his debut for England (he is also eligible to play for Jamaica) representing them at under 18 level during that season.
Unfortunately J’Neil missed most of pre-season for the 2019/20 campaign due to injury, and he only returned to playing in September of 2019 in an Under 18 Premier League Cup game against West Ham United. Bennett spent the season mostly with the under 18’s who he made fifteen competitive appearances for, plus an additional four with our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League, as well as two for our development side. Bennett was once again a standout player for our under 18’s, scoring many a spectacular goal in the process, and he was a real leader and experienced player in the side. From his 15 competitive appearances for our under 18’s during that shorter than usual season, Bennett scored seven goals and registered five assists. He also scored one goal and created another in the UEFA Youth League for our under 19’s, and he was in really good form prior to the season being curtailed in March, and had it have gone on for longer I could have seen him break into the under 23 side. The last campaign was in my opinion another very fine season of development for the 18 year old, who excelled on the under 18 stage, as well as looking good whenever he played for our under 19’s and development side. During this seasons pre-season J’Neil has played in three of our under 23’s four friendlies so far, scoring one goal in our 3-1 victory over National League South side Dulwich Hamlet last Saturday. So what type of player is J’Neil Bennett? Well he is a very exciting and unpredictable one, and having seen him play extensively now for over three seasons you still never know what he is going to do with the ball whenever he gets it into his feet. A player who has searing pace, is extremely agile and has good balance, Bennett is of good build and he is always very composed with the ball at his feet. A highly skilful two footed player (he has a favourite foot for crossing and shooting!) he wins a lot of fouls and penalties in particular, due to his skill and speed.
He loves to go on long galavanting forward runs and take on opposing teams players and beat them for pace and skill however, it is that unpredictability in his game which makes him so effective going forward, and difficult for defenders to stop. Just when you think he is going to sprint all the way to the byline and deliver in a cross, he will smartly cut inside onto his right foot and get away a shot. Him cutting inside onto his right or left foot is something that he loves to do in games, and he will often put his laces through the ball and look to find the far corner of the goal (I have simply lost count at the amount of times that he has scored goals in that fashion). The first year professional is a real flair player who loves to pull off outrageous pieces of skill, and the young player who is equally adept at playing on both flanks, models his game on the great Cristiano Ronaldo. Although he does love to cut inside and get shots away frequently, Bennett is also very direct in his play and he will take it to the byline, and when he gets there he likes to whip powerful crosses into the danger zone. A player who has a great first touch and close ball control, his positional play and movement off the ball is also good. Good at tracking back and with a good work rate, Bennett has also done well whenever he has played as a wing back/fullback before however, he is importantly an out and out winger. J’Neil does remind me of Wilfred Zaha and Anthony Knockaert in his style of play, as he is just so skilful, direct and unpredictable, but also a player who has a real eye for goal in games. There are just four games that Bennett has been involved in for Spurs that I would like to focus in on very briefly. One of those games came against Aston Villa’s under 18’s when Bennett was a 15 year old schoolboy and had only just burst onto the scene for Spurs at that level.
During this Premier League Cup group stage game in which Spurs won 4-1, Bennett was unplayable out on the left flank and with his pace and skill he had the Aston Villa defenders falling all over the place. He was trying outrageous things with the ball at his feet, and he was constantly looking to beat his man, deliver crosses into the danger zone and get shots away. He was just so exciting and unpredictable in his play and he scored a really good goal with a powerful low drive from an acute angle to cap off an excellent performance. The second game was against Newcastle United again at under 18 level in the Premier League Cup last season, Spurs lost this particular game 5-2. However, Bennett was the best player on the pitch that day despite the fact that the pitch was in a terrible way due to there being torrential rain on the day. Bennett again caused so many problems for the Newcastle defenders with his direct running, and he dazzled with his skill and unpredictable play once again. He scored a goal after cutting in from the left flank albeit it that it took a big deflection off of a Newcastle defender. However, Bennett was really potent during that game and he didn’t stop running at his man and looking to try different things both with and with out the ball. The game against Crvena zvezda’s under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League back in October of last season was much the same, a game where he was a thorn in the oppositions side for much of the match, particularly during the first half. Bennett pounced on an early error from the Serbian side at the back to powerfully side foot the ball into the goal to score the opener, and he would also set up another goal during the game. This game came not long after he had returned from injury, and he looked very sharp with his movement both on and off the ball. And the final game that I would like to focus in on briefly, came against senior opposition in League One side Gillingham in the Checkatrade Trophy last season. In that particular game he was once again extremely direct and he brought great variety to the game in his play. He had the beating of his man for the majority of the game however, he looked to cut inside onto his right foot and whip shots at goal at every opportunity.
The Gillingham game showed that Bennett could deal with the physicality of playing against senior opposition, and he dealt really well with playing against them. J’Neil should be very proud of the progress that he has made at Spurs over the last three seasons, and I would like to wish him all the very best of luck for the 2020/21 season.
18 year old central defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott is currently out injured with a knee injury (he subsequently had surgery) that he sustained in training not too long ago. The tall and skilful centre half who joined Spurs as a 14 year old from Norsemen F.C., had previously been a centre forward prior to joining Spurs and transitioning to central defence. Born in Edmonton, north London but brought up in Waltham Abbey, Fagan-Walcott was a talented swimmer and athlete during his schoolboy days. The first year professional is a very talented young player in my opinion, and he is also an England youth international having represented them from under 15 to under 17 level. Malachi is a player that I have seen a great deal of since he joined the Tottenham Hotspur academy full time in the summer of 2018, and with the 2020/21 season proper still not underway, i thought that I would write a piece on the young central defender. The following piece like I do with all of our young academy players, is about giving Spurs fans who may not have seen much of our up and coming players a feel for what type of players they are, i.e. attributes and style of play. A player who I have been aware of for some time, the right footed centre back who operates predominantly at RCB, first played for our under 18 side as a schoolboy (under 16). Fagan-Walcott made two competitive appearances for Spurs’ under 18 side during the 2017/18 season, he made his debut for them in a 5-2 PL South victory over Swansea City in Wales in November 2017. The defender then made a further appearance when he completed 45 minutes of our under 18’s 6-0 league defeat to Arsenal during the same month. The then schoolboy signed scholarship forms with Spurs during the summer of 2018, for the 2018/19 season. He played the first five under 18 league games of that season, where he partnered Luis Binks who he had a great understanding with since partnering him at the back since his under 15 days.
Early on in that 2018/19 season Fagan-Walcott was a part of the Spurs under 17 side that won the Euro Youth Cup in Germany and he started the season in fine form for Spurs. Fagan-Walcott made his competitive debut for our development side in a Checkatrade Trophy group stage game against Crawley Town in September of 2018. At only 16 the young defender was outstanding as Spurs played in a back three alongside Jonathan Dinzeyi and Luis Binks. The then first year scholar would make a further competitive appearance for our development side in a PL2 game later on in the season, he would also make three appearances for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League. The central defender impressed on the European stage for Spurs in that competition, putting in several fine defensive performances, with arguably the best one coming against PSV Eindhoven, a game in which he scored his first goal at that level for Spurs. The former Debden Park High School pupil made in total 16 competitive appearances for our very talented under 18 side during the 2018/19 season, and along with other first choice centre back Luis Binks, he was key to us mounting a title challenge in the league. After overcoming a couple of injury problems during the season, Fagan-Walcott also competed in the Future Cup in the Netherlands with a Spurs under 17 side. As well as playing at the Under 17 European Championships with England in Ireland, and in one of the games that I saw him play in that tournament against a very talented France side, he did very well at the back. However, he would miss the end of season Terborg Tournament with Spurs due to injury. This was an injury that would mean that he would miss next seasons pre-season and would have wait until September of 2019, when he completed 45 minutes of our under 18’s Premier League South fixture with Southampton down on the south coast.
I thought that he looked really sharp, and did a fine job for Spurs in the minutes that played for Spurs in that game. He made a further five competitive appearances for our under 18’s that season. Fagan-Walcott also played in all six of our under 19’s UEFA Youth League games, once again forming a strong defensive partnership with former Spurs academy player Luis Binks. However, the young Englishman played up a lot for our development side who he made nine competitive appearances for during the season, he had some great games against the likes of Colchester United in the Checkatrade Trophy and Everton in the PL2. He also scored his first goal at that level in a 2-1 PL2 defeat to Brighton And Hove Albion in February of 2020. And Malachi’s fine form was rewarded when Spurs manager José Mourinho brought him on as a late substitute in our first teams UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg tie against German side RB Leipzig. It was some way for the 18 year old to make his competitive first team debut for Spurs on the biggest stage of all however, after the season was curtailed shortly afterwards, and after the restart, Fagan-Walcott unfortunately sustained a bad injury in training with the Spurs first team which subsequently required surgery. And he is currently still recovering from that injury and hasn’t featured for either our under 23’s or first team in pre-season. So what type of player is Malachi Fagan-Walcott? Well on the ball he is very comfortable and skilful with it at his feet, and he can bring it out from the back effectively like all of young central defenders. He is also a forward passer who has great vision for a pass, and who likes to pick out players with good cross field passes on his right foot. A physical and very combative defender who is assertive in games and gets across his man well and effectively, Fagan-Walcott has good awareness and reads the game and anticipates situations very well.
Good at cutting out and intercepting dangerous forward passes, the teenager imposes himself well on games and he is always commanding in his play. Ever present across the back line and constantly well positioned, Fagan-Walcott loves to slide in to try and win the ball, and he also goes in strong and makes crunching challenges. However, arguably one of his best attributes is his ability to make last ditch blocks and challenges so superbly well, this is something which links in to his excellent positioning and reading of the game. Some of the heroic last ditch blocks and challenges that I have seen from him particularly in under 18 games, have been exceptional. A defender who has a great leap and jumping reach, the England youth international is very good and dominant in the air, and in matches he often wins the vast amount of his aerial duels. He is also a threat from corner kicks and free kicks due to being so good in the air, and he has scored a couple of fine headed goals in those situations during recent seasons. An effective communicator on the pitch who also has a great attitude, the young defender is an athletic player who has good pace, something which helps to recover well in difficult situations. An intelligent defender, Fagan-Walcott has put in some really good defensive performances since joining Spurs full time in 2018. However, there are three particular games that I would just like to briefly focus in on, in which he has played in since last season. One of those games came near the beginning of the 2018/19 season when Spurs’ development side played senior opposition in Crawley Town in the Checkatrade Trophy. During that game, Malachi who was then a 16 year old was excellent throughout the match, maintaining excellent positioning throughout, he also won virtually everything in the air. However, it was the way in which he read the game, and the ease in which defended and done everything at the back alongside both the older Jonathan Dinzeyi and Luis Binks, which was just so very impressive.
The second game came against a very talented Wigan Athletic under 18 side when Fagan-Walcott made some crucial defensive interventions. Never afraid to slide in, he made won some really difficult challenges while also maintaining excellent positioning alongside Luis Binks, and they were always on the same wavelength, Fagan-Walcott was also terrific in the air. And the final game that I’d like to focus in on came against Everton’s under 23 side in the PL2 last November. During that game the then second year scholar who once again played alongside Luis Binks at centre back, read the game really really well, but most importantly of all he played a big part in neutralising the threat of Everton’s potent centre forward Ellis Simms. He also showed his quality on the ball by bringing it out from the back with ease, as well as making some excellent long cross field passes to the Tottenham left winger Shilow Tracey. As you can tell from this piece, I am a big fan of the England youth international and I have high hopes for him at Spurs. The fact that he has already made his competitive first team debut for Spurs speaks volumes for how highly rated he must be at the club. Despite having to overcome a number of injuries during this time, Fagan-Walcott has done himself incredibly proud, and I have no doubts that he will come back stronger than ever from his current injury. I would like to wish Malachi all the very best of luck for the 2020/21 season and I look forward to seeing him return to action.
Right sided winger Maurizio Grippaldi Pochettino (19) is a young player who has developed nicely in my opinion, as he has worked his way up the various youth ranks at Spurs over the past couple of years. The second year professional who is the son of our former manager Mauricio, is a player that I personally believe has got stronger and stronger over the course of recent campaigns. The Barcelona born player who joined us along with his father Mauricio Pochettino from Southampton during the 2014/15 season (as an under 14), has risen up the ranks, from under 14’s to 15’s, 16’s, 18’s and now the under 23’s who he is currently playing for. Pochettino may be one of the most well known academy players at the club among Tottenham fans and with the skilful winger recently having signed a new contract at the club for the current season, I thought that it was a good time to write a piece on Maurizio. The following piece like I do with all of our young academy players, is about giving Spurs fans who may not have seen much of our up and coming players a feel for what type of players they are, i.e. attributes and style of play. Maurizio’s old club Southampton were very keen to keep him when his father Mauricio and his coaching staff left to join Spurs in 2014, as Mauricio explains in the book Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs. The wide man who is also eligible to represent Argentina at international level, first came on my radar as a Spurs player when I saw him play for Spurs at under 15 level in an academy showcase match against Ipswich Town, at Portman Road in Easter 2016. I thought that Pochettino gave a good and positive impression of himself in that particular game, where he had some nice touches out on the left wing, and you could also tell that he was a good technical player.
During the following 2016/17 season Pochettino spent the campaign playing with the under 16’s, before he signed a two year scholarship at Tottenham in the summer of 2017. He made his competitive debut for our under 18’s when he came on as a late substitute against his old club Southampton, in a 2-1 victory at their Staplewood training ground in September 2017. Pochettino made a further eight competitive appearances for our under 18’s that season (he made two starts), chipping in with one goal and one assist. He also impressed at two tournaments abroad with a Spurs under 17 side, the first being at the ALKASS Cup in Qatar, where he put in a series of fine performances out on the right wing. While the latter was in Italy at the Torneo Internazionale Maggioni-Righi where he was a part of the Spurs side which reached the final of that tournament. During the following 2018/19 campaign Maurizio was a lot more involved with our under 18’s in competitive games (he made 21 appearances in total for them), and he put in some fine individual performances as he registered three goals and one assist. The teenager also made two competitive appearances for Wayne Burnett’s development side during the same season. And in the season just gone and after signing a professional contract at Spurs to keep him at the club for the 2019/20 season, Pochettino stepped up permanently to the development side. I was impressed with how he played for both our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League, and also for our development side in the games that he played in the PL2 and the Checkatrade Trophy. After not featuring in any of our under 23’s pre-season games during that season, presumably due to injury, Pochettino seemed to get stronger and stronger in his play when the proper season progressed.
The winger chipped in with a total of one goal and four assists from a combined total of 14 appearances for our under 19’s and development side. Pochettino put in some very good performances that season against the likes of Crvena zvezda, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. The 19 year old signed another new contract for the 2020/21 season this summer, and Pochettino has already played in all three of our under 23’s pre-season games to date (he impressed as a substitute in the game against Leyton Orient). So what type of player is Pochettino? Well as I have seen him develop over the years for our under 18’s and now 23’s, he plays quite like a traditional English winger in a number of ways. He has seemingly got quicker and stronger in his game over the last couple of seasons, and he has again seemingly become more direct in his play over the last two seasons. Embarking on dangerous surging runs more often, and also looking to beat his man down that right flank at every opportunity. Pochettino has a good first touch and close ball control, and it is obvious that he is a technically gifted and skilful winger too. Good at twisting and skilfully working his way out of tight spaces, the wide man uses the ball intelligently and he is reliable with it at his feet, and he holds onto it excellently well. Like his father Maurizio is a cool character on the pitch and he always looks nice and composed in his play, he also has good awareness both on and off the ball. On the ball he is a good passer, and he likes to make intelligent and deceptive forward thinking passes as well, Pochettino is also really good at both ends of the pitch. However, it is his crossing ability which is perhaps his strongest attribute of all, he loves to get to the byline and whip in powerful and pin point dangerous crosses. He has done that time and time again since he was a first year scholar, and they just get more frequent as he gets older.
The sheer accuracy of Pochettino’s crosses is very impressive but again it’s his awareness, and the fact that he always looks up, as well as the fact that his passing ability is so good that it allows him to deliver these types of crosses. A good athlete who works very hard for the team on the pitch, Maurizio tracks back after himself excellently well, and he is a good tackler too. However, going back to his offensive play, he has as I have already mentioned a great cross on him, he is also skilful and is a good passer of the ball, but he also has a really powerful shot at his disposal. Something that he has demonstrated quite a lot, particularly at under 18 level in games, but in my opinion I definitely think that he has become more confident in his overall play, which is something that is great to see. There are three particular games that Pochettino has been involved in for Spurs over the last two seasons, that I would just like to focus in on. One of them was back in the 2018/19 season in a PL South Under 18 game against Fulham at Hotspur Way, a game in which Spurs won 4-0. The then 18 year old right winger caused so many problems for the talented former Fulham fullback Cody Drameh down the right flank. The former Aldenham School pupil went on many a mazy forward run to beat the Fulham fullback, also playing with real flair, Pochettino created some really good chances for the Spurs forwards with his crossing, and he also tracked back really well too during that game. The second game that I’d like to focus in on was against Serbian side Crvena zvezda’s under 19’s last season in the UEFA Youth League, at Hotspur Way. Spurs won the game 9-2, and Pochettino was introduced to the action in the second half, and as soon as he got the ball into his feet he was constantly looking to take his man on and beat him, and then get to the byline and whip in a cross.
Pochettino created two of our goals in that game and it was a very positive and purposeful performance from him. The final game which I will highlight was actually our under 23’s last competitive game, and their last PL2 game before last season was curtailed in March. The game was against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stevenage Borough’s Lamex Stadium, and Pochettino once again operated out on the right wing. He showed great pace and athleticism throughout his 73 minutes on the pitch, and he had the beating of the Wolves fullback throughout the contest. After latching onto a fine pass from Spurs right back Jubril Okedina down the line, Pochettino continued forward before showing good awareness and composure to pick out Troy Parrott who slid in in the box to convert the chance. Maurizio also scored a well taken goal in that game in what was one of his finest performances of the season for our development side. I can seen the winger becoming a very important player for Wayne Burnett’s under 23 side this season, and if Shilow Tracey goes out on loan again, then Pochettino could well be the first choice right sided winger for our under 23’s, and get a lot of game time in the process. It can’t have been easy for young Maurizio to have seen his father relieved of his duties as manager of Spurs last season however, Maurizio has obviously worked really hard during that period of time since, and the quality of his performances on the pitch has been a testament to that. Maurizio should be very proud of all that he has achieved since joining Spurs back in 2014, and I would like to wish him all the very best of luck for this season.
Our development squad beat Fulham 4-3 at Hotspur way in a thrilling encounter against the cottagers today. The west London side took the lead on 16 minutes after a harsh penalty was awarded after Kyle Walker-Peters was deemed to have fouled in the box, Fulham scored from the penalty spot. A little over ten minutes later we were awarded our own penalty however, Nathan Oduwa was unable to level from the spot, although we finally equalised on 35 minutes through Anthony Georgiou. Georgiou doubled our lead eight minutes later to get his second of the game. The cottagers levelled on the hour mark before striker Ryan Loft put us ahead, yet Fulham struck back again with six minutes remaining before we got the winner via a Fulham own goal in stoppage time. Meanwhile, our under 18’s defeated Charlton Athletic 2-1 at the Addicks training ground. We went behind shortly after the half hour mark before forward Reo Griffiths levelled for the Lillywhites, and it was centre back Joy Mukena who grabbed the winner late on in the 86th minute. COYS⚽️
Head2Heads: Inter 4-1, Spurs 3-0, Spurs 3-1, Inter 4-3.
Tommorow afternoon we face Inter Milan in Oslo, Norway in what will be our last game of pre season before the start of our league campaign to Everton on the 13th of August. We are no strangers to the Italian giants having played some classic ties against them over the years including some thrillers in the champions league and with our remaining first team squad members returning, Pochettino will be hoping his side can star in their last outing before the beginning of the season . Victor Wanyama and Jan Vertonghen didn’t travel to Norway, Wanyama’s visa wasn’t accepted in time whilst Jan Vertonghen is still recovering from an injury he picked up at Euro 2016. Son-Heung Min is on international duty with the South Korean Olympic side ahead of the games in Rio, South Korea face Fiji tomorrow morning. Speculation will be mounting following the absence of Nacer Chadli, Clinton N’Jie, DeAndre Yedlin, Nabil Bentaleb, who have all been linked with a move away from Spurs. Many of the youngsters that played in Australia have also travelled having impressed Pochettino down under, tomorrow however is about performing well as a team against a top class opposition as our talented squad looks to impress ahead of next weeks game at Goodison park. I have a feeling tomorrow’s game will provide much excitement and quite a few goals. COYS⚽️
one to watch: Mauro Icardi, Inter’s extremely talented and prolific striker.
My prediction: 3-1 Spurs with goals from Dele Alli, Vincent Janssen and Shayon Harrison.
Vincent Janssen: Spurs’s hold talks with Dutch striker.
