Results for Player Development

New experiences and the lads were not overawed

2:30 pm


Windy COYS has taken this piece and highlighted some important elements in John McDermott's words, elements that are overlooked by many a fan who isn't interested in anything below the first team.

John McDermott on the support at the U18 match last night. Well done to everyone who made the effort to go & sang themselves hoarse!

The football at Development levels is a world away from first team football and yet a player has to come through that and be prepared for first team action. That can't be done with fingers crossed, we have to build their character, their temperament, their mental approach and decision making.

Football isn't a game where you just pick 11 players send them on the pitch and see what they can do. The coach is arguably the most important element, he is the one who decides how his team are going to play each game. Every player is tasked with duties, different roles in different defensive positions and different roles in attacking positions, a lot of it, work without the ball.

You look at any coach on the sidelines and he is continually giving instructions, giving directions and then his half-time changes to counteract the opposition often make a marked difference, as they did for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. That certainly explains why we took so long finding the right man.

A young player has to learn to take all this on board, he must know his role and the roles of his teammates. The crowd adds a different factor altogether, it adds nerves, tension, fear. Skill simply isn't enough, if you can't handle the mental side you can't be a top footballer and it is the creme de la creme we want to bring through for ourselves.

These games at first team grounds are designed to give them a taste of playing on the big stage with a crowd present. The more the crowd can replicate the signing the better so you have to applaud every Spurs fan that went along to QPR and sang. It is another new experience that they suddenly have to respond to. Concentration levels can drop when you hear fans signing about you, your mind can wander, but it must stay on the job in hand. The pride at hearing your name sung must be put to good use and channeled into a players performance.

The result, a 4-1 win at Loftus Road, suggests our lads were not overawed but took it all in their stride and I bet they talked about the atmosphere in the changing room.


New experiences and the lads were not overawed New experiences and the lads were not overawed Reviewed by THBlogNews on 2:30 pm Rating: 5

We needed to prove a point

12:30 pm

There is a world of difference between a fans understanding and reading of football and a coaches understanding and reading because a coach takes far much more into account. A coach will look far more off the field and into a players character to assess their ability.

A fan isn't trained and generally doesn't know what signs to look for. They generally see the game and base their opinion on what they see there, but the players character and mental approach dictate their play. If you can understand their character, their mental approach and what most importantly what their life motivation is then you'll get the best out of them as a footballer.

There were some very interesting comments from Gary Neville during the commentary of the Tottenham victory over Manchester City. The one that stuck out was about Pep Guardiola looking for players who could handle the mental pressure, who could remain calm under the type of intense pressure we were placing them under.

Kolorov was a prime example of one who couldn't, he was being carried. Anyone can beat a weak side, you do not build a squad based on that standard. You do not buy players based on that standard. If you want to win titles then you have to be able to handle the big stage and that is a mental thing. By going with youth he is tapping into players who are still learning, who are still open to ideas and to the sports science of today.

Not all young players have the right attitude. How a player reacts to not playing every week is just as important as what they do when they are playing regularly. Some think they have a divine right to be picked, some demand guaranteed game time which rather suggests a seed of doubt about their own ability to hold down a place.

We have players who are not playing every week but understand that to be at a top team means squad rotation, means you'll play, but you may not play the big games you want to. Some player ego's can't handle that and they rebel. Emmanuel Adebayor rebelled, Paulinho downed tools, Etienne Capoue rebelled.

You go back now and look at the players who wanted Pochettino out, the fans and website authors who wanted Pochettino out too. They were plain wrong, they didn't know what they were talking about, they were and are not up to speed with winning and how you go about becoming a winning side.

The simplistic buy the best players isn't the whole story because the best player is the player with an open mind who has the skill set to fit your system and that may not be who is perceived to be the best player by others.

Small things matter. Take Dele Alli, another great game against manchester City because he was switched on. The whole Spurs team were alert all the time, nobody was going to sleep, nobody was turning off for an instant.

Against Monaco at Wembley though, that was exactly what Dele Alli did, not tracking a runner for one of their goals. His not tracking led to problems for our centre-backs that they couldn't handle. We didn't close the crosser of a ball down as quickly as we did against City when our full-backs were charging out to face up to wingers.

That tiny difference is about ability, it's about mentality. You have to see every game as a big game game an play that way accordingly, I remember making the same point last season. Seeing perceived little games as big games wins titles. It reduces the poor result factor, it reduces the off day factor.

Mauricio Pochettino is still building, still teaching, the players are still learning, there is still trial and error. You can see we are learning from our mistakes, we are improving our understanding of our system and how to play it.

Buying new players means they have to go through the same learning process whereas a player like Cameron Carter-Vickers is already being groomed in it. That is what makes our philosophy of a conveyor belt of players so important. They are being trained in the Tottenham way and if they have a mental chink missing they will be let go regardless of the skill they may have.

We have just seen that with Alex Pritchard and Nabil Bentaleb. There are exciting times ahead for the club and therefore for us supporters.

We needed to prove a point We needed to prove a point Reviewed by THBlogNews on 12:30 pm Rating: 5

Academy Earnings

9:00 am
The sale of Alex Pritchard adds to the coffers and increases the revenue generated by the Academy. It is the aim of such academies to pay for themselves, Real Madrid and Barcelona are quite open that they must do so and are not a burden on the clubs financially.

Tottenham have received over £36m in transfer fees for Academy products since 2011

There are a host of coaches, scouts, the use of facilities, accommodation, education, kit, everything has to be taken into account and budgeted for. Your players sales need to then cover that and show a profit. There will be leaner years than others, but a sale like £12-million Andros Townsend or £8-million Alex Pritchard pay the bills nicely.

Ideally you don't want one element of your club supporting another element, ideally they should all support themselves over the long-term. We pick the cream of the players we develop and it is important to understand otherwise we start believing someone like Tom Carroll is better than he is. If a player leaves and develops his game elsewhere, great. It doesn't mean we have lost out because we would have other players that came through.

Academy Earnings Academy Earnings Reviewed by THBlogNews on 9:00 am Rating: 5

Pochettino ruthless with Pritchard

9:00 am


Time and time again Mauricio Pochettino shows what a quality manager he is and which puts previous managers in the shade.

The transfer windows since he has been here have seen us get rid of unwanted players in a manner that we have not achieved before. Players come in, he assesses them and if he doesn't feel they are going to come up to scratch he sells them on a year later.

Others are developed and again sold on if the circumstances aren't right to keep them. In other seasons, Alex Pritchard may have remained at Spurs, however, Spurs have moved on and he hasn't progressed. It doesn't matter if there are excuses, the bottom line is he hasn't progressed and the club has. Spurs are not a charity, we have plenty of players coming through the ranks who need opportunities so keeping the decks clear is important. Getting around £8-million for him is excellent business for Spurs

This week we have seen Grant Ward, Federico Fazio and Alex Pritchard leave the club, two permanently, one on loan for a season with a purchase option. If Marseille get their finger out Clinton Njie will be gone as well.

The list of players who have left the club show a ruthlessness, the same ruthlessness that has been shown to Pritchard, sshow me every day on the training field that you should be here or I'll get rid of you. No messing about, Pochettino makes it quite plain to players they are not going to play.

To get rid of Adebayor he simply told him you are not getting a squad number, you are not part of tthe first team. Where is he now? he had an unsuccessful loan spell at Crystal palace and currently doesn't have a club, nobody it seems wants his money before football attitude.

He made it plain to Pritchard he wasn't going to get game time, plain to Fazio and to Clinton Njie. It really doesn't matter if you want to stay at a big club and fight for a place, if you are deemed surplus to requirements you are left in no doubt you need to leave for your career.

  • Paulinho
  • Lewis Holtby
  • Etienne Capoue
  • Younes Kaboul
  • Benjamin Stambouli
  • Vlad Chiriches
  • Alex McQueen
  • Benoit Assou-Ekotto
  • Souleymane Coulibaly
  • Cristian Ceballos
  • Ruben Lameiras
  • Channing Campbell-Young
  • Ryan Fredericks
  • Grant Hall
  • Roberto Soldado
  • Aaron Lennon
  • Shaquile Coulthirst
  • Emmanuel Adebayor
  • Andros Townsend
  • Milos Veljkovic
  • Bongani Khumalo
  • Emmanuel Sonupe
  • Cameron Lancaster
  • Kevin Stewart
  • Jake Livermore
  • Jack Munns
  • Jermain Defoe
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson
  • Iago Falque
  • Michael Dawson
  • Sandro
  • Jonathan Obika
  • Ezekiel Fryers
  • Kyle Naughton
  • Jordan Archer.

A manager has to be ruthless with players when he has so much talent at his disposal and coming through the ranks. There is no pussy-footing around with Pochettino, you go of your own accord on good terms or you get forced out by simply being ignored for the season, not even a part of a match day squad. I liked him when he was appointed and said we had found the right man and that he will be here for a long time, I have only seen things to reinforce that initial view. I'm really enjoying being a Spurs fan under Pochettino.


Pochettino ruthless with Pritchard Pochettino ruthless with Pritchard Reviewed by THBlogNews on 9:00 am Rating: 5

Onomah comments augurs well for the future

10:30 am
Onomah comments augurs well for the future

The comments from Josh Onomah to FourFourTwo may sound standard but they have an underlying message about individuals taking responsibility for themselves, about having the winning mentality that drives a player each day in training to be the best they can be.

“Harry came through the academy and I used to play with him a few times in the reserves and to see him achieve these great things just shows anything is possible,” Onomah told FourFourTwo. 
“Same with Dele, he was playing League One two seasons ago and the season he had last time was unbelievable. It just shows if you work hard, put your mind to it anything can happen.”

Football is about taking chances, both a striker when an opportunity arises and a player when he is given minutes on the pitch. Those minutes only arrive if you show the manager in training that you deserve a place, if he are not putting everything into training then you don't deserve to be picked. Clinton Njie is the latest not to have shown Pochettino enough, along with Alex Pritchard.

Josh Onomah on the other hand, has shown there is talent there to work with. We'll be seeing more minutes from him this season after catching the eye in Australia. He was taking on and beating internationals and Champions League regulars.

He isn't the finished article of course, there is still plenty to learn and there will be mistakes along the way, but the path has been set by Harry Kane and Dele Alli for the youngsters. Josh wants a part of that but understands you have to work for it, you don't just get given it. That auuers well for the future, for his future.

Onomah comments augurs well for the future Onomah comments augurs well for the future Reviewed by THBlogNews on 10:30 am Rating: 5

Pochettino makes fans change their opinion

7:00 pm

There are people criticising the impending sale of Clinton Njie, but has Mauricio Pochettino not revealed he knows what he is doing? Has he not revealed he can improve a player and isn't he right to get rid of players who don't take their chance of the training ground to make improvement in a year?

It is for him to determine if the potential is there and if it is going to come out quickly or whether it is a long wait. As a football club improving we can't really afford to wait around while someone improves, as we have improved ourselves.

I have said it before and I'll say it again, as a club we have to be ruthless with players now, you improve or you go, it's that simple. There are plenty of players out there who want a chance, plenty to take the place of someone stagnating. We have to bear in mind the home grown quota of course and that has to come into the manager's thinking.

We are not where we were two years ago so players now don't get the luxury Erik Lamela got, and he only received that because his value was minimal in the transfer market.

If you stop and think back a couple of seasons there was Kyle Walker everyone was complaining about it seems, Danny Rose many fans were saying couldn't defend, Mousa Dembele producing decent performances but really going through the motions for a player of his talent (was still untapped potential), Erik Lamela pining for Italy.

Then we had Jan Vertonghen's attitude which cost him the captaincy opportunity, Harry Kane was called a Championship player because he had no pace or skill, and last summer Eric Dier was written off after pre-season games as a disaster waiting to happen as a defensive midfielder.

Fans are not always the best judges of players and have had to change their opinion on quite a few.

Pochettino makes fans change their opinion Pochettino makes fans change their opinion Reviewed by THBlogNews on 7:00 pm Rating: 5

Under-21 changes to make no difference

11:00 pm

Ged Roddy, the Premier League's new Head of Football Development after seven years as Head of Youth doesn't seem to have grasped that if one set of development players are playing against another set of development players that it isn't meaningful football.

"Sir Alex Ferguson would say, 'give me 30 meaningful games a season for a young player who is transitioning to the first team and we've got a chance'. So this season if you blend all of those competitions together you'll be able to create a 30-game programme for your young player. That was a target for us and I think a target for many of the coaches to make sure their players get enough of the right sort of games. If they do that well, and I'm sure they will, I think you`ll get an immediate impact."

A meaningful game is when you play against and with experienced players. Thirty games on loan are worth a lot more than thirty games against other development players who are still learning the game themselves and where tackling or physical contact is few and far between.

You can rehash the Development structure all you like but until you return to kids playing football with and against adults it still will leave them with a big gap to step up and mean loans remain an important part of football. A youngster hardly has to fight for a place in a development game whereas on loan he has to fight to get into the team and has to toughen up mentally, something not always possible in the comfort zone of development football.

Under-21 changes to make no difference Under-21 changes to make no difference Reviewed by THBlogNews on 11:00 pm Rating: 5

Under-21 football isn't about winning

4:39 pm
Under-21 football isn't about winning

There is an interesting point made on a Spurs forum which shows the difference between how a fan thinks, despite what they may say, and how a club thinks, or a coach thinks.

Someone said they were surprised Ugo Ehiogu was retained as the Under-21 coach as results and performances were poor, plus too great an emphasis on criticism.

His primary role is not to win football matches or produce quality performances, although there is no harm in doing so, but to develop players. Barcelona B were relegated from Segunda Division in 2014/15 having finished third the previous season. Last season they finished 11th in Segunda B. Player development in Spain is far more important than team results.

Therein lies the difference between coaches and fans. Fans think you have to be winning games or producing performances to develop players, you don't. In Spain for instance, a player plays in each position during his development, a centre-back will play as a striker to give him an understanding of the role, obviously at a lower level than Under-21 football. We have just played against Juventus where we saw 20-year-old William Miller, an attacking midfielder, playing at left-back.

Players learn from making mistakes, you can't learn if you don't make mistakes so how you perform under pressure is more important than how you perform if you are simply winning every game. It can have great benefits for a coach to break up a winning team and throw on other youngsters to make the players think instead of going through the motions effectively, with players they have formed a strong unit with.

In other games, you will ask them to concentrate on specific areas within the overall game. That might be asking a defensive midfielder to block off opponents, put a leg across them so they go to ground. You are asking them to learn to make fouls and find out what is acceptable and what isn't. That may involve them getting a red card if they get it wrong. That in itself is a useful exercise because now as a coach you see the other 10 under pressure, how do they cope, do they go into their shell, do they drop back and defend or do they still have belief in themselves. Players will react differently which will upset the system perhaps, again, how do they cope with that.

I have always found Ehiogu to raise points that the lads need to work on, what they need to take from games and seen no problem with his communication through the media at all. Those fans taking that as criticism are placing a wrong emphasis on it. Of course, youngsters sometimes need criticism, you want to see how they react to it as a coach, again it is a valuable educational tool.

Let's face it the Spurs crowd are going to criticise when a mistake is made and you want to know how a player is going to mentally react under pressure. Is he going to only think of himself, is he going to blow a fuse like Andros Townsend or is he going to get too big for his boots, arguably the Bentaleb problem when demanding massive wages.

It isn't all about what you do on the football field, you have to develop the character and the mentality of youngsters. Tottenham are not the charity some fans think. When you go to the first team you have to prove yourself in training every day, if you don't you don't play. To suggest a player hasn't been given a chance, like people say of Alex Pritchard, is nonsense, he is training in front of Pochettino every day, he is showing him what he can do and it isn't enough.

Youth footballers breaking into the first team is a cut throat business. It's fine when there are not many of you, you'll get chances, but the bigger the pool the fewer opportunities you are going to get and the more important it is you make an impression. That impression might simply be that you can be trusted to produce a competent display in a position at first. That will build trust with the coach and afford you further opportunities. When a coach doesn't trust you or doesn't know what you will produce he has a problem, as putting you on the field is a risk to the other 10 and can have a detrimental affect on the system and thus result.

Under-21 football is all about development, it isn't about winning a trophy or putting out your best XI each game. The initial remark from a fan about poor results demonstrates a fan looking at matters in the wrong light.

Under-21 football isn't about winning Under-21 football isn't about winning Reviewed by THBlogNews on 4:39 pm Rating: 5

Fiorentina want to replicate Tottenham

7:00 pm
Th  executive chairman of Fiorentin,a Mario Cognigni, has talked about the club growing and what he had to say sounded much like a statement at Tottenham might have sounded.

"We want to grow further. We are looking for young talent at an international level, having more contact and observatories around the world, improving our scouting, our network of relationships with agents and clubs. "

Tottenham have certainly been improving the scouting network at the club, hardly surprising considering it was almost non-existent and relying on scouting agencies. Paul Mitchell has begun the process of building a scouting network, we now have scouts in France and Iberia for instance and that will no doubt continue.

"We are looking for young, talented and ready players with a single common denominator: the desire to succeed, for revenge or for confirmation in the purple shirt its value. People who have hunger, personality, character. that is ambitious and wants to win here, not only put on display. Our youth sector will be strengthened and we will closely monitor who will go on loan to assess progress or rebirths. All this requires a structure with well-defined roles." 

That sounds exactly like the player we are after. He talks there about character and the right mentality of player, someone who wants to win, not just put on displays. There is a huge difference being satisfied if you have played well and playing with the motivation to constantly improve yourself in the pursuit of trophies. The talk of improving the youth set-up at the club is also familiar to Spurs fans.

Cognigni then went on to apologise for the recent purchases in January who have not performed as expected so we need to begin a new better recruitment era. Tottenham got a mention when he told them Fiorentina went out to a great Tottenham side in the Europa League. It is not often around Europe in recent years that our side has been called great, unless they are referring to historically.

Fiorentina want to replicate Tottenham Fiorentina want to replicate Tottenham Reviewed by THBlogNews on 7:00 pm Rating: 5

Fans should remember To Dare is To Do

12:30 pm
I have extracted part of an article written by Guillem Balague for Yahoo Sport for which you can find a link at the end of the article. I did so because it makes an important point about player development overlooked by many fans. 

In July of 2015, the 32-year-old Catalan, Edu Rubio, took over as head of academy coaching at Milton Keynes Dons. 

“In many academies, including here at MK Dons, we look upon the error in a very positive light because it is fundamentally one of the first and greatest weapons you have at your disposal to learn.
“With learning comes development, and that development will eventually take you to victory. The path to victory is not about learning how to become more efficient but rather about becoming a better student that learns more, develops better, has greater confidence in his game and consequently strives more to win.”
What he does concede however is that in the past at many English clubs, the ‘fear of failure’ philosophy has inhibited growth by creating an environment unwilling to take risks or set challenges.
Fan tend to look upon a mistake as a negative, indeed, we have a smattering of fans who opt to see everything as a negative. Tottenham are a young squad and we have to encourage development so the group can take us to where we want to be. Firstly to achieve anything you have to set your sights high, simply setting them at Top 4 subconsciously means you aim at and play towards finishing 4th, failure means finishing 5th or lower. If you aim at 1st though, you play towards it and failure then means finishing in the Top 4.

To achieve one has to make mistakes, nobody has ever achieved anything of note without making mistakes. The important part is learning the lessons. A miss placed pass is an easy example. A player plays a pass in the final third in behind the full-back and it rolls for a goal kick without a Spurs player near. Fans moan at the pass, but is it the pass that is wrong or is it the intended recipient who is in the wrong for not reading the game and making the run?

In that situation you don't apportion blame, you point out the game situation and the opportunity that presents us when a similar situation occurs. You ask the players to recognize it and take advantage. You have maintained both players confidence, you have encouraged them to read the game and see opportunities, but above all, you have encouraged them to try to take those opportunities.  

If you criticise then you are discouraging because you are planting a seed to grow, a seed that says don't make that pass and you won't receive criticism. If you extend that then you have a player who simply takes the easy option all the time, who passes sideways and lets everyone else take the risk. The result is less creation, fewer chances, fewer goals and less confidence, it becomes a self-perpetuating downward spiral.

Challenge and the unknown should be embraced. We have a history of making history, that wasn't achieved because we didn't believe, quite the opposite. To be a success, you work on the weak points but in a way that highlights the positives, while continuing to improve the things you already do well.

Our slogan tells you all you need to know: To Dare is To Do

Extracts Source - English Football: A foreigners view by Guillem Balague at Yahoo Sport.

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    Fans should remember To Dare is To Do Fans should remember To Dare is To Do Reviewed by THBlogNews on 12:30 pm Rating: 5

    Lessons to learn in any game

    9:06 pm
    The fear of failure has a negative impact on performance and can often lead to a late goal being conceded as sides drop further and further back instead of continuing to do what they have successfully done all game. Equally confidence makes it more likely to score a late winning goal.

    One reason could be that a side doesn't have anything to fight for and, therefore, lack the intensity of a side chasing something. It is important for a successful side to have a cause, a goal to achieve. That cause is built by the coach and is used to fire the players, it empowers them and imbues them with a fighting spirit. If you can also instill a passion for a team goal you have a recipe for success. 

    Naturally creative players don't feel comfortable with a defensive mindset. It makes them nervous and that leads to mistakes. The fear of making a mistake leads to more mistakes being made. Modern day full-backs are almost attackers first and defenders second whereas centre-backs are defenders first. a full-back is more likely to crumble under pressure than a centre-back is. We are Tottenham are fortunate that we have a defensive midfielder who is a centre-back so is more comfortable defending than attacking. That helps our solidity.

    We can use that fear in the opposition. In games where we are 2-0 up say, we should be setting ourselves the task of scoring in the last five minutes. The creative players should thrive on this and it is a great way to create clinical finishing for when you really do need to score a goal in the last five minutes.

    There are things to learn and skills to develop in any game in any situation.

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    Lessons to learn in any game Lessons to learn in any game Reviewed by THBlogNews on 9:06 pm Rating: 5

    The Tottenham Finishing School

    1:44 pm
    Tottenham are the stand-out club in the Premier League, we are making a name for ourselves because of our unique approach.

    I have long written that we have to run our academy like that of Barcelona or Real Madrid, that it has to stand on its own two feet, that academy player sales should pay for its upkeep. The creme de la creme make it into the Tottenham first team, the rest sold for a career elsewhere.

    It is totally alien to fans thinking, who hate to see a 'Tottenham' player succeed elsewhere. That is insular thinking and isn't conducive to success. Fans have to let players go, if a player blossoms elsewhere great, the important point is that we create players in the first place. 

    Anyone can run an academy, but Tottenham are also running a finishing school. Other clubs don't give youngsters a chance, the Premier League is a closed shop for the big boys and Manchester United, for instance, have gone down the Real Madrid galacticos route of building a side, Manchester City look likely to follow after their recent deal.

    A recent daily Mirror article spoke about the changing face of academies, they are now like a college where you simply learn a trade. They said that parents are being sold to now by suggesting their child will have a career in football, possibly, but not necessarily at that particular club. In other words, they go to a football club simply to learn a trade.

    Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, even Arsenal now have few opportunities for young players, they have to loan them out to other clubs to gain top level experience. Tottenham are giving the youngsters top level experience ourselves. I don't need to list for you all the players that have either come through the academy or through our finishing school (Development Squad).

    While we have the carrot of first team football to drive players, other top clubs have a brick wall. If you want a first team opportunity there you have to go on loan to a bottom half side or abroad to Spain or Italy. 

    18-year-old (19 in April) Josh Onomah is a case in point right now. At 18 he is a talent we are developing with little cameo appearances, even at crucial times in important games. A youngster has to get used to the first team environment, to match day, to a big crowd, to the expectation. It is all a learning curve at the moment and we are seeing if he can handle it. it looks as if he can.

    Some will leave to pursue first-team football elsewhere like 17-year-old (18 in January) Ismail Azzaoui. He left for German side Wolsfburg and has recently made his debut for them, coming on as a substitute for the final 14 minutes of a Bundesliga game.

    By giving players first team football we have increasing their value, which whether we keep them or not is sound business. It also give us a marketing edge over our rivals, a unique selling point for sponsors. There will be plenty of companies who want to be associated with developing ypouth or giving youth a chance. It lends itself to companies wanting to associate with being young and vibrant, not afraid of challenges etc. Hope our commercial department are on the ball because lavy and Pochettino are delivering a ready made sale tool for them. 

    If I were running a local or national community group or charity involving young people Tottenham is the club I would want my name associated with. The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation could be a lead partner, all it takes is for a comunity grouo to come up with an idea and approach the Foundation. If any group wants help devising a project get in touch through my contact form and we can explore the possibility.

    Running off on a tangent I have a brilliant and virtually free, if not free, marketing idea for a town centre cafe or on a bigger scale a national chain of coffeee shops, an advertising idea that may well make a new brand of ladies razor blades top sellers in the USA, another for increasing tourism in Folkestone and Dover on the kent coast.

    Being able to think otside the box, being able to think big is a prerequisite of planning ahead. The man in the street trundles along, Tottenham are no longer a club that trundles along, their is vision in the club. Daniel Levy had vision and we have risen to where we are today because of it, not despit it. Success has to be worked for and built, academy success has to be worked for and built. Tottenham are now takling that building a step further than richer clubs and that gives us a unique selling point to atract the best young talent.

    We have to continue to look forward as there is never an end to building and never an end to creating and having success. It is on ongoing process, which if you lose sight of, will quickly allow others to catch up.


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    The Tottenham Finishing School The Tottenham Finishing School Reviewed by THBlogNews on 1:44 pm Rating: 5

    Scouting for intelligent footballers

    8:30 pm
    Players have to be intelligent, not necesarily academically, but in a football sense, they have to have a football brain. Sir Alex Ferguson used to look for intelligent footballers who could adapt to different systems, if they couldn't he got rid of them.  When you hear people saying he doesn't suit the system that player either isn't intelligent enough or isn't motivated.

    Reading a game is a standard requirement, some do it much better than others. More than that though a player has to understand how he foits into the whole puzzle. What Mauricio Pochettino does is get players to understand different roles. If you understand the role of a colleague then it helps you anticiapte what his optioms are and you can then decide what to do to best help him and that may involve not even touching the ball. It is a skill that is taught abroad from an early age. 

    Players in Spain and Portugal have to play matches in different positions, they work their way through a team so a centre-back will play for a period as a centre-forward. he will thus have an insight into how and what a forward is thinking when he reverts back to defence. He'll play in midfield. on the wing, at full-back, it is how Eric Dier grew up learning his football, thuis it didn't take him long to adapt to a new role as it isn't alien to him, he played their for Sporting.

    A player has to determine how to react to different moments in a game both when his team are in and out of possession. He has to think in relation to the ball, space, opponents, teammates, in a picture continually changing picture.  You hear the phrase game management, well this process is each individual managing their own game and no player canget it right all of the time, mistakes will always be a part of football. That is a learning experience that come with playing, youth football is different from Premier League football, which is different from European football, which is different from international football. A young player has to mentally cope with that progression which is easier for some than others. 

    As they develop they should be getting more of these decisions right, if they show they can they are ready to move to the next level, regardless of age oe indeed experience. Dele Alli is a prime example of this at the moment the different paces of the game as he has stepped up levels doesn't seem to have phased him at all. That is no accident that is the produce of an intelligent football brain and some excellent coaching as he has developed.

    A player with outstanding ability without game intelligence will struggle when asked to play at a higher level. The scouting process to identify theose who have both elements is, as you can imagine, of the utmost importance. They therefore have to be watched over a period of time and not just on a day when they have a good day. 

    A coach has to give them guidence and put them in challenge situations to make those good decisions more often. This can be develop through regular small sided games and realistic game scenarios.  Mauricio Pochettino used the youth team at Southampton to replicate real game scenarios and teach players how to react in differnt situations. The more a young player can experiences these situations, the greater the liklihood of them makeing a good decision when they encounter the scenario during a game.  

    Players are only human and some will grasp things quicker, some will struggle with it. Skill alone is not enough, how you use skill is everything.

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    Scouting for intelligent footballers Scouting for intelligent footballers Reviewed by THBlogNews on 8:30 pm Rating: 5

    Why we score and concede late goals

    6:00 pm
    It was no surprise that Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson won so many games or saved points very late on. Fans came to call it Fergy time, a reference to the referee adding on time, but in reality it was the mentality he had instilled with his sports psychologist that was the difference.

    Tottenham enjoyed similar success last season, continually pulling points out of the bag late on. That can only happen if the players don't give up, if they play for the full 90 minutes plus injury time. There can be no acceptance a game is lost or not won until the whistle has actually gone, if you can believe you can still get something you'll continue to give it your best. 

    What a player needs to concentrate on is the game and not the result of the game. His focus should be on his game and the game around him to the exclusion of how long is left. The minute a player starts thinking about the end of the game his effectiveness has diminished as a part of him mentally can't wait for the game to end, they switch off. If a team is merely playing to secure a result instead of change one they switch off, even if they are the winning side. They stop trying to win the game and concede a goal.

    Late goals are a combination of both factors, one team not mentally switching off and one team mentally switching off from mentally winning to a defensive mindset. We know a positive environment is a winning environment and a negative environment a losing environment. Injury time is especially dangerous as players have been reminded the end is near, they have to manage that mentally. They mustn't stop doing what has got them into a winning position.

    We have seen it over the years at Tottenham. We have been in winning positions and suddenly we start dropping deeper and deeper so we end up defending just outside our box. The frequent result is that we have conceded a goal. That isn't down to being unlucky or the opposition being lucky, it is don to the mental state of the players, they stop the positive trying to win mindset and sink into a negative defensive mindset.

    Of course, there are times when you have to defend, but when you have the ball, if your mindset is right, you'll play how you have for the rest of the game. All too frequently the players who were getting forward and making themselves available for passes are no longer available they have stayed in defence. The result is the opposition get the ball back quicker and have another chance to try to score. Nobody can score if they don't have the ball.

    You maintain your focus by concentrating on what it is you are supposed to be doing, what your role is within the game. You can only control your own performance, each individual has to maintain that focus and perform their role to the best of their ability. If he is thinking about his role and how he should best be performing his role then he isn't thinking about the result or other factors, thus he maintains his focus.

    Dropping back changes your role which affects the team performance, when others do the same to compensate you have totally changed how the side is performing, indeed one player can change the teams play and wreck all the good work if his mentality isn't right in the last 10 minutes. What you have done to get you in a winning position has been thrown out of the window.

    This is all connected with being clinical. Regular readers will know I insist we must be clinical at the end of games when we are 2-0 up and will frequently point this out when we have won. There have been games this season when clinical finishing has let us down, hardly surprising if we are not conditioned to be clinical. In the Adebayor era we had a mindset of we have done enough, he would drop into midfield and pass the ball around. We have done enough is not a winning mentality, we can always do more is.

    You should be as active in the last 10 minutes as you should be in the first 10. There is something missing when you see a team start slowly, something we have been guilty of at the start of both halves of some games. It shows players are not totally switched on, it's the same with substitutes and why their mental preparation before they join the game is so important.

    It's these little aspects of the game that make a difference, Townsend very rarely makes a difference as a substitute, perhaps once a season. Liverpool had a red headed fella whose name has escaped me who always seemed to score when he came on, super sub he was dubbed and the tag stuck. That was no accident, he was mentally totally prepared and didn't have to feel his way into the game. Some players come on and play as if they are trying not to make a mistake with the result that they are ineffective, their focus is in the wrong place. Channel that negative frame of mind into a positive one and they would benefit themselves and the team to a greater extent.

    In some games momentum does switch against you but there should be a pre-conceived plan of how to deal with this, a Plan B. Mauricio Pochettino is teaching players where to be on the field in given situations, both with and without the ball. If players have a tactic they can focus on, a role they can focus on then they can draw confidence from that, they can turn the negativity of defending into a positive. again they have to totally focus on their role, switch off in this danger zone and a chance conceded is likely.

    Mentally it is more wearing to defend than attack, that leads to tiredness which leads to a lapse in concentration and a mistake. The sooner you can relieve the defensive stress the better, the sooner you can shift the momentum of the game again the more likely you are to get the result you want. If you are a passing team you have to retain that principle, you have to keep passing, that is what you are best at, that is what every player knows. You turn the momentum back in your favour by continuing to do what you as a team do best.

    Don't chase the wins, let the wins come to you, don't focus on the result, focus on each minute playing to the best of your ability. The result will come to you.

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    Why we score and concede late goals Why we score and concede late goals Reviewed by THBlogNews on 6:00 pm Rating: 5

    Why should a quality player come to Spurs?

    9:30 pm
    For me building a young team that stays and grows together because they have a club bond, because they are happy and getting games was important. I felt if we had youngsters learning a system inside our and we were playing youth then that would attract other youth.

    Tottenham targetted the very best youth during the last window, plenty of it didn't join us. As yet we are not where they want to be, the UEFA Champions League, but there si more to it than that. ou can only build a bond for the club when a player is here, in the meantime we have to build the brand, build the Tottenham name to be associated with giving youth it's chance.

    That reputation doesn't get forged after one season, it takes time. Marketing circles will tell you someone has to see a message 7 times before they will trust it, doing it for a season is the equivalent of doing it once. It may not take 7 years, but it will take several for people to say, Tottenham that's the club who develop and play youth and we would need to be doing so in the Champions League for the message to have maximum effect.

    As a club, we have to ask ourselves how do we get the message across to the very best youth and ask ourselves, why should they come to Tottenham. At the moment that is a tough one to answer without Champions League football so for now, we have to sell another message or determine a way to bypass the no Champions League problem.

    We could promote the fact we are building something at Tottenham, but the obvious counter to that is, call me when it's built, some will want to be a part of that challenge of growth and the sense of achievement, others won't. We have to, therefore, offer something that perhaps other clubs don't offer. We have to offer a Unique Selling Point, something that makes us stand out from the crowd and will attract players to the club.

    Dyson market their technology to the point where people are hard pressed to remember any other vacuum cleaner being advertised, head and Shoulders marker anti-dandruff shampoo, Wash & Go was speed, time-saving, Pantene was shiny hair. Each has their own angle, as a football club Tottenham are no different, we now have our own angle amid the premier League, youth.

    That can and should be developed, I don't mean the youth, that is a by-product, but the Unique Selling Point. We have to ask ourselves how can we enhance that, how can we gain maximum results so young players sit up and take notice. The answer is in being ultra successful in developing the very best talented youth to Gareth Bale and Luka Modric standard.

    Talent is not enough at the highest level, you have to have that drive to succeed, that drive stems from a winning mentality, a mentality that keeps a player working to improve off the field so he can produce more on the field. Any club can do that and clubs abroad do it successfully to a certain level, how then can we improve on what is already being done that will elevate us above the competition?

    The head controls the man, it controls the player. When you are upset you are choosing to be upset. when you are offended you are choosing to be offended, when you are happy you are choosing to be happy. If you produce high-quality work it is because you choose to and the environment around you contributes to your decision of what your feelings are. A football player is no different, their head makes their decisions.

    It is common sense, therefore, to do everything you can to influence the head to produce a positive feeling. Pochettino is creating that sort of environment within the club, but it must be throughout the whole club though. Improvements in other areas such as a restructuring of the football side, scouting and content from Spurs Tv and social media to fans suggest that is happening.

    That isn't enough though. If we accept the brain makes all the decisions then we have to work on the brain rather than chance to luck that a player's brain will decide what we want it to decide, to improve the player constantly.

