Brandon Austin made his fourth consecutive MLS appearance for Orlando City SC on Sunday, as Orlando took on New York Red Bulls at the Exploria Stadium. Orlando lost the game 2-1. In the sixth minute of the match New York Red Bulls took the lead, after Cristian Cásseres Jr. came inside onto his left foot on the edge of the Orlando penalty area. He then curled the ball (Austin saw it late) into the top left hand corner of Brandon Austin’s goal, leaving the 22 year old with no chance of saving it. Austin comfortably gathered Fábio’s deflected, looping effort on goal, before saving Wikelman Carmona’s effort from distance, late in the first half. In the second half Austin gathered an early cross from Kyle Duncan, before then gathering another ball into the Orlando box, not long afterwards. The Orlando goalkeeper did well to hold a powerful cross from Cásseres Jr. at his near post. However, once again Austin could do nothing to prevent New York Red Bulls’ second goal of the game. After receiving the ball inside the Orlando penalty area Fábio managed to shrug off an Orlando defender, before then powerfully curling the ball inside the bottom left corner of Austin’s goal. In the final moments of the game Brandon came out of his penalty area to clear the ball away from Tom Barlow.
With the 2020/21 season now finished thoughts will now turn to the 2021/22 season, with pre-season beginning very soon. However, over the course of the 2020/21 season a really good number of Spurs’ Academy players went out on loans to other clubs. For those players who went out on loan who are still at Spurs, I will be writing a short piece on each player, talking about their time out on loan. Regardless of how many games that they played for their respective loan clubs, every player would have gained invaluable experience by being around a competitive senior football team on a day to day basis. Well done to all of the Spurs Academy loanees of the 2020/21 season.
Brandon Austin: Goalkeeper Brandon Austin (22) is actually still out on loan with Orlando City SC in the MLS, and he has played the last three competitive matches for the MLS side. Austin joined Orlando on loan back in January, and their MLS season only started in April of this year. Peru international Pedro Gallese is Orlando’s first choice goalkeeper, but he has been away on international duty with Peru in the Copa América. This has allowed Austin to get invaluable game time for Orlando, where he has so far made three appearances for them in the MLS, and in those three games he has impressed me by putting in some really mature performances. After making his debut in a 3-2 win over Toronto FC, Austin followed this up by keeping a clean sheet against San Jose Earthquakes, before then making a crucial early save in a 2-1 away win over Inter Miami CF only last week. As Peru have advanced to the quarter finals of the Copa América, Brandon will most likely play against New York Red Bulls on Sunday. This is a really great loan move for Brandon, and hopefully he will get quite a few more games during further international games for Pedro Gallese. This is actually Austin’s second loan move, after he spent the second half of the 2019/20 season out on loan at Danish side Viborg FF, a loan move where he impressed by putting in some really strong performances. I wish Brandon all the very best of luck for the remainder of his loan at Orlando, and I look forward to seeing the very talented and commanding young goalkeeper back at Spurs in the future.
Joshua Oluwayemi: Last season as a first year professional Joshua Oluwayemi went out on his first ever loan move. Oluwayemi joined National League side Maidenhead United in the autumn of 2020, and while he was at Maidenhead he was the second choice goalkeeper, with Taye Ashby-Hammond the first choice goalkeeper for Maidenhead, when Joshua was there. The penalty saving specialist only made two appearances for the team from County Berkshire, making his debut as a substitute in a league game against Altrincham. The 20 year old made one further appearance for Maidenhead, with that coming in a 3-2 FA Trophy defeat to Weymouth FC. He returned to Spurs not long after that game, and would become the main goalkeeper for the Spurs Under 23 side during the second half of the season.
Jubril Okedina: A player who had a really good first loan at then League Two side Cambridge United, 20 year old defender Jubril Okedina played really, really well whenever I saw him play for the Cambridgeshire based club during the second half of the 2020/21 season (he joined Cambridge United in the January of 2021). The versatile defender made 15 appearances (14 came in League Two) for Mark Bonner’s side, who would end up winning promotion to League One. Okedina particularly impressed me in games against Crawley Town and Carlisle United during his time at Cambridge United, with his fine reading of the game resulting in him looking very comfortable playing senior football in central defence. Although he made his debut playing at right-back, Okedina played the rest of his games at RCB, and he looked really assured in that position, after starting the 2020/21 season really well for the Spurs Under 23 side. Okedina is a player who I’m really hoping will get a chance to play for the Spurs first team in pre-season, and then maybe go out on another loan move. It will be interesting to see whether Jubril returns to Cambridge United on loan, a club that former Spurs player Shilow Tracey has returned to after also spending the second half of last season on loan there.
Cameron Carter-Vickers: Central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers made 26 appearances on loan at AFC Bournemouth last season, scoring one goal and registering one assist. Carter-Vickers (23) rarely missed a game during the second half of the season for the Championship side, and he was defensively solid and impressed many fans, as he helped Bournemouth to reach the Championship Play-Offs. This was Carter-Vickers’ sixth loan move, but it was arguably his best so far. The USA international did well last pre-season for Spurs, and it will certainly be interesting to see whether he goes on another loan move this summer.
Malachi Fagan-Walcott: Unfortunately what looked like a great loan move to Scotland’s second division was ended early on by an injury to centre-half Malachi Fagan-Walcott. The 19 year old had only returned from an injury back in the January of 2021 for the Spurs Under 23 side, before then joining Dundee FC on loan for the rest of that season. Fagan-Walcott made his Dundee FC debut against Raith Rovers in a 3-1 defeat, but he impressed the Dundee fans in that game. However, the England youth international only made one further competitive appearance for Dundee, before suffering a season ending injury. Hopefully Malachi will be back for pre-season of the 2021/22 campaign.
TJ Eyoma: Decisive and composed defender TJ Eyoma made an incredible 52 competitive appearances for League One side Lincoln City last season (scoring one goal). During his second loan at Lincoln City, the 21 year old played both as an RCB and as a right-back. Eyoma was consistent, and he put in some very good performances over the course of the season, even playing in central defence for Lincoln in the League One play-off final at Wembley, which Lincoln unfortunately lost. I watched a good number of Eyoma’s games last season, and considering that this was his first full season of playing competitive senior football, I thought that he did really well. And just the sheer amount of games that he played says a lot for how consistently good he was. There was one league game in particular against Portsmouth at Fratton Park in the January of this year which really stands out. Playing as a right-back in that game TJ went on some excellent forward runs down the right flank, while also staying deep and defending really well when he had to against Portsmouth’s Ronan Curtis. It was a brilliant performance from the former England youth international, and he is another player who I am hoping to see get a good amount of games for the Spurs first team this pre-season.
Oliver Skipp: Defensive midfielder Oliver Skipp (20) made an impressive 47 competitive appearances for the 2020/21 Championship champions Norwich City, last season. Skipp was ever present in the side that comfortably won promotion to the Premier League, and the England Under 21 international who featured at this years Under 21 European Championships, was yet another of the Spurs Academy players who did very well out on loan. The footballer from Welwyn Garden City was a really solid player for Norwich City over the course of the season, and he only missed one league game last season, and that was because of injury. The player who scored one goal and registered two assists with Norwich, will hopefully add to his total of 23 competitive first team appearances for Spurs’ first team next season. He showed out on loan with Norwich that he is more than ready to play competitive senior football at a very high level.
Harvey White: Creative central midfielder Harvey White (19) was yet another player who would have definitely benefitted from spending time out on loan during the second half of last season with Portsmouth. The player from Kent started the 2020/21 season really well with the Spurs Under 23 side, and he scored three goals and registered seven assists during the first half of that season. White also made two competitive appearances for the Spurs first team. The left footed midfielder made 22 appearances for Portsmouth last season, scoring one goal (it was a brilliant headed goal from the edge of the penalty area) and registering one assist. Although he wasn’t always a starter, especially after Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett left his role at the club, Harvey was yet another player who went out on loan and showed a real hunger and desire to impress on the pitch. Particularly impressive in games against the likes of Oxford United and Northampton Town, White showed his fine passing ability and reading of the game, as well as looking to get on the ball and keep things moving in the central areas of the pitch. It will be interesting to see whether Harvey does return to Portsmouth on loan for the 2021/22 season.
Jack Clarke: Although not a Spurs Academy player, former Leeds United player Jack Clarke did make eight competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 23 side during the first half of last season, scoring two goals and registering one assist. The 20 year old England youth international joined Championship side Stoke City for the second half of the 2020/21 season, making 14 appearances and registering two assists. The York born winger wasn’t always a starter for Stoke, but he was very direct and forward thinking during the games that I watched him play (his performance against Watford stood out). The player who made his first team competitive debut for Spurs last season could well feature again for Spurs in pre-season this year, and it will be interesting to see whether or not he will go out on another loan move this summer.
Troy Parrott: Republic of Ireland international Troy Parrott (19) joined Championship side Millwall (Troy’s first loan) on loan during the summer of 2020. After scoring two goals for Millwall during pre-season things were looking good for the start of the season. However, after picking up an injury Parrott had to wait until September of 2020 to make his competitive debut for Millwall, but early on in that game he picked up another injury which ruled him out until November. He did go on to make 13 further appearances for Millwall, but he ended up leaving them in January to return to Spurs, before then going out on loan to League One side Ipswich Town. At Ipswich Parrott often played almost as a second striker, and I must say that his runs and movement off the ball was just like watching him play at Academy level for Spurs over the years. He did end up scoring two goals for Ipswich during the second half of the season, with the first goal coming in an impressive performance against Plymouth Argyle, while the second goal was against Fleetwood Town on the final day of the season. There must have been times over the course of the season that weren’t easy for Troy, especially when he was injured, but he always gave 100% and was always very unselfish in his play. Troy is yet another player who it will be really interesting to see where he goes next season out on loan, or if he does end up staying around at Spurs. It is worth noting that he did put in an excellent second half performance for the Republic of Ireland in an international friendly against Andorra recently, when Troy scored two goals.
Brandon Austin made his third MLS appearance for Orlando City SC on Saturday. It was another solid performance from the 22 year old goalkeeper, as Orlando won the game 2-1, in Miami. Early on in the game and after a good start from Inter Miami, Brandon had to make an early save. After Lewis Morgan had passed the ball to Jay Chapman inside the Orlando penalty area, Chapman tried his luck on goal from about seven yards out. However, Austin matched his effort by making a really fine reflex save, as he got both hands on the powerful effort to push it away, before it was cleared. Not long afterwards the lively Lewis Morgan threaded a forward pass towards Brek Shea down the left side of the Orlando penalty area, but Austin came rushing out off his line to collect the ball in time, it was an important intervention. Later on in the half Austin managed to hold Jay Chapman’s effort from distance, before later punching clear Lewis Morgan’s corner kick. Constantly communicating with his defence, Austin didn’t have too much to do in the second half, apart from Inter Miami’s goal, which I certainly don’t think that he was at all at fault for. Inter Miami substitute Gonzalo Higuaín was allowed space to get his effort from about 30 yards away, and his quality effort was right in the inside netting of the bottom right hand corner of Austin’s goal, and despite him doing his best to get towards the ball, the effort was just too good. This was another strong performance from Brandon, who could potentially play again for Orlando next weekend, when they face New York Red Bulls.
Making his second competitive appearance of the season for Orlando City in the MLS, young Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin (22) made his home debut for Orlando, at the Exploria stadium on Wednesday against San Jose Earthquakes. Austin didn’t have too much to do as Orlando comfortably won the game 5-0, but keeping a clean sheet will only boost his confidence, with Orlando’s first choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese away with the Peru national team at the moment. Early on in Wednesday’s game Austin came rushing off of his line to clear the ball away after an opposition player had played it forward from deep. The goalkeeper from Hemel Hempstead then gathered a cross from the right flank from Paul Marie with relative ease. Looking confident and alert, Brandon Austin did really well to push over Javier Eduardo López’s powerful effort from just outside the Orlando penalty area, over his crossbar and behind for a corner kick. During the second half and with Orlando in full control of the game, Austin had very little to do, and he didn’t actually have to make a save during the second half of the match. He did gather a deflected cross from the left flank comfortably, before then gathering a low one from the right flank well. Well done to Brandon for making only his second MLS appearance, and I wish him all the very best of luck for his and Orlando’s next game, which is against Inter Miami on Saturday.
Ugochuku ‘ Ugo ’ Ehiogu (born in 1972) grew up in Homerton, East London, and although he represented Hackney Borough in his youth (along with other youth teams), Ugo started his football career with the very well known Senrab FC youth team. However, the late former footballer and coach would move up to the Midlands to sign for West Bromwich Albion as a youth player, before later turning professional. A very determined, talented, highly skilled and commanding centre-half during his playing days, Ugo signed for Aston Villa in 1991, a club where we would endear himself to the fans during his time in Birmingham. It was at Aston Villa where Ugo won the first of two major trophies during his playing career, and he was a part of the Aston Villa side which won the 1996 Football League Cup (he was also an FA Cup runner up with Aston Villa in 2000). The Londoner would later play for Middlesbrough, where he won another League Cup in 2004. Ugo later had spells at Leeds United (loan), Glasgow Rangers, Sheffield United and non-League side Wembley, but he also won four caps for England during his playing career, scoring one goal. A very popular player wherever he went during his playing career, Ugo would continue to be so well liked when he embarked on his coaching career. Leaving a great impression on the players that he coached, the former footballer started off his coaching career with Spurs, coaching some of the various schoolboy Academy age groups, for around one to two years, prior to taking charge of the old Spurs Under 21 side.
