An ode to the great Danny Blanchflower – My Spurs hero (with a foreword from Eddie Clayton):

An ode to the great Danny Blanchflower – My Spurs hero (with a foreword from Eddie Clayton): 

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Eddie Clayton: “ Danny was a very professional footballer and when he played he was very attack minded. He played with a smile on his face although he was still very serious about his football, but with Danny it was all about attacking football, he never thought about defending and that’s why he clashed with Bill Nicholson who was very defensive minded. Whereas Danny was attacking minded, he used to say look if they score one then we’ll score two, if they score two then we’ll score three and so on, and that’s how he was. That was Danny’s way of playing football, he was happy if we won 10-9! As a player Danny was very skilful and he was very good on the ball. He was also a good passer of the ball and even though he wasn’t very quick, his positioning and his reading of the game was very good. He was a good captain who was friendly, and he loved a bit of a laugh. However, he was still a serious guy and I would call him a true professional. ”

For many Spurs fans Danny Blanchflower remains one of the greatest and most influential ever players to pull on the famous Lilywhite shirt of Tottenham Hotspur. With his exceptional vision and incisive passing ability, the Belfast born right half was the on the field brains behind Spurs‘ double winning success of the 1960/61 season. The on the field manager as he has been described by former teammates, had a profound impact on the history of our great club throughout its most successful period. Blanchflower was a visionary, a man light years ahead of his time. He was also a hero to so many Spurs supporters including myself, even though he was long, long before my time. Robert Dennis Blanchflower was born in East Belfast on the 10th of February 1926, Blanchflower would later attend Ravenscroft public elementary school and then the Belfast College of Technology. Having started out with Northern Irish side Glentoran, Blanchflower earned himself a move to English team Barnsley who paid £6,000 for him to join them in 1949. After a spell in Yorkshire, the Ulsterman then moved to Aston Villa before transferring in 1954 to Tottenham Hotspur a club whose name he had liked the sound of since he was a young boy. Blanchflower would spend ten years at the Lilywhites and while he did clash with Jimmy Anderson during the former Spurs managers reign at the club in the 1950’s. Danny’s time at Spurs was overwhelmingly positive and along with manager Bill Nicholson and that great team that we had during the early 1960’s he helped to shape the history of Spurs.

Captaining them to winning the double in the 1960/61 season, the versatile and adaptable Belfast man also helped Spurs to win a further FA Cup, and also the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963 before he went abroad to play for the likes of Toronto City, Boksburg and Durban City. After retiring from playing the beautiful game, Blanchflower turned his hand to management, taking charge of Chelsea and Northern Ireland (had Bill Nicholson have had his way then Danny would have replaced him as Spurs manager in 1974). He would later become a hugely respected football journalist where he wrote about the game for the Sunday Express. In this piece I am not going through Danny’s illustrious career with Spurs and Northern Ireland but instead focusing on his legacy and his impact on Tottenham Hotspur FC and on a generation of Irish supporters. Danny passed away almost 27 years ago however, his name and his many eloquent quotes are still commonly repeated by Spurs fans and followers of the club to this day. For me ever since I was a very young boy the name Danny Blanchflower has always been relatable with glory and triumph, the very best of Spurs. Being of Northern Irish heritage were it not for Blanchflower then my father and I and many others in Ireland would not have not have supported Spurs. In fact Blanchflower’s legacy has helped to make Spurs huge in Northern Ireland (still not rivalling Liverpool and Manchester United mind you!).

Since I was a young boy I have read extensively on that famous double winning team of 1960/61, and watched all of the available footage, and I have always been fascinated by their captain fantastic. Blanchflower as a player and as a captain was a great all rounder. A maverick in his thinking, Danny Blanchflower had the ability to galvanise his teammates. However, as a player he could tackle, make an incisive pass, shoot and track back. He was a stylish player who loved to attack. He also believed that the game should be played with panache, and that it was about glory. Some saw Danny as a professor, others as a visionary however, no one, absolutely no one can argue his impact on our great club. He was in many ways the on the field manager of that double winning side. Possessing a remarkable footballing brain he had the ability to change a game. My hero and our captain, Blanchflower was a fascinating character and I am truly grateful for all that he did for Spurs. I have been very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to research Blanchflower’s footballing career over the last couple of years. I am also truly grateful to all of his former teammates who have shared their memories of Danny with me over the past couple of years. Blanchflower was an inspiration to many including myself however, from extensively reading old match reports and watching old footage I have been able to get a little taste of what a wonderfully unique footballer Danny was. 

A highly influential individual who captained Spurs’ first team on 265 occasions, Blanchflower with his speed of thought and great ambition helped to make history in English football. All fans dream of their respective club having a charismatic and truly great captain who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, Danny was exactly that. Had the Irishman had been able to manage Spurs after Bill Nicholson’s tenure had ended in 1974, then who knows we may well have done the double again with Danny’s unique style of management. A man who loved books and was very much an intellectual, as former Spurs scout Ronnie Clayton recalled to me a recent interview, Blanchflower also famously refused to appear on the well known television programme “ This is your life ” in 1961, he was very much his own man. Spurs and Ireland have such a rich history however, Blanchflower is undoubtedly the most influential Irishman to play for Spurs and arguably their most influential captain. His great legacy lives on and will continue to live on, and Blanchflower makes me extremely proud to be a Spurs supporter. Thank you Danny for all that you did for Spurs!

Some notes on our under 23’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion:

Some notes on our under 23’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion: 

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Our under 23’s returned to PL2 action on Monday night after a three week break, as Wayne Burnett’s side hosted Brighton & Hove Albion at the Lamex Stadium (I will return to writing full in-depth match reports for our next game). Spurs lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as Josh Oluwayemi started in goal. A back four consisting of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Harvey White and Tariq Hinds partnered up in central midfield while Rayan Clarke and Dilan Markanday operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Phoenix Patterson. Summer signing Kion Etete led the line for Spurs. Monday’s game was an end to end one during the first half. The visitors took the lead in the seventh minute of the game after Peter Gwargis tapped home Ryan Longman’s cross, after the Brighton winger had broke forward down the right flank. Spurs then equalised through defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott who powerfully headed home Harvey White’s corner kick on 17 minutes. Chances came and went for both sides during the first half, while goalkeeper Josh Oluwayemi made an important save to deny Jack Spong from regaining the lead for Brighton.

Brighton started the second half well and Warren O’Hora netted what was the winner less than a minute into the half. O’Hora connected with Ted Jenks’ corner to head Brighton back into the lead. This was a disappointing defeat for Spurs who did manage to play some good football during periods of the game, but they didn’t play the game at the same pace as the ‘ Seagulls ’ who were marginally better than us on the night.

Player reviews: 

  • Josh Oluwayemi: The 18 year old shot stopper made two excellent saves on Monday night. His finger tip reflex save to deny Jack Spong’s powerful effort really was first class.
  • Jubril Okedina: The right back stayed deep and defended well down his side of the pitch.
  • Malachi Fagan-Walcott: The RCB scored a good headed goal during the first half and he also defended well for Spurs, and was good in the air.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: My man of the match, see below.
  • Dennis Cirkin: The 17 year old left back did get beaten for pace by Brighton’s Ryan Longman on a couple of occasions last night. However, he recovered well and he won the battle between the two players. Cirkin went on some slaloming forward runs.
  • Harvey White: The LCM helped to keep things ticking in the middle of the park.
  • Tariq Hinds: Operating in central midfield for this fixture, Hinds had a strong first half where he was alert and made some good interceptions.
  • Rayan Clarke: The right winger went on some good forward runs during the first half.
  • Phoenix Patterson: The CAM who later drifted out onto the left flank, was energetic and he made some intelligent runs.
  • Dilan Markanday: The left winger had a strong first half when he went on some strong forward runs.
  • Kion Etete: Despite not getting great service on the night, Etete worked hard and he made himself a handful for the Brighton defenders. Etete also held the ball up well. 
  • Jeremie Mukendi: The second half substitute pressed well during his time on the pitch, he also had a shot blocked by a Brighton defender. It was great to see him back in action again after being out injured for over a year with a knee injury.

My man of the match: Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. Alert, composed and decisive in his all round play, the LCB was in my opinion our under 23’s best player on Monday night. I thought that Lyons-Foster really grew into the game and he got stronger as it progressed. The 19 year old worked hard to make sure that he got himself into good defensive positions, and he also made some delightful and positive long forward passes. The tall centre half also took one for the team in the second half when he needed to, and he also made several more  intelligent decisions to prevent the ‘ Seagulls ’ from winning by more. Lyons-Foster was also good in the air.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Cirkin, Hinds, Fagan-Walcott, Lyons-Foster, R Clarke (Mukendi 72), White (c), Etete, Patterson, Markanday. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Statham, Skinner, Muir.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Keto, Davies, Cochrane (c), Crofts, O’Hora, Roberts, Yapi (Leahy 90+1), Jenks, Longman (Cashman 61), Spong, Gwargis. Substitutes (not used): Desbois, Freestone, Packham.

Goals: Spurs – Fagan-Walcott 17; Brighton – Gwargis 7, O’Hora 46.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Cirkin 48, Lyons-Foster 61.

Referee: Elliott Swallow.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Attendance: 470.

Spurs under 23’s statistics: 

Goals: Armando Shashoua – 5

Harvey White – 3

Rodel Richards – 3

Jamie Bowden – 3

Troy Parrott – 2

Kazaiah Sterling – 2

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 2

Dilan Markanday – 2

Shilow Tracey – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Luis Binks – 1

Malachi Fagan-Walcott – 1

Assists: Shilow Tracey – 5

Dilan Markanday – 4

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 3

Armando Shashoua – 3

Rodel Richards – 2

Tariq Hinds – 2

Harvey White – 2

Jamie Bowden – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Kazaiah Sterling – 1

TJ Eyoma – 1

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 1

Josh Oluwayemi – 1

Spurs under 23’s versus Brighton & Hove Albion: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Brighton & Hove Albion: (match preview)

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Our under 23’s return to PL2 action this evening when they host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Lamex Stadium (kick off is at 7pm). This is Wayne Burnett’s sides first competitive game in three weeks and it is one which they will be looking forward to. Our development side loaned out and sold a number of players during the January transfer window, so tonight’s squad will look a fair bit different to the one which lined up against Derby County in our last PL2 outing. Spurs are currently situated in ninth place in the division one table, four points behind this evenings opponents Brighton. The ‘ Seagulls ’ who have been good on the road this season, have a number of talented players. Players who helped to defeat Spurs 4-1 in the reverse fixture at the Amex Stadium back in September. Physical Serbian centre forward Bojan Radulovic was one player who caused Spurs problems on that night. Other Brighton players to look out for tonight are forwards Danny Cashman and Lorent Tolaj, winger and captain Alexander Cochrane and Irish centre half Warren O’Hora. This will be a tough game for Spurs who will likely have to promote a number of players from their under 18 side for this fixture however, I am looking forward to seeing how we line up. It is worth noting that Brighton like to play an attacking style of football so our defence will have to be on form if they are to prevent the ‘ Seagulls ’ from scoring. I would like to wish the lads all the very best of luck for today’s game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Hinds, Fagan-Walcott, Binks (c), Cirkin, White, Lyons-Foster, Markanday, Thorpe, Richards, Etete.

Subs from: De Bie, Okedina, Clarke, Patterson, Mukendi.

Injured/unavailable: Jamie Bowden.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-4.

My score prediction: Spurs 

My one to watch: The ‘ Seagulls ’ physical centre forward Bojan Radulovic, who has scored four goals in the PL2 so far this season.

Some notes on our under 18’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City:

Some notes on our under 18’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City:

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Our under 18’s traveled up to County Norfolk on Saturday to face Norwich City in the Premier League South (apologies I left my notebook at home for this game!). The game, which was played at the ‘ Canaries ’ Colney training centre was a difficult one for Matt Taylor’s side owing to the extremely blustery conditions. However, it was a fairly close game and after a quiet first half in which Spurs struggled to test the Norwich goalkeeper, Spurs grew into the game more in the second half. J’Neil Bennett scored a fine goal in the 88th minute of the game and that appeared to be the winner. However, deep in second half stoppage time the ‘ Canaries ’ managed to find an equaliser, right at the death. It was a frustrating draw and late goal for Spurs to concede, yet in all truth it was probably the fair result. Spurs lined up with Kacper Kurylowicz in goal, while a back four made up of Kallum Cesay, captain Marqes Muir, Aaron Skinner and Jeremy Kyezu lined up in front of him. Max Robson and Nile John teamed up in central midfield, while Romaine Mundle and J’Neil Bennett operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Rafferty Pedder. First year scholar Tarrelle Whittaker led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway and early on in the contest Tarrelle Whittaker had a shot saved by Sam Blair. Marqes Muir did well to block behind Thomas Dickson-Peters effort on goal at the other end of the pitch before Max Robson was forced off through injury, Matthew Craig replaced him in central midfield.

The game was a fairly even one although the home side did look that little bit more threatening on the ball and they also saw more of it. Tarrelle Whittaker had a shot blocked by Jaden Warner inside the Norwich box from a corner kick, in what was a rare Spurs chance. Just before halftime and after Nile John had conceded a free kick on the edge of the Spurs box, Thomas Dickson Peters’ whipped effort was tipped over his crossbar well by the alert Kacper Kurylowicz, in what was the final piece of action of the half. The second half (Carrington came onto replace the injured Mundle) was once again, a closely fought contest. Marqes Muir did well to put off Tyrese Omoteye who shot wide from inside the Spurs box. Before Aaron Skinner went into the book after making a late challenge on Zachary Dronfield. A quiet spell in the game followed before J’Neil Bennett latched onto the ball in the middle of the park before bursting forward, catching Norwich on the break. Bennett surged all the way into the Norwich box before smashing the ball against Sam Blair’s right hand post. Marqes Muir then blocked Josh Giurgi’s effort at the other end before Yago Santiago came onto replace Rafferty Pedder in the number ten position. Reece McAlear thumped an effort from distance onto Kurylowicz’s right hand post before Spurs manage to find the breakthrough in the 88th minute of time. After receiving Eddie Carrington’s pass down the left side of the Norwich box, Bennett pondered before skilfully working the ball onto his right foot and whipping an effort into the bottom right hand corner of Sam Blair’s goal, 1-0. 

Norwich however, responded through Zachary Dronfield (he wasn’t picked up) who volleyed home Tony Springett’s free kick in stoppage time, 1-1. Spurs did manage to create two late chances which should have finished the game off. After going on a surging run down the left flank J’Neil Bennett drilled a low effort against the bottom of Sam Blair’s right hand post. Tarrelle Whittaker then managed to latch onto Aaron Skinner’s fine pass which set him through on goal. Blair came rushing out of his goal and Whittaker’s powerful effort was straight at the Norwich goalkeeper who saved it. The referee Jordan Marin blew his whistle for full time a couple of moments later.

Player reviews:

  • Kacper Kurylowicz: The Spurs goalkeeper made two saves on the day, one a very good one to deny Thomas Dickson-Peters’ free kick from finding the back of the net. Kurylowicz organised the defence really well and he made sure that they kept alert at all times.
  • Kallum Cesay: This was a steady defensive performance from Cesay, who stayed deep for the most part of the game.
  • Marqes Muir: My man of the match, see below. 
  • Aaron Skinner: Playing back at LCB today after a couple of excellent performances in central midfield, Skinner formed a strong partnership alongside Marqes Muir. Skinner kept good positioning and he made some good blocks, clearances and interceptions. 
  • Jeremy Kyezu: The left back made his first competitive start for our under 18’s of the season on Saturday. Kyezu made one important interception in the first half, and he was generally solid all game.
  • Nile John: Playing as a four, John stayed deep and helped out the back four.
  • Max Robson: The midfielder took players on during his short time on the pitch before he went off injured early on in the game.
  • Romaine Mundle: The right winger kept the ball well out on the right flank although I felt that he was a little isolated at times due to Spurs not playing with great width. 
  • Rafferty Pedder: Affected by the strong winds, attacking midfielder Rafferty Pedder couldn’t play the way he wanted to and was therefore unable to make his usual impact on the game. Pedder worked extremely hard and he covered a lot of ground. The 17 year old would also drop deep a lot, to try and link the play. Pedder was replaced by Yago Santiago during the second half.
  • J’Neil Bennett: Although Bennett may not have enjoyed great success down the left flank against strong Norwich fullback Harry Pitcher, he was Spurs’ most dangerous player on the day. Bennett hit the post twice and he also scored a finely taken goal. 
  • Tarrelle Whittaker: The first year scholar made some clever darting runs and he worked hard up top, and was unlucky not to score a late goal for Spurs.
  • Matthew Craig: The 16 year old slotted in well to central midfield after coming onto replace the injured Max Robson, and he was constantly looking to make that forward pass.
  • Eddie Carrington: The speedy right winger had a good touch about him and he made some intelligent runs down the right flank. Carrington also did well to assist J’Neil Bennett for his goal.
  • Yago Santiago: The second half substitute came onto replace Rafferty Pedder in the CAM role.

My man of the match: RCB Marqes Muir dealt really well with Norwich centre forward Tyrese Omoteye and he put in a very good defensive performance. The Spurs captain made countless blocks, interceptions and clearances and he was very strong on the ball (his passing was also good). The Lambeth born defender hardly put a foot wrong on the day and he put in a very intelligent performance for Matt Taylor’s side.

Spurs: Kurylowicz, Cesay, Kyezu, John, Muir (c), Skinner, Mundle (Carrington 46), Robson (Matthew Craig 22), Whittaker, Pedder (Santiago 70), Bennett. Substitute (not used): Lo-Tutala.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2019/20:

Goals: 

Tarrelle Whittaker – 7

J’Neil Bennett – 6

Max Robson – 5

Kion Etete –  5

Chay Cooper – 4

Enock Asante – 3

Harvey White – 3

Kallum Cesay – 2

Rafferty Pedder – 2

Troy Parrott – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Dane Scarlett – 1

Romaine Mundle – 1

Nile John – 1

Assists:

Max Robson – 5

Chay Cooper – 5

J’Neil Bennett – 5

Tarrelle Whittaker – 3

Dermi Lusala –  3

Romaine Mundle – 3

Kion Etete – 3

Troy Parrott – 2

Rafferty Pedder – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Harvey White – 2

Enock Asante – 2

Eddie Carrington – 2

Luis Binks – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Kallum Cesay – 1

Marqes Muir –  1

Yago Santiago – 1

Jordan Hackett – 1

Aaron Skinner – 1

Clean sheets: 

Kacper Kurylowicz – 4

Josh Oluwayemi – 1

Some notes on Spurs youngster Anthony Georgiou’s loan move to Bolton Wanderers:

Some notes on Spurs youngster Anthony Georgiou’s loan move to Bolton Wanderers:

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On Friday afternoon  it was officially announced that Spurs youngster Anthony Georgiou had joined league one side Bolton Wanderers on loan until the end of the season. Georgiou (22) had previously been on loan at Ipswich Town where he had made 13 appearances for the ‘ Tractor Boys ’ in all competitions. Frustratingly for Anthony he wasn’t handed many starts, despite doing well when he had played for Paul Lambert’s side. Anthony joins a Bolton side who have had a very difficult season owing to a points deduction at the beginning of the campaign. The Lancashire based club currently occupy 24th place in the league one table and are very likely to be relegated to league two. However, with a good manager in charge of the club (Keith Hill) and some talented players on their books they could still finish the season strongly despite their recent poor form. Cyprus international Georgiou, is for those Bolton fans wondering, a traditional left winger who has great pace. Georgiou loves to take players on, and with his searing pace, good dribbling rate and high work rate he usually enjoys good success down the left flank. This is the 22 year olds third loan move after spells at Atlético Levante and Ipswich Town, and I think this is the perfect opportunity and platform for him to impress. Bolton don’t have the biggest of squads and this should help Anthony get consistent playing time, which is what the talented youngster so desperately needs.

The former Watford schoolboy who is from Lewisham in South London, is my favourite ever Spurs youth player. This is down to his exceptional work rate, and exciting and unpredictable style of play. Georgiou is in many ways a very traditional winger as I had previously alluded to however, he is very well disciplined and can drop back to LB if he needs to, as he showed for Spurs’ first team in pre-season and on countless other occasions for our development side over the years. However, I would hope that like with his spell with Ipswich, that he will play in his natural position which is out on the left wing. Apart from his excellent pace, good dribbling ability and high work rate. Georgiou also has a very good left foot on him and he whips a wicked cross into the oppositions penalty area. This is something which could really help veteran Bolton striker and Irishman Daryl Murphy (36) who is very good in the air. I remember at under 18 level Georgiou had a great relationship with striker Shayon Harrison on the field, assisting him on numerous occasions throughout the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons. Anthony will be competing with fellow left wingers Joe Dodoo (24) and Dennis Politic (19) for a place in the Bolton starting eleven and I have no doubts what so ever that he has the ability to become a key player for Bolton from now until the end of the season. This is a wonderful loan move for Anthony who becomes one of many players to play for both Spurs and Bolton (the legendary George Hunt is the player who first comes to mind). I would like to wish Anthony all the very best of luck for this loan move, and I look forward to following his progress closely at the league one club during the remainder of the season.

Spurs under 18’s versus Norwich City: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Norwich City: (match preview)

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Our under 18’s return to league action after a two week break, when Matt Taylor’s side take on Norwich City at their Colney based training centre on Saturday morning. Spurs will be looking to make it five league wins in a row, against a ‘ Canaries ’ side who sit in 11th place in the Premier League South table. Norwich have struggled for form this season in the league at least, and they have only picked up eight points from 13 games, conceding 42 goals in that time. Spurs on the other hand have been in strong form of late in the league and after recording impressive victories against Fulham and Brighton, they will be feeling confident going into this game. Norwich have a number of attacking players that Spurs will have to be wary of tomorrow. They include Belgian youngster and top scorer for the ‘ Canaries ‘ this season with ten goals Tyrese Omoteye. Another player to look out for is Scottish forward Thomas Dickson-Peters who has scored seven league goals so far this season. This will be an interesting game for Spurs who are coming ever closer to moving into the top four of the league. I would like to wish the lads all the very best of luck for tomorrow’s encounter with Norwich.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Cesay, Muir, Lusala, Hackett, Skinner, John, Mundle, Robson, Pedder, Etete (c).

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Cassanova, Matthew Craig, Mathurin, Asante.

Injured/unavailable: Michael Craig, Chay Cooper.

Doubtful: Enock Asante, Dane Scarlett, Tarrelle Whittaker.

Previous meeting: Spurs 4-0.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

My one to watch: Norwich’s Belgian forward Tyrese Omoteye (first year scholar) who has scored ten goals so far this season for the ‘ Canaries ’ under 18’s.

Some notes on young Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin’s loan move to Danish side Viborg FF:

Some notes on young Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin’s loan move to Danish side Viborg FF:

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On Monday morning it was announced that young Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin (21) (Austin has been named on the bench for our first team on six occasions this season) had joined Danish first division side Viborg FF on loan until the end of the season. The team, who ply their trade in the second tier of Danish football had previously had Brentford’s Ellery Balcombe (fellow England under 21 international) as their first choice goalkeeper until he had picked up an injury and had to return to the West London club. Austin who was born and raised in Hemel Hempstead, is a superb shot stopper and, a commanding and charismatic young goalkeeper who has enjoyed almost three good seasons with our development side. This is Austin’s first loan and it will give him the opportunity to test and challenge himself in the men’s games. Viborg, who currently occupy third place in division one, have a good history about them and this in many ways is the perfect club for Austin to continue to develop at for the next six months. Brandon has been the given the number one shirt at Viborg so one would imagine that he will be their first choice goalkeeper, although he will be still competing with Can Dursun and Lucas Lund Pedersen (Pedersen, I believe is currently injured).

