Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Jamie Reynolds:

A Spurs Academy player for over a decade, versatile player Jamie Reynolds was born in Westminster but brought up in Grays in Essex, and he had been playing for Chelsea’s Academy and also Grays Cosmos prior to joining Spurs. After working his way up the Academy ranks at Spurs, Reynolds joined the club on a full-time basis in the summer 2016, signing scholarship forms with the club after having missed the majority of the previous 2015/16 season through injury. Reynolds played predominantly in midfield for our under 18 side during his first year of scholarship at Spurs, making 13 competitive appearances for the Spurs under 18 side, scoring one goal and also registering one assist. Jamie demonstrated his ability on the ball during that particular season, and he was really tidy with it, and he also worked well off the ball. Reynolds started the first three competitive games of the following 2017/18 season in central midfield once again, but starting with an Under 18 Premier League South game against Southampton in the September of 2017, Reynolds was moved out to play at left-back. He adapted really well to playing in that particular position, and he was given license to get forward in that role, and in the games that he played for Spurs during the 2017/18 season I thought that he really flourished from playing in that position. A regular for Spurs’ under 18 side that  season, the tigerish but skilful left-back who loved to get forward, also demonstrated really good defensive ability, particularly in one-on-one situations. Strong in the challenge and with good pace to his game, Reynolds put in some really strong performances during the season, such as in a UEFA Youth League game against AS Monaco’s under 19 which we won, and also against Liverpool’s under 18 side in the Premier League Cup, a game which we won 4-0.

A really good crosser of the ball, Jamie Reynolds was really potent going forward and the creative side of his game meant that he created a good number of chances over the course of the season, and he ended up registering six assists for Spurs’ under 18 side that season. Jamie was making really good progress that season up until he sustained a bad injury in an under 18 league game against Norwich City at the Norfolk clubs Colney training centre, in the April of 2018. Having to be helped off the pitch by the Spurs physios, Reynolds did not play again that season. In fact Reynolds missed the whole of the next pre-season, and he didn’t make his competitive return to action for Spurs until the October of 2018, when he completed a half of football for our under 23 side, in a 1-0 Premier League 2 victory over Leicester City. By now a first year professional at Spurs and a part of our under 23 side, Jamie made seven more competitive appearances for Spurs at Academy level during the remainder of the 2018/19 season, but sadly he left the club after his contract came to an end in the summer of 2019. Reynolds did actually play again for Spurs as a triallist, featuring in a pre-season friendly for a Spurs development side in July 2019, when we played against Ebbsfleet United, and Jamie did well on the pitch that day, but that was to be the last time that he played for Spurs. A player who is good at making overlapping runs down the left flank, and who is also a good passer of the ball, Reynolds spent some time without a club after leaving Spurs. I recently caught up with Jamie’s old Spurs teammate Charlie Freeman and regarding Jamie he said “Jamie and I both joined Spurs at a similar time and played together for around ten years. Jamie always had great ball control and was confident to drive at players, over time he became very physically strong however, he was majorly set back due to knee and shin injurys, like me game time got tough, but off the pitch Jamie was and still is one of my closest friends, we shared digs together and it made both our stays a lot more enjoyable. He’s a great lad and was well respected at Spurs! ” Reynolds signed for National League South side Billericay Town during the first half of the 2019/20 season, with former Spurs player Jamie O’Hara the manager of the Essex Club. 

Reynolds only featured on a couple of occasions for Billericay’s first team (he made his competitive debut for them as a substitute in an FA Cup first round tie against Forest Green Rovers), but he left Billericay not long afterwards. He then ended up trialling with category one Academy side Sunderland, and Jamie played one Premier League 2 game for their under 23 side, playing at left-back in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United, but Reynolds never ended up signing for Sunderland. However, in the December of 2019 he signed for Isthmian Premier Division side Cheshunt F.C. (former Spurs player Mark Hughes was the assistant manager at Cheshunt at the time), and Reynolds has played a good number of games since jointing the Hertfordshire club in 2019. Unfortunately the Isthmian Premier Division was stopped during the March of 2020, but in the following 2020/21 season Jamie has got a really good run of games in senior football, scoring three goals from left-back during the 2020/21 season, with his first of the season coming against Horsham, Reynolds demonstrated his quality going forward with the ball. Sadly the Isthmian Premier Division has been stopped since November of last year, although the former Spurs man who is now 21, did play in Cheshunt’s last game of competitive football, when they played Dulwich Hamlet in the FA Trophy in the December of 2020. Since I’ve started this series of articles on looking at where former Spurs Academy players are now, I strongly believe just like in the previous articles on former Spurs Academy players who I’ve written on, that Reynolds is  another player who has great potential to go really far in the game. And I have no doubts whatsoever that in the future Jamie will rise up in the leagues in England and enjoy a really good career in the game.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Kodi Lyons-Foster:

(In the above photograph Kodi is pictured second on the extreme right, to the left of Joe Pritchard.)

Islington born defender Kodi Lyons-Foster is a real footballing centre-half, just like his younger brother Brooklyn who currently plays for Spurs’ under 23 side. Kodi Lyons-Foster joined Spurs relatively late on as a schoolboy, but he settled in well at the club that he has always supported. A very gifted player, Lyons-Foster is a modern day centre-half, always a player who was good on the ball the Londoner can pass well off both his left and right foot. A tall but quick defender who reads the game well and who is also good at bringing the ball out from the back, Kodi is also strong in the air, but the player who came to Spurs as a centre-half would move into midfield for a spell at the club, playing primarily as a number four. However, he came back to play at centre-half after a period of time playing as a defensive midfielder for Spurs at Academy level, and the composed defender would enjoy some very successful times at the club. Such as when he impressed for a Spurs youth side at the prestigious Milk Cup in Northern Ireland at two successive tournaments, in 2011 and 2012. Kodi also performed really well for Spurs’ youth team at a tournament in Solsona, Spain, and he also played at a number of other tournaments in Europe during his time at the club. He was also picked to represent England at youth level, and he played for their under 16 side at the Victory Shield one year, and he did well for his country. A player who would constantly step up to play for the year above his age group at Spurs, in his final year as a schoolboy at Spurs he would also train with the under 21 side regularly. However, unfortunately Kodi wasn’t offered scholarship terms by Spurs, and he left the club at the end of the 2012/13 season.

Lyons-Foster signed scholarship forms with Aston Villa in the summer of 2013 for the start of the 2013/14 Academy season, and the former Spurs player would go on to play many a game for Aston Villa at under 18 level. He also captained their under 18 side on a good number of occasions, but he only made three competitive appearances for their then under 21 side, making his competitive debut for them in a league game against Bolton Wanderers in the March of 2015. In that particular game Kodi played with current Aston Villa star Jack Grealish, while he also played against his future Aldershot Town central-defensive partner Alex Finney. Lyons-Foster suffered a bad injury towards the end of his time at Aston Villa which set him back quite a bit, but after leaving them in the summer of 2016 he joined Bristol City, a club whose under 23 side he would play for. Kodi spent a season at Bristol City, he also went on a short loan to Guernsey FC, as well as trialling for Irish Premier Division side Derry City during his time there. And after playing at centre-half for them in friendlies against UCD and Cabinteely FC respectively, the Irish side who were then managed by Kenny Shiels wanted to sign Kodi, but it wasn’t the right time for him to move countries, so in the end he declined. After leaving Bristol City at the end of his contract in the summer of 2017, Kodi decided to step into the non-League, when he signed for Aldershot Town that summer. Lyons-Foster was loaned out to then National League South side Whitehawk FC in the October of that year for a short period of time.

The Londoner did return to Aldershot but he was given a free transfer to sign for Whitehawk on a permanent basis in the January of 2018. A versatile defender who I watched as recently as last Saturday, when he played in central defence for Aldershot against Bromley, when I thought that he put in a solid defensive performance. Kodi can also fill in at right-back and as a defensive midfielder, and he is also good at organising the defence. The former Spurs Academy player unfortunately couldn’t prevent Whitehawk from being relegated to the Isthmian Premier Division that season, and he ended up leaving them in the August of 2018. He joined then National League side Braintree Town for the start of the 2018/19 season, and he did well as he got regular games in the top division of the non-League, but unfortunately he suffered relegation again, as Braintree Town were relegated to the National League South at the end of that season. However, Kodi rejoined Aldershot for the beginning of the 2019/20 season, and during that particular season the determined defender was a regular in the side, and he put in some strong defensive performances over the course of the season, which ended up coming to a halt in March of 2020. He remained with Aldershot for the current 2020/21 season and so far he is doing really well for Danny Searle’s side, and he is starting virtually every game alongside Alex Finney in the heart of defence, and the pair complement each other on the pitch. The player who was part of the same age group as Kyle Walker-Peters and Anthony Georgiou at Spurs, is getting stronger as a defender by each passing game.

Kodi seems to be popular at Aldershot with the fans, and the more games that he plays the player who is fast approaching 100 National League appearances will get closer and closer to playing in the EFL, something that I have no doubt that he will achieve, and from there even greater things will follow for him. A defender with great technical ability, at only 24 Kodi Lyons-Foster is still a player with a lot of potential I feel. To already have played almost 100 games in a really tough league like the National League is a tremendous achievement for Kodi at his age, and to have left Academy football without having played a competitive senior game, and make the brave step into the non-League is something which should be applauded, and Kodi should be very proud of what he has achieved so far in his footballing career. Aldershot currently occupy 15th place in the National League, but are only six points off the play-off places. I would like to wish Kodi all the very best of luck for the remainder of the 2020/21 season with Aldershot Town, and I look forward to continuing to follow his progress in the game.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Christian Maghoma:

(This photograph of Christian Maghoma scoring a superb headed goal against West Ham United’s under 23 side in a Premier League International Cup game in 2017, is from Tottenham Hotspur FC.)