While working with the Spurs Academy players, Ugo also worked with England, as part of his UEFA A License work. He worked with former Spurs player Peter Taylor, when Taylor was in charge of England’s Under 20 side at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. In the July of 2014 Ugo was appointed the head coach of the Spurs Under 21 side. It must have been such a proud moment for him. Ugo took charge of his first competitive game for Spurs the following month, as his side beat West Ham 2-1 at home. Ugo’s appointment as the head coach of the Spurs Under 21 side coincided with a change of approach towards the Under 21 side. In the sense that the team wasn’t so much a reserve side, where you used to have first team players regularly playing for the side, for different reasons. Instead it was now a side which contained young professionals, even more so than before. And it was incredibly rare for a first team player to get minutes at Under 21 level, for Spurs. Ugo created a great bond with the players that he coached, and he would even often join in, in training with the Spurs development side. Under his tutelage the Spurs Under 21’s and later the Under 23’s side played some nice attacking football, and they played the game the Spurs way. During Ugo’s second season in charge of the old Spurs Under 21 side, his side were involved in some very memorable games. Such as a dramatic 3-3 draw with Manchester City, in Manchester. Spurs also beat Leicester City 7-4 at Hotspur Way, as well as beating them in the reverse fixture, in a game which finished 3-0 to Spurs.
Spurs also beat Chelsea away from home, during the 2015/16 season, a season in which Ugo helped Spurs’ Under 21 side to reach the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup. In the group stages of that competition Ugo’s Spurs lads impressively beat FC Schalke 04 3-1, and later on FC Porto, 4-0. The 2016/17 season saw the league renamed as the Premier League 2, and the teams had now changed to Under 23 sides. Spurs had also qualified for the UEFA Youth League during the following season, and Ugo was in charge of the Spurs Under 19 side which competed in the group stages of that competition (we beat a talented Bayer Leverkusen side in that tournament). However, the new Spurs Under 23 side continued to play their exciting style of attacking football, and with a team of very good young players, Spurs put in some memorable performances over the course of the season. Tragically Ugo Ehiogu passed away in the April of that season, his untimely passing shocked the footballing world. There was an outpouring of emotional tweets on social media from the players who had had the pleasure of working with him, and also from those that knew Ugo. He would have become a great manager in the future. For that I have no doubts. A highly knowledgeable coach who showed his great passion for the game from the sidelines, Ugo was more than just a coach to the young Spurs players that he helped. He was so greatly respected by the Spurs players for the knowledge that he passed on to those players at such an important stage in their career. But the hugely positive and long lasting impression that he made on the Spurs Academy players that he coached, will live with them for more than just their football careers. He meant and continues to mean so much to them. All of the Spurs lads will tell you that, if you were to ask them.
Ugo helped so many Spurs Academy players (he also would have helped some of the Spurs Academy coaches, such as his Spurs Under 23’s assistant Matt Wells) and future first team players to play Under 21/23 football at that level and beyond. Many players immediately come to mind, such as Josh Onomah, Harry Winks, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Luke Amos, Kyle Walker-Peters, Anton Walkes, Anthony Georgiou, and the list goes on and on. However, Ugo also gave a number of lads their debuts at development side football level, such as players like Oliver Skipp, Marcus Edwards, Kazaiah Sterling, TJ Eyoma, Alfie Whiteman and George Marsh, all players that have made competitive first team appearances for Spurs. There are also other players such as Samuel Shashoua, Brandon Austin, Christian Maghoma and Tom Glover, who are all players who were first given the chance to play that level of academy football by Ugo. Something that I’m sure all of those players are extremely grateful for. A true gentleman of the game who also always made time for fans, it was very fitting that this much loved and sorely missed gentleman’s final tweet on Twitter was about giving a homeless person in Dalston ten pounds. It spoke volumes about what kind of a man Ugo was. At Spurs’ Hotspur Way training ground there is a giant 15ft picture of Ugo on the wall above the academy staircase, which has been there since he passed away. Meaning that every single young Spurs player sees him every day, and is reminded of the example that he set. Rest in peace Ugo. Your legacy in football and at Spurs lives on.
Memories and words of appreciation from some former Spurs Academy players that Ugo coached:
Kodi Lyons-Foster: Ugo was someone that I as a young defender at the time learnt a lot from in a short space of time. He gave me some great advice and taught me lots in my time at the academy working with him. I remember when he first came in to the club and my dad recognised him straight away and pointed him out and made me aware of what a player he was. He was someone who you could not only learn off but also talk to on a man to man basis which is quite rare in football as usually you don’t come across many coaches that you could build that relationship with. I have nothing but words of praise to describe my time working with Ugo and I am so grateful I had the chance to work with him.
Jamie Reynolds: I think everyone that knew Ugo knew he was one of the nicest people they will ever meet. He always made time for everyone and got me to believe in myself when I thought I wasn’t able to.
Christian Maghoma: Ugo was not only a great coach, he was a great human being. His team talks, tweets and off the cuff training sessions sometimes made us laugh. But he would laugh too. I stress that last bit as that was hugely his character. Bubbly, funny, enthusiastic. He gave off a welcoming and positive aura that left us players looking forward to going in every day. Being a defender also, him and I had many 1 to 1 conversations about football. As it was him though we would also speak about life and other people things as he cared about how we were outside of football massively too. He sometimes said he saw himself in me which was a huge compliment to me and still is as his career speaks for itself. I always, always think about Ugo and always will. RIP to a legend.
