After suffering their first league defeat of the new season last weekend, Matt Taylor’s Tottenham Hotspur under 18 side will be looking to bounce back when they take on Reading at Hotspur Way tomorrow morning (11:30am start). Spurs were defeated by two goals to nil by Premier League South leaders Aston Villa at Hotspur Way last Saturday in a game that saw the visitors have a man sent off. However, tomorrow’s opponents Reading have only won one of their opening four league games of this season, though this fixture has been a difficult one for Spurs in recent seasons, and last season we lost 3-2 at home to Reading in the league. Former Reading player Mikele Leigertwood’s under 18 side lost their last league game 5-2 Chelsea, but with a talented and well structured side, of which includes the likes of Dean Tetek, Imari Samuels and Nahum Melvin-Lambert, like Spurs they will be looking to respond with a positive result. For those interested in following tomorrow’s game, there should be half-time and full time score updates on the Spurs official Twitter account. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the game.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay, Muir, Paskotši, Hackett, Matthew Craig, Michael Craig, Whittaker, John, Santiago, Scarlett.
My one to watch: Royals centre forward Nahum Melvin-Lambert. The 18 year old who scored three league goals last season, is on track to score more during the first half of this season, having scored two goals from two appearances. Melvin-Lambert impressed in this fixture last season, and he was the player who scored the winner for Reading on that day.
After a two week international break our under 18’s return to league action tomorrow, when they take on top of the league Aston Villa at Hotspur Way (kick off is at 12pm). The Midlands based side have won all four of their league matches so far this season after finishing in seventh position in the Premier League South last season, while Spurs on the other hand have also started the season really well, recording three wins and one draw from their opening four league matches of this season. While I haven’t seen many of Aston Villa’s current first and second year scholars play due to the fact that we only played Aston Villa once last season, 16 year old central midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka (he has already played for Aston Villa’s under 23 side) did impress in the last meeting between the two sides, and Aston Villa’s inform 18 year old centre forward Brad Young has a good amount of experience at this level. This should be a tough but entertaining game of football, like the last meeting last season when we lost 4-2 at Hotspur Way. There should be score updates posted on the official Spurs Twitter account as games continue to be played behind closed doors. I would like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for this game, which if they win could see Spurs move up to first place in the league.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Cassanova, Muir, Lusala, Hackett, Devine, Matthew Craig, Mundle, John, Santiago, Scarlett.
Subs from: Solberg, Kyezu, Michael Craig, Mathurin, Whittaker.
Previous meeting: Spurs 2-4.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: 18 year old centre Brad Young, who has scored four league goals and registered one assist from four appearances for Aston Villa’s under 18 side this season.
Matt Taylor’s Tottenham Hotspur under 18 side will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League South season, when they take on London rivals Fulham on Saturday morning (kick off is at 11am), at Hotspur Way. Having won two and drawn one of their opening three leagues games of the 2020/21 season, Spurs arguably face their toughest test so far in reigning Premier League South champions Fulham. The west London club have won their opening two league games of the new season, against Brighton and West Ham respectively, and Steve Wigley’s side seem to have carried on last seasons terrific form into the new campaign. In fact last season Fulham picked up an impressive total of 40 points from 17 league games, and they ended up finishing four points above second place Chelsea. One of the players who was instrumental in Fulham winning the league last season was centre forward Jay Stansfield. The former Exeter academy player scored an incredible 25 goals in 16 competitive under 18 games last season, and he also stepped up to play for Fulham’s development side and first team. While Stansfield has only played once this season (I’m not sure whether he is injured or not), that came in an EFL Trophy game against Cambridge United, if the second year scholar does step down to play against Spurs then he will be a real danger man. With his fantastic control, intelligent positioning and clinical finishing, the 17 year old was a standout performer in our opening day 4-0 defeat to Fulham at the start of the 2019/20 season. Another potentially potent Fulham forward that Spurs could come up against on Saturday morning, is Republic of Ireland under 17 international Oliver O’Neill who is a skilful right sided midfielder. Central midfielder Adrian Pajaziti is another talented player from this very talented Fulham team, and I was impressed with how he performed against us when we played them last season.
