Vital Football

Latest Tottenham Hotspur News

What next for our youngsters?

What next for our youngsters?

January will not only be interesting to see who we buy and sell, but it will also be a time to see what, if anything happens to our emerging youngsters.

After topping their league in the U-21 competition and also qualified for the knock out stage of the NextGen tournament, it is probably safe to say that we have a very decent group of kids at the club, but it is more about the players that are soon to be too old for the junior teams, but are still to truly establish themselves as senior players that concern me, if concern is the right word. It is clear that these players have quality, but it is opportunity that is missing and the question is how best do we give then the games they look like they need.

As things stand, Danny Rose and Adam Smith are two very good examples of players who are currently performing very well whilst on loan and fingers crossed that Harry Kane will be able to at last show his quality as he returns to full fitness with Norwich, but what about others such as Andros Townsend, Iago Falque, Ryan Mason and Dean Parrett as four prime examples of players who seem to have all the right qualities, but as yet aren't getting the minutes on the pitch at senior level to prove their worth and gain experience. Perhaps we could also add Jake Livermore and Tom Carroll to the list as I can see their chances being limited with the return of Scott Parker to first team action.

It is all too easy to suggest that we loan these players to lower Premiership sides and that we then solve the problem. Getting the right club who will want and play the player is harder that we would imagine. What is the point in loaning a player, only to see him out of the team or played out of his ideal position. The likes of Wigan etc are of course not going to take a player from us as a favour, but would moving down to the Championship in certain cases be too much of a drop at this stage of their development and as we have seen with the likes of Townsend, Falque Livermore and Mason, they have played Championship football and it is debatable whether they learned much from the experience.

In contrast, we can look at Liverpool and see the impact someone like Raheem Sterling has made without any time away from Anfield and he has jumped straight from Academy starlet to the first team and England, and already looks to be one of their outstanding players, regardless of him being young enough to be the love child of Jamie Carragher. Interestingly Sterling is a few years younger than all of the Spurs players I have mentioned, so does that just make him better or just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to get his chance?

Perhaps we are doing AVB a disservice and given time we will see these players start the occasional Premiership game, but until he gets the side playing exactly how he wants them to, is he better to stick with a settled side and only once they have mastered his tactical demands, can he slowly but surely bring in the kids for anything other than an occasional Cup cameo. It is of course easy to big up Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool or even Paul Lambert at Villa for giving kids a chance, but was that done out of great vision or simply a case of having no other option? Perhaps I am cynical, but usually when a manager gives more than an occasional player a chance, it is born out of necessity as opposed to anything else. Managers tend to play safe and go with experience and big money signings than giving the kids time to grow into genuine first team players.

I have noted with interest the positivity for Carroll, Falque and Townsend this season, but in the short term can we see them getting enough first team games to develop them as players and also keep them happy and motivated? Equally if we were to loan them, what happens if we got a sudden glut of injuries that ultimately went on to cost us dearly? However as a fan, it is all well and good bigging up the kids in their occasional appearance, but would you be happy to perhaps risk dropping points or accepting the youngsters understandable poor games or decisions, for the long term development of the player and the good of the club? I only have to hear and read comments about Jake Livermore to make me worry that we don't have the patience to allow the players to grow.

I suppose much depends on the players mindset. Are they currently happy with how their career is going and their status at the club? It is quite possible that training regularly with the senior players and getting the occasional game or substitute spot is considered better than working and playing alongside Championship players and that argument has merits, certainly when we consider last seasons non event of a loan for Yago Falque at Southampton for example. Are we also in a time when some players don't have the game for lower level football and are better served working with the games elite? Tim Sherwood suggested that was the case with Tom Carroll last season, and you can see a logic there.

If I am honest, I don't really know the answer. It is easy to make a sweeping statement in wanting us to play these players or give them a decent Premiership loan, but without knowing the mindset of the players and what AVB's med-long term plans are for them, it is impossible to know what the best direction we should take. I would love to see some of these players get regular football for a few months and hopefully see them return better players and more mature individuals for the experience, but we also might have to accept that a good percentage of these players will never make the step up, unless we have a definite plan to play them and accept there will be a bedding in period. With such a strong squad already, can we see AVB picking Townsend or Falque over Dempsey or Sigurdsson for example? That is a big call and perhaps as mad as it sounds, their best chance is for a few injuries in their position after the window closes and then hope that they do enough to make the manager go with them in the long term...

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

Date:Wednesday December 19 2012
Time: 10:52AM


AN opportunity in the first team is what they need!
19/12/2012 11:06:00
Townsend is the only one knocking on door for the first team. Carroll needs to bulk up a little and sent out on loan for a year to another prem club.
19/12/2012 11:23:00
Had Rose stayed,He wouldnt had got the game time he's getting right now and Next season we could promote Smith to an understudy to Walker and sell Naughton!
19/12/2012 11:37:00
They have to able to earn their place in the team..otherwise we can just be an aston villa....if we have ambition to compete for top4 and ultimatley CL then we have play the best players we can...leave training of youngsters to west ham, Southampton and Crewe because if we follow their model the successful clubs will just come along and pinch your best youth anyway....
19/12/2012 11:37:00
Falque and Townsend are the two closest to the first team bu that only backs up what Ox said int he article with very little cover int eh wide areas then these two lads are effectively back up cover if we get a long term injury!
Slurms McKenzie
19/12/2012 11:41:00
I think all have the ability, bur as Townsend has shown, he is still a mix of brilliance and naivety at times. how often did he lose possession against swansea last weekend? to me his decision making is still not there and until he gets regular football at the level he needs, we wont know for sure if this is a lack of football intellegence or simply a lack of experience
19/12/2012 11:51:00
Re Townsend read Bale!
Slurms McKenzie
19/12/2012 11:59:00
sure i read townsend had 100% pass completion against Swansea
19/12/2012 12:36:00
but how often was he caught in two minds and lost the ball in his possession?
19/12/2012 12:59:00
Barca's David Villa is taking English lesson it seems. According to this spanish report, Spurs & Arsenal are best placed.
Read it in chrome
19/12/2012 13:00:00
townsend must play more as bale and lennon will need a break. would also like to see more of falque but worry that he lacks pace. Little Tom needs a 6 month loan for regular playing time.
19/12/2012 13:01:00
With the 25 man squad rule, age definitely comes into whether they stay or go. It's easier to keep a free pick around the place but you have no choice but to loan out a 21+ year old out once you've filled your quota. It won't be so easy for guys like Townsend, Smith and Mason next season as they will need to be registered. Caulker is the only one turning 21 that can be guaranteed a place.
19/12/2012 13:03:00
@ jhbspur, I dont disagree on Townsend and if you are looking to retain a pacy player or one to expolit open spaces late on, is there a better option that Andros. in saying that, I feel that AVB has had a few opportunities in the Ruropa league to play him and hasnt done so, preferring to continue with Bale and/or lennon or play others in the positions. is that an indication that AVB doesnt feel he is ready to start games, isnt ready full stop or isnt good enough?
19/12/2012 14:02:00
@ox...i have had the same concerns. For me though i feel maybe AVB has persisted with Bale and Lennon to alleviate any pressure on results. Should we become more consistent and dominate the lower teams maybe he will take more risks in the 2nd half of the season. I feel he has to if he wants to avoid a similar end as last season. But if he really doesnt rate him enough, he will need to bring in someone like Zaha as a backup wide player.
19/12/2012 14:22:00
My only advice to the youngsters is, " Don't take any contract advice from Judas!"

What a complete tw@ that guy's made of himself. Advising Walnutt about loyalty!? You couldn't make it up.

19/12/2012 14:25:00
@ jhbspur, I made the same point in the article. how important is it to get the players performing to AVBs style and to get results to build on confidence as well as challenging for a CL place. get the basics right and then you build from there.
19/12/2012 14:52:00
I think players knocking on the first team door should go out on loan to get regular playing time. Carroll & Falque should go to a side that can use them regularly. Both players need to get used to the physicality of playing every match in order to take the next step. It's clear they have what it takes to perform, but they won't be able to make the next step without getting a run of games and getting pushed around a bit. Plus both of those players don't stand a chance getting in our midfield let alone the bench with all players fit. Rose, I say let him finish the loan and see how he progresses. Townsend I believe we need for cover as he is the only other true winger after Lennon and Bale. All the rest should be right where they are. Just my thoughts....
19/12/2012 15:40:00
It will be difficult for these youngsters as the incumbents in all positions in our 1st team squad, with the exception of our strikers, and 2 of our 5 CBs are only in their twenties, so there will be little natural progression, they will have break in on ability alone. Some will have to be content with back up roles or to move on to lower level PL clubs for 1st team action. It's all very well demanding game time for the youngsters but if this tactic started to compromise results, there would be adverse comment made by the same people. We must try to win every game simples!
19/12/2012 17:22:00
The FA cup is the best opportunity to blood the youngsters.We can't afford to risk dropping points in the league with Arsenal and Everton snapping at our heels.Sending them out on loan is great until we get injuries like last year and then have no cover for vital positions. I can't see any youngsters in the squad as skillful as Taarabt or Gio,and we let them go for peanuts.
19/12/2012 17:25:00
One thing I would say is, based on this season's showings, I would prefer Carroll to Huddlestone. He may not have Huddlestone's rarely seen "killer pass", but in terms of energy, effort, mobility, and being up for a scrap and a battle, then I think Carroll is better. He is only small, but has a big heart, rather than being 13-14 stone of immobile mediocraty.
19/12/2012 17:34:00
Off topic, but the ladies aren't doing too bad
19/12/2012 18:04:00
Demba Ba at 7.5 million

David Villa on Loan

what is Levy waiting for.... ???

someones put in an offer for Pato..

i beleive any of these would be great additions..
19/12/2012 18:49:00
Yidmarks, don't we have to wait until January. Although that doesn't seemed to have stopped Liverpool
19/12/2012 19:15:00
Europa league last-32 & 16 draw tomorrow. The teams we could draw against are

Viktoria Plzen, Fenerbahce, Bordeaux, Steaua Bucharest, Dnipro, Genk, Rubin Kazan, Lyon, Metalist, Hannover, Cluj, Olympiacos, Benfica.
19/12/2012 20:50:00
Frank, I agree with you on Hudd/Carroll. I thought a few weeks ago AVB saw it that way also but Carroll seems to have been sidelined.
19/12/2012 22:35:00
I thought Townsend played extremely when he came on. He provided a bit of pace and liveliness which was beginning to wane. It's pretty obvious that a lack of playing time in the top flight is his problem. I think it's the same for Carrol and Falque. AvB needs to find a way to bring in one of them in each game to get them some time. For that we need a real threat upfront.
19/12/2012 23:36:00
Unfortunately as it stands at the moment it is unlikely that many youngsters will get much of a look in in the short term. Two reasons: we have never had a good enough lead in any match to allow youngsters to be given 10-15 minutes and secondly, even with a 2-0 lead, we have not been comfortable to warrant the risk. Fergie often gives his youngster chance when Utd have a decent cushion. May be after X-mas and a stronger starting 11 would change things.

Slightly off topic, one thing I am confident about this season is that we WILL NOT see an implosion during the home straight. Considering we are 4th going in to x-mas with limited squad depth, the future does look bright. COYS!
20/12/2012 00:56:00
When you think about it, what 1st team impact are Cudicini, Gomes, Khumalo, Rose, Bentley, Jenas, Dawkins and Obika having? The 2 keepers are making up the numbers when a youngsters could be filling that role. Khumalo is playing well on loan apparently but do we really see him coming back and making an impact? Rose is probably the only one who can save his Spurs career whilst Bentley, Jenas, Dawkins and Obika are clearly in the departure lounge. I'd swap all 8 of these for one 1st teamer that AVB would use. I truly believe that once AVB recovers from Harry's stockpiling we'll be better for it. Levy made a huge dent on it in the summer and we are now so close to having a fully optimised squad. That will create more chance for the free-picks as well as generating funds on new players as we're not wasting salaries on surplus players.
20/12/2012 03:20:00
Smiley face
26/12/2012 17:25:00
26/12/2012 17:26:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Spurs Articles

'After all the talk of crisis, we're back in 4th '.

Headline courtesy of poster ahx00

Wondrously Wicked Predict the Score V Brighton Competition

Why Wondrously wicked?

Levy Confidential.

I wonder if Levy is finally coming out?

Tottenham v Brighton Match Preview

We demand 3 more points!

Spurs Archived Articles

Vital Spurs articles from

Site Journalists

Editor email
Real Deal
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Win, draw or Lose against Brighton?
Suggested By: FootballPolice
Seagulls swooping up balls from their net79%
Wibble back, a wet draw7%
Wibble and a Wobble; we lose14%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Write for Vital Football

Recent Spurs Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

1.Nick Real Deal123
3.Real Deal80 spurs80
5.Hot Tottingham 70
The Vital Football Members League