Facts: – Vincent is a 21 year old striker from the town of Heesch in the Netherlands.
– Janssen is 5 foot 10 inches tall.
– Janssen is the son of the former world champion swimmer and Dutch sportswoman of the year, Annemarie Verstappen.
– Vincent has been capped for the Netherlands all the way from the under 15 side to the senior side.
– Janssen has currently scored three goals in five matches for the Dutch senior side.
This morning Sky Sports News announced that Spurs had held talks with last seasons Eredivisie top scorer Vincent Janssen, after his club Az Alkmaar gave him permission to speak to Spurs according to Sky sources. The 21 year old Netherlands international netted 27 goals in 34 games for AZ Alkmaar last season, and Janssen was watched play last Saturday against Austria in an international by our manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Style of play: Janssen is one of Hollands hottest young talents and with his technique it’s not hard to see why. One of Janssen’s best attributes is his ability to shoot with both feet equally which is something even some top strikers lack. Furthermore, Janssen’s technique and instinctive nature is phenomenal, as to is his finishing with his clinical ability making him a deadly force up front. In addition the Dutchman possesses great balance and strength which helps to demonstrate his hold up play. Moreover, it is Janssen’s movement that is one of the Dutchman’s finest attributes, with Janssen often managing to find himself in space to score a goal. In many ways the Dutchman’s attributes are similar to those of our star striker Harry Kane which undoubtedly leaves me in great confidence that Janssen has the potential to become a star for the Lillywhites, if he is to sign.
When will the deal happen?: Taking into consideration Janssen is now off until pre season due to the Netherlands not being involved in Euro 2016, Spurs and AZ Alkmaar can negotiate a deal at their own leisure as well as discussing personal terms with Janssen. However, I would predict that Janssen could be a Spurs player by the end of the week judging by Spurs already being in discussions with the 21 year old. However, ultimately we shall have to see whether things are sorted out in a speedy fashion. Below is a video which i feel showcases the exceptionally talented young Dutchman, in action for both AZ Alkmaar and the Dutch national side over the course of last season. I feel as if Janssen is just the sort of player we need at Spurs ahead of next season and I am hopeful that Spurs can get a deal done for him in the near future.
– Born in London, England
– Position: CAM (Cente attacking midfielder)
– Attended Winchmore hill school
– Edwards has been capped by England at under 16 and under 17 level
– Marcus is also eligible to represent Cyprus at international level
17 year old Marcus Edwards is a gem with in our youth academy and the starlet is fast becoming one of the most talked about youth prospects in England. A centre attacking midfielder by trade Edwards can also play on the wing, with his prodigious technique and incredible acumen, the weight of Edwards passing is phenomenal as too is the 17 year olds balance and skill. Edwards holds all the attributes that are essential in becoming a world class offensive footballer. A first year scholar, Edwards has been a key player for our under 18s this season and his wonderful performances have been eye catching, most notably his exceptional performance against Arsenal under 18’s where he scored a brace. Edwards has also been involved in a few under 21 matches this campaign which shows how advanced he is in his development at the club. I have seen Marcus play on numerous occasions for the under 18’s and twice for the under 21’s where he shone. In addition i have also seen him play internationally for England under 17’s.
(Edwards pictured below, playing for England under 17s against Italy)
Marcus has represented England at under 16,17 and most recently at under 18 level and the young Tottenham man has excelled on the international stage for the young lions. Only recently Edwards got two braces for England under 18’s in less than a week against both Austria and the Republic of Ireland. Watching Edwards play is like watching poetry in motion, with his phenomenal ball control and searing pace the 17 year old has the ability to change a game. Edwards can without doubt become a star at White Hart lane for Pochettino’s men in the future, and the 17 year old may not have that long to wait before he makes his debut as the talented Onomah made his senior debut shortly before becoming 18 in the FA cup last season. Edwards reading of the game is quite remarkable for someone so young, his intelligence of the game is as exceptional as his ability with the ball at his feet. Edwards future development still has a long way to go before he’ll be ready for Pochettino’s side. However, with great youth coaches such as Kieran McKenna of the under 18’s and Ugo Ehiogu of the under 21’s at the Tottenham academy, he will be carefully nurtured as he continues to improve. Remember the name!
Below are a couple of videos showing Marcus Edwards in action for both Spurs and England: