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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

When is it time to call time on a Spurs career?

A wise man once said that in football you'll never win anything with kids, however he was spectacularly proved wrong during the 1995-96 season when SAF's class of '92 swept all before them to record a famous league and cup double.

In an age when transfer fees are sky high, and wages for the most desirable players 'obscene', scouting and nurturing your own talent can be worth its weight in gold, however this process is uncertain, and there are many pitfalls in determining whether young players will develop through the system to succeed, or will fail. How therefore can it be determined whether to persist with a certain player, or to allow that player to leave the club?

At Spurs we now have a brand new training facility along with a young, progressive manager, and a good youth team who performed admirably in last season's NextGen. In recent years we have developed young players such as Bale, Lennon, Sandro, Walker, Naughton, and Caulker. The effect has been to create a young, talented team whose value, if sold will greatly exceed the fees we paid for them. Many of the youth players currently on our books have been at the club for quite a few seasons.

Names such as Obika, Mason, Smith, Kane, Bostock and Rose spring to mind. All of these players apart from Kane are or will be over 21 next season and will need to be registered in the 25 man squad. Obika is an interesting case as he has been at the club since 2008, and will be 23 next birthday. He is a local lad, has come through the academy , and has been loaned out to Yeovil and other teams each year since he joined. In a position where we are crying out for somebody to step up, could Obika be the answer? If not, does he have a future at Spurs, as AVB would find it hard to use a squad place for him if he isn't deemed to be good enough at our level.

It may seem harsh to cast him adrift, but what are the alternatives and how does the club make that decision? Similarly Bostock who joined amidst a crescendo of hype, will be 21 next birthday, and will also need to be registered in the 25. His loan spells haven't been successful, and it is safe to say that he has failed to live up to the high expectations that were expected of him when he joined. The talent is there, so do we give him longer or release him once his contract is up?

The same question can be applied to players such as Mason, Rose and Townsend. How long do we give these players to realize their potential? There is a risk of releasing young players too early in that another club could benefit. I don't think that Spurs have made too many of these types of mistakes, however Kevin Prince Boateng has gone on to greater things since he left us. He was awful at Spurs, more interested in his hair and his tattoos, but since leaving he went on to have a big impact in the 2010 World Cup and has since become a mainstay of the AC Milan first team. One that got away?

We have similarly released other so called 'talents' recently in Adel Taraabt and Gio Dos Santos. Taraabt was dubbed the new Zidane, however he never learned how to play the team game at Spurs, was sold, and has since done alright for QPR, but is still an enigma. Dos Santos came to Spurs with an exotic name and a high degree of promise, but he never applied himself and only made 17 appearances in 4 seasons at the club.

It is clear now especially with the impending FFP regulations that development of youngsters is paramount for success for all but a select few clubs. The Wesley Sneijder situation reported this week shows that even the big clubs are beginning to feel the pinch. I believe that the motivation to develop the youth is there at Spurs. We have the right manager and a Chairman who has shown with the purchases of Holtby and Fryers that he believes this will be the direction to take for future success.

Thank you for reading my article and a belated Happy New Year to all at VS from Cleveland Ohio.

Written by Cleveland ARTSPURS




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The journalist

Writer: Cleveland ARTSPURS Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 11 2013

Time: 8:37AM

Your Comments

Firstly, a good article that could in effect be run every transfer window as we evolve our development squads. just to clarify that in the case of john Bostock, he would still be an U-21 player next season as you have to be 21 before the 1st of Jan, therefore he would make it, however, his contract expires, and though I wonder if Spurs have an option to extend of they choose, you wonder whether they would take it for anyhting other than hoping to get some small fee for his services. What is always a dilemma is that if we assume many of these kids are on an average of even 5 grand a week, that is a lot of money to pay for players who we already feel have no future. I agree with the Obika situation. as the next in line as a No9, you would hope and expect him to at least be promoted into the squad, otherwise at his age, what is the point in keeping him
oxfordspur
In the big scheme of things the cost of a young player on the books is relatively small I guess, so better the err on the side of caution rather than enrich another club cheaply. However it surely goes without saying that the South American, African and Asian imports, many of whom are only average, are retarding the opportunities to fully develop these guys in real competitive situations.
Love totty
Good article. To be blunt and to the point I would say that (possibly with the exception of Rose) Obika, Mason, Smith, Kane, Bostock are simply not good enough to play at the level where Spurs are currently at. That is absolutely nothing against any of these players. I expect them all to have good careers in the Championship or a mid to low PL side - but none of them are going to be worldbeaters. You only need to look at what the likes of Bale, Lennon, Rooney, Giggs, Milner, Rodwell, Beckham, Scholes, the Nevilles, etc - look what they were doing at the same age. If any of them were going to be 'special' then they would be playing in the 1st team by now or at the very least knocking on the 1st team door. There is a positive to this investing in youth policy though - for every 10 players that come through the ranks and don't make the grade there will always be a Lennon or a Bale (well there will probably never be another Bale!) to be unearthed.
TornadoYid
I don't think you can always go on age as certain players develop later often due to either their physical stature or their mental attitude. I haven't seen enough of our young players to make comment of how good they are but Obika needs to be getting close to playing PL football with a lower team. When your a top four team it is hard to break in take up a squad place unless your exceptional so loans are the answer and it is those loans that are the opportunity to impress. I am not into loaning to lower leagues unless there is a clear indication that a lower league is better suited because these guys want to play PL footy and we are a PL club so I think if possible it is better to play PL footy on loan. Some players go to a lower club and can't hack it but do better in the PL because of the nature of the game in the PL compared to lower leagues.

I do think AVB is a good manager to work with these youngsters and I am sure he will be able to shift through them and know who has a chance of making it.

In answer to the article I don't think there is a set time or age when you say your time is up there are too many factors involved.
thfan
If I had a hat on, I'd eat it if John Bostock was still at the club next season! For me, going on the performances i've seen, and the reports I've read about players being loaned out, Kane, Townsend and Smith all have something to offer the club and should be kept on. Unfortunately, I just don't see any sort of future at the club for Obika, Mason and Bostock (if people disagree, then please, let me know). I'm not going to come on here and say i've seen them play like worldies, i've seen our development squad play once. But there are again one or 2 players in there that interest me. Ceballos and coulibaly - again, i'm not saying they can definitely step up, just that they excite me. Stories breaking late last night/early today about Son Heung-min from Hamburg, have literally never heard of him, but his age and price would suit Levy to a t! COYS, lets get this one striker we need, finish 3rd (yes, 3rd), persuade Gareth to stay for at least one more year, and see where we can get to....
Klinsmann_18
Simple answer ............... When you can't produce the goods on a regular basis and lose us points. ............. But this looks like great news. Sevilla president in London to visit SPURS Sevilla president in London today to discuss deal for Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal target Alvaro Negredo........................................... http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/sport/spurs/10153725._http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/sport/spurs/10153725._/
chrishove123
It would depend on the cost of keeping them, but in reality the scouting and coaching in this country is crap, we should be farming out player after player therefore not essentially needing to worry about keeping or releasing young players. Growing up there was a large element of luck needed to get noticed, and kids would have to work there anus off to get trials anywhere.
coys1717
atched John a few times at Yeovil and he certainly has something about him. I personnally would like to see him given some minutes on the bench. Unfortunately I feel that he might be overlooked with the emergence of Colthirst and also the signing of Coulbilay.
Mickeys1969
Thing is Negredo's goal per game aren't really that much better than Defoe's if his are 0.6 goals per game, so, all of those slagging off JD and wanting this guy to take his place I can't see the difference apart from JD scores his in bunches this guy spreads them out, but at the end of the season they will have pretty much the same goal tally per game, so will it really be an upgrade on JD or just another squad player coming in for cover. The 27-year-old has been one of La Liga's most consistent performers in recent seasons, scoring 46 goals in 76 games.
chrishove123
We now have a manager of pure class and dignity................... http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/jan/10/tottenham-andre-villas-boas-harry-redknapp
chrishove123
chrishove u got any more news on the negredo transfer. Reports this morning saying its a done deal for £15 mil. Looks like a steady 15-20 goals per season striker in la liga.
TornadoYid
Apparently Palacios to QPR very soon.
chrishove123
my thinking is that if negredo comes in then we will offload Ade in the summer and bring in Damiao giving us a front 3 option of Negredo, Damiao, JD. Not too shabby to be fair.
TornadoYid
chrishovel123- HR is stirring trying to upset us before Saturday and his comments re Chelsea are just noise to let them know he is around waiting to take the role of their manager as soon as Benetiz is sacked or leaves at the end of the season. He wants the Chelsea managers job and he may well get it and QPR will be managerless again.

