Spurs boss Pochettino set to trust his youngsters in League Cup tie against Liverpool
Mauricio Pochettino says he has no qualms about throwing his youngsters in at the deep end and selecting them for this month’s League Cup tie against Liverpool at Anfield.
The Spurs boss gave debuts to a number of academy products in the last round of the competition, on September 21, as the Lilywhites thumped League One outfit Gillingham 5-0 on home turf.
Eighteen-year-old centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers made his first competitive appearance for Tottenham and 20-year-old midfielder Harry Winks was given his first start, while 19-year-old Josh Onomah was also named in the starting line-up and scored his first goal for the club.
The three substitutes that night – summer signing Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, 21, Marcus Edwards, 17, and Anton Walkes, 19 – also made their first outings.
Spurs face a much tougher test in the last 16, having been drawn away against a Liverpool side who are not involved in Europe.
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Reds chief Jurgen Klopp has therefore named strong sides in the League Cup thus far, and the Merseysiders have won 5-0 at Burton Albion and 3-0 at Derby County.
Nonetheless, Pochettino has suggested he will trust his youngsters again and give them a chance to show they are ready to compete against some of the Premier League’s established stars.
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“For me, they are not kids or boys, they are players,” the Tottenham manager told Ham&High Sport. “To show and to prove that they can compete and have the quality to stay in the first team, it is the same to play against Gillingham at White Hart Lane and against Liverpool at Anfield. They need to show [what they can do].
“We believe in them and if my team is the same as against Gillingham or there are some changes, they need to prove they have quality. You know, always the big, big players start their careers [somewhere] and they need to make their debut sometimes in a difficult place like Anfield.
“We are involved in the Champions League and [Liverpool] are not involved in European competition so it’s a good opportunity for our players who don’t play too much, or the younger players, to build their reputation and build their career and confidence for the future.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs