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Monday, 9 November 2015

The youth project rumbles on

The youth project rumbles on

Things are starting to come to fruition. The performance against Manchester City and now Arsenal plus the unbeaten run, all with kids, has people sitting up and taking notice.

My thoughts prior to Pochettino's appointment was that we needed to throw out those with the wrong mentality, which we have done, and build a youthful squad. The aim to turn the club into a conveyor belt of young talent so that young players around the world would look at Spurs and know they will get a chance if they are good enough.

Dele Alli embodies that, at just 19 he has taken his chance and made himself in fixture in the side. Young players around Europe shy away from joining Premier League clubs because they know they will be squad members sitting on a bench. It isn't the only reason they join Italian, German or Spanish clubs but it is part of the decision.

It is OK putting one or two youngsters in but that doesn't change a perception, Tottenham however are, certainly in the UK, talked about as a club for developing youth now. Mason, Alli, Rose, Kane and now Dier all called up into England squads. While people and the media talk about Tottenham and youth perceptions will change. It will take more to change European perceptions, but the plan is certainly moving along the right tracks.

The important people though are the agents, they are the ones who keep a close eye on world football, they are the ones who have agreed a career path with their clients. Football is the same as any other business, you climb a ladder as high as you can go.

When a youngster at another Premier League club looks at Spurs now he sees he'll play if he is good enough whereas moving to Arsenal or Chelsea will mean sitting on a bench if they even make the squad. It is important that any new signing wants to come to Tottenham, wants to work with Pochettino, wants to buy into his approach.

Andros Townsend is seeing what happens if you don't buy in. The rumour won't go away that he just doesn't do as he is asked to do and plays for himself, the result, he doesn't play. Gary Neville once again said in commentary that Spurs needed to get rid of the riff-raff as he called them this time, the players who were not mentally into what Spurs want to achieve. We are going along the right lines and have the base to build from.

Now we have a side who give the bare minimum first, effort. You have to earn the right to play, Tottenham now do that. If you have a player putting in the basic effort and add skill to that at the appropriate moments then you have the makings of a quality player. Put that together in a player with a high skill level and an intelligent footballing brain, which is the result of vision, then you have a potential superstar.

Gaining a reputation as a club who develop young players will mean young players want to join us and that makes it easier to sign them. What we don't then need to do is overpay for players, there are always others who will want to join. Saido Berahino didn't arrive and there is constant talk of Newcastle United striker Ayoze Perez. Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are all said to want him in January by the local North East journalists.

January is not normally the right time to buy players with contracts running until June, players are cheaper then. It would be no surprise to see Andros Townsend leave though and moves made for another striker. The two main positions we seem to be concentrating our efforts on are a wide attacker/inverted winger position and a striker. 

Buying the right player is more important than just buying a player to appease fans. Whether we buy in January remains to be seen, we will no doubt try, but if the price isn't right we'll wait until the summer. As this is a long-term project the success of achieving UEFA Champion League football or lifting a trophy has to take place within that framework. It must be remembered that achieving either is not culmination it is not the end, it is the beginning.

Tottenham want consistent success, that is what we are building for, any success is a little success along the way. All purchases are bought with that in mind, not bought for now to be discarded at the end of the season. There are arguments for both approaches and an experienced player could certainly do a job, but building for when we have less money available when the stadium is being paid for must come first, although we are told the stadium will not affect the transfer pot.

Saido Berahino was talked about by some Spurs fans almost as if he was a world beater, he isn't, he is just a decent prospect, at the moment stagnating it seems. Both he and Perez have 3 goals in 10 appearances, after a slow start Harry Kane has 6 in his last 4 games, not through an abundance of chances, but through taking his opportunities.

Achieving that is a package, mentally you have to be in the right place, you have to be motivated which in turn drives you to strive for better. All players don't have that, they can get to a point where they are comfortable and lose sight of it or think they have made it and don't put in the graft to improve. Clubs have to nurture and develop it, they have to help a player discover his motivation, as it is within each player if he can see it. 

Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela are two prime example of players who have rediscovered motivation, Andros Townsend seems to still thinks he has made it and the world owes him a living. Dembele was in Townsend's position, he came out and said it's down to him, Townsend wants to complain, blame others. The message is loud and clear.

The club can not put down a player, they have to sell them after all but they also have to subtly let people know you get on with the right mindset, which is achieved by allowing other players and Pochettino to speak about mentality, a constant theme of this squad.

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