    We have to unlock the motivation within every player, it may well be something away from football, but find it we must. A player can only be the best he can be if he ahs unlocked that motivation, few players do that. Football mirrors life, few people actually know what really motivates them. The answers one gives are usually wrong, they are what people think motivates them when in truth what truly motivates them to be the best they can possibly be they don't actually know.

    That is where a sports psychologist come in, it's his role to unlock that. Let me ask you will you go to a sports psychologist to find what truly motivates you? The answer is probably no and a football player is no different, they are just humans with the sam feelings you have. If this is what truly makes the difference in a footballer, if this is what encourages the development of a player to a level he has previously only dreamed of, then it is common sense to undertake it.

    As a club this should be our Unique Selling Point, we unlock the real potential within players, we create the superstars. If we are working on a compulsory basis, not a voluntary basis, remember you wouldn't do this on a voluntary basis even though it would transform your life, then we develop the reputation of elevating player players to be better than they thought possible. We would be doing something different, we wouldn't be following the herd, we would be leading them.

    That is quite a hook and it's a Unique Selling Point we should develop, then the very top quality players will have the best reason of all to join Tottenham Hotspur, because we are going to make them the very best they can be.

    Why should a quality player come to Spurs? Why should a quality player come to Spurs? Reviewed by THBlogNews on 9:30 pm Rating: 5

    Development of Young Players

    8:52 am
    Development of Young Players

    Clinton Njie highlights a point I make in an article tonight about why quality players would want to come to Tottenham. In that, I discuss marketing the club and the image it has to other players. What is it Clinton Njie has said?
    "Like every young player, it is not easy to leave a club that is also ambitious, but I think Tottenham has very, very good ambitions too. It was difficult for me but I think when Tottenham came along it was a good opportunity for me, so I just had to use the chance. 
    "It is a club that is usually doing good in the English league and I think the coach here brings up very well young players. You can see that from Harry Kane last season and some other young guys that are doing well for themselves this season. 
    "That was one of my reasons to come to Tottenham - to get a bit of progress and continue my career over in England."
    I would describe Clinton Njie as a decent player with potential, I wouldn't say he is a top bracket player, perhaps Anthony Martial, a player we tried to sign, is I don't know. The development of youth is clearly the reason he joined, but better young players didn't join, we have to ask why not? 
    For many at that age, it isn't about the wage it is developing their careers so they play ideally for the rest of their careers at UEFA Champions League level. Simply being in it as a club wouldn't be good enough to attract them, tonight's article discusses how we can attract the very top young talent. For now we will enjoy the development of what we have.

    Development of Young Players Development of Young Players Reviewed by THBlogNews on 8:52 am Rating: 5

    Critical thinking improves Spurs

    9:00 pm

    Let's touch on another element of success and an element I look at players performance through, critical thinking.

    I have discussed a positive attitude, environment and thinking, all essential elements of a successful club, but that doesn't mean you overlook faults or pretend they don't exist, far from it. Identifying them is key to improvement.

    If you don't identify an element that can be improved, how can you improve it? When I talk about mental improvement, you can't leave that in the hands of people who haven't identified it, the players. People don't adopt something and analyse themselves through those eyes until it's accepted, then it's Spurs playing catch-up time again.

    When I watch a player and Lamela is a prime example, I look at what he does and what he doesn't do. I look at what he does on the ball and off the ball, my recent article on his off the ball running giving cause for optimism is a case in point.

    Lamela - a case for optimism

    I'm critical of him, not because I don't rate him, but because with the talent he has he should be world class and he isn't. He should be one of the games superstars, he has the talent, but talent isn't enough. I have been critical of his goal threat, he hasn't had one, but the signs on Thursday were encouraging, he kept getting in scoring positions, that is the first step to scoring. OK so he missed three before he scored, room for improvement, but he was there for the fourth. How many other games since he joined Spurs can you say he has put himself in superb scoring positions four times in one game?

    Mauricio Pochettino has to evaluate in the same way and make selections based on those evaluations. Tom Carroll is beginning to look like another Tom Huddlestone and looking at his game critically will identify future problems. His passing is an issue.

    For many he is an excellent passer of the ball and he is in the sense that he has the ability to pick a pass in different areas of the field. One aspect, however, is a problem, it puts the team under pressure and can lead to goals conceded, it should have done on Thursday, that being the pace he puts on the ball at times.

    I harp back to Ryan Mason and why he is a first choice, not the only reason but he speed he puts on the ball separates him from the more languid Mousa Dembele passing style for instance. Several time Carroll took most of our side out of the game with a weak pass, not the decision to pass or who he was passing to, just the pace he put on the ball and the time it took to get to its destination. Jan Vertonghem is another culprit at times when playing to left-back.

    It is almost a case of I have done my bit I have passed to someone else, if they lose it because they didn't have enough time that's down to them. Root cause guys, look for the root cause of the problem and address that or it will keep cropping up even if you work at eradicating it. The guy receiving the ball under pressure, if the ball could have been played to him quicker, is not the guy really at fault, the original passer of the ball is.

    You watch a game and you'll see for yourself, if X passes the ball to Y there he is not going to have any passing options, sure enough you will see the ball played. So who is at fault the guy who can't decide what to do with it because he has no options and gives possession away or the guy who put him in that position in the first place?

    For me the first guy is at fault more than the second, plenty of factors to take into account that could change that, communication being one, but if you watch a game through critical evaluation eyes, you see errors before the error is even made and you'll see areas of an individuals game they could improve upon. That isn't a negative because you are analysing and evaluating something to improve it through critical thinking.

    That is useless if you can't devise a strategy to work on a problem and improve that aspect of performance or eradicate the problem altogether. Simply shouting change this or change that isn't going to improve anything. You don't say to a player you need to work on this skill, you tell them how to work on it, why it needs work, the improvement that will come with that improvement, then he'll buy into the change, then he'll be motivated to improve and improve he will.

    That happens on and off the field and the improvements the club have been making are clear for all to see. We seem to have a coherent strategy we are going to stick to for the next 5 years, a goal of where we want to be and a path mapped out of how to get there. Along the way, there will still need to be critical thinking, but crucially all of it designed to progress us along that path, not keep pulling us in different directions or tearing up the path altogether.

