England coach says Tottenham Hotspur are ‘doing it right’ with their kids after under-20 World Cup success
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FA’s out-of-possession coach is confident more home grown youngsters will progress under Mauricio Pochettino in N17
One of England’s under-20 coaches has hailed the work of Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino after the Young Lions recent World Cup triumph.
Andy Edwards was part of Paul Simpson’s management team in South Korea, as they beat the odds to help the country claim a first world title win at any age level since 1966.
Two Spurs players, Josh Onomah and Kyle Walker-Peters, played a key role in ensuring England sealed success in the Far East on June 12.
Onomah has played numerous times for Tottenham over the past two campaigns, while defender Walker-Peters featured on the bench last season.
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Edwards believes as long as the Argentine remains at Spurs, more England youth-team prospects can breakthrough into the senior set-up at the north Londoners.
He said: “Josh and Kyle have a manager in Mauricio Pochettino who has a brilliant reputation and Tottenham is a club which does give young players a chance.
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“I think it has been proven if you give youngsters an opportunity they can show how good they are.
“If you give players a chance they can flourish and Spurs are doing it the right way by bringing them through slowly with good experienced players around them, which is important.”
Walker-Peters will hope to make his Tottenham debut next season, potentially in the League Cup, after his recent exploits on the international stage.
Meanwhile Onomah’s tenacity and composure during the World Cup would have impressed Pochettino and his ability to play in the middle should see him offer the manager another option in midfield going forward.
Edwards felt the mental strength of the Spurs pair was crucial during the under-20 World Cup, which he says is down to their upbringings at Tottenham.
Onomah had to bounce back from a harsh red card during the quarter-final win over Mexico, but did so and shone in the final.
While Walker-Peters had to bide his time, sitting on the bench for the first two group games before starting against South Korea.
Even when the 20-year-old defender was given his chance, he had to play at left-back, but got on with it and adapted despite being usually selected at right-back.
The former Arsenal academy coach believes the way Tottenham develop their youth has fostered academy graduates with a strong character.
Onomah is one of many home grown players making a name for themselves on the international stage having either progressed through the Spurs academy or been natured from a young age by the N17 club.
Several members of the current Tottenham squad are part of the senior England set-up, while Harry Winks would probably be in Poland now with the under-21s group for the European Championships had he not suffered ankle ligament damage in April.
Edwards added: “At the World Cup we had a 21-man squad and you look throughout and it is a really talented bunch. Josh has played in the first-team a number of times for Spurs and has been in the squad for most of the season.
“I think Kyle has been in a couple of squads and been around it and they are two really strong characters.
“You do find when you work with the best players, whether it is at an age group or in League Two or in the Premier League, obviously they have ability and a work ethic, but you need a good attitude and Josh and Kyle are two lads who have it spot-on.
“They have been well brought up at Spurs which has one of the best academies and that is bearing fruition with them two and I am sure others will follow no doubt.”
Unbelievably, before the under-20 World Cup got underway, England had not won a group game in the tournament since 1997.
Simpson’s Young Lions got rid of that monkey off their back with a 3-0 success over Argentina and went from strength to strength, winning five games and the trophy.
Edwards added: “It is hard to understand how England had not won a group game for so long. I think one of the biggest problems England faces in every tournament is having your best players available.
“We had a number of withdrawals this year, which doesn’t help the cause, but we are fortunate to have a really strong group.
“They have been together for some time and they have a really good spirit and togetherness about them and a lot of ability as well.
“A mixture of that and good management from the head coach Paul and the support staff around him gave us the best chance of success.
“To win it was fantastic, but looking at it, I think we were the best team, including players and staff, at the tournament. We were the most organised and most prepared and we got our just rewards because of that.”