Anthony Georgiou: Ugo for me was a special coach. I remember him first coming in to help Justin when I was an U16. At the time I was performing well and he really believed in me and gave me a lot of confidence to be told your a good player by someone we all highly respected even before we got to know him for his playing career. So when I got to U23 level and he took over with Matt Wells I was of course very happy. Him being a player made him relate to us all a lot more and he would always have great banter as well as some great advice and knowledge to pass down to us about football and life for footballers. For me I had a special bond with him during my time out injured where I missed a big majority of his last season with us. He took so much time out to talk to me and to be there for me when I was down and give me positive thoughts to get through it having gone through similar himself, and he always had the time for me, and always stayed out with me to do extra work. He would always be there chatting at the end of the day with Matt Wells to lift my mood after some tough days. I will always remember Ugo as someone who had a big impact on an important part of my career, giving me a lot of belief but more for the person he was off the pitch, the funny, caring, kind person who treated everyone well and always had time for everyone. You can see how much of an impact he had on us all by speaking to any player he coached. We all looked at him like a legend and he is missed by all and will always be remembered. To this day I still think about Ugo.
(Barry is pictured third across, on the left of the extreme right, of the above photograph.)
Barry Roffman was a lively inside-forward during his days at Spurs as a youth and A team player, but the Luton born footballer could also play up front as a centre-forward, as he did so on occasions. With the help of Barry’s former Spurs teammate David Sunshine, this commemorative piece will be focusing on the late Barry Roffman’s time at Spurs, as well as focusing on some statistics and matches from his time at the club. Barry joined Spurs as an amateur (he signed professional forms later on) in the summer of 1959, after leaving school. The inside-forward would have most likely started off by playing with the old Spurs Under 18 side in the South East Counties League, and during one season with that side he impressively scored 15 goals from 25 appearances. During a time of such competition for places in the three main sides that Spurs had (not including the Under 18 side) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Spurs A team, reserves and first team were very difficult to break into. With internationals even playing in the reserve side, the A team contained quality players who could easily have got into some Second Division sides, such was the quality of the players in that side. As well as playing in the South East Counties League during his early days at Spurs, Barry would have also played in competitions such as the London Midweek League, the London Minor Cup, the FA Youth Cup and later on the Eastern Counties League, with the A team. A skilful player with good close control and distribution, Barry Roffman was a regular scorer for the Spurs youth team, and he even scored four goals in a preliminary round FA Youth Cup win over Terrington Lads, on one occasion.
Barry’s consistently good performances for the Spurs youth team were rewarded during the famous double winning season of 1960/61, when Barry made his first two competitive appearances for the Spurs A team in the Eastern Counties League. Of his two appearances that season he scored a hat-trick for the A team in a 9-0 league win over Biggleswade Town. During the following 1961/62 season Barry had a breakthrough season for the Spurs A team. He made 23 appearances for them in the Eastern Counties League, scoring eight goals, and he also scored an additional goal for the A team in an Eastern Counties Football League Challenge Cup game against Stowmarket. Scoring for the A team in games against the likes of Ely City and Southend United respectively, this would have been a memorable season for Barry. Although the Luton born footballer never played a competitive game for the reserves (he may have played for them in a non-competitive game), it was incredibly difficult to make that step up into the reserve side in those days. Especially when you had players like double winner Frank Saul getting games for the reserves, in the days when there were no substitutes for first team games. Back when Barry was a Spurs player the youth policy at the club was very different to what it is today. Often Barry would have turned up to play youth games for Spurs not knowing, nor having played with some of the players that would be playing in the same Spurs Under 18 side as him, or possibly (no records exist to my knowledge) even for the second youth side in the Wood Green & Metropolitan League. That was because Spurs used to often field trialists in those games, trialists who more likely than not would never play for the club on more than one occasion.
Barry did play in the same youth and A side as players who would go on to play for the Spurs first team. The most notable former player is Spurs legend Phil Beal, but other players that Barry played with who played for the Spurs team, included Derek Possee, Roy Low and Ron Piper. As his old teammate David Sunshine recalls, Barry was a popular and well liked member of the Spurs youth and A team, and David also remembers that Barry had a good sense of humour. Although it is unknown whether or not Barry continued to play football at any level after leaving Spurs, he did go into the fashion industry and set up a business called Pret A Porter, before later moving to Spain (Barry sadly passed away in 2014). To have been at Spurs during those three and a bit years must have been a wonderful time for Barry, as it was for all of the players who were at the club during that period. And to have been at Spurs for the length of time that he was, like with all of the players who were at Spurs during that period in the 20th century, it speaks volumes of just how talented they were as footballers.