Christian Maghoma spent many years at Spurs as an Academy player, and the central defender would rise up the ranks at Spurs to play as high up as under 23 level for the club, a side which he would captain on a good number of occasions. Born in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997, but brought up in north London, Christian Maghoma attended Finchley High School and he joined Spurs’ Academy while his older brother Jacques Maghoma was still at the club (Christian’s younger brother Paris joined him at Spurs not too long afterwards). A tall and determined centre-half, as a youth player Maghoma was a part of the England side that won the Victory Shield in 2012 (Luke Amos and Josh Onomah were also part of that squad). A schoolboy during the following 2013/14 season, Maghoma made the step up to play for Spurs’ under 18 side on 18 occasions in competitive games (he scored two goals), and he was an important member of the Spurs side that won the southern division that season (he also played in the semi-final play-off game against Everton at the end of that season). Impressive throughout the 2013/14 season, during his first year of scholarship in the following 2014/15 season the defender made a good number more appearances for the Spurs under 18 side, and he would also play for the then under 21 side on a decent number of occasions (he scored one goal in a 2-0 league victory over Fulham at the end of that season). A season of fine progress (2015/16) followed for Christian as he played mostly for the under 21 side, while also stepping down to play for the under 18’s on occasions. He also went out on a short loan to Yeovil Town, but he didn’t make a competitive first team appearance for them.

In the 2016/17 season (Christian was now a first year professional at the club) Maghoma was a mainstay in the new Spurs under 23 side, captaining the side on a good number of occasions and also putting in some really strong performances over the course of the season. A players who will provide constant encouragement (he used to talk the younger defenders of the Spurs under 23 side through games)  and motivation to his teammates on the pitch, Maghoma showed this throughout his time at Spurs, the tall and commanding centre-half who is outstanding in the air,  strong in the challenge and aggressive in defence, is also a real leader. The leadership that he showed on a regular basis at Spurs at both under 18 and under 23 level was very impressive, as was the alertness of his defending and ability to get in front of opposing forwards at the crucial time. Maghoma’s final season at Spurs saw him become a very important and experienced member of the under 23 side, and he played almost every game for them during the 2017/18 season, with games against Arsenal (we won 3-1), Liverpool when he defended really well against Danny Ings (we won 1-0) and Manchester United at Old Trafford (Spurs won that game 3-1) some of the matches that Maghoma put strong performances in. A player who really loves defending and whose footballing hero is the great Ledley King, left Spurs at the end of the 2017/18 season after his contract at the club came to an end in the summer of 2018. I always enjoyed watching Christian play for Spurs, I loved his passion on the pitch, his qualities as a leader and also his no-nonsense approach to defending. 

Whenever Maghoma played alongside the slightly younger Japhet Tanganga at centre-half, they both formed a very strong defensive partnership, and both were key to Spurs’ under 23 side surviving relegation to the Premier League 2 Division Two in 2018. Christian’s former Spurs teammate Samuel Shashoua recently described to me what it was like to be around Christian Maghoma at Spurs. Samuel said “ it was a pleasure to be his teammate. He was so big and commanding in the air, but still had loads of technical ability and composure to be able to play through the press. Off the pitch I’m lucky enough to call him one of my closest friends. One of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met and I’m sure it won’t be long before he is playing in one of the top leagues! ”After leaving Spurs in the summer of 2018 the Democratic Republic of the Congo international (he won his one international cap so far for them in a friendly in 2017) joined then Polish Ekstraklasa side Arka Gdynia and his time with them got off to a great start. Christian won his first senior competitive trophy with Arka Gdynia on his competitive debut for them, as they beat Legia Warsaw 3-2 to win the Superpuchar Polski. Maghoma did have to wait a while before he made his Arka Gdynia league debut, but the then 21 year old did make 15 league appearances for his new side that season. A young player who made the decision to experience a new footballing culture, Maghoma got a really good run in the Arka Gdynia side during the following 2019/20 season (he made 20 Polish Ekstraklasa appearances that season. All of which were at centre-half), and he got his one and only goal involvement (an assist) for Arka Gdynia in a 4-1 league win over Łks Łódź.

I did watch a fair few of Christian’s games for Arka Gdynia in the Polish Ekstraklasa  during his time at the club, and I always thought that he was solid, confident and commanding in his defending. Also, something which I didn’t mention earlier on in this piece when talking briefly talking about Christian’s style of play was his passing ability and distribution from defence, something which I’ve always been impressed with, especially his ability to spray the ball out to teammates in wide positions with good accuracy. While at Spurs he also had a growth spurt, which would have been challenging for him, but he has managed to adapt his game. In total Maghoma made 39 competitive first team appearances for Arka Gdynia during his time in Poland, but unfortunately at the end of the 2019/20 season the club were relegated to the second tier of Polish football. Christian left Arka Gdynia in the May of 2020 during that season, to return to England, and he would have gained a lot of invaluable experience from playing regular first team football in a league in Europe. After some time without a club Christian signed for English League One side Gillingham (joining up with former Spurs teammate Connor Ogilvie) in the August of last year, and after training with them in pre-season he made his competitive debut for the club in a League Cup first round tie against Southend United in September of last year, helping them to keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory. The now 23 year old centre-half has since made ten more competitive appearances for Gillingham’s first team, but he has missed some of the season with injury. Earlier on in this piece Samuel Shashoua mentioned what a great guy Christian Maghoma is, and also that he believes that Christian will play in a top league at some point in the future.

 I totally agree with what Samuel said about Christian Maghoma, and I would like to wish Christian all the very best of luck for the remainder of the season. Hopefully he will get a really good run of games for Gillingham during the remainder of this season, as that is exactly what he needs. I also feel that he has a lot to look forward to in the game in the future.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Nathan Oduwa:

Nathan Oduwa was a very exciting winger during his days at Spurs as an Academy player. Born and raised in central London, Oduwa’s quick feet, pace and outrageous pieces of skill wowed many watchers of the Spurs under 18, 21 and 23’s side, during his time at the club as a full time player, from 2012 to 2017. Oduwa was at Spurs for quite a while before signing scholarship forms with the club in the summer of 2012, and he did spend a period of time (around six months) away from the club at West Bromwich Albion on loan, during the 2012/13 season. Making his competitive under 18 debut for Spurs during the 2011/12 season (Oduwa made a further three appearances in that particular campaign) during the following season Nathan Oduwa scored three goals from his first three under 18 league appearances. He made an additional three league appearances for the club at that level that season, as well as playing for Spurs in the NextGen Series, and also representing England at under 17 level. In fact the talented winger who was comfortable at operating on either flank, as a CAM or even as a centre forward, would play for England all the way up until under 20 level. A player with real technique and flair, Oduwa would later represent Nigeria at under 23 level, and during his second season of scholarship after he had returned to Spurs (2013/14), Oduwa made a really good impact on the under 18 side as they finished top of the Under 18 Premier League South that season. He scored 11 goals from 26 competitive under 18 appearances (league and cup) as well as registering a good number of assists at that level. The Spurs under 18 side that finished top of the Premier League South that season were a very talented team, and going forward they were quite literally unstoppable during that season, and Oduwa was a part of that potent forward line. Oduwa also made an appearance for Spurs’ first team against a Ledley King XI, in Ledley King’s testimonial at White Hart Lane in the May of 2014, scoring a really cool chip, after initially faking his effort from inside the box.

The 2014/15 season saw Nathan step up to play for our under 21 side on a permanent basis, as he was now a first year professional. He showed the skill, directness in his play and ability to go past players, as well as working hard for the team during his first season with the development squad. Oduwa registered some  assists and scored four league goals from 11 under 21 appearances, and he notably scored an outstanding goal against Fulham’s under 21 side, where he came inside from the left flank onto his right, before powerfully directing the ball with real dip and swerve into the top right hand corner of the goal, from the edge of the Fulham box. He went out on his first senior loan halfway through that season, going out on loan to then League Two side Luton Town, who he ended up making 11 appearances for. At the beginning of the following 2015/16 season Nathan went out on a season long loan, along with Spurs teammate Dominic Ball, to Scottish side Rangers, who were then playing in the Scottish Championship, after playing one game for our under 21 side at the start of the season. Oduwa started the season really strongly at his loan club Rangers and he became popular with the fans at the Glasgow based club, and he showed the great skill (including a wonderful rainbow flick against Alloa Athletic) and ability that he had on the ball during those opening stages of the season. During his time in Glasgow, Oduwa made 19 appearances for Rangers, scoring one goal and registering five assists. However, his season long came to an early end, and he returned to Spurs in January 2016. Soon after returning to north London he joined then League One side Colchester United on loan for a month.

For Colchester United Nathan made only two appearances appearances before retuning to play for Spurs for the rest of the season. The start of the 2016/17 season saw the predominantly left sided winger join League One side Peterborough United on loan, after making three Premier League 2 appearances for our under 23 side at the start of the season. He made nine appearances for Peterborough before returning to Spurs in the January of 2017. Upon his return to Spurs the Londoner played four times for our under 23 side in the league, and I remember reporting on those four games well, and Oduwa was really really good. He put in some very strong performances against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and finally Liverpool at Anfield in the February of 2017. From those four appearances the confident winger was at times extremely difficult to defend against, and he was directly involved in a good number of goals from those four appearances, and I did hope that he might have got a chance in the first team squad, possibly at the start of the next season in pre-season. Dominant and strong down the flanks, the tall and quick winger showed on many occasions at youth level for Spurs his ability to do almost Yannick Bolasie-esque and Adel Taarabt-esque types of skill, and his trickery and ability to seemingly effortlessly weave his way around opposition defenders, was at times unreal. He could also cross the ball well, had a good eye for goal, and when playing the CAM role Oduwa’s linkup play and passing was good, and he showed this for England at youth level when playing that role. He could also hold the ball up well and bring others into the game, when playing as a centre forward. However, at youth level, and out on loan and even still now, Nathan is such an unpredictable player, who with his pace and trickery could give any defender a really difficult game on his day. He showed this on occasions even when playing his last game for Spurs’ under 23 side, when coming up against a young Trent Alexander-Arnold on the left flank at Anfield.

Nathan left Spurs on a permanent basis shortly after that Liverpool game, when he went to join Slovenian PrvaLiga side NK Olimpia Ljubljana on a three year deal in mid February of 2017. Oduwa would go on to make 25 appearances in total for the Slovenian club, scoring two goals and registering some assists for NK Olimpia Ljubljana, he played a part in helping them to finish as runners up in the Slovenian Cup in the 2016/17 season, and also help them to win the Slovenian PrvaLiga during the following 2017/18 season. Oduwa left NK Olimpia Ljubljana in the summer of 2018, and he then joined Danish Superligaen side Vejle Boldklub in September 2018, but after making just three competitive appearances for them, he left in the December of that year. Oduwa then signed for Israeli Premier League side Hapoel Hadera at the start of 2019, and during his time at Hapoel Hadera he made 16 competitive first team appearances, scoring one goal. However, most recently the former Spurs man  played for well known Irish Premier League side Dundalk, after leaving Hapoel Hadera. Oduwa joined the then reigning Irish Premier League champions in March of last year, but he had to wait until July of 2020 to make his competitive debut for Dundalk. The now 24 year old footballer who turns 25 in March, made 16 appearances for Dundalk during the season just gone, scoring two goals, which both came in the FAI Cup, against Bohemians and Athlone Town respectively, as Dundalk went on to win that competition. As well as playing in the league and cup for the Irish side, Nathan also made three appearances for them in the UEFA Europa League group stages (he created two goals in those games), and he also played once in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League. He left Dundalk at the end of the season just gone, and is currently without a club.

I recently caught up with two of Nathan Oduwa’s old Spurs Academy teammates, Kodi Lyons-Foster and Christian Maghoma to ask what it was like for them to play and train with Nathan at Spurs. Kodi said “ Nathan is someone who I regard as one of the most talented players I played with coming through the Academy. I can still remember magical moments he done to this day, whether it was in training or in matches. He was athletic, strong and quick and had all the technical attributes far beyond anyone else at the time, on top of that he was a great lad to have in the team, and was full of jokes and banter. I played in the age group above mine a lot when I was in the Academy so I spent a lot of time with Nath and he was just magical, he was able to do things that weren’t to be taught. From what I saw since leaving the club some of his highlights from his time at Rangers were even just a small amount of what he is capable of, despite him doing so well there. He’s a player with an abundance of ability and one I’m sure will surface to the top again soon. ” Christian said “ I think anybody who has played, trained or seen him play will agree when I say there’s not any player like him. Tall, strong, fast, powerful and so so skilful, it’s just a shame he hasn’t been able to show that yet to the world like he would have liked to. Absolute pleasure to play with and train with and I honestly think he’s one of the greatest youth team players ever. Hopefully he can boom on to the scene and show that to the world! ” Like what Kodi Lyons-Foster said about Nathan playing at the top again soon, I strongly agree with that, and I believe that he has the potential to play in a top league. I’m sure that Nathan will have a new club in the very near future, and I would like to wish the very talented player all the very best of luck for the future.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Luis Binks:

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

Almost a year since departing Spurs to move to Canadian MLS club Club de Foot Montréal, rising star Luis Binks has cemented his place in Thierry Henry’s Montréal side, secured a move to Serie A team Bologna and become one of the MLS’s most exciting young players. Centre-half Luis Binks is the second ex-Spurs Academy player who I will be looking at in my second piece in the series where are they now? Where I will look at how ex-Spurs Academy players from the last decade are getting on in the game. Another very recent player who was on Spurs’ books not that long ago at all, 19 year old Binks was at Spurs for a very long period of time. The defender made his competitive debut for our under 18 side as a schoolboy in a league game against Aston Villa during the 2016/17 season as substitute, along with now PSV player Noni Madueke. He would sign scholarship forms with the club in the summer of 2018, and he was part of a very talented age group which included the likes of Dennis Cirkin and Troy Parrott. The Gillingham born defender made 21 competitive appearances for our under 18 side during the 2018/19 season, becoming an almost permanent fixture on the team-sheet, Luis put in consistently excellent and strong defensive performances for the side that season. He was also a big reason why our defensive record was so strong that season as we competed with Arsenal for the Under 18 Premier League South title, Binks also stepped up to play for our under 19 side in the UEFA Youth league, and our under 23 side in the Premier League 2 on occasions. In his second year of scholarship at the club, Binks started the season really strongly with our under 18 side, and he was ever present in the UEFA Youth League group stages for our under 19’s. And it then wasn’t long at all before he became a regular for our under 23 side, he would remain almost exclusively with them until he departed the club in the February of 2020.

 Binks was officially announced as a player of Canadian MLS club Club de Foot Montréal on February the 18th 2020, and he made his competitive debut for them against Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions League. He then made his MLS debut for Montreal against New England Revolution, and he impressed by putting in a solid performance in central defence. The left sided central defender who has a real wand of a left foot, would go on to really make his mark on the side from a defensive point of view. The England youth international who is also eligible to represent Scotland, would play Montréal’s next league game against FC Dallas and also a CONCACAF Champions League against Olimpia, before the MLS season was stopped in March. Upon his and Montréal’s return to competitive action at the MLS Is Back Tournament in July, Binks would start every game at that tournament, and when the MLS started again in the following month he played every game for them bar two, that he missed through suspension. With his tough no-nonsense approach to defending, fine distribution, well time challenges and excellent leadership within the side, Binks became a really important player for Thierry Henry over the course of the 2020 season, and he got a lot of praise off the Montréal fans and football pundits. Binks helped his new side to finish in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, as they qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs (he was signed by Italian side Bologna and loaned back to Montréal in August, for the remainder of the 2020 season). Unfortunately the MLS club were beaten by New England Revolution in a qualification round match in the MLS Cup playoffs.

For Binks, the season just gone at Montréal couldn’t have gone any better for him really, the maturity that he showed was phenomenal for that of a 18/19 year old. He took to what is a very competitive league like an experienced pro, and he was also oozing confidence out on the pitch. That confidence and the leadership that he shows has always been something which has greatly impressed me, going back to his Spurs days. However, the consistent quality of his performances in the MLS last season were very good (I watched a lot of his games), and Binks showed that the physicality of the MLS was not something that was an issue for him. Putting in many a solid performance, games against the likes of Toronto and New England Revolution stood out, but his overall performances were quality. Strong in the air and on the ground, intelligent in his positioning and excellent at making crucial blocks in games, Binks was a stalwart of the team. His ability to bring the ball out from the back for Montréal to start forward moves was important, and his passing in general was nice and crisp and accurate. I was gutted when he left Spurs, as not only did I think that Luis had the potential to play for the Spurs first team, I have personally always seen him (since he joined Spurs full time) as one of the most exciting young defenders of his age group in England, and I saw him as potential first team captain at Spurs. Not a centre-half that possesses great pace, the Englishman’s great reading of the game makes up for this, as he showed last season in the MLS on many an occasion. Later on in the last MLS season it was announced that the former Spurs man would have his loan move from Bologna to Montréal extended for the entirety of the 2021 MLS season.

Never afraid to encourage or even give constructive feedback to his teammates on the pitch, Binks demonstrated the maturity of a seasoned pro during his excellent first season in the MLS. This was recognised by his loan club Montréal, as Binks was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award, he was also nominated for the MLS Defender of the Year and Best Young Player awards, as well as coming 11th on the MLS’s best 22 on the under 22 list. A hugely exciting prospect, with a hugely exciting future in the game, and a player who I strongly believe will play for the English national senior team at some point in the future. The 2021 season will be a very interesting one for Binks, as he continues to improve and develop as a player. Come 2022 he could well already be getting regular game time in one of the top leagues in Europe, Serie A.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Samuel Shashoua:

(this photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

I haven’t done one of these articles for a very long time now, but with the current lockdown and being unable to watch the Spurs under 18’s and under 23 side, I thought that I would return to writing this series of pieces. An occasional series where I will look back on former Spurs Academy players from the last decade, but also look at where are they now, and how they are doing at their current clubs (I,will look at some more recent Spurs players first, before going further back in the decade later on). The first ex-Spurs player that I will be looking at is the very talented Samuel Shashoua, who has been making a really good impact on LaLiga SmartBank side (Second Division) CD Tenerife of late. Still only 21 years of age, Samuel left Spurs permanently in the August of 2019 after spending the previous 2018/19 season on loan at Spanish Third Division side Atlético Baleares. A winger who is comfortable at operating on either flank, Shashoua joined Spurs full-time in 2015 (he made his competitive debut for the clubs under 18 side during the previous season) and he quickly became an important player in the side, enjoying a good 2015/16 season. The following season Shashoua became an integral part of the side, scoring and creating a great number of goals for the under 18 side, he also played up for the under 23’s on occasions. However, the highlight of that season for him, was being included on the bench for the first team against Leicester City in the Premier League towards the end of that season, and while he wasn’t brought on in that game it went to show just how highly rated he was by the club. Shashoua spent the next season (2017/18) playing primarily for the under 23 side (his first season as a professional at Spurs) while also featuring for our under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League. While he did have some issues with injury, Samuel stepped up to under 23 football with ease, and he put in some really strong performances over the course of the season, scoring some well taken goals in the process.

After one goal from one competitive appearance for Samuel during the 2018/19 season for Spurs’ under 23 side, the versatile forward went straight out on loan shortly after that game to Spanish Third Division side Atlético Baleares. He enjoyed a fantastic season in Mallorca with Atlético, scoring six goals from out wide and also registering a number of assists, as he played a big part in helping them to qualify for the playoffs, which they were unfortunately knocked out of at the last hurdle. Shashoua’s consistently excellent performances saw him attract attention from a number of Spanish clubs, and in the summer of 2019 he departed Spurs permanently to join LaLiga SmartBank side CD Tenerife. However, injuries stopped him from making his competitive debut for Tenerife during the 2019/20 season, and he was loaned back out to Atlético Baleares who had once again qualified for the playoffs. He actually got his first competitive minutes of the season in the March of 2020, when he came off the bench to feature for Atlético Baleares in a league game against UD Ibiza, soon before their season was stopped. Samuel did feature for Atlético in the playoffs against FC Cartagena, and he was without doubt their best player in that playoff game, which finished 0-0. However, to make what must have been a very difficult season with injury worse for Samuel, he unfortunately missed a crucial penalty kick after the end of extra time, which meant that Atlético didn’t win promotion to LaLiga SmartBank from that particular game. Atlético did have a second go to have a chance to possibly win promotion, but they lost 1-0 to UE Cornellà, although Samuel did put in a good performance during his 70 minutes on the pitch. So from the great disappointment of those games in the Third Division playoffs, as well as the injury troubles that he had during that season, Samuel ended up returning to Tenerife for pre-season for the start of the current 2020/21 season.

The former Spurs Academy player put in a series of impressive performances in pre-season for the club from the Canary Islands. Shashoua then patiently waited to make his mark on the side in competitive competition, and he ended up making his competitive debut for them in a LaLiga SmartBank game against Alcorćon as a substitute in September. A number of appearances off the bench followed for the former England youth international, before he got his first start for Tenerife against Espanyol in October. Since starting that game he has started six games for former Real Madrid player Luis Miguel Ramis’s side, as well as getting a good number of minutes in most of the games which he hasn’t started. From 17 competitive appearances for Tenerife this season Shashoua has scored three goals, he has also been somewhat of a creative force within the side, creating a number of fine chances for his teammates. I have watched virtually all of Shashoua’s games for Tenerife so far this season, and as you’ll all know I was a really big fan of him when he was coming up the ranks at Spurs. A player who is excellent technically speaking, the Londoner has also always had a phenomenal work rate, just like his younger brother Armando who currently plays for Atlético Baleares. He was consistently excellent at youth level for Spurs, and he was part of a very talented age group at the club. It’s really great to see him playing at a high level now, and also showing that quality and consistency too. So far this season for Tenerife Samuel has been playing quite a free attacking role and he has really showed his versatility during the first half of the season. He has played out on the right flank and the left (he is good with both feet, although he is right footed), and also as a number ten. He has liked to come inside off of either foot, and look to weave his way towards the edge of the penalty area or just inside the box, where he has always been so potent from.

All three of Samuel’s goals this season have come as a result of him coming inside from the flanks and dribbling with the ball before looking to test the keeper and try and find the far corner of the goal, which as I say he has managed to do on three occasions so far this season. From watching a great number of Tenerife games this season it is clear that Samuel is very confident in himself on the pitch, and he’s playing with a smile on his face as well. He’s always been a very intelligent and mature player for his age, with a great footballing brain, but Tenerife’s number 17 has improved a lot I feel even from that great first season with Atlético Baleares. He seems to have got quicker and even more confident, and with his excellent low centre of gravity and many clever twists and turns he has really made life difficult on occasions for some of the opposing defensive players that are playing in his league. Now a big creative outlet in this Tenerife side despite being one of the youngest current first team players, Samuel has fitted in and adapted very well to the Tenerife system, and after a bit of a difficult start to the league season, he has helped them to get some good points on the board of late, in what is quite a low scoring league. Strong performances against the likes of FC Cartagena, CD Castellón and Albacete of late will have made him even more popular with the Tenerife supporters who seem to really like him. The unpredictable nature of his game combined with his superb work rate and intelligent pressing makes him a great team player for the team, but apart from the important goals that he’s scored then you look at the creativity that he has produced on the field. His crosses into the box for the likes of forward Fran Sol to latch onto have been very good on occasions, and his understanding with his teammates on the pitch, such as right back and Anthony Georgiou’s old Levante teammate Shaq Moore has been very good, and as I say he has just fitted in really well to the team. 

Arguably already one of Tenerife’s most creative players, he has forced his way into the team of late and that great talent of his has really shone through. Such a cool player under pressure, he has shown at just 21 that he can handle the demands and the physicality of LaLiga SmartBank, and he’s only going to get better and better, and I’ve no doubts whatsoever that he will play in the LaLiga Santander in the future. Currently injured at the moment, the player who helped Tenerife to reach the Copa del Rey Round of 32 unfortunately missed out on playing in their narrow defeat to LaLiga side Villarreal, a game that he could potentially have made a real difference in. When he does return to playing (hopefully very soon!) I would expect him to get more and more starts for Tenerife, and help them to climb further up the table (they are currently eight points off the playoff places), and also improve even further as a player. What an absolute joy and a pleasure he was to watch at Spurs, and still watch now as he develops more as a player. I’m sure he is extremely proud of how well he has bounced back from the difficulties of last season. And I for one would absolutely love to see him return to Spurs one day in the future. But if not, then I have no doubts whatsoever that when given the chance (hopefully with Tenerife) to step up to play in one of the major European leagues, that he will take that opportunity with both hands, and show his quality and footballing magic at the very highest level.

Where are they now: Former Spurs academy player Troy Archibald-Henville

Where are they now: Former Spurs academy player Troy Archibald-Henville

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I haven’t done one of these articles in a while now, so I thought I’d start it up again with a piece on another former Spurs academy graduate. Troy Archibald-Henville is a name that most Spurs fans, Academy fanatics or not, won’t forget. The towering centre half now aged 29 and playing for league two outfit Exeter City, joined Spurs full time in 2005. The promising young defender who captained our reserves during the 2007/08 campaign was considered a hot prospect in the Tottenham ranks. His impressive performances going on to make him the captain of the reserve side. It was this fine stint in the reserve side that earned the 18 year old starlet a place on the bench for the big North London Derby of the same year. The defender from Newham in east London seemed to have a bright Spurs career in the offing, even launching the new kit for the following season alongside the likes of Robbie Keane, Jonathan Woodgate and another promising young Spurs prospect, 18 year old Danny Rose. For one reason or another Archibald-Henville never went on to make an appearance for the senior side despite staying at the lilywhites until 2010. Loan spells spent at Norwich and Exeter followed, before Troy joined the league 2 club on a permanent basis in 2010, and the then manager of Exeter Paul Tisdale was mightily impressed with the young defenders progress at the Grecians. Troy spent over two seasons with Exeter, making over 80 league appearances with them before making the move to league one club Swindon Town in the summer of 2012.

Sadly for Troy a series of injury disrupted seasons followed and he didn’t feature on many occasions for Swindon before eventually being loaned out to league two club Carlisle United, who he eventually signed for at the start of the 2014-15 campaign. I was at a league two game involving Stevenage and Carlisle a couple of seasons back to watch Spurs youngster Connor Ogilvie, Carlisle ended up grabbing a late 1-0 winner in that game, Archibald Henville was one of their best players, putting in a classy defensive display alongside fellow Spurs man Alexander McQueen. Troy suffered a serious knee injury with the Cumbrian side and eventually departed them for a return to former club Exeter City at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign, for whom he still represents today at the age of 29. Troy is just one of a number of talented Spurs Academy graduates who has gone on to forge a fine career in the game, time flys fast and it’s hard to believe that the former Spurs man is now 29. I wish Troy all the very best for the remainder of this season at Exeter.

I asked Carlisle United fan Al Millington about Troys time with the Cumbrian club, Mr.Millington had the following to say: “To sum Troy up I’d say he was talented but injury prone. Strong in the air and tackle with decent skills for a big centre half in league two. Unfortunately he never really got a good run of games due to injury and spent much of the latter part of his time with us warming the bench. Pace wasn’t his strong point and the general view was that injuries had taken its toll and his knees were a liability at the end. Met him once outside a pub in Brentford post match. He was a really nice guy.”

Where are they now: (former academy player Johnnie Jackson)

Where are they now: (former academy player Johnnie Jackson)

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Back in 2004 Spurs youngster Johnnie Jackson was asked as part of a questionnaire on the official Spurs website,” what’s the best/worst thing about being famous”?Jackson replied, “I’m not famous”. Well it’s fair to say that over 13 years later, that the former Tottenham youngster is a well respected and well known footballer within the game. The 34 year old midfielder has gone on to play a big part for a number of football league clubs, but none more so than his current one Charlton Athletic. Where he is the addicks current club captain and player/coach, Jackson has gone onto become a club legend with the south London club during his seven year spell. Ironically it was at Charlton’s valley stadium where Jackson scored his only Spurs goal, back in the 2003/04 season. It was with our renowned academy set up where Jackson started his footballing career, joining us back in 1999. The highly rated central midfielder was considered a special talent with in our academy, and it wasn’t hard to see why with the midfielder captaining his country (England) at under 20 level. The midfield playmaker who featured heavily with in our youth sides and reserve team, went on to make 20 senior appearances for the lilywhites, scoring the one goal. The Versatile Jackson who could also operate at left wing back was a player not too dissimilar to Ryan Mason at the same age, skilful and technical, with an eye for goal Jackson was an exciting and highly rated prospect. After a series of loans, Jackson was subsequently released by Spurs in the summer of 2006, where he went on to sign for Colchester United.

Since his time with Colchester, Jackson has gone on to play for Notts county as well as his current club Charlton Athletic where he has gone on to become a household name. The Camden born player has gone on to establish himself as one of Charlton’s most important players since joining on a permanent basis back in 2010, the dynamic central midfielder also has a fine goal scoring record to his game. The former Spurs man has gone onto develop as a fine player within the football league, he has flourished with the league one club during his time with them. The former academy starlet is just one of many ex Spurs players who we can proudly claim as one of our own. I wish Johnnie the very best of luck in his new role for Charlton over the coming season as he continues his fine contribution to the club as both a fine player, and a coach of the future. Who knows he may even return to Spurs as a coach one day.

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Where are they now? (Former academy player Aaron Mceneff):

Where are they now? (Former academy player Aaron Mceneff):

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In a new series of articles in which I’ll be writing over the course of the season, I’ll be looking at where some of our former academy players are playing now, and how they have progressed in the game. The first player I’ll be looking at is a player who I’ve seen play on numerous occasions since he left Spurs in 2015, 22 year old midfielder Aaron Mceneff has gone on to establish himself as one of the league of Ireland’s finest midfielders since his release from the lilywhites back inJune of 2015. Mceneff joined Spurs on a two year scholarship back in August 2012 from Northern Irish club Institute. Over the following three seasons Mceneff played many games for both our under 18’s and under 21’s, the midfielder who was coached for a time by former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood, reminded Sherwood of a young Roy Keane. Unfortunately Mceneff never got to fulfil his true potential with Spurs, with injuries not helping matters. Still I believe Mceneff could very well have made it with Spurs were it not for a series of factors (injury being one of them) including such big competition for the midfield spot. Since joining the candystripes in 2015, Mceneff has developed hugely as a footballer becoming an integral part of the league of Ireland side. I was always a fan of Mceneff at Spurs but it was after a Derry game just under two seasons back when I realised what a talent the former Spurs man was. It was a game involving Derry city and Shamrock rovers, Mceneff dictated the midfield his passing and decision making both top notch he had an air of confidence about his game.

The Irishman has developed a real goal scoring quality to his game, with a thumping long range shot and an excellent penalty record, Mceneff has seven league goals for Derry this season. He has established himself as one of the teams most influential players, and I’m sure he will continue to improve at the Irish club. Im sure we will see Aaron back in English football at sometime in the future as he continues to flourish with Derry city, on a different note Aaron’s brother Jordan who was at one time on our books as an under 14 has signed a two year scholarship with Arsenal, another very talented and skilful player. Spurs have helped develop a lot of Irish youth over the past few seasons, with Kenneth Mcevoy, Tom McDermott and Aaron Mceneff among the most recent, but the one to watch out for over the coming seasons is highly rated Dubliner and Spurs under 16 striker Troy Parrot. I wish Aaron all the very best for the remainder of his season with Derry. COYS

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