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Young Guns: Go For It!

Young Guns: Go For It!

It seems that for a lifetime there has been excitement about this or that golden generation of youth at Tottenham, but always they have stagnated and fallen away, usually into lower league mediocrity.

Perhaps that is a little unfair on several very good prospects over the years, but since Ledley King achieved legendary status in the Spurs side, only Jamie O'Hara has come even close to stepping up from home-grown academy player into a first team squad regular. As we all know a mix of injuries and that missing 1% of something stood in his way of becoming a starting XI player, but nearly is never enough and from our last reserve team of title winners in 2005/06 and since, he remains the only player from our academy to come close, until now.

This season and even last, we were all talking about Steven Caulker and Jake Livermore as players who appear to now be of genuine quality and determination to become first teamers. Caulker is now surely on the brink of forcing himself into the first XI, even if he will have to embrace a rotation policy that I genuinely hope works well in the long term. I have been hugely disappointed at some of the digs at Jake this season and feel it wasn't deserved or possible reasons understood. In the opening games of this season, it was clear that both Livermore and Sandro weren't playing at their best, but was that more about a team finding its way and not yet having the balance right to play to its max? I would argue that in the opening three Prem games, Jake was on a par with Sandro, who only came alive himself when he had a more creative partner. Would the same have happened to Livermore, if he was partnering Dembele?

Last night we saw a few others make their first starts of the season. Andros Townsend is a player that looks to offer genuine alternatives to either Gareth Bale or Aaron Lennon in the wide roles. A left footed player of real pace, but also with an eye for goal and a more than decent right foot and ability to go past his defender on either side. Perhaps today he isn't quite as good as his senior first team rivals, but he looks to be a player that will get better with games and confidence, and I wouldn't worry if he were to be thrown in to any senior game, as he has the quality to worry any opposition. In the short term is his squad role, coming on late as an impact sub?

I have been a fan of Ryan Mason for some time, even though he waved away my then 8 year old sons request for an autograph when playing for Yeovil a few years ago. In that game, Ryan ran the show, even though he was years younger and physically slighter than everyone else in the midfield. Mason offers creativity, vision and a real eye for goal and you feel he has the versatility to play either wide or central, as a play-maker or in the hole, though the latter is probably his best position at this time, but I wonder if a deeper role will ultimately be his preference. With competition fierce for those roles, he still has plenty of work to do, but with a little luck and a lot of determination, I feel he has the quality to make himself a valued squad player, and then who knows.

A bit like Mason, it is clear that Yago Falque has the quality, though perhaps his defensive and team awareness still need a little polishing. Great feet and vision in the last third, but for me, he still needs games and perhaps a long term loan is what he needs. I ignore his half season at Southampton, as despite their style of football being ideal for Yago, they were very strong in the attacking areas, and he was not quite up to it, but it is far too early to write him off because of one failure. It is clear that not every player thrives on loan, and as we have seen with Livermore in several loans and others including Mason who have struggled for various reasons, a loan is about gaining off field maturity as much is it is about the playing of the game.

It is currently hard to see how Adam Smith will break into the senior side other than a few low key games, and would it be a surprise if we didn't see him in a Spurs shirt again this season. Fingers crossed we have the right back position covered in the two Kyles, and on the left, he will surely have BAE, Vertonghen and Naughton again, ahead of him. Like Falque, it might be wise to loan him out to get more games, and he has certainly shown already that he has the quality as a player, but so far, I believe he needs that confidence and feeling of belonging that can sometimes be lost when being constantly loaned and then not involved in the first team sessions. Ryan Mason has already spoken of feeling much more involved with AVB than he ever was under Harry.

Add the likes of Massimo Luongo, Harry Kane, whose injury last night for Norwich was hopefully not serious, and several others, the future is bright. There is always a need to balance youth and experience, which may well be the only thing missing for some of these players making a regular impact at WHL. This is for me one of the areas, that is a minor negative with the twenty-five man squads and the allocation of over 21 players. does this help or inhibit the development of players that are home-grown but perhaps need a little more time to make that final push, but have to be sold or loaned as they effectively either run out of time or are kept in the reserves as senior players with experience always get the nod...

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Thursday September 27 2012
Time: 9:41AM


Good news
27/09/2012 09:54:00
Good to see Townsend playing a couple of prem games now, always impressed as a winger.
27/09/2012 09:54:00
Townsend has the potential to make a first team challenge this season. Lennon needs to be aware of this as he could find himself on the bench! Back the boys and AVB!! COYS!
27/09/2012 10:02:00
Wot no Tom Carroll?
27/09/2012 10:14:00
HotShotTottenham, I will class Carroll with the several others, though in truth I forgot him ;-)
27/09/2012 10:17:00
Good points made Oxfordspur but spoilt by the name Harry. And I don't mean Kane. It seems that AVB has curbed Townsend's habit of running round in circles like a headless chicken. All in all very encouraging with the youngsters.
Andre's Crouching
27/09/2012 10:17:00
Townsend and Caulker.
27/09/2012 10:22:00
Caulker, Carroll and Mason are the ones who excite me most. Yesterday had the right balance between experience, fringe and youth. Very impressed with last night.
27/09/2012 10:26:00
agree Tony, and the best way for any youngster to learn is to play alongside an experienced pro. how much would Mason for example have learned from working with Dempsey> Caulker with Gallas/Dawson etc.
27/09/2012 10:30:00
Caulker and Carroll are the main two who 'could' be here in 3 years time. The others will slowly disappear between now and the beginning of the 2014/15 season.
Tactically Challenge
27/09/2012 10:32:00
townsend should be given a fair crack this season coming on and starting games to push both the wingers.the guy seems to be champing at it to get games.after this season he will be of if he does not get enough starts or game time.hope it works out for andros and spurs.deserves hi chance.
27/09/2012 10:35:00
I think if we had Townsend last season when we lost one of Bale of Lennon we would have got 3rd. sounds a bit OTT for some, but we desperately missed the pace of one of those two and Andros had that, but was either on loan or not trusted
27/09/2012 10:41:00
TC - I think Carroll and Mason are in the same pod. Caulker has already had a full Premiership season. The loan system worked out 100% for him and for Walker. Carroll and Mason are in central midfield which is harder to get into and they will not get Premiership loans. So they have to play in the cups. Hopefully Carroll gets a full game next time out. Townsend has "something" but he is still too raw... Hopefully we could give him a Premiership loan - because he really needs it.
27/09/2012 10:48:00
Go to say - both Bale and Lennon are currently underperforming. If that isn't enough reason to set Townsend chasing their positions I don't know what is. Townsend is the one that truly excites me - he's a player that can grab a goal on his own - a label which we put on Bale all the time, even when he;s not showing it.
27/09/2012 11:04:00
Spurfect11 - I would say that the entire Spurs midfield is under performing. Lennon has been one of the better ones in the last couple of games. Going from Harry's system - which relied on pacy wingers - to AVB's system (which we are still finding out) is not easy. We need to get our midfield playing well first before we think about dropping Townsend and co into it....
27/09/2012 11:15:00
not to forget the younger faces like Pritchard, Coulibaly and Mckevoy, who looked seriously promising against barca. Pritchard in particular looked absolutely class, next season I'd like to see him move towards the first team squad, and/or go on loan somewhere.
27/09/2012 11:37:00
spurfect I agree about bale but not lennon, he's been one of our best players so far this season IMO. If we can get him and walker combining like they did against lazio more often he'll be a force to be reckoned with. bale and AVB just need to sit down and work out where Bale work, he has the skill, strength and speed to dominate games. As I've said before, the idea of him and vertonghen running at rafael and valencia this weekend gets me salivating, verts did seem to get the best out of him on sunday!