Centre-forward Dane Pharrell Scarlett enjoyed an excellent first season full-time at Spurs, during the 2020/21 season. Next season Scarlett will be a second year scholar, but during his first year of scholarship at the club he scored a phenomenal total of 25 goals from 27 competitive appearances (includes first team appearances) for Spurs at all levels. The Hillingdon born footballer also registered four assists. In the following short piece I will be writing about some of Dane’s best attributes as a player and also his style of play, as well as talking a bit about the last two seasons for Dane. Scarlett made his Spurs development side debut for a Spurs XI in a pre-season friendly against Enfield Town in the August of 2019. But he first made his competitive Under 18 debut for Spurs on the opening day of the 2019/20 season at Fulham’s Motspur Park training ground, against the west London club. The then schoolboy footballer started against a very good Fulham side on that day. Fulham saw a lot more of the ball than Spurs during that game, when he played almost as a second striker to Kion Etete, and although he didn’t get on the ball much in promising positions, he did work very hard off the ball. Scarlett featured in four more games for Spurs at competitive Under 18 level that season. He came very close to scoring in a league game against Norwich City, in what was a good cameo performance, before then scoring a good centre-forwards goal in the next game against Aston Villa. However, Scarlett unfortunately sustained a bad season ending injury early on in his next league game (after making a sliding challenge), which was against Chelsea in November 2019 (Scarlett also made the bench on one occasion for Spurs’ Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League).
That injury would have been very difficult for the England youth international, but Dane came back for the 2020/21 season after impressing with the Spurs first team in some pre-season friendlies. He scored two goals and registered two assists for Matt Taylor’s Spurs Under 18 side against West Ham United on the opening day of the Under 18 league season, and what followed in terms of goalscoring was nothing short of phenomenal. Of the standout individual moments from Dane during the season just gone, a 7-0 Under 18 league win over Southampton stands outs when Dane was involved in five goals (four goals and one assist). Also, his hat-trick against league runners up Crystal Palace would have been a memorable moment for the 17 year old, as would his first competitive goal for the Spurs Under 23 side, back in the December of 2020. However, Scarlett also made three competitive first team appearances for the Spurs first team during the 2020/21 season, registering one assist (he became the youngest player to assist in the competition since Kylian Mbappé). His goalscoring/assists record during the season just gone was almost on the levels of Reo Griffiths’ outstanding 2017/18 season, a season that Griffiths scored 34 competitive goals in. Obviously I haven’t seen as much of Dane at the same stage in his career as I saw of Troy Parrott during his first year of scholarship. However, I feel as if I have seen him enough to write a bit about his style of play. Dane Scarlett is a very good finisher of goals, but something I have been very impressed with has been how good he is in the air. Scoring a good number of goals with his head, his headers are often powerful ones with a nice accuracy to them. A commanding presence up front for the Spurs Under 18’s during the 2020/21 season, Dane seems to exude confidence in those games, but also for the Under 23 side he did cause problems for defenders. With a good example of this being in a Premier League 2 game against Chelsea last year.
During the Spurs Under 23 game game against Chelsea the centre-forward scored a really good and powerful header against Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech, after some good movement inside the Chelsea box. The centre-forward was playing out on the right flank as a winger, and his movement off the ball was really impressive, as was his desire to track back and help out the Spurs right-back during the game, and his defensive work during that game was very, very good. Scarlett is obviously a very good finisher, and he is a striker who will score a variety of different goals (he is good from distance also). But if opposition defenders make errors in and around the penalty area then the last thing they need is a centre-forward of Scarlett’s quality around, more than ready to find the back of the net, if given the chance. Apart from his aerial ability the Spurs Academy player who signed his first professional contract with the club last season, is a player who likes to try a variety of finishes (he is a very good finisher). Although he does like to finish with power and style, in my opinion it is actually Scarlett’s off the ball movement which is perhaps his greatest attribute as a player. Terrific at pressing defenders (whenever I have seen him play) and never giving them a moment to focus on the ball, his off the ball work reminds me of Troy Parrott’s, at the same stage in his career. He is so good at getting himself into good goalscoring positions, and he seems to almost ghost into fine positions from which he can score from. A physical player who is not afraid to battle for the ball, Dane takes responsibility in games and he is also a leader too. He is a confident player with good pace, and he showed this in first team games last season against Ludogorets Razgrad and Wolfsberger AC respectively.
Dane has come back from a bad injury and performed remarkably well during the recent 2020/21 season, and whenever I have seen him I have been so impressed with his off the ball movement, and that desire to run the extra yard for his team. A player who has just had a very promising season, Scarlett has a very promising future in the game, and with Spurs in the inaugural UEFA Conference League next season, the 17 year old will surely get more first team appearances. The centre-forward should be very proud of all that he has achieved during the 2020/21 season, and I wish him all the very best of luck for next season.
Having been at Spurs for many years (Kazaiah was previously at Leyton Orient) centre-forward Kazaiah Sterling left the club last Thursday, after it was announced by Spurs. Sterling (22) came up through the Academy ranks at Spurs to make two competitive first team appearances for the club, but to those Spurs fans who watch Academy games, they would have first been aware of Kazaiah during the 2014/15 season. During that season the player from north London made a number of competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side as a schoolboy, and he even scored a fine goal against Chelsea in the semi-finals of that seasons FA Youth Cup, at White Hart Lane. Sterling did well for the Under 18 side during the following 2015/16 season, and he would step up to play for the then Spurs Under 21 side on three occasions in competitive competition, scoring once. The former England youth international missed quite a bit of the start of the following 2016/17 season through injury, but his goals in the FA Youth Cup were one of the main reasons why we reached the semi-finals of the competition that season. Also capable of playing out wide or as a second striker, Kazaiah Sterling scored two goals from three appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side that season, a season which he finished strongly. The 2017/18 season saw Kazaiah promoted to the Under 23 side, although he also played for Spurs’ Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League.
A very technical forward, who is a very clinical centre-forward and particularly good in situations when he only has the goalkeeper to beat (one on ones), Sterling made his competitive first team debut for Spurs during the 2017/18 season. After he came off the bench against Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia in the UEFA Champions League, at Wembley Stadium. Sterling also scored an impressive amount of goals at Academy level for Spurs during that same season. Although he was a part of Spurs’ (the first team) pre-season for the start of the 2018/19 season, Kazaiah picked up an injury that summer which would rule him out until the October of 2018. He returned to Spurs’ Under 23 side and he would score four league goals from seven Premier League 2 appearances, before joining Sunderland on loan for the second part of the season. After impressing in France for Spurs’ development side in pre-season in the summer of 2019 where Kazaiah put in some really good performances, he joined Doncaster Rovers not long after scoring two goals for Spurs’ Under 23 side, in their Premier League 2 opener. However, he picked up an injury not long after he joined Doncaster, which would sadly rule him out for the rest of the 2019/20 season. Kazaiah did return for pre-season of the season just gone, and after playing a good number of games for Spurs’ Under 23 side he joined League 2 club Southend United on loan.
During his time in Essex Kazaiah scored one goal from 12 appearances for Southend, before returning to Spurs and joining Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton for the second part of the season, where in total he made nine appearances, before again returning to Spurs. I always enjoyed watching Kazaiah play for Spurs and I’ve always thought that he is a quality player, but has just been unlucky with injuries. I used to like to watch him in the warmup to games, as during the warmups he would rarely not find the back of the net when the players used to try and beat the goalkeeper from the edge of the six yard box. A skilful player who was more than capable of playing development side football as a first year scholar, Kazaiah is very good at scoring goals from inside the oppositions box. And his goalscoring record at Academy level for Spurs has always been impressive, as has all the different kinds of goals that he has scored at that level. A player who shows great composure in front of goal and who also likes to place his efforts on goal rather than go for power. Some games which really stand out from watching Kazaiah over the years include the time when he scored two goals in the FA Youth Cup against Norwich City in 2017. And also an excellent individual performance for Spurs’ Under 23 side in the Premier League 2 against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2018.
I truly believe that the hardworking centre-forward has a very good future in the game, and I very much look forward to following his progress. Farewell and good luck, Kazaiah.
Of the 11 Academy players that left Spurs on Thursday with their contracts almost coming to an end, one player from the very talented 2018/19 Academy first year intake was also on the list. Harlow born winger Chay Cooper had previously been at Southend United prior to joining Spurs as a schoolboy, and then later signing scholarship forms with the north London club in the summer of 2018. A versatile and creative player who is capable of playing out wide on either flank, as a CAM or even in central midfield, Cooper had shown his versatility during his time at Spurs in their Under 18 side. Chay made his competitive debut for Spurs’ Under 18 side in a Premier League Cup game against Wolves in the September of 2018. And although he didn’t get a lot of competitive game time during the remainder of that season (he made the bench on one occasion for our development side in the EFL Trophy), Chay did put in a terrific performance against Aston Villa, at their training ground, in a league game. With the then first year scholar causing so many problems for the Aston Villa defence, in a game which Spurs won 3-2. That performance was a sign of things to come for Chay, who during the following and curtailed 2019/20 season would put in a series of really good performances. Performances of which included some really memorable moments for Chay, and during that season he contributed to the Under 18 side by scoring five goals and registering six assists. Always more than capable of wowing with with his skill, agility and ability to score from long range (he is good with both feet), Cooper impressed me very much in Under 18 Premier League games against the likes of Swansea City, Southampton and Norwich City. He also came off the bench against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup to score a really nice goal, to help us progress into the next round of that competition.
