Pochettino reveals he watches every age group in Tottenham academy as he aims to create a ‘legacy’
Mauricio Pochettino says he watches every age group in Tottenham’s academy and intends to leave a lasting legacy when he eventually leaves the club.
Spurs’ head coach has deservedly developed a reputation for promoting young talents and giving them first-team opportunities – and he is keen to follow the development of all of the club’s juniors.
“Sometimes we watch the Under-eights, Under-nines and Under-10s,” he revealed. “Our passion is to watch football and when you have the possibility to watch, it’s a special moment to detect the talent. Sometimes we spend a lot of time watching the training sessions with the Under-eights to Under-12s. We enjoy that a lot. More professionally, the Under-14s, Under-15s, Under-16s, we watch them.
“It’s difficult to say if it’s one hour, two hours or three hours [per week] because sometimes we go to the academy and watch games or training sessions and we have a chat with the coaches or with John [McDermott, the academy manager]. But we don’t always have time to spend there. Sometimes the academy coaches show us different training sessions or games or actions and we share everything. We have a very good relationship.
“Always, my decisions are for the present but for the future too. I work for if one day I am not here to create the legacy, a good thing for the club. It’s always my responsibility to work not only for the present and for quick results but to create the future.
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“In football you can work only to try to get results and not think about tomorrow. But for me it’s always associated and trying to create good things for the present and for the future too.”
Pochettino added: “Tottenham have an unbelievable academy with great potential for the future. It’s difficult to compare with another club because you never know.
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“I think that it was a great academy at Southampton too and you can see that [they produced] a lot of players, not only here in England but around the world too because [Gareth] Bale was a product of the Southampton academy. But I think Tottenham have a very good academy.
“The good thing when we arrived here was a very great feeling with John McDermott and the academy. We started an overview of all the young players, to share the opinions with John and all the coaches, and we learned a lot about our academy.
“Today we can see that different players have the opportunity to arrive and to create the space too for the possibility to train with us.
“John is a really important person and I think after 10 years here you can see the evolution of the players. For me, after 18 months, he is one of the best academy managers that I have met.”
Eighteen-year-old Josh Onomah, who is from Enfield in north London, has come through Spurs’ youth system and is in line to start against Leicester City in tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) FA Cup replay, having got the nod in the original tie at White Hart Lane.
“Josh Onomah is in a very good process,” said Pochettino. “He is very young, he’s very mature and, step by step, he is building his presence. I think he is a very nice guy, a great talent with big potential for the future at Tottenham.
“He is in a very good place and he deserves to be involved with the first team, and he only needs time to show his qualities.”
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Nathan Oduwa has returned early from a loan spell as Glasgow Rangers but will not be involved at the King Power Stadium and is expected to train with the Under-21 team while the club decide whether to send him out on loan again.
“It’s a decision now he’s back and maybe he has the facility to stay to train with us or with the Under-21s, but if he maybe deserves to stay in the squad, why not?” said Pochettino. “He’s improved a lot in the last six months.
“Could he be involved at Leicester? Not tomorrow, no.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs