Hotspur Way has looked more like a school than a training ground this year, and asidefrom a detention for Andros Townsend this month, all other students are graduating with honours.
Mauricio Pochettino has overseen a whole cohort of exciting young playersjoin Tottenham during his tenure. What started with Tim Sherwood introducing the world to the wonder that is Harry Kane, the Argentine hasbegun to accelerate the recruitment of young players. The team that played Manchester City earlier in the season, for example, was the youngest put out this season, with an average age of 24 years and 40 days.
Although this is not Spurs’ youngest ever– with that achievement coming in 1992 against Sheffield Wednesday,where the team hadmedian age of 23 years and 97 days – the current commitment to recruiting younger players, especially from the Academy, has never been higher.
Why This Commitment To Younger Players?
With the huge spendfollowingGareth Bale’s sale, and with so few of the new replacements making the grade, it’s understandable that the boardis reluctant to throw money around. This, combined with Mauricio Pochettino’s penchant for young blood, means that Tottenham this season are one of the few Premier teams where management and executive visions are aligned in harmony.
Pochettino did this at Espanyol over his three years in Barcelona and the Academy was supposedly one of the reasons he took the Southampton job. At Spurs he has a plethora of talent aged 25 or under in London. Just take a look:
It seems agejust isn’ta factor that influences the manager’s decisions:“I’m not afraid to play them,” says Pochettino. “If a player deserves to play, if they are 17, 18, 19 or 20 it’s the same for us, if they deserve to play and show character and maturity to be given the responsibility. But for that, you need to build the player.”
Who Is Top Of The Class?
Three names stand out when looking at Tottenham’s rosterof young player: Kane, Alli, and Dier. Harry Kane is, of course, the star pupil, the man who gets the goals, and at just 22, looks more than comfortable playing at this level. Kane is a threat from in and out of the box, which makes him so exciting to watch. Betting expert Michael Butlinof Bookmakers has evententatively tippedhim for the top Premier League goalscorer, with best odds of 6/1.
More recently to burst on scene is the midfield duo of Dele Alli and Eric Dier. The recent international match against France showcased what to expect with a spectacular goal from Alli, and a commanding performance from Dier in midfield.
Dier has been very vocalabout how Pochettino has been instrumental in the youthfulimage now surrounding the club: “Our club manager is giving young English players a chance and if you take it then I guess that’s where you can end up [England call up]” Dier said. “I think that’s what all us young Spurs boys have been doing. I think maybe he just doesn’t have the fear that other managers have in giving people a chance, you know?”
What Influence Are They Having?
Tottenham seem to have fully recovered from the shambles of life post-Harry Redknapp. What is so refreshing to see is that, yes, there has been a sprinkling of international talent (including Eriksen, Chadli and Lamela), but the vast majority of players have come from England, and the Academy.
With the appointment of Pochettino, the charred remains of Bale’s exithavebecome a phoenix of new, young English stars, which are not only pleasing Tottenham fans, but are also starting to benefit English ones too.