    Right now it's a pleasant path, with grass edges and flower borders each side, yet some choose to see a back street full of bins and rubbish. If that's your thing enjoy your path, I prefer the fresh air of the countryside, the birds singing and an enjoyable stroll down the pleasant path Tottenham are taking.

    Critical thinking improves Spurs Critical thinking improves Spurs Reviewed by THBlogNews on 9:00 pm Rating: 5

    Spurs switch off when it's time to switch on

    11:15 pm
    There is plenty of panic about among Spurs websites and on Twitter, everyone is looking for a scapegoat and latching onto anything that backs up their preconceived opinion, what has actually happened in the games so far is fairly irrelevant to them.

    We have the jealous of Chelsea anti-Levy anti-ENIC crowd, who don't possess any idea of how the club should move forward apart from be somebody's plaything, anybodies, as long as they simply give us their cash. It's an 'I don't want to work for a living' mentality I want to just be given money to life.

    Then we have those with a personal dislike of an individual player who pipe up to tell you their opinion must be correct because of one game, regardless of how the individual actually played in that game. Kyle Walker was excellent against Manchester United and there were calls for him to be replaced, quite oblivious to the fact when Lamela came on he didn't do his defensive duties.

    Bentaleb makes a mistake and the Bentaleb haters are on his back, Alderweireld makes a mistake and suddenly he needs to be replaced with a younger less experienced player, hardly logical, then Vertonghen has a bad game and suddenly the man on Barcelona's short list is apparently useless.

    Instead of focussing on an individual people should be looking at the whole and seeking the underlying problem. These players are not bad players so why, regardless of who we put in, do they make mistakes? More importantly why do we make sloppy mistakes?

    As mentioned in a previous article, that is down to the mentality of the player and it seems the mentality of the team as a whole. When we score the team switch off, when we start a half we are switched off and at times during a game players switch off.

    I wrote an article on Andros Townsend in August of 2014* about his mental approach and how as a substitute he wasn't mentally prepared when he came on, he only mentally starts when he crosses the white line, which mean he has to then mentally assess the game and make mistakes before he can 'get up to speed' as the commentators will tell us. That should have mentally been done before he has even come on the pitch and that is part of the problem we face now.

    *Townsend is Wrong

    When you are not mentally prepared properly for a game you are 'off the pace' you are on the back foot, the other team have an advantage if they are mentally prepared. Perceived smaller side are motivated to put one over the big boys and you will often see them start fast while the other side tries to quell that initial enthusiasm.

    Quelling it so you can assert your game is easier if you are mentally prepared yourself, what is difficult though is to pick up that mentality after the game has started. It is an individual thing then so if some don't pick it up the side can't perform the most efficiently as a unit, thus it becomes difficult to quell the opposition.

    We started slowly at Leicester, making mistake after mistake with no opposition player anywhere near us, that tells us the players are not concentrated on the task, are not mentally right and are not sufficiently internally motivated, the game doesn't matter enough to them, not all of them but some certainly.

    How many times have we started a second half slowly, it happened several times last season, most notably against Newcastle United at White Hart Lane where we conceded a goal straight away. You have to ask did the same thing happen when we scored the goal at Leicester, did the players mentally relax, or at least some of them?

    With 10 minutes to go that was criminal. Everyone has jumped on Vertonghen for backing off and backing off, but as I have pointed out before you have to look for the root cause and solve that or it will keep occurring. I would ask where was Ben Davies in this particular incident, Mahrez came from the left touchline and from the kickoff where was he, the midfield should have been dealing with the midfield area. Vardy had gone over to the left so Davies had two players, nobody was helping him, should Vertonghen have been challenging Vardy or should he be closer to Mahrez to keep him away from pour box. Either would work with a defensive midfielder covering the space he left.

    Image courtesy of

    That is an aside though to the main point, we have to address the mental concentration issue, clearly over the last year we haven't done so and changing personnel doesn't change the overall team attitude, which is at these time lackadaisical. You can not afford to have that attitude if you want to be a winner and with a young team we have to instill it in them while they are receptive to learning.

    In cricket a batsman will switch off between balls when the bowler is walking back to the end of his run-up, before switching on to face the next delivery. There is a time and a place to switch off but there is a time when you must switch on again and it isn't after the game has started.

    Look at how we celebrated the goal, it was as if we had already won, the players mentally relaxed, they were all in a group so it was the ideal time when celebrations had finished for an old head to give a few short words telling the youngsters to concentrate fully, it's time to switch on for the last 10 minutes and see the win through.

    There was no wise head there to do that so it didn't happen, the result we lose two points. Our problems are not the players, not the system but our failure to take the mental side of the game as seriously as we should. It is great that we have a happy friendly squad but you have to use that so that they all fight for each other.

    At the moment it is at time counter productive because it is helping the players relax just when they should be full of determination and concentration, they should all be switching on together after a celebration, they aren't.

    Roberto Soldado had lost all confidence in front of goal but we didn't do the specialist work he needed, we just effectively left him to figure his head out himself. I wrote he would return to Spain to an area he knows to recapture all the old feelings in a league he knows, in a style of play he knows. That I insisted would mean he would go to Villarreal while everyone was shouting Sevilla and elsewhere, the result he scores after 31 minutes of his La Liga debut because his head is in a better place mentally.

    It may well be a similar story for Erik lamela, if we are not going to do the mental work with him we should to turn him into the player he can be then there is little point keeping him. He I suspect subconsciously wants to be in Italy where he has happy memories, they will help him perform again.

    If you don't believe mentality plays it's part that's fine, if you think it's mumbo jumbo that's fine, if a player thinks it's mumbo jumbo then is he going to go to a mumbo jumbo specialist and ask for help? How then is the issue going to be solved if we don't incorporate more compulsory mumbo jumbo work in the weekly training program?

    Related Tottenham Reading from the Archives
    10 minute subs appearances can tell a lot
    He's like the kid in the park playing for his own fun
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    Spurs switch off when it's time to switch on Spurs switch off when it's time to switch on Reviewed by THBlogNews on 11:15 pm Rating: 5
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