AVB really does seem happy at the lane and wants to be successful and I think this will help the players as a team and squad.

As for HR well he is HR. Worse thing is when he retires we will have a decade of him on the TV woffling a load of nonsense.
thfan
I still think the fee for Negredo is high for his age and his goal return.
thfan
of this generation of youngsters it was pretty clear that the only real star in the making was caulker. the players that could be contenders for us include rose, townsend, smith and carroll. For perspective though, consider that bostock is only a few DAYS younger than jack wilshere, while obika is almost three years older than alex oxlade chamberlain. If we had any other real gems apart from caulker that would be pretty clear by now. For me tom carroll remains the one I would hold out some hope for, but if we could swap him today for either oxlade chamberlain or wilshere what would you do?
Guernman
thfan agree! I think somewhere around 8-10 mil would be about right. You never know. We have the best man on the job.. Mr. Levy!
TornadoYid
it will be very interesting to see how Harry Kane gets on at Norwich in the second half of the season. they are of course supposedly looking to bring in another established striker, though this may well be more as a No9, and a replacement for Morrison instead of Kane, who seems more suited to the No10/support striker role IMO. I can easily see AVB looking at him as a third striker option or even recalling him this window if he fails to get someone else in and something happens to either Defoe or Dempsey this month whilst Ade is away
oxfordspur
One of the reasons I wanted to see DeBoer take over from Harry was the fact that he would, hopefully, have brought his coaching staff with him. Imagine how motivated the youth team at Ajax must be when they come in every day to be trained by Dennis Bergkamp (a lifelong Spurs fan).
I think AVB is doing an excellent job but I'm not sure he's one to actually develop players. To me he seems to be tactically astute, he recognises the type of player that would fit his system. He strikes me as one who can build a team rather than create a player, he can of course relay to his coaching staff what he needs a player to be capable of. It's then up to those coaches to bring it out of our youngsters if it's there in the first place.
It's a lot to ask but ideally we need a technically gifted ex pro who also has the humility and ability to pass on his knowledge to our youngsters. Shame that Hoddle couldn't resist showing off and undermining confidence rather than passing on knowledge because he would have been ideal as a youth team technical coach.
It's difficult to know when to release youngsters as they can make massive improvements in short periods of time but I guess if they aren't anywhere near the first team squad by the time they reach registration age, then maybe that's the time to cut your losses. There's always buy back clauses you could add to the deal with a new club.
thfc1882whl
Its a fact of life that not all young players will succeed. On occasions the club can mess up, as happened with Boateng where he was played just about everywhere except the attacking central midfield position where he's been successful at Milan. There can also be problems with loans, Spurs are quite open that if they think a club is not treating a loanee properly they won't send another player there. There are late developers, usually players who start with a bad attitude but later wise up. But generally by the time a player hits 20 you know how good he is going to be. Contrary to popular opinion a player doesn't have to be a world beater to merit being kept. He just needs to be as good as we could afford in the market and play in a position we need cover. So, for instance, Townsend is probably worth keeping because otherwise we have no cover for Bale and Lennon at all. Rose, on the other hand, may be surplus if BAE stays (now that we've signed Fryer). It doesn't make Townsend a better player than Rose. I'm surprised Obika is still around, probably just shows how difficult it is to find good strikers. Of the rest, Carroll might make it, I expect good things from Adam Smith in a couple of seasons, Kane - the juries out. Thing is for a club like ours we need to develop players, we can't always afford the finished product, we don't need them all to succeed. If you can find one player for the squad each season then that's enough.
jod
If there are, as rumoured, a few clubs interested in signing Negredo then we will probably either have to pay the asking price or lose him to a competitor for the sake of a few million. Yes Sevilla are strapped for cash but if Levy goes in too low there are others who will be willing to go higher. Just pay the asking price before we end January with only Defoe, the pennypinching is now coming back to haunt us and it's not fair to expect AVB to go a whole season with no proper support from the boardroom.
thfc1882whl
Firstly, i believe 2 strikers should be on the subs bench, at all times or 3 attacking players. This has not been the case for many of the games this season. Which i believe it to be a mistake. Thus, it's dissapointing that at times this season........O'bika, could have been used, thus given the chance to show something. Vs QPR.....bareing in mind, O'Bika scored 2 goals for the reserves, the other day and the situation with Adebayor...plus the ages of our current strikers...plus monies are tight, in this transfer window. I would be putting him on the bench..with Defoe and go with Dempsey and Siggy. I.e.....let's give the lad his last chance....before the transfer window closes. If he doesn't show anything...then we still have time to buy, before 1st feb'.
82spursdebut
I also feel their is room for another top striker at the club. If not now, in the very near future, bareing in mind...Defoe / Dempsey / Addy....are not getting any younger. Negredo...at appx' £13m / £14m......and almost exactly 3 years younger than Defoe.......represents a deal that SHOULD happen........and why not now !?
82spursdebut
Jon Obika is an interesting case; had he continued in the same manner in the proceeding loans after his first initial stint with Yeovil he would likely be in & around our first team or highly sought after by lower prem - higher championship teams. Same goes for Ryan Mason, who could maybe look to untimely injuries dampening his improvement in the following seasons. Both were (are?) held in high regard by our coaching staff & were rewarded with longer term contracts. Whilst neither have reached the heights of their initial loan spells, which lead to both being chased by various Championship sides in the few seasons since, they continue to impress in the U21/Development squad so will be down to whether AVB fancies either of them. Personally, I can see both playing in the Championship in the future but can't imagine a change of fortune in their hopes for a starting berth at Spurs. That said the biggest example of this matter at Spurs was missed from the article... Simon Dawkins anyone?
Mex_yiddo
Mason..who i quite like..is playing attacking midfielder currently. I agree...time is running out. Simon Dawkins.....chap who frequents the usa league....I thought he was more midfield too ? Time running out....Hmmmm......could we now say, a proffessinal footballer can now expect to be playing at age 36 to 38.....rather than times up at 35 (generally) !?
82spursdebut
How would have Dos Santos a nAdel done under A.V.B ?? i like the look of the Korean winger/striker from Hamburg ,,22 yrs old can shoot with both feet ,saw footage of him on youtube and he looke really good ,,certainly a Levy sort of buy..COYS.
Edinburgh Spur
Mex_yiddo... Not sure that Dawkins will make the grade but he's not having a bad season at San Jose. He's still under contract with us though and AVB is said to regard him highly, even though he has never really impressed during any of his loans to English sides.
thfc1882whl
heung min son..........well might get more shirts sold, if we bought him...lol.......his current goalscoring record is so so.....one in 3 to 4 games.
82spursdebut
I think you will have to accept some players will 'get away' but in truth I am not overly disappointed in KPB, still got a silly hair cut and doesn't do that much on the pitch for Milan. If the youth can get prem loans then they are worth a gamble I.e. rose and Kane, but out of the 5 or 6 others I feel you'd have to release 4or5 of them.
T.H.F.Chris
chrishove123 - on Defoe vs Negredo. Over the years, their goal stats ARE different. Defoe is 1 goal in 3 in terms of league starts. Negredo is approx 1 in 2. Plus Negredo is 3 years younger, a six footer, and is still scoring despite his team doing badly in La Liga. Negredo has been neglected by top Spanish clubs and the national team, so he should have a hunger. Defoe's advantage is that he is here already and you know what you are going to get from him. Negredo could flop.
TonyRich
Moning Lads. Completely off-topic, but has anyone seen this ?? http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2013/jan/11/premier-league-team-twitter-map?CMP=twt_gu
AlexSpur
As per the article: I think the squad limit rules are a huge success, but I am a bit uneasy with the 21 year old "free pick" rule. The question is whether you feel that Mason and co would benefit staying at Spurs for longer - say until 23 (possibly to still not make it), or whether they are better off being let go to learn their trade in the real world of gritty lower league football. They tend to get loaned out anyway, which does create its own problems as the parent club wants some sort of assurance that their man will play. I like the look of Mason, but if we sign guys like Siggy and Holtby, Mason will never get a look in anyway.
TonyRich
Interesting article...It's a tough one because when you see so much potential in players and they do improve, it's hard to cut them loose. but I certainly agree that if they aren't going to have an impact on OUR squad, you have to cut them loose, not to save money, but to give other youngsters the attention. All in all it should be expected for every Bale, there are going to be 10 or more Bostocks' who showed great potential, but couldn't get everything to click. One thing I do know, young players are 10x more likely to break into our side under AVB compared to Redknapp.
laughter7
Oh and that video of the young Korean winger for Hamburg impressed me. He's a skillful player that I would be interested in. But, at the same time I could see him struggling to adapt to the PL.
laughter7
Good article Cleveland. Youth development seems to be a numbers game. It's difficult to pick all winners at the age of 13 or 14. These young boys have a lot of growing to do (both physically and mentally) and often the promise they show as boys isn't always translated into ability as they get older. It is for this reason that you have to expect to only get one or two first team regulars from a crop of 40 or 50 selected and nurtured youngsters. It is cruel on those that don't make it but the process of selecting the wheat from the chaff is inevitable in modern professional football. In answer to your question, as soon as a young player gets to 20 / 21 if he isn't in or around the first team pushing for a regular place then he won't make it and should be released. If they're not good enough by 21 they won't ever be good enough. Harsh but true.
SpuriousLife
Happy new year Cleveland. Re. our youngsters, as has been said you have to be ruthless, and cut those that are unlikely to make the first team, and contribute on the pitch, not on the bench. Is it realistic to expect Obika, Bostock, Dawkins etc. ever to be first team selection contenders, have they ever on loan, looked outtanding eough to make it in the PL. We just can't afford to waste time, money or resources in trying to plat sawdust. We can only name 25 over 21s, we can't waste these spots, if we register players, they must be good enough to come into the 1st XI if required, if that is not the case get rid. We can keep the best of the U21s until they arrive at registration age, to give them a chance, but that's it. Yes you will get the odd one wrong, although in the case of Taarabt, GDS, and Prince Boeteng I'm not convinced we did.
Frank
If Obika was good enough surely AVB would put him in now, as a free place... There's enough room.... Same as couibaly!?
YidoDave
I do think Andros Townsend looks more than good enough, infact he looks better than Bale did in his first 2 years. I'm not saying he will be anywherenear as good as Bale but in his cameos he's looked a very tricky player! He just needs a run of games, i'd loan him to a prem team - Aston Villa or Reading maybe
HuddersfieldYiddo
I have always believed that you can never tell (for certain) if someone is good enough until they are given the chance with the senior club. To say Obika can't perform, is, IMO, harsh and is just a guess. A striker performing in situations where he is just a sub or gets a rare start in a team that does not have the quality of delivery tells you very little about the players actual ability. Now, much of that can be spotted on the training pitch when the player is on the field with the quality players. Does he fit? Is he at the same speed, same skill level etc. Point is, too often I have seen it, both in hockey and in football, where kids, who were deemed to be too small, too slow, too frail, too whatever have succeeded despite that. Heart, desire, technique go a long way. Obika, for me, was our best pre-season striker a few years back. Harry never gave him a chance. In my books, he'd earned it. I like that AVB rewards kids performing well in the development squad with places on the bench and even game time. Meritocracy at its best.

As to the article, when to cut a player loose, that's a tough one. Reality is most prospects won't make it. Nature of the beast. Further, most prospects will not wind up suiting your system or will be in such a backlog of talent (MF'ers) that it is hard, if not impossible, to develop them in your system. I think, any player who does not suit your system, or who have no chance due to where they sit on the talent chart, need to be moved on. It's a question of respect. Dawson was seen as 5th CB. Spurs tried to move him. To me, that shows ultimate respect for the player. He refused, wanting to fight for his spot. This is what I would expect of any professional who believes he can be a part of the team. To his credit, he is now 4th on the depth chart (I never had him 5th - Gallas was done last year). Next summer, the club needs to ask him if he still wants to stay and fight or if he'd like to move to get regular starts. Again, if he chooses to stay and fight, I welcome it. If Bostock, or Parrett or any others (Obika, Khumalo etc) want to stay and fight, the organization should respect that. By the same token, if there is no place for the player in the organization, the player should be released and should respect that the club is allowing them to find their own path. Spurs can only place probably about 5 or so players in great loan situations. The balance are cover positions, and I have never believed that suits the player. Kids need to play. We need to play them, find them playing time, or let them go find it for themselves. Rarely will we regret the decision. There are players who develop late. You can't pay them forever hoping that they will get there. I believe we harmed the careers of both Gio and Adel. Prodigious talents. They needed to be starting 35-40 games somewhere. I like our new development system and think it will provide great returns. Time will tell. I also like the ethos surrounding the club. I believe the organization is garnering respect as a very good club. COYS
peterballb
YidoDave, if we do not sign another striker, it would be wise to dress Obika, but only if the intent is to play him. He needs to be playing somewhere. <

Frank, I don't think you need to be ruthless. I think you need to be decisive and I'll submit that "fair" has no place in these decisions. I think, if you deal with a player responsibly and decisively, they will respect the decision. As soon as it is eveident that the player is not going to fit your plan, sell or release. If a player is not in the senior frame, they are in development. If the development has stagnated or worse stopped, it's already done. Let them go. COYS
peterballb
Huddersfield, Townsend needs to be playing. So does Fryers, Luongo, Ceballos, Coulibaly, Mason, Pritchard, Carroll etc. He needs to either be the cover or he needs to be on loan. Same goes for Livermore, Rose, Kane etc. Kids need to be on the pitch, every day and they need to be watched over and guided. COYS
peterballb
thfc1882whl I would say that AVB and his coaching staff ARE ones to develop players, just look at the way they have brought Azzer on since they have been here. Last season and the start of this season he was being slagged off by a lot of people and would never have got MOTM, but now he is crossing with accuracy and taking players on and beating them as well as getting MOTM so that is an example of their ability to bring someone on. OK I know he's not exactly a youngster, but the same principal applies.
chrishove123
HuddersfieldYiddo I Totally agree on Townsend, the few times I have seen him he has looked pretty good to me, young and hungry with bags of talent and potential. Just what we need.
chrishove123
Thanks for publishing my article OX, and to all those who have taken the time out to comment. I would have taken part more, however I've spent most of the day doing a course on Scientific ethics. F&*$ing great way to spend a Friday. Anyway, I really hope to see a bit more of Townsend, Falque, and even more so Obika. I've never seen Obika play but I have read some promising reports on him, and with Ade at the ACON, now surely is time for him to get a chance.
Cleveland ARTSPURS
chrishove123..... I've never been one of the Lennon bashers mate, all Lennon has ever needed has been a run of games. He's always been a player who improves week by week when fit and playing. He's not showing us anything now that hasn't in the past, it's just that some on here have very selective memories (guess we all do at times). As for AVB being able to develop players himself, I don't think he can improve a players technique as he hasn't got the skills to demonstrate to anyone, but maybe I was wrong and he can improve a player in so much as he can improve their team play through his tactics. Hope that made some sort of sense.
thfc1882whl
There are plenty of good young talents that I think should be brought through to the first team squad. If you follow the U21 league, or have seen the Spurs XI at any point, you will be aware of this. Townsend, Pritchard, and Obika are doing well, Falque and Ceballos are finding their feet, and there are plenty of others on the up: Grant Hall from Brighton for example, partnered with Milos Veljkovic. I think they should be loaned out to a PL team for the second half of the season (like Walker) if possible, or a Championship team if they haven't played at that level before. Pritchard was interesting QPR, so why not send him on loan there to have his fill of the PL? Failing that, draft them onto the bench every now and then to give them a taste and gauge how they cope.
ceejspur
 

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» Crystal Palace : 24/04/2014 20:51:00
We Need Mutch Belief, Not Fear
» Cardiff : 24/04/2014 20:26:00
Lambert Confirms What You All Thought About Me
» Aston Villa : 24/04/2014 20:00:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Spurs MOTM against Fulham?
Suggested By:  Vital Spurs
Lloris 45%
Naughton 0%
Kaboul 0%
Fryers 1%
Rose 0%
Paulinho 1%
Chadli 0%
Lennon 1%
Eriksen 41%
Kane 7%
Adebayor 0%
Dembele 0%
Soldado 4%
Townsend 0%