Inside Lane: Tom Carroll and co can add fresh impetus at Spurs this season
Tottenham blogger Sarah Bassett is excited by the steady stream of talent coming out of Tottenham’s academy.
Sitting in the Paxton and sporadically hearing Tom Carroll amongst the substitutes in recent years made it feel like he was the next big thing, waiting hungrily in the wings to take our attacking prowess to a newer, fresher level.
But of course it was Harry Kane, who is one year younger, who usurped Carroll in unequivocal fashion to make his mark as an youth academy product.
It’s always exciting when a youngster makes his first-team debut. It was no different when I saw a teenage Carroll make his during our Europa League play-off at Hearts in 2011, but my intrigue has since ebbed somewhat. The ever-promising 23-year-old will hope this will be the season he finally stakes his claim at White Hart Lane.
Until recently, we did not have many youth products who actually went on to make substantial impacts for us. But things have changed emphatically and I am personally very excited by our new-found, fully-functioning, footballing fountain of youth – Danny Rose, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb (Saturday’s Old Trafford debacle aside), Andros Townsend and, of course, he who need not be named.
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Carroll remains a steadfast contender on the fringes of our first team, along with fellow youth academy products Nathan Oduwa, Joshua Onomah and Alex Pritchard. None of that group have been loaned out which, given our penchant for lending our youngsters to lower- league sides, surely means that their first-team time is imminent.
I went to a few development squad games last year and have been following these youngsters this year. I must say I am very impressed.
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Oduwa and Onomah were the stars of many a pre-season show, which included orchestrating and securing our opening goal against Southend in a behind-closed-doors friendly, and Alex Pritchard impressed no end in England’s Under-21 European Championship effort.
I fully expect to see all of the above feature this season but the question is, in what capacity?
We are all aware of the contrived cliché of fielding so-called second teams in the cup competitions so our bigger names can get a rest.
Yet, judging by our ill-equipped, make-shift midfield (#EricDier) in our Premier League loss to Manchester United, we could do with giving more of our graduates a real go.
Follow me @MissSBassett