The former Chelsea schoolboy is very charismatic on the pitch, and he is a commanding figure inside his penalty area. Austin as I wrote about in great detail in a piece that I wrote in October 2018, is also an outstanding shot stopper. And the young man who is also eligible to represent the US Virgin Islands, often pulls off superb reflex saves in games. Arguably our under 23’s best and most consistent performer over the past three seasons, Austin made the transition from under 18 to under 23 football with great ease. The quality of his performances evident from the amount and quality of saves that he makes in games. However, Brandon is also a very authoritative goalkeeper who likes to make sure that the opposing teams forwards know whose boss. Furthermore, the 21 year old who recently signed a new contract with Spurs up until 2022, is also a highly effective communicator and organiser of the back four. He has also improved this season with his distribution and on other aspects of his game. I’m really looking forward to seeing Brandon in action for Viborg over the next six months and I have no doubts that he will do really well at the Danish club. Brandon has been an absolute pleasure to watch over the past three seasons for our development side and I would like to wish him all the very best of luck for this loan move to Viborg FF (hopefully their matches will be streamed!).

My piece on our under 18’s exciting and skilful winger – Chay Cooper:

My piece on our under 18’s exciting and skilful winger – Chay Cooper:

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool: FA Youth Cup

In the latest of my pieces on our second year scholars, I shall be focusing on our under 18’s exciting and skilful winger Chay Cooper, in the following article. Chay Cooper may not be a name that many Spurs supporters know or are aware of however, the 18 year old has been one of our under 18’s best, most productive and most consistent performers so far this campaign. Currently out injured over the last month, I am writing this piece to give Spurs fans a feel for what type of player the second year scholar is. I will also talk about Cooper’s attributes and style of play in the following piece. Born and raised in Harlow, Essex, Chay Cooper attended the Mark Hall Academy where he was a 200m and 800m champion at county level. Cooper played for football league club Southend United at schoolboy level before joining Tottenham Hotspur towards the end of the 2016/17 season as an under 15. Followers of the Tottenham Hotspur academy set up would have first been made aware of Cooper at the beginning of the 2018/19 season when he was announced as one of Spurs’ new first year scholars. Cooper made his under 18 debut in September of 2018, coming off the bench in an under 18 Premier League Cup game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The then first year scholar who scored 16 goals the previous season for the under 16’s, made ten competitive appearances for our under 18’s that season, playing in a variety of positions (Cooper was also named on the bench for our development side in their EFL Trophy game against Oxford United). The teenager whose footballing role model is Lionel Messi, started the current campaign well and by the end of 2019 he had chipped in with four goals and five assists from 13 appearances for Matt Taylor’s side, before injury struck. Meaning that the teenager who had helped us progress to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup by scoring an important goal against Liverpool in round three, had to sit out our game against Wigan Athletic in round four, Spurs missed him massively. Chay is a versatile player who can operate out on either flank (owing to being good with both feet), in CAM and as a central midfielder. The stylish young player as a winger, is an exciting and direct player who loves to run at opposing defenders. Cooper will get you up off your seat with his pace (he seems to have got quicker this season), direct running and skill on the ball. The highly skilful lad from County Essex, is not only direct, but also unpredictable.

Cooper, who is often involved in Spurs under 18’s intricate attacking play, is a good crosser of the ball and his whipped deliveries often have a lot of pace on them. Furthermore, he is a fine dribbler who likes to weave his way past opponents however, he does mix up his game and will often cut inside before looking to take on further players, pick a pass or test the goalkeeper. Since first watching Chay play I have been hugely impressed by some of his Nathan Oduwa like (former Spurs youth player) skill moves that he pulls off. Oduwa was a highly skilful winger who did and tried things with a ball that would leave you questioning what you had just seen. Cooper does also like to pull off outrageous skill moves. One example of this came in our under 18’s 2-2 draw to Arsenal earlier in the season. In that game with the scores at 1-2 in second half stoppage time, Cooper knocked the ball over an Arsenal player before then deftly putting the ball through the legs of another player. Cooper then skilfully turned away from another Arsenal man as he continued forward before finding Kion Etete who finished it off after brining down Cooper’s nice and accurate lofted pass. As a central midfielder Cooper is silky, tidy and difficult to dispossess whereas, as a CAM he drops into good pockets of space, makes clever runs and helps to link the play.

The promising young player who has more often than not been played out wide this season, has so much for you to admire about his game. Having earlier drawn some small comparisons with Nathan Oduwa, another winger who reminds me a little bit of him in his style of play is 22 year old Anthony Georgiou. Like Georgiou, he is quick and has a good first touch however, although he is quite small and slight it is Cooper’s defensive work I.E: his tracking back, aggression and all round hard work which reminds me quite a bit of Georgiou. Cooper who, is also a good and effective communicator on the pitch, is a player who excites, creates chances and works hard for the team. One would assume that he is going to be developed primarily as a winger due to where he has been played for the majority of this season. And with performances of the quality of the one away to Aston Villa last season when he absolutely tormented their right back Brad Burton, by going on many an unpredictable surging run, hopefully he will continue to develop as a winger. Cooper is a player who will score and create goals for us at under 18 level and hopefully at under 23 level in the future, and for that he is a name that Spurs fans should remember. Cooper should be proud of how he has performed so far this season and I would like to wish Chay a successful recovery from his current injury, and I look forward to seeing him back in action for our under 18’s.

Some notes on Armando Shashoua’s loan move to Spanish side Atlético Baleares:

Some notes on Armando Shashoua’s loan move to Spanish side Atlético Baleares:

Millwall v Tottenham Hotspur - FA Youth Cup Third Round

On Sunday it was announced via Atlético Baleares’ official Twitter account that young Spurs midfielder Armando Shashoua had joined the Spanish club, on loan until the end of June. Shashoua follows in his older brother Samuels (Samuel is also on loan at Atlético from Tenerife) footsteps in joining the Balearic club on loan. As you will all know from reading my many match reports and player reviews, Armando is one of my favourite ever Spurs youth players. A very technical and highly skilful player who can operate either as a central midfielder or as a CAM (Armando has been playing much more as a CAM for Spurs’ development side this season). Shashoua has the ability to glide gracefully past much bigger opponents, owing to his great balance and dribbling ability. So far this season the attacking midfielder has been directly involved in eight goals for Spurs’ development side (five goals and three assists) from 14 appearances. The 19 year old who was our under 18’s captain last season, has adapted really well to life in under 23 football and he has put in some match winning performances from the number ten position. Single handedly winning our under 23’s games against the likes of Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Shashoua will have undoubtedly impressed clubs who had been monitoring him.

 The Englishman who is also eligible to represent Spain, Venezuela, America and Egypt, is a very hot prospect at Spurs and his season so far has been one of great personal progress for the teenager from West London. Atlético Baleares ply their trade in the third tier of Spanish football (the Segunda Division B – Group 1) and Manix Mandiola’s side are currently situated in second place in the 20 team league, after coming so close last season to being promoted to the second tier. In terms of competition for the CM/CAM role, Armando will be competing with Scottish youngster Jordan Holsgrove (on loan from Reading) as well as Gorka Iturraspe, Marc Rovirola and Alberto Villapalos. I would imagine that Shashoua will play as an eight or more likely as a ten however, he has the on the ball strength and the tenacity to play as a four/holding midfielder in the men’s game. The Spanish third tier for those who aren’t aware isn’t exactly all Tiki-taka and smooth attacking play. It is in fact a very physical league and it can also be quite scrappy as I found out from last season, when I watched Samuel Shashoua and Anthony Georgiou in action on a regular basis. Armando will offer this talented and inform Atlético team a lot. As a midfield craftsman he will create numerous chances for the Atlético forwards (their top scorer this season is striker Toni Gabarré).

Shashoua is a forward passer who has a lovely weight of pass, and more importantly he knows when to make it. In addition, he is very adaptable to games and situations, and despite his small stature he imposes himself well on games and rarely gives away the ball. Constantly pressing the oppositions players, Armando is a real grafter who as well as being creative is very combative. Providing brains with brawn the highly intelligent footballer who was educated at Harrow School, often drops deep to link the play and keep the ball moving. Furthermore, the 19 year old has excellent off the ball movement and on the ball he will show off his lovely dribbling ability, which he can do at speed. Shashoua reminds me quite a bit of Brighton & Hove Albion first teamer and Colombia international Steven Alzate in his style of play. Both players have lovely balance, passing ability and both ooze class on the ball. Like Shashoua, Alzate has a real footballing brain and he is also versatile and adaptable. In addition both players do a very good job at linking the play. Another thing that Armando can offer this Atlético team is goals. As he has shown over the past two seasons is that he is a goal scorer. He is a poacher, and a number of his goals are tap ins owing to his fine positioning and movement in and around the danger zone.

I am delighted that Armando will get the opportunity to test himself against senior footballers on a regular basis, and I am sure that it will really aid his development in the game and make him a better player for when he returns to Spurs. The strides that Shashoua has made over the last year and a half have been remarkable and he certainly isn’t finished yet. This fantastic loan move will challenge him and also test him just like it did with Samuel last season I.E: adapting to a new culture. I have no doubts that Armando will make this loan move a success and force his way into this Atlético team. He should be extremely proud of himself for the way that he has played and developed over the past two and a half seasons. Watching him grow as a footballer has been wonderful and it will be just as great watching him take his first steps into the senior game. I would like to wish Armando all the very best of luck for this loan move and I look forward to following his games.

Some notes on young Spurs striker Kion Etete following his summer switch from Notts County:

Some notes on young Spurs striker Kion Etete following his summer switch from Notts County:

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Having now watched Spurs’ young centre forward Kion Reece Etete on over 20 occasions, I thought that I’d write a short piece on the second year scholar, to give Spurs fans a feel for what type of player the 18 year old is. Etete who is from Derby in the East Midlands, where he attended the Chellaston Academy, is a tall and physical striker. After going on trial with Spurs in the spring of the 2018/19 season from then league two club Notts County, Etete signed terms with Spurs in June ahead of the start of the 2019/20 season. The second year scholar who was a consistent performer for Notts County’s under 18’s and under 23’s (he also featured on six occasions for the ‘ Magpies ’ first team), impressed greatly on his under 18 debut for Spurs against West Ham when on trial last March. In the game against the ‘ Hammers ’ Etete scored two goals. However, Etete soon returned to Notts County although a number of big clubs were still trying to sign him. Etete returned to Spurs in May to travel with an under 19 side that competed in the end of season Terborg tournament in the Netherlands, where he was involved in four of the five matches that Spurs played.

Etete’s first involvement for Spurs as a permanent signing was at the pre-season Tournoi Europeen in France, at the start of the current campaign. Etete did well in the matches that he was involved in for Wayne Burnett’s development side, and he also scored a goal in the group game against French side SM Caen. Kion however, would start the 2019/20 season with our under 18’s. He started games against the likes of Fulham, Brighton, Swansea and West Ham at the beginning of the campaign. Where he led the line for Matt Taylor’s side in the absence of Troy Parrott who had been promoted to the first team squad. In fact Etete has been a regular and consistent performer for our under 18 side for the most part of this season, with the exception of a spell on the sidelines and some involvement with the development side where he hasn’t looked out of place (Etete impressed greatly on his full PL2 debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers back in October, where he led the line well). To describe Etete as a player, he is a tall and very physical centre forward. Not too unlike a young Peter Crouch to an extent (a player who also came through the youth ranks at Spurs) Etete is excellent in the air and is a good header of the ball, hence why a lot of his goals are scored with his head.

In addition, the second year scholar whose first team experience with Notts County shows in his play, is a skilful player who has quick feet. Again drawing back to my earlier comparisons with Peter Crouch who was a very skilful player in his own right. Etete has shown really good close ball control and skill in the games that he has been involved in for Spurs this season. Furthermore, the 18 year olds hold up play is another of his best attributes, and it is something which he is very good at. Being able to shield the ball with his strength and being able to bring others into the game, is a great asset of Etete’s. Kion tends to lean into opposing teams defenders and he makes himself a real handful. A prime example of this was in our under 18’s FA Youth Cup fourth round game against Wigan Athletic earlier in the month, where Etete really bothered the Wigan defenders by leaning into, and bullying them for large periods of the game. He also did a good job at winding them up and frustrating them by being relentless in his role as a target man. Etete also did well at laying the ball off for his teammates, and this is something that he is usually very good at. Apart from using his physicality to good effect, the former Notts County man is also a real grafter for the team, and he is also a good presser. 

I have been impressed so far this season with Etete’s attitude on the pitch and his willingness to press the opposing teams defenders into making errors. He also likes to made strong slide tackles and he certainly isn’t afraid to get stuck in. The young centre forward who is also eligible to represent Nigeria at international level, is essentially a target man however, let’s talk about his finishing and striking ability. Etete has a venomous right foot as he has shown on numerous occasions since I first started watching him play, and he also has a tendency to shoot from range. While the 18 year old may lack the pace of the slightly younger Troy Parrott, he is still very good in front of goal. Etete shows good composure in front of goal, he also takes up intelligent positions in and around the danger zone, and he also times his runs well. So far this season Etete has been involved in nine goals from 17 competitive appearances (six goals and three assists) for Spurs this season at under 18, 19 and 23 level. That’s quite an impressive return from the young man who also found the back of the net in a behind closed doors friendly against Beijing Renhe, yesterday. As I bring this short article to a close I’d just like to focus on two games that Etete has been involved in for our under 18’s this season, those games were against Leicester City and Swansea City. 

In the game against Leicester City back in December 2019, Etete led the line with aplomb. He worked hard throughout the game, he pressed the ‘ Foxes ’ defenders relentlessly and he scrapped well for the ball. Etete also held the ball up really well and he netted a fine goal. After receiving the ball with his back to goal inside the Leicester penalty area in the first half, Etete turned sharply onto his right foot before rifling the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. It was an excellent all round performance from the Spurs striker. In addition, in Etete’s most recent game for our under 18’s (last Saturday’s game against Swansea City) Etete put in arguably his best performance of the season thus far for Spurs. Once again he held the ball up brilliantly against the ‘ Swans ’ as well as linking up well with the two Spurs wingers and the CAM (Max Robson) who he helped to bring into the game. However, Etete also took up intelligent positions and he made some good runs in behind the Swansea defenders. He was also dominant in the air and he scored a good headed goal during the early part of the game. Etete also hit a wicked effort from around 25 yards out from goal a whisker wide of the Swansea goalkeepers near post. He gave a great account of himself. Etete is clearly a promising young talent and I look forward to following his progress for Spurs over the next couple of seasons. Kion should be proud of how he has adapted to life at Spurs and I would like to wish him all the very best of luck for the remainder of the season.