His ability on the ball to create chances out of nothing, as well as his pace and defensive work are some of his main attributes, which in my opinion saw him do so very well during the 2019/20 season. In a piece which I wrote on Chay during the 2019/20 season, I mentioned a few similarities he has as a player with Nathan Oduwa. Nathan was more than capable of producing magnificent pieces of skill at Spurs, and some of the outrageous pieces of skill that Chay managed to produce home and away, did remind me of Nathan. One standout piece of skill in an Under 18 league game against Arsenal, saw Chay knock the ball over an Arsenal player before then deftly putting the ball through the legs of another player. He then skilfully turned away from another Arsenal player before setting up Kion Etete, who scored after receiving Chay’s nice and accurate lofted pass inside the Arsenal penalty area. Although Chay featured in three pre-season friendlies for Spurs’ Under 23 side during pre-season of the season just gone, he wouldn’t play a competitive game for the Spurs Under 23 side that season. He returned to his old club Southend United on a development loan, which saw him play for their Under 23 side. Chay wouldn’t play again for Spurs at Academy level. An unpredictable and highly skilful player, I am sad to see Chay leave Spurs, but I really do believe that he has a very bright future in the game to look forward to, wherever that may be. The player whose favourite footballer is Lionel Messi, will in my opinion no doubt go on to achieve really good things in the game. I very much look forward to following his footballing journey, and I wish Chay all the very best of luck for the future.
Goal-scoring former Spurs midfielder Jack Roles has been one of the most consistent players for Spurs at Under 18 and Under 23 level in recent years, in my opinion. The former Cyprus Under 21 international from Enfield, has left Spurs after his contract came to an end this week, as it was announced by the club on Thursday. Roles had been at Spurs since a young age, and the now 22 year old had been out on two loans during the season just gone, with Burton Albion and Stevenage Borough respectively. Jack has been a real joy to watch, ever since he first stepped up to play for the Spurs Under 18 side as a schoolboy in the 2014/15 season. Roles didn’t play too many competitive games during the 2015/16 season (he made the bench for the old Spurs Under 21 side during that season), as a first year scholar. However, he played a lot more games for the Under 18’s during the following 2016/17 season, and the midfielder impressively scored 15 league goals from midfield, even scoring more goals than Jadon Sancho, and he impressed as Spurs’ Under 18 side reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup, during the same season. Although Jack had been excellent for the Under 18’s during the previous season he had to wait until the September of the 2017/18 season to make his competitive Under 18 debut, with that coming from the bench in a Premier League 2 game against Everton, at Goodison Park. Roles had to wait a little while before he got a good run in the team, but when he did he ended up scoring four goals in four games. A skilful player, who can play out wide on either flank, as a CAM, central midfielder or as a centre-forward, Jack Roles is a very skilful player with good balance and ball control. His movement off the ball is some of the best that I have ever seen at Academy level, but most importantly of all he is a clinical goal-scorer, who is capable of scoring a great variety of goals.
A hard worker off the ball, the Cyprus youth international who I’m sure will go on to become an important player for the Cyprus senior team in the future, is capable of the spectacular. Whether that be a stunning long distance goal or the ability to skilfully work his way around a crowd of players before threading through a decisive pass, Roles is a match winner, and he proved this time and time again for Spurs at Under 18 and Under 23 level. The boyhood Spurs fan who played for the first team on occasions during the 2019/20 pre-season, would excel for the Spurs Under 23’s during the 2018/19 season, and he scored many a goal and registered many an assist, as he helped Spurs to avoid relegation to Division Two. The 2019/20 season saw him join then League Two side Cambridge United on a season long loan, and it was a successful one too, with Roles scoring some important and impressive goals (he got five in 25 competitive appearances). However, during the season just gone, Jack unfortunately didn’t get too much game time during his two Football League loans. Another member of the talented 2015/16 Academy intake to leave the club, Roles was a real pleasure to watch play for the Spurs Under 18’s, 19’s and 23’s during his time at the club. A couple of games stand out, such as when he led the line for Spurs’ Under 23’s up in County Lancashire, and registered two clever assists in a 3-1 win, in what was a very good individual performance from him. In addition his hat-trick for the Under 23’s against Derby County at Stevenage Borough’s ground also stands out, as does his goal and assist against Manchester United at Old Trafford for the Spurs Under 23 side in early 2018.
I’m sad to see Jack leave Spurs, especially as he’s a player who I thought was capable of making competitive first team appearances for the club, but I have no doubts whatsoever that the next chapter in his football career will be just the start of great things to come for him in his career. I would like to wish Jack all the very best of luck for the rest of his football career, and I look forward to following his progress in the game.