Steve Wigley’s side have also signed a couple of players for the current season, such as Cypriot midfielder Georgios Okkas who is the son of Giannis Okkas, who is the assistant manager of the Cyprus men’s national team. While influential players such as Fabio Carvalho and Sylvester Jasper have now stepped up to Fulham’s under 23 side, there is still no doubting that the team that we will face on Saturday is a very talented one who will be very dangerous going forward, but who are also well structured too. Spurs did draw 1-1 away to Brighton last weekend, in what sounded like a fairly close and competitive game of football from reading the official match report on the Tottenham Hotspur website. Due to the current situation I will be unable to report on Saturday’s London derby at Hotspur Way however, I will be following live updates from Google, and I will also be tweeting updates of the game on my Twitter account. I would like to wish Matt Taylor’s side all the very best of luck for this league game.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay, Matthew Craig, Muir, Hackett, Devine, Michael Craig, Mundle, John, Santiago, Scarlett.
My one to watch: Skilful right sided midfielder Oliver O’Neill scored against us on the opening day of the 2019/20 under 18 Premier League season, and the player who can also play as a CM and CAM, could cause problems for Spurs on Saturday with his creativity and fine passing ability.
After making it two wins from their two opening games of the Under 18 Premier League South season following an impressive 2-0 win over Arsenal last Saturday, Matt Taylor’s Spurs side will be looking to continue their perfect start to the season when they take on Brighton this Saturday (kick off is at 11:30am). Spurs striker Dane Scarlett (16) seems to have been greatly impressing so far this season, after being directly involved in five goals from our opening two games of the campaign. And this talented group of young Spurs players could have a really good chance of mounting a title challenge this campaign in my opinion, along with the likes of Chelsea and Fulham. This weekends opponents Brighton who are coached by Mark Beard, finished last season in sixth place in the Under 18 Premier League South with 24 points, and from our two league meetings with them we won one and lost one. A well structured side who do play good football but can also be direct in their play on occasions, Brighton gave us two difficult games last season. The first one which was played at Hotspur Way saw them beat us 3-2 in a game in which they were the better team, while the reverse fixture at the American Express Elite Performance Centre saw us narrowly win that game 1-0. Brighton pressed our players really well in both contests and they also created a lot of chances in both of those league games. Having seemingly signed quite a few players from other countries for the start of this season, such as the likes of Samy Chouchane, Casper Nilsson, Andy Moran and Leigh Kavanagh, this game would be interesting to see in regards to seeing several new players for Brighton. Mark Beard’s side drew their opening league game of the new season 1-1 with a talented Chelsea team, while they followed that up by losing 3-1 at home to Fulham last weekend. Some of the potential Brighton players who could potentially cause Spurs problems on Saturday include hardworking and versatile Irish forward Matt Everitt, impressive centre half Antef Tsoungui and tricky right winger Jack Leahy.
Brighton have produced some really promising young players during recent years such as Aaron Connolly and Ben White, and they are always a difficult team to play against at under 18 level. Spurs, who defeated north London rivals Arsenal last Saturday will surely be going into this game with their confidence high, and they’ll fancy their chances of making it three wins in a row. Lining up against Arsenal with the same side that beat West Ham in game week one, it was fantastic to see midfielder Michael Craig come off the bench to return from injury after over a year out. I did write to Brighton to see if it was at all possible for me to report on our game against them on Saturday however, they said that no spectators could attend as it will be played behind closed doors. Finally, I would just like to wish Matt Taylor’s side all the very best of luck for this important game.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay, Lusala, Muir, Hackett, Devine, Matthew Craig, Mundle, John, Santiago, Scarlett.
Subs from: Solberg, Cassanova, Michael Craig, Mathurin, Whittaker,
Previous meeting: Spurs 1-0.
My score prediction: Spurs 3-1.
My one to watch: Brighton’s hardworking forward Matt Everitt (second year scholar) who was a player who had a good game when we played Brighton away last season. A versatile player, the 17 year old Irishman can play as a nine, ten or out wide.
After recording a hugely impressive 4-1 win over London rivals West Ham United on the opening day of the Under 18 Premier League South season, Matt Taylor’s Spurs side must now prepare to take on North London rivals Arsenal, at Hotspur Way on Saturday morning (kick off is at 11am). Once again spectators and people reporting on games are not being allowed entry to this game due to the current situation, so I won’t be able to report on this North London Derby however, you can (I will be doing this) follow live updates from Google simply by typing in Tottenham under 18’s. As for the match itself, both teams recorded victories on the opening day of the league season with Spurs beating West Ham comprehensively away, while Ken Gillard’s Arsenal side beat Southampton 4-2 at home. Always a highly competitive fixture, meetings between the two sides in recent seasons have seen very varied results (the last meeting between the two sides finished 2-2), and that reflects the unpredictability and competitiveness of North London Derby’s. Ken Gillard’s Arsenal finished in eighth place in the Under 18 Premier League South last season after picking up 17 points from 16 league games, while Matt Taylor’s Spurs finished nine points above them in fourth place. An exciting and attacking and forward thinking side, Arsenal are a team that move the ball around quickly and with real purpose in the final third as they look to break down the oppositions defence. Despite playing Arsenal’s developments sides first two competitive games of this season, creative and highly skilful attacking midfielder Salah Oulad M’Hand (17) will definitely be a player to watch out for if he turns out for Arsenal’s under 18’s on Saturday. Another attack minded player who has the potential to cause Spurs’ defence problems on Saturday morning is creative England youth international and central midfielder Charlie Patino (16).
While centre forward Luke Plange (17) who scored a goal in Arsenal’s opening day win over Southampton, also scored three under 18 league goals in ten appearances for Arsenal last season, so he could well lead the line for Ken Gillard’s side on Saturday. From a defensive point of view Republic of Ireland under 19 international Mazeed Ogungbo (17) will make life difficult for the Spurs forwards with his commanding defending. This will be I imagine a very difficult, competitive and demanding game of football on Saturday morning in Enfield however, if Spurs lineup with the likes of Alfie Devine and Dane Scarlett (he scored two and assisted two last Saturday) which I imagine that they will, then I think that Spurs have a good chance of making it two wins from two in the league. Absent from last weekend’s win over West Ham was attacking midfielder Max Robson (17), he also missed our under 18’s last friendly of pre-season, so if Robson is missing for Saturday’s North London Derby then that will be a shame for Spurs, as he offers so much from an attacking point of view. Finally, I would just like to wish our under 18’s all the very best of luck for this weekend’s important league game against North London rivals Arsenal.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay, Lusala, Muir, Hackett, Devine, Matthew Craig, Whittaker, John, Mathurin, Scarlett.
My one to watch: Arsenal’s 17 year old central defender Mazeed Ogungbo (17) who can also fill in at fullback, a position which he played in against Southampton last Saturday. A commanding defender who also reads the game well, I was really impressed by Ogungbo when I saw him play for the Republic of Ireland’s under 19 side last year.
Our under 18’s first competitive game of football since late February take place this Saturday, when Matt Taylor’s side take on London rivals West Ham United at Little Heath Sports Centre (kick off is at 11am). A match which they will have been looking forward to since the Premier League South Fixtures were released earlier this week, this league match will be one that our under 18’s will be really hoping to win, to the start the season well. After a good season last campaign in the Premier League South in which Taylor’s side finished in fourth place in the league, the young Lilywhites will be hoping to build on that fourth place finish this season. This weekends game against West Ham will be a tough one, as the East London club did the double over us in the league last season, beating us 3-2 at Hotspur Way and 3-1 in East London. A talented and attacking side, Kevin Keen’s team finished in third position in the league last season after having played 17 games. Keen’s side has some exciting and talented players who are eligible to play on Saturday, one of those players is 17 year old centre forward and Irish youth international Ademipo Odubeko who scored a brace against Southend United in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night. A clinical finisher in front of goal, it is worth noting that Odubeko could well play for West Ham’s under 23’s who play against Chelsea in the PL2 two days after the under 18 game on Saturday, but he is definitely a player to watch out for if he is involved. Left winger and England youth international Amadou Diallo is another potent attacking player, but the skilful second year scholar featured prominently for West Ham’s under 23’s last season and might not feature on Saturday against Spurs. However, some of our opponents players who are more likely to feature include right winger Kai Corbett who scored four goals in 11 Premier League South games for West Ham last season.
Two more players who could well be involved for the home side on Saturday are centre backs Jamal Baptiste (first year scholar) and Michael Forbes (first year scholar). Baptiste actually made seven appearances for West Ham’s under 23’s last season while still a schoolboy, while Forbes was recently signed from Northern Irish side Dungannon Swifts. There is no doubting that this will be a tough and highly competitive first game of the season for Spurs, but it will be really interesting to see how they line up and also how many first years scholars they include in their squad. I would like to wish our under 18’s all the very best of luck for Saturdays game which is being played behind closed doors due to the current situation. Hence I will be unable to report on the game however, there will be a match report published on the official Tottenham Hotspur site during the weekend.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala, Cesay, Matthew Craig, Muir (c), Hackett, Cassanova, Devine, Mathurin, Robson, Whittaker, Scarlett.
My one to watch: A player with good pace and skill, as well as being a really clinical finisher, Republic of Ireland youth international and striker Ademipo Odubeko (17) could be West Ham’s main danger man on Saturday if he does play. The former Manchester United schoolboy scored in our last meeting with West Ham last February, and for me he really stood out in that game with his fine movement off the ball. He will definitely be a player to watch out for if he is involved in Saturday mornings game.
Our under 18’s get their 2020/21 season off on Saturday morning when they take on London rivals West Ham United at Little Heath, in their first Premier League South game of the new season (kick off is at 11am). Head coach Matt Taylor currently has 25 players who are a part of his under 18 squad for this season (not including under 16’s who stepped up to play in friendlies during pre-season), this number of players in the squad is very unlikely to change, as players at this level very rarely go out on loan. After not having played a proper game of football since late February prior to this seasons pre-season friendlies, Matt Taylor’s under 18 side played four friendlies during pre-season. Playing against the likes of Oxford United and Ipswich Town’s under 18’s at Hotspur Way, Spurs won two of their four games however, results aside like for our under 23’s, our under 18’s would have just been so happy to have been playing football again in a competitive scenario. Last season Spurs’ under 18’s finished in fourth place in the Premier League South, 14 points of champions Fulham. Spurs had a bit of a difficult start last season due to it being a very different and new squad of players from the 2018/19 season when Spurs finished as runners up in the league however, we did come good last season. Playing an attractive brand of attacking football under Matt Taylor, we also looked well structured and were good at scoring goals and breaking teams down. Some of last seasons standout players for the young Lilywhites, were in my opinion Max Robson, Marqes Muir, Rafferty Pedder (now part of the under 23’s), Dermi Lusala, Kacper Kurylowicz (now part of the under 23’s) and J’Neil Bennett (now part of the under 23’s). We have got a really talented squad of 25 under 18 players for this season, with some of the younger ones stepping up to represent our under 18’s in competitive games last season. Winger and now first year scholar Roshaun Mathurin was one of those players to step up to the under 18’s on occasions last season, a very skilful player with an eye for goal, Mathurin didn’t look at all out of place in the team.
Left back and England under 16 international Jordan Hackett was another player who stepped up to play for the under 18’s, and I thought he looked really comfortable in the side both from an attacking and defensive point of view. Good at getting up and down the left flank, Hackett looked like a terrific passer and crosser of the ball, and he also read the game really well. Another England under 16 international in striker Dane Scarlett was another player who stepped up to play for our under 18’s on five occasions last season while a still a schoolboy, during the early stages of the campaign before getting injured. A centre forward with fantastic off the ball movement, Scarlett impressively featured along with fellow first year scholar Alfie Devine (also 16) for our first team on two occasions during pre-season. Yet another England under 16 international, recent signing from Wigan Athletic Alfie Devine was a mainstay in Wigan’s under 18 side last season while still a schoolboy, and he helped them to reach the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup. Operating primarily as a number eight in midfield, the highly technical Devine is clearly another very talented player who could well step up to play for our under 23’s during some point this season. So they are just some of the under 18’s first year scholars who I personally feel could make a big impact on the team this season. However, we also have a number of international youth players in our under 16’s for the coming season, one of those is England and Northern Ireland youth international and centre forward Jamie Donley who played for our under 18’s on three occasions during pre-season, scoring four goals. With a lack of recognised centre forwards in the under 18’s this season, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the schoolboy get a fair few minutes for Matt Taylor’s side this season just like Dane Scarlett did last season. As for the second year scholars I personally believe that the highly talented goal scoring midfielder Max Robson (17) could be one our under 18’s key players this season before he steps up to under 23’s, quick, skilful and clinical in front of goal, Robson is a real creative force and goal threat.
Central defender Marqes Muir (17) really grew into the 2019/20 season as it progressed and he was another very good performer, who could become a key player again in the side this season. Skilful and tenacious right back Dermi Lusala (17) is yet another player who again after having a very good 2019/20 season, could become another key player in the team, although I would imagine that he would step up to play for our under 23’s on occasions, as he did play for them on two occasions during pre-season. We have such a talented group of second year scholars however, the final second year scholar that I’d just like to briefly focus in on is 17 year old central midfielder and Scotland youth international Michael Craig. The twin brother of Matthew Craig who featured more prominently for our under 18’s last season, Michael who is a very intelligent midfield player, started the first few games of last season well before unfortunately getting injured last August. He hasn’t played a game since then and he wasn’t in the squad for any of our under 18’s pre-season friendlies. As it stands (I am not sure whether or not the Premier League Under 18 Cup is taking place this season) our under 18’s will just be competing in the Premier League South and the FA Youth Cup this season. Matt Taylor’s side will play two new teams this season in the Premier League South, one of them is Crystal Palace who join the division after being granted academy category one status (Swansea City dropped out of the league and are now a category two academy side). While the other team were already a category one academy side (West Bromwich Albion) but have joined the Premier League South having previously been in the northern division to make up the numbers, after Leeds United and Burnley joined that league. With teams like Chelsea, Arsenal and Fulham in the Premier League South, the league is always a very competitive and difficult one. However, with a very talented group of first and second years scholars this season, Spurs could in my personal opinion mount a challenge for the title just like we did during the 2018/19 season.
The FA Youth Cup on the other hand is an extremely difficult competition to win however, if players such as Dane Scarlett, Alfie Devine, Max Robson and Marqes Muir play for us in those games, then I feel that we have a good chance of going far in that competition. However, going back to the league which starts on Saturday, some of the standout fixtures include the North London Derby against Arsenal who we face for the first time in almost a year in game week two. Always an exciting and highly competitive fixture, that game is always one to look out for when the fixtures come out every season. However, games against the likes of talented, attacking and highly structured sides such as Chelsea and Fulham are always very difficult ones, as is the London Derby against West Ham who are another very good team. And in more recent seasons games against the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion and Reading have been difficult ones, and I would expect more of the same this season. When you support a club like Spurs who have one of the best academy set ups in the country if not Europe, you just can’t not be optimistic going into the start of each new season, and this season is no different for me. I feel that we have another fantastic squad of players who can achieve great things in both the Premier League South and the FA Youth Cup this season and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they get on. As I said in my preview of our under 23’s season, we are of course living in uncertain times due to the current situation, and as is the case with all of our under 23’s games, all home matches at the moment will not be open to fans. That is of course disappointing news however, it is also extremely understandable too, but I remain optimistic and hopeful that fans will be allowed back into see games in the not so distant future. In the mean time I shall keep on doing my match previews for games as well as keeping fans updated on Twitter about how our under 18’s and 23’s get on and what the results are, and who scored our goals and got our assists. As for away games at under 18 level I am unsure whether certain clubs will allow me in to report on games at this time, but I shall find that out nearer to the time.
I would like to wish our under 18 side all the very best of luck for the 2020/21 season and I have no doubt that they will do the club proud.
Spurs’ under 18 squad for the 2020/21 season (as it stands):
Goalkeepers: Thimothée Lo-Tutala, Isak Solberg, Aaron Maguire, Adam Hayton.
Fullbacks: Dermi Lusala, Jeremy Kyezu, Kallum Cesay, Jordan Hackett.
Central defenders: Marqes Muir.
Midfielders: Michael Craig, Matthew Craig, Nile John, Yago Santiago, Max Robson, Alfie Devine, Jez Davies, Khalon Haysman, Dante Cassanova, Oliver Turner, Renaldo Torraj.
Wingers: Romaine Mundle, Eddie Carrington, Roshaun Mathurin.
Forwards: Tarrelle Whittaker, Dane Scarlett.
Our under 18’s Premier League South fixtures for the 2020/21 season can be viewed on the official Tottenham Hotspur website.
After our first team played their last friendly of pre-season against Championship side Watford on Saturday afternoon, I thought that I would write a piece on how our academy players got on, after watching all four of our friendlies. A number of our academy players got chances in the four friendly games against Championship opposition, with Cameron Carter-Vickers, Harvey White and Dennis Cirkin being the youngsters who featured most prominently. 19 year old Jamie Bowden and first year scholars Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine also got some game time from the bench, while 19 year old Jubril Okedina and 21 year old George Marsh were unused substitutes in our 2-1 defeat to Watford on Saturday. 22 year old USA international Cameron Carter-Vickers featured the most out of all our academy players, and the centre half played two half’s and two full games from the four. A strong central defender who is also good on the ball, the Southend born player did well in my opinion. After being out on numerous loans over recent seasons, I thought that Carter-Vickers didn’t look out of place and I also thought that he showed during these games his quality on the ball. After a really successful loan with Luton Town during the second part of last season as he helped them to beat the drop in the Championship, Carter-Vickers was always one of the standout players at under 18 and 23 level when he was coming through the ranks at Spurs. And although he wasn’t really tested in much of our four friendlies, I thought that he kept good positioning and was just solid in his play, plus his distribution was good. There was one moment in the first half of the Watford game where he slid in and put his body on the line to put a Watford player off when he was trying to latch onto a low cross from the right hand side, that was brave defending from Carter-Vickers, something that he was always known for at youth level. It will be interesting to see whether Carter-Vickers stays at the club for part of this season due to the many fixtures that we have across the first stage of the season, or whether he will be loaned out again for the sixth time in his career.
18 year old central midfielder Harvey White who turns 19 later this month was the second academy player to feature the most for Spurs during pre-season. The Maidstone born former England under 18 international featured in all four of our friendlies, playing one half in two of those games, around half of a half in one and just over 80 minutes in our final game against Watford. A versatile player who has featured both at centre half and at left back at youth level for Spurs, White is a clever midfield player. One who is valiant off the ball as he showed on some occasions in pre-season, but he is also so composed, efficient and tidy with the ball. The first year professional showed that composure in the games that he played in against the likes of Birmingham City and Watford, and he really held his own and didn’t look at all out of place in any of the games that he played in. He kept things moving in the central areas of the pitch but he also had the confidence to make some ambitious and long forward passes, in one of our games he also delivered a peach of a free kick onto the head of Eric Dier who came close to hitting the back of the net. An expert set piece taker whose deliveries are consistently excellent, White also impressed with his tireless running on the pitch for José Mourinho’s side, as well as tracking back well too. White got back to help fill in for players who were perhaps out of position and he made a couple of good challenges. However, out of all the games that White played in during his second pre-season with the first team, the game against Watford during the weekend just gone particularly stands out. He was really efficient in midfield during that game and his anticipation and reading of the game was good, the teenager got on the ball an awful lot against Watford and he was just very tidy with it. He showed that combative nature of his game and a real willingness to scrap for the ball, he also got back well during a particularly dangerous Watford attack to slide in on a player in the Spurs box to help prevent him or rather putting him off from finding the back of the net.
White looked very mature out on the pitch at Vicarage Road and against some physical and high quality players, I felt that he took to the game really well. I can remember him making his competitive debut for our under 18’s in an away league game against Norwich City back in the 2017/18 season as if it was just yesterday. The confidence, composure and ease in which he played in midfield during that game was something that he has been able to replicate for them, for the under 23’s and for the first team in friendlies during recent seasons. A really exciting player is young Harvey White, and his creativity from deep and his excellent passing range and ability to make defence splitting forward passes is something which is really special and a key strength of his game. Of course he is also very, very good on the ball but also his ability to shield it from opponents is another strength to the Carrick-esque young players game. White can also play further forward in a more advanced midfield role, and he is a player who I think has deceptive pace but who can also take players on however, his passing ability, composure and fantastic vision are his best attributes, and I could personally see White making his competitive debut for Spurs during the early parts of the season. Fellow 18 year old Dennis Cirkin played the third most minutes of all our academy players during pre-season, and the Dublin born player who was mentioned by Spurs manager José Mourinho during a press conference last season, was another who impressed in recently friendlies. The England youth international who operates primarily at left back, is another real talent that has come through the ranks at Hotspur Way during recent years. Cirkin played in all four of this pre-seasons friendlies, and he started off by putting in a fine second half performance at left back against League One side Ipswich Town in friendly number one. Another player who is very good on the ball and who reads the game well, Cirkin defended solidly during that game whenever tested, even though Spurs were on top of the game throughout.
The player who captained our under 18’s on many occasions last season, followed up his performance against Ipswich Town by also looking good in the next two games against Reading and Birmingham City respectively, as he combined both his defensive and attacking duties well. Cirkin showed good defensive discipline and a real calmness whenever he was tested down his side of the pitch however, his most testing game came against Watford at the weekend. Once again playing at left back Cirkin held his own at the back as well as looking good going forward however, the young man was tested when Watford defender Christian Kabasele ran at him and took him on. Kabasele managed to get the wrong side of Cirkin inside the Spurs box and after making some contact with him the referee adjudged it to have been enough for him to point to the spot. However, once again I thought that the young left back did himself proud over the course of the four friendly games, and he is another player with so much potential who we could be seeing more of for Spurs, this time in competitive games this season. A player who possesses a fair amount of pace, Cirkin is a player who is great at going forward and beating players with his skill. He also loves to embark on long slaloming runs which with his fine balance and strength makes him hard to disposes. A good passer of the ball who can also come inside, Cirkin is also strong defensively and he likes to get stuck in and make tenacious challenges. Having grown up in Tottenham and supported the club from a young age, 19 year old Jamie Bowden getting more minutes for the Spurs team during the pre-season for the third consecutive season would have been another proud moment for him. Bowden is a really classy midfield player who after getting a good 16 minutes against Ipswich Town in our first friendly, where he played interestingly as a CAM. Bowden got a good number of touches during that time and he also looked sharp on the pitch as well, the Republic of Ireland under 19 intenational also played in a further two friendly games against both Reading and Watford respectively.
Bowden didn’t get lots of minutes in both of those games (he got just over 25 minutes) however, he showed a real willingness to get involved and make an impression. The second year professional who was the captain of our under 23 side last season despite missing a fair few games with injury, Bowden got himself stuck in during the Watford game and he made decent challenge early on to stop a Watford attack. A really creative and tenacious and tigerish player who often operates as the deeper of a two in midfield, Bowden loves to spray the ball around the park, recycle possession and keep the ball moving as he doesn’t like too hold on to it for too long. Like Harvey White he is a player who shows real composure on the ball and he also knows when to get stuck in and and try to prevent an attack. A player who really impressed for the Republic of Ireland’s under 19 side when he made his debut against Denmark last season, Bowden could well get minutes for our first team in a competitive game this season early on in the campaign. The League Cup third round game against either Leyton Orient or Plymouth Argyle could be a game that a number of our youngsters feature in, due to us having two games in quick succession during that particular week. First year scholars Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine (both 16) also impressively got minutes for our first team during our four recent pre-season friendlies. Dane Scarlett is a centre forward who featured for our under 18’s in competitive games on five occasions last season scoring one goal, Scarlett impressed me with his off the ball movement and runs into the box during those games last season while still a schoolboy. The England under 16 international featured in the first two of our pre-season friendlies when he came on relatively late in the game. Showing good off the ball movement in the game against Ipswich Town, Scarlett came so close close to getting a foot on Jack Clarke’s whipped low cross from the right flank to tap it home. Scarlett is clearly a very talented player who I look forward to watching for Spurs at youth level over the next couple of seasons.
The other first year scholar to feature for our first team after coming late on in the first two games of pre-season was central midfielder Alfie Devine, a summer signing from League One side Wigan Athletic. Devine who only recently turned 16 did show some flashes of quality during his relatively short minutes on the pitch against Ipswich Town, and he is a clearly highly rated player to have featured for Spurs’ first team at only 16. I was also impressed with what I saw of Alfie Devine during the limited minutes that he got when we played Wigan Athletic’s under 18’s in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup last season, he is clearly a player who has a great passing range. I would like to wish all of our academy players who featured for Spurs’ first team in pre-season all the very best of luck for the 2020/21 season.
Spurs under 18’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)
Our under 18’s are preparing to face West Ham United on Saturday morning at Little Heath, as they look to consolidate their place at the top of the under 18 southern division. After last weekends stalemate with Reading at Hotspur Way, Matt Wells side will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they face West Ham United in east London. This will be our under 18’s second London Derby of the season and whilst Spurs have started the season in stunning form, our London rivals have also started the season strongly. Mark Phillips West Ham side have won four of their opening five league games this season, and currently occupy fourth place in the league. A number of our under 18’s played for the under 19’s in the UEFA youth league during midweek, as they contested a fiery 1-1 draw with Inter Milan. Players such as Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and J’Neil Bennett all played the full 90 minutes of that game and could end up finding themselves being rested for this Saturday’s London derby. Matt Wells will have been disappointed that he’s side were unable to finish off Reading last weekend, in a game in which they dominated in every respect. This fixture last season was a funny old game, we were on a good patch of form when we travelled to east London. However, it was a really scrappy game in which we were unable to make possession count and we were punished for that, by the much more direct Hammers youngsters. Whilst West Ham have started the season in fine form they are yet to come up against any of the big boys in the league thus far this campaign. Last season they were an extremely combative side who weren’t afraid to scrap for results and play ugly, if I may so.
It will be interesting to see how Tottenham lineup on Saturday morning (10:30 AM KO) it will also be interesting to see if Troy Parrott is drafted back into the side after his time in the under 23’s. Parrott has only made one appearance for our under 18 side this season having spent the majority of the time with Wayne Burnett’s development side. Another player who I’m hoping to see start the game is 18 year old forward Rodel Richards who made his return from injury against Inter Milan in midweek. Richards looked very sharp considering it was only his first game of the season. I think Matt Wells side will have to start well against West Ham if they are to get back to winning ways. Some of the Hammers most dangerous players include attacking midfielder Bernardo Rosa and Vernon Parkes and they could prove to be dangerous on the break. Last season I ended up going to West Ham’s Rush Green training ground only to find that they are unable to hold academy games at the facility, thankfully I made that game in time. Hopefully tomorrow’s trip on the London Underground will be a lot more straight forward. My match report will be out late on Saturday night.
My one to watch: The Hammers Brazilian attacking midfielder Bernardo Rosa (18). The creative Rosa caused quite a few problems for our defence in this fixture last season, and the teenager has started the new campaign in excellent form. Finding the back of the net on four occasions already this season, Rosa has also made a number of appearances for West Ham’s development side and will be one of the Hammers most potent attacking players.
Spurs under 19’s versus Inter Milan: (match preview)
Our under 19’s kick off this seasons UEFA youth league campaign tomorrow when they face Italian giants Inter Milan on Tuesday afternoon, at the Stadio Breda. According to the UEFA website John McDermott is listed as our head coach for this seasons European campaign and McDermott will have a richly talented pool of players at his disposal for the tournament, which mirrors the UEFA champions league. Our under 18’s have started this season in scintillating form with four wins from their opening five league matches and whilst our under 23’s haven’t replicated this, they did however pick up an impressive first win of the season against Man City on Friday. Spurs gave a really good account of themselves in this competition last season in what was only their second ever involvement in it. We topped a group containing both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, before overcoming Monaco in the round of 16. Our campaign was eventually ended by Porto who beat us comfortably at Hotspur Way in March of 2018. Whilst there will be a lot of new faces in this seasons squad, Spurs will be hoping to emulate their group stage success in the competition this season. However, with the current holders of the competition Barcelona in their group, alongside both Inter Milan and PSV that task will be significantly more difficult to achieve this season. The way in which our under 18’s have started this season has been outstanding, the quality of their play and the fluidity of their passing has been breathtaking to watch. I think this set of players (the u19’s) is one of the best in the UEFA youth league this season and there will be no team in Europe who will want to come up against us, and that includes tomorrow’s opposition, Inter Milan. The abundance of talent that is in our under 19’s side is quite frightening, in many ways we are spoilt for choice. With the likes of Troy Parrott, Jamie Bowden, Paris Maghoma, Japhet Tanganga all to choose from tomorrow.
Inter Milan also had a good campaign last season, entering the competition through the domestic stage. Armando Madonna’s side reached the quarter finals of the competition where they were knocked out on penalties by Manchester City. Long famed for their academy set up, Inter Milan did well on the domestic stage last season, finishing second in the Primavera 1 (the Italian u19 league). I’m not going to lie and say that I know a great deal about their side however, I know that they are one of Italy’s top academy sides and will undoubtedly have a lot of talented players on their books. Winger Samuele Mulattieri and highly rated Irish centre half Ryan Nolan are the only two players who I know a little bit about. This competition will give our youngsters a great opportunity to test themselves against some of the finest youth teams in Europe. Coming up against different footballing cultures and enjoying exposure to much bigger audiences, I’m sure our lads are really looking forward to tomorrow’s game which is being shown live on BT sport 2. Sadly I will be unable to go tomorrow’s game however, I will be watching on with great interest and I wish all of our lads the very best of luck. Our under 19’s can go all the way in this competition this season and I say that without any hesitations.
My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) De Bie, Eyoma, Dinzeyi, Tanganga (c), Brown, Bowden, Maghoma, Roles, Markanday, Parrott, Bennett.
Doubtful: Oliver Skipp (Possible involvement with the first team)
Injured/unavailable: Tariq Hinds.
Previous meeting: Spurs 7-1 (2011).
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: Irish centre half Ryan Nolan is a player who has been touted for great things in the game. The teenager from county Clare has won many plaudits and for him to have been picked up by Inter Milan speaks volumes in itself. Nolan made his first team debut for Inter during pre-season.