Not 1 but 2 from Development Squad to the World Cup

From Tottenham Development Squad to the World Cup, it's been a meteoric rise for 19 year-old Nabil Bentaleb and 21 year-old Massino Luongo.

Not 1 but 2 from Development Squad to the World Cup

As a parting gift to Tottenham Tim Sherwood showed Daniel Levy that he doesn't have to spend millions, there is talent in the ranks at Tottenham within the Development Squad.

As Head of Player Development Tim Sherwood revamped how Tottenham handle their youth, importantly he started making better use of the loan system to develop or 'finish' young players. Nabil Bentaleb was given up on by his French club and his size prevented anyone taking him on until Sherwood saw him.

Our former Head Coach signed him, developed him and when he took over the first team threw him into Premier League football. He could have sunk but he swum and was hugely impressive looking like a seasoned professional. He earned glowing reports from the best pundit on TV and a man who knows a bit more about football than the average fan, Gary Neville.

Such were the maturity of his displays the the French and Algerian football associations had a battle over which country he should play for. Bentaleb rightly chose the country of his parentage, Algeria and is now heading to the World Cup where he county may surprise a few people.

Having studied the tournament and the groups Algeria are overpriced at 6/1 to qualify from a group that includes Belgium, South Korea and Russia. Belgium are the standout team but Russia have an abysmal record away from home and all but one of their players are from the Russian league.

South Korea have gone backwards and really struggled to qualify. Algeria are a tough fighting unit, qualities that Nabil Bentaleb also holds so any one of the three teams could join Belgium in the knockout stages.

Massimo Luongo went from the Tottenham Development Squad to Swindon Town on loan and then signed a permanent deal for £400,000. He was qualified to play for Australia because he was born there, not something I agree with, Italy because he father is Italian or Indonesia because his mother is Indonesian.

Not 1 but 2 from Development Squad to the World Cup

He chose Australia. In 2011 he represented their Under 20 side twice but failed to win selection for the 2011 FIFA Under 20 World Cup. This year he had only played 1 game for the senior Australia team, a 4-3 loss to Equador at the New Den.

Australian football has been in decline with an ageing side, the like of Tim Cahill are no spring chickens any more and the team is in desperate need of fresh young blood, especially in the heat of Brazil. In a shock to him and the Australian public, national coach Ange Postecoglou has seemingly plucked Luongo from nowhere to go to the World Cup.

Postecoglou is the first A-League coach to have the honour of coaching his country and the selection of Luongo is clearly looking to build for the future.

The Sydney Morning Herald asked him about his surprise selection.

''I was meant to be on holiday in Turkey this month [June] - my missus is going to go with her family, so they're still going. Obviously I can't make it out there so I told them sorry.

"I feel good. I feel excited obviously, privileged, over the moon. There's a lot of emotions going on. I'm just happy that I got the opportunity to be here and I'm very grateful.

"Yeah I am [surprised]. From the beginning I took it as experience, coming in to this. Leading into the game yesterday [against Clube Parana] I didn't get my hopes up but I didn't play them down at all. Obviously it happened and I'm buzzing. Very surprised.

"It's difficult in training to stand out or shine so that was the perfect situation for me to show everyone what I could do.

"No one really knew what was going on, or what was happening. So we just turned up at breakfast and found out. I didn't have the best of sleeps. Part of it was because we played a game and I was exhausted from that and part of I was a bit anxious about today.

"We just pulled up at breakfast and he said who wasn't in and the reasons. That was followed by congratulations to everyone and all that stuff. So it was a team thing that we were all together for. I just couldn't believe it. I was really excited and just over the moon.

"Getting on the pitch will be a massive goal, in any game. I want to be at my best and be professional for the whole campaign."

"I dropped my mum a text [when he heard the news] then called my missus... I play it down a little but they're buzzing for me.

"Yeah, that's the way I am [laid back]. I don't read into anything don't create a big hype or anything like that."

Having come through with Tottenham, Luongo is now a regular starter for League One side Swindon Town, where of course he has been playing with a lot of the former and current Spurs players he knows. A berth at the World Cup will help his career and he was asked if it could be a springboard to a bigger move.

"Yeah definitely. I think just being named in the 30 man squad [was a big thing]. Leaving Australia when I was young. I've done it under the radar and I've been under the radar since. This it massive for me, getting my name out back in Australia and back at my club and in the UK as well. It's good for my career and good for my future.

"All my team-mates are jumping on Twitter and congratulating me or messaging me. They're all excited. Even my gaffer at Swindon [Mark Cooper] said 'well done mate, I'll see you when you get back'. It's big for the club."

Australia have been drawn in Group B which is very tough for a declining side, they face Spain, themselves ageing and probably in decline albeit from a higher level, Holland and dark horses Chile.

There could be a shock in this group as Chile are no pushovers, Holland have midfield injuries and Spain are probably not the team they were. It would be no surprise to me if Chile made it to the group stages, possibly even as Group winners, the question for me is who will join them Spain or Holland?

I plump for Holland with Spain making a shock group stage exit.

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