27/09/2012 11:41:00
27/09/2012 11:42:00
Caulker and Townsend are the real deal. Caulker will one day captain England.
27/09/2012 11:52:00
There is no way we can compete with teams who can buy success unless we produce our own players. We tend to focus on Ledley King and before him Steve Perryman but we did produce a few more over the years. David Howells came through the youth system and played 335 games for the club. The problem has always been that anyone who came through the ranks seemed to be regarded by club and fans alike as never as good as someone we paid money for. This seems to be changing at last, both the chairman and manager seem committed to giving young players a chance. We seem to have sorted out a loan system that works for us and the penny seemed to have dropped that paying good money for average players is not the way to succeed. You are never going to get a 25 man squad of superstars, if we can produce our own players and save the cash for the few buys that will genuinly raise the team to the next level we will be in a much better position.
27/09/2012 11:53:00
Townsend should be getting some game time off the bench in the Prem and maybe a start or two at home games as well. I think AVB will phase him over the course of the year. Carroll and Mason will be looking for cup appearances this year and hopefully start to make the transition next.
27/09/2012 12:27:00
Alex Pritchard is the one who will be our next big academy star. The kid is really gifted. Lets see how his future pans out
27/09/2012 12:32:00
Anyone go to the game last night? It would be interesting to hear how the players performed, they just don't look the same on the radio. Though last time around vs Stoke, they did say ''Pav even looks bad on the radio'' Did they ever get the ball back from his pen miss or is it still lodged in the iron girders ?
spu 4 life
27/09/2012 12:38:00
AVB seems to have lifted the spirits of the up and comers. Things are looking up across the board at the lane.
27/09/2012 12:48:00
If AVB can teach townsend to pass i'll be happier. greedy little tyke
27/09/2012 13:56:00
jake liverpool will be sold soon enough, he's not quite up to spurs level, but could be decent for a lower prem/championship side. He is not positive enough on the ball, doesnt have pace, isn't a particularly clever passer, and isnt really tough enough in the tackle to be a holding mid a la sandro. cualker however looks very promising, and lets hope townsend progresses....
27/09/2012 14:35:00
Townsend is good but Lennon is God. We really missed him last season, lacked balance and a right sided threat. Against reading he was about one of three decent players for most the match. Yes I'd like him to be a little be better end product wise but you have to appreciate what he is not what he isn't.
27/09/2012 15:31:00
Greast article!
27/09/2012 19:05:00
thf hes a decent premier league player thats it not class , townsend looks like he has more variety to is game than one dimensial lennon
27/09/2012 19:18:00
Don't forget Danny Rose who looks like having a good loan spell, if he develops half as much as Caulker did he will be a handy squad member. I just hope we can have some stability because without that our youngsters will never get a chance, every new manager is always directly under pressure and playing youth players only adds to their risk, if the likes of Adam, Carrol, Kane, Rose, Townsend, and Mason are ever going to make it to the first team we need that stability so they can get the chances to develop and improve. COYS.
27/09/2012 21:37:00
Don't forget Danny Rose who looks like having a good loan spell, if he develops half as much as Caulker did he will be a handy squad member. I just hope we can have some stability because without that our youngsters will never get a chance, every new manager is always directly under pressure and playing youth players only adds to their risk, if the likes of Adam, Carrol, Kane, Rose, Townsend, and Mason are ever going to make it to the first team we need that stability so they can get the chances to develop and improve. COYS.
27/09/2012 21:37:00
Pops sry for the double post
27/09/2012 21:38:00
Damnit now I did a typo *oops
27/09/2012 21:39:00
Hi ManilaYid, whereabouts in Manila are you from? Which bar do you go to for your "diet" of football matches?
28/09/2012 01:20:00
Hey Phil, normally its Heckle and Jeckle in Makati though there are one or two ther quieter places that I occasionally try too, you in the PI too.
29/09/2012 09:31:00
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