Pochettino discusses his plans for Tottenham’s young stars
Mauricio Pochettino says all of the Tottenham youngsters who were involved in the Audi Cup will be part of his first-team squad this season – and he has no fears about a lack of experience in the camp.
Dele Alli, Harry Winks, Josh Onomah, Tom Carroll and goalkeeper Luke McGee all took their chances to impress at this week’s tournament in Munich, as Spurs faced Real Madrid on Tuesday before taking on AC Milan on Wednesday.
Given their lack of playing time in the Premier League, it was expected that some of those junior talents might be loaned out for the upcoming campaign – but Pochettino intends to keep them all at White Hart Lane.
“Yes the main young group of younger players will stay with us,” he said. “We also have [Alex] Pritchard, who was injured during our pre-season. He is nearly ready to come back and start to train with us. It was a shame because we expect a lot from him but he was injured through all of pre-season.
“We have a lot of young players that we need to help, because we have the space now for them to train with us.”
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New signing Alli was particularly impressive against Madrid, nutmegging former Spurs midfielder Luka Modric. And, even thought the 19-year-old’s last league game was in the third tier of the national pyramid with MK Dons, he may well be involved against Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow.
Asked if Alli would be part of the matchday squad, Pochettino said: “Yes, maybe yes. He is very young and his potential is big and that’s why we signed him.
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“We always have to be careful with young players as pre-season is not the same as the Premier League, but we are happy with all our young players here.
“The idea is to keep him here and provide him with a different environment to last season at Milton Keynes, and to try to develop his quality.”
Tottenham had the youngest squad in the top flight last season, with their starting XI having an average age of 24 years and 287 days.
With a fresh batch of young players set to be involved this term, their squad appears to be getting even younger – but Pochettino has no fears about a lack of experience in his group.
“Today the balance I think is perfect,” he said. “If we add some more players with experience of the Premier League, maybe, then I think it’s perfect.
“We have data and our experience after last season. I think we have a very good squad, a very good [age] balance, only now we need time to show it and deliver our football.
“It’s our philosophy. The club decide our philosophy and I am part of it and we share the same philosophy. I’m very happy and I think this is a different way than [other clubs] do things.
“I think this is an exciting time for us. We have the construction ahead to build the new stadium, and to settle a lot of young players for the future will be important.
“Our dream is for these types of players, the young players, maybe in the future when we arrive at the new stadium to try to achieve something important for the club.
“That is what happened at Barcelona when players like Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and company arrived to play in the first team and won all the titles.
“I think for our supporters they are happy for someone like Harry Kane to represent our identity, and the people like that. We need to keep our identity. Harry has shown his quality for a long time and deserves to play. I enjoy it and the club enjoy young players doing well.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs