Memorable night at Wembley for former Leyton Orient youngster Kazaiah Sterling after he makes his Tottenham Hotspur debut
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
The 19-year-old attacker came on with two minutes left against APOEL last night for his first competitive appearances in Spurs colours
There may not have been that much excitement leading up to Tottenham Hotspur’s dead rubber with APOEL in Group H of the Champions League, but for one person in particular it represented a potentially unforgettable night and it proved to be the case.
Kazaiah Sterling, 19, was referenced, along with academy team-mate Luke Amos, by Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino in his press conference on Tuesday looking ahead to the game at Wembley.
The Argentine praised the Lilywhites youth set-up and the efforts of the aforementioned teenagers, adding: “They are working very well and they behave so good.”
Both were named as substitutes, yet unfortunately for Amos, an injury to Danny Rose prevented him getting an opportunity to come on, but Sterling got his moment towards the end of the 3-0 win over APOEL.
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Spurs’ talented forward was ready and primed to enter the pitch with 82 minutes on the clock, but had to wait patiently for the ball to go out and when it did, the time wasn’t right.
Eventually Sterling came on with 88 minutes played, replacing Dele Alli, who delightfully jogged off quicker than normal in order to allow the youngster more time on the pitch.
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It was a proud moment for the north Londoner, but also for the club he was first with – Leyton Orient.
One of O’s current directors, Matt Porter, who returned to Brisbane Road this summer after a previous 13-year association with the east Londoners between 2001 and 2014 was at Wembley to witness Sterling’s big moment.
The forward started out with Orient before leaving in August 2010 to link up with Spurs and has come on leaps and bounds since.
Sterling has found the net a number of times in the UEFA Youth League this season with goals against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
He has also been a regular in Wayne Burnett’s Tottenham under-23 squad and played for them in the English Football League Trophy.
Although last night was Sterling’s first competitive appearance for the Lilywhites, he did feature for Spurs in Hong Kong earlier this year and scored in a 4-1 friendly win over Kitchee SC.
Pochettino has, even before this week, name checked the one-time O’s trainee several times in the past to suggest he has a really bright future at the club.
If Sterling can continue to work hard and stay on track, it won’t only make Tottenham’s fans proud, but Orient’s too.