Tottenham are blessed with a manager who can get great things done with young players. We saw Dele Alli scoring against Aston Villa. Alli was bought from MK Dons and has established himself as an integral member of the Spurs squad. We also have young players like Eric Dier doing wonderfully under the former Saints boss.
At the same time, Tottenham are also blessed with wonderful academy prospects. Pochettino has seen Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb get incorporated to the first team in the last few months. And who can forget the academy player Spurs are most proud of – Harry Kane. After taking the Premier League by storm last season, the striker went through a rough patch in the league recently. But he seems to be overcoming it as he scored a hat-trick against Bournemouth and a goal against Aston Villa.
19-year-old Serbian defender Milos Veljkovic has the potential to follow the likes of Harry Kane, and Andros Townsend into the Tottenham first team.
Who is Milos Veljkovic?
The Serbian began his career in the youth ranks of Swiss team FC Basel as he was born in Switzerland. In 2011, Tottenham acquired his services and the then 15-year-old came to England. The defender went on a three month loan to Middlesbrough last season. However, the good form of Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton meant the Serbian couldn’t get too much game time and his loan was not extended at Boro. In January, he went to Charlton Athletic for another loan till the end of the season. After starting well, he picked up a shoulder injury in his third game, which ruled him out till the end of the season. Two underwhelming loan spells where he couldn’t do much were followed by a superb showing in FIFA U-20 World Cup for Serbia, where he was instrumental in his country’s win as he played every game as centre-back. The Spurs youngster began his international career playing for Switzerland U-16 but switched allegiance to Serbia shortly after. He was also part of the Serbia team which won the European Under-19 Championships in 2013.
Style of play
Milos is a centre-back who is very neat and tidy with the ball. He is composed at the back and despite being only 20, looks extremely mature in the footballing department. The Serbian can pass well and boasts an impressive accuracy, he is very calm in possession and doesn’t panic in tricky situations in the box giving the goalkeeper and his partners in defence more surety. The defender has a good positioning sense and is not caught out where the opponent can exploit the game.
He can also play as a defensive midfielder and he made his two league appearances for Spurs, cameos in the late-season victories over Sunderland and Aston Villa under Tim Sherwood, in that position. With Tottenham not going for a defensive midfielder in the summer, Pochettino started using Eric Dier in the position – a move that has paid off brilliantly. However, the Englishman doesn’t have adequate back-up and Veljkovic can be tested by the Argentine boss in the holding midfielder role. Of course, his primary position in in the defence and Serbia’s U20 boss Veljko Paunovic feels Veljkovic is best utilised in that position.
His ability to play in the midfield does make him better on the ball and explains his impressive passing stats. His range of passing is also good and he was seen playing some impressive diagonal balls in the World Cup this summer.
At Tottenham, it will be difficult for him to break through the team as a defender. Spurs have found the perfect duo in Vertonghen and Alderweireld. His best shot at breaking through the team and doing so quickly will be via the midfield. After all, it’s only when he gets adequate game time can it be assessed what his best position is and where he can benefit the team the most.
“Next season my goal is to play for Tottenham’s first team,” Milos said earlier in May. “I played with Kane and Bentaleb a few years ago in the same team. Now I want to keep going hopefully on the pre-season tour I will impress the gaffer again.”
Perhaps he would benefit most with a loan move, one where he can actually get some games under his belt as the last two were very unfortunate. He has a gaffer who is not afraid to use the youth so the Serbian knows he has a real shot at making it at the North London club. He needs to be playing matches this season, which is the first step forward for him.
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