Results for youth academy

Spurs looking to build player loyalty

6:00 am

John McDermott head of Coaching and Player Development expressed the sentiment to NBC that inner drive was important to Spurs. He said it isn't the pushy patent or the pushy coach, we look to develop that inner drive within a youngster so he will want to continually improve.

You can not expect to build player loyalty or a successful academy if you do not bring players through and give them opportunities in the first team. In are cases it can be achieved at clubs winning trophies and paying top wages, like John Terry at Chelsea, but the wages are not something we can compete on.

We had to find another way to compete and investing in youth was the answer we came up with. That means employing the best coaches, the best scouts at a very grass roots level and be better at it than our nearest rivals.

We have arguable overtaken Arsenal in terms of youth development, they are now all about buying players after growing so many of their own. Manchester United grew their own before buying to sustain success.

Our club has a real identity now, young English players abound in the first team where you look at Chelsea and they only play two English players a game, often the case with other clubs challenging as well. If you are a young English player living in London Tottenham must figure high on the places you would ant to go and learn simply because if you are good enough you are likely to be given a chance while other clubs won't give you a look in.

Long may we hear the Spurs fans singing he's one of our own, you don't seem to hear it anywhere else.

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Spurs looking to build player loyalty Spurs looking to build player loyalty Reviewed by THBlogNews on 6:00 am Rating: 5

Kenny Jackett working with Spurs youth

9:00 pm


Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino are continuing the building project at Spurs. Steve Hitchen is to be appointed either Chief Scout or Head of Player Recruitment depending upon which article you read and now comes news of a another new appointment.

Kenny Jackett is a former Welsh international and Watford  midfield/ defensive stalwart, who played over 330 games for his only club. Since 1996 he has moved into management, firstly with Watford, then Swansea City in 2004, Millwall in 2007, Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2013 and very briefly with Rotherham United in 2016, until he resigned after just 39 days.

Now Spurs have handed him a role working with the youth players in the academy. He managed Harry Kane when he was Millwall boss. Presumably he still has managerial ambitions as he was recently linked with the Nottingham Forrest job so the role might be a temporary one. It hasn't been reported on the official website.

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Kenny Jackett working with Spurs youth Kenny Jackett working with Spurs youth Reviewed by THBlogNews on 9:00 pm Rating: 5

Is a lack of academy players causing relegation?

5:00 pm

The graphic above  which comes from Tottenham Academy on Twitter quickly demonstrates which clubs have a success youth developmet set up at the moment.

You would have though that the likes of Bournemouth or Hull City would have a strong academy coming from the Championship in recent seasons. Perhaps that is a reason why some teams struggle. Always having to buy is not a good business model, it is only sustainable if you have the income and under Financial Fair Play rules you can only send a percentage of income of transfers I believe.

A look at the relegation situation at the moment sees Swansea City bottom of the table in 20th who have played no academy players so far this season, Hull City (19th), no academy players played so far this season.

Sunderland (18th) have bucked the trend and have three playing (they are now winning and climbing the table), West Ham United (17th) have only Mark Noble who is now 29 (30 next May), Leicester City (16th) have two playing and one of those, Andy King, is 28 (29 next October), Burnley (15th) only one player, Crystal Palace (14th) also have only played one academy player this season, Wilfred Zaha.

Perhaps a few more Premier League sides should invest more in their youth setups and build a sustainable future instead of relying on TV money. A few bad buys and they could be relegated with all the problems that can bring, some never recover.

Is a lack of academy players causing relegation? Is a lack of academy players causing relegation? Reviewed by THBlogNews on 5:00 pm Rating: 5

Academy products

10:00 pm
The aim for Tottenham is to create a conveyor belt of talent that minimises the loss felt if a player leaves. We need to put the best in one end and keep the creme de la creme while selling others to pay for the academy.

That is the formula Real Madrid and Barcelona use, their academies have to pay for themselves, that has to be how we run ours. Fans get attached to players and assume as one has made it almost all will if you just throw them in. You see crazy calls for Onomah, Clouthirst when he was here and others to play when they are not ready. In some cases they never will be.

Dele Alli and a youthful side is an attraction for young players, there is no doubt about that. I have no doubt at all that berahino has been behaving as he has because he wanted to come to Tottenham and sees his career being possibly held back by WBA. If we buy another striker, as I'm told by an ex-Fulham player and an agent that we have, then it may be that he has lost the opportunity of joining us, a potential title winning team. 

I'm sorry but joining Newcastle just isn't the same thing for your career. Life throws opportunities at you and it is up to you to recognise them and take them when they come along. I'm sure he did and wanted to, wants to.

Tottenham Academy have produced a list of former academy products now playing football elsewhere. The number is a testament to the coaches training the youngsters. There are four at Premier League clubs, one in Spain, one in Germany, one in Italy, one in Belgium, one in North America, one in Romania, one in Scotland, eleven in the Championship, eleven in League One and nine in League Two, that's 42 players in total.

All academy products now playing elsewhere in England's top four divisions or other major foreign leagues.

Another academy product, Alex Pritchard, is coming back to fitness, he is thought to be in contention for selection in about two weeks.

Josh Onomah is coming through and Tom Carroll has been getting starts recently, he'll probably be playing next week in the FA Cup against Colchester United.

Head of Coaching & Player Development - John McDermott
Academy Manager - Dean Rastrick
Assistant Head of Coach & Player Development - Nigel Gibbs
Assistant Head of Coach & Player Development - John Allpress
Assistant Head of Coach & Player Development - Justin Cochrane
Head of Academy Football Development - Gary Broadhurst
Under-21 Head Coach - Ugo Ehiogu
Under-21 Assistant Coach - Matt Wells
Under-18 Head Coach - Kieran McKenna
Under-18 Assistant Coach - Ledley King
Academy Goalkeeping Coach - Rob Burch
Academy Goalkeeping Coach - Pat Jennings MBE
Academy Goalkeeping Coach - Alex Welsh
Lead Academy Coach - Mehmet Ali
Lead Academy Coach - Michael Donaldson
Academy Coach - Paul Brush
Academy Coach - Bradley Allen
Academy Coach - Will Antwi
Academy Coach - Tony Tillbrook
Academy Coach - Joe Staunton
Academy Coach - Luke Georgiou
Academy Coach - Glen Hicks
Academy Coach - Trevor Duberry
Academy Coach - Miles Leighton
Academy Coach - Taff Rahman
Academy Coach - Aaron Cato
Pre-Academy & Development Centre Coordinator - Ryan Hall
Head of Sports Science & Medicine - Aaron Harris
Academy Doctor - Imtiaz Ahmad
Academy Doctor - Laurence Gant
Academy Physiotherapist (Under-21) - David Appanah
Academy Physiotherapist - Adam Paxton
Academy Physiotherapist - Dave McGinness
Head of Academy Physical Development - Matt Allen
Academy Sports Scientist - Chris Riley
Academy Sports Scientist Intern - Sam Pooley
Academy Sports Scientist Intern - Elliott Ferguson-Dillion
Academy Performance Analyst - Luke Georgiou
Academy Performance Analyst - Andrew Ratnage
Academy Performance Analyst – Rob Jarvis
Academy Recruitment Officer - Jason Hogg
Academy Head of Education - Trevor Webb
Academy Education Assistant – Helene Michaels
Academy Operations Manager - Luke Godfrey
Academy Administrator – Tina Gold
Academy Player Care Officer – Nick Boulli
Academy Liaison Officer – Dave Collins
Academy Kit Manager - Tavish Mahandru
Development/Academy Kit Assistant - Stan White

Club website: About the Academy



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Academy products Academy products Reviewed by THBlogNews on 10:00 pm Rating: 5

Berbatov, Spurs U-15's, Austin, Alderweireld

12:30 pm
Quick snippets of news with the basics, Dimitar Berbatov, Tottenham U-15's, Charlie Austin and new signing Toby Alderweireld.

Former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov has turned down advances from Aston Villa and will sign for Olympiacos of Greece. The 34-year-old Bulgarian international is his countries all-time leading goalscorer. He has spent the last two seasons at Monaco netting 18 goals in 53 games.

The 26th edition of the Lion Cup will take place on August 14 and 16, involving the Under-15 teams from Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool. Singapore's National Football Academy (NFA) U-15 and U-16 squads.

Nobody is willing to pay the £15 million (US$23.11m - AUS$30.93m - €20.83m) asking price for Charlie Austin. The Queens Park Rangers striker is one of the backup options for Spurs but Austin is known to want regular Premier League football, which seems unlikely with the form of Harry Kane.

Toby Alderweireld spoke to HLN at the end of May and was looking forward to playing with Jan Vertonghen then.

"It would be very nice to play again with Jan. I am very happy in the Premier League, which really suits me."

Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN) is a Dutch language newspaper based in Brussels so despite Ronald Koeman quoting and clinging onto old indications given before the season close, Tottenham were chasing him and he knew where he wanted to play. Sensible lad.

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Berbatov, Spurs U-15's, Austin, Alderweireld Berbatov, Spurs U-15's, Austin, Alderweireld Reviewed by THBlogNews on 12:30 pm Rating: 5

Performance Analysis

8:30 pm
Yesterday I had a look at the statistical approach both Tottenham and Liverpool take to assist in assessing transfer targets so today I'm going behind the scenes of a Premier League football club.

Gavin Fleig is the Head of Performance Analysis at Manchester City and he gave an interview to Forbes back in 2012. I have used that article as the basis for this piece and a second one tomorrow.

It is an interesting read and gives fans a look behind the running of a football club and how analytics plays it's part. He talked about how San Allardyce incorporated analysis and took that approach to Newcastle where the players didn't buy into it, the result, he ended up being sacked.

That example shows just one reason why some managers don't fit certain clubs that may not be seen from the outside. Club and players have to buy into a managers philosophy, if they don't what he is doing won't work.

Andre Villas-Boas had a similar experience at Tottenham. He was a very statistical manager and at first everyone bought into his philosophy, but in his second year he lost both club and players, the result he was on his way.

Let's get on to Gavin Fleig, a quick background first.

He took his coaching badges when only a teenager and did a lot of coaching around that time.  At university he did an undergraduate degree in Sports Coaching which included sports analysis and analytics. After a year working he landed a job at Bolton Wanderers who, at the time, were the leaders in performance analysis.

He was the first full time appointment in the Bolton academy analysis setup, focusing on youth development. A job with the first team opened up and he took that. He then followed Sam Allardyce to Newcastle and when Allardyce left Newcastle he joined Manchester City in 2008.

Simon Wilson was head of analysis at Man City and he was re-vamping the department at the time to include specialist roles. Instead of having one guy spend 30% of his time doing pre-game, post-game and data analysis, Wilson wanted a specialist in each.

Gavin Fleig became pre-match analyst, focusing exclusively on pre-game preparation for the team and players. Later he then became Head of Performance Analysis.

At Bolton Sam Allardyce and first team coach Phil Brown were open minded and embraced people’s opinions, incorporating their ideas into team development. The analysis department had a big impact on the team. He included it into his game model, and allowed it to contribute towards his development of scouting and recruitment. The department also worked with the sports science and medical departments to track players’ fitness levels and availability.

At Newcastle Fleig found it difficult to bring in new ideas to an environment unused to such an approach. Adding three pieces of work to three different departments meant the players had nine new day-to-day activities and or ways of preparing for a game.

That was too much and naturally problems arose. The manager lost players who hadn't bought into it and a parting of the ways became inevitable. This scepticism of analysis is usually born out of a lack of understanding.

Manchester City already had a department so that barrier didn't exist. The department there is used as an extensive support structure for their coaching curriculum and coaches across all the age groups. They have four full analysts with the first team and six beneath them working on youth development.

They provide age-appropriate learning from Under 9's to 21's. The Head of Performance Analysis oversees all that work and the role has now evolved to include analysis in business decisions as well.

The role of analysis and analytics is to supply additional information to add value to aid the decision making process. The may be for departments within the club, the manager, coaches or players themselves. The more information you have the more informed decision you can make.

If 90% of times an opposition player reacts a certain way in a certain situation then given those circumstances, 9 times out of 10 you know what he is going to do before he does. Benoit Assou-Ekotto springs to mind here when he is trapped near the touchline. How often did we see the ball flicked back and a turn, if you know it's coming you have a greater chance of stealing the ball.

The departments work with the youth is about educating and developing players. Every level, whether it’s nine-to-fourteen, twelve-to-fourteen, fifteen-to-sixteen, or eighteen-to-twenty one, the players go through different transitions and phases of their development.

The role of analysis changes as they progress through the phases. At a young age it's geared towards building enjoyment and enthusiasm. If you can engender a feeling that they are a part of the club then there is a subconscious bond of ownership that becomes more difficult to break over time, therefore you are less likely to lose a talented player to another club.

From the ages of twelve-to-fourteen it's all about decision making. Using 4v4, 8v8 and 11v11 builds spacial awareness and makes them more comfortable in different situations or formations. Then they understand and can take on board better, their role within different systems.

Sir Alex Ferguson used to look for intelligent players who could take on board tactical changes so he could make subtle changes during each game without it impeding performance. It's another factor that separates the good from the top class, football intelligence. 

Youngsters abroad are taught all positions and that has slowly been introduced over here,  building technically better players who are not as lost when they find themselves in a strange area of the field. We can all point to moments when you can say, that was a defenders shot, but if a defender has grown up other roles he is less likely to panic at that important moment.

The role of analysis in all this is to work alongside the coaches and educate the youngsters.

At fifteen-to-sixteen and eighteen-to-twenty then more statistical and analytical information is used. Analytics act as a benchmark to analyse a player against, they then know how they are doing. During this phase it becomes a little more tailored to the individual to improve their specific game.

If you identify an aspect of a players game that needs improving, such as how he receives the ball on his chest while switching play, then you create a database for them and analyse that specific aspect to see how best to improve it.

The Great Britain cycling team used this approach, analysing the minutest detail and using computer programmes to determine every aspect of cycling from bike components, through clothing, posture on a bike to the perfect use of the individuals available energy levels.

At Manchester City the performance analysis department focus on performance analysis, coaching, sports science and medicine, scouting and recruitment, and player care while in the youth system the focus is on player education.

The philosophy of the club and the department is 'Team Evolution' developing towards winning every competition in a sustainable environment.

If you think of Spurs we jump from one playing system to another system to another system, hardly a sustainable approach. The club needs to settle on a style of play, which it now appears to have done with 4-2-3-1, so that the youth groups can also learn how to play within that basic style.

Arsenal are excellent at that, they have youngsters who come in to the first team and they know exactly their role whereas over the years some of our youngsters have looked a little lost when introduced.

Three more areas the department at Man City focus on are developing homegrown players into the first team, maximizing talent value through managing assets [a player is an asset] effectively and integrating business and football. The aim is to make the players more self reflective, smarter players, players who are more responsible for their own actions.

You look at those words and reflect upon the performances some of our players gave last season, and gave by choice, they embarrassed themselves yet our fans want to make excuses for them. Under AVB we got to the last third of the pitch and weren't smart enough to find or create a through ball.

It's clearly an area we haven't mastered. Sport is a mental game and we simply do not do enough work on the mental analysis side. It's an area we should be looking to improve.

Football is after-all, as Johan Cruyff said, a game you play with your brain. 

Performance Analysis Performance Analysis Reviewed by THBlogNews on 8:30 pm Rating: 5

Tottenham look to youth buys

2:30 pm
Tottenham have a business strategy of buy young, develop and increase an assets value.

Tottenham look to youth buys

That asset (player) can then either stay and hopefully generate trophies or be sold at a profit. Part of that approach is to buy Development Squad players or players who can be with us for 36 months prior to their 21st birthday, thus qualifying as home grown.

It is all centred around building a sustainable future for the club, a proven model and path for players to follow. Home grown players will play an increasing part in that. Unless the rules are changed that does not necessarily mean British players. Clubs buy young talent from all over the world and put them through the academy system or simply loan them out.

Look at Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku has spent a season on loan at WBA and then a season on loan at Everton while Thibaut Courtois also signed in 2011 and has never been at Chelsea. Within weeks he went on loan to Atlético Madrid and has been there ever since. To my mind, while it's within the rules, it's a breach of the system.

It is not what it was designed for and it needs to be changed. Arsenal started abusing the system years ago, it's how they have managed to stay in the Champions League. They buy young foreign talent and put them through their system.

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Spurs have only recently cottoned on to that business model and are trying to implement our own conveyor belt of talent.

Two young talents we are after are 16 year-old Andrija Balic of Hadjuk Split and 18 year-old Julian Green of Bayern Munich.

Ivica Balic acts as his sons agent and told Sportske Novosti his son is not ready to move abroad yet.
"We, his family, are no barrier for his transfer abroad, but me and my wife would like to see Andrija stay at Hajduk and develop even more before going somewhere else.

"Maybe clubs are talking, but nobody asked me about my opinion. Andrija is only 16 years old and right now he is not ready to go abroad.

"If Hajduk must sell him because of financial problems, maybe it would be the best for everybody that Andrija would stay in Split as a loaned player.

"We just want all the best for Andrija, that he will develop as a player completely. We are not looking for easy income, we would like to see Andrija to play at least one season for the Hajduk senior team."

Tottenham are said to be very close to signing him and are expecting to complete the deal which will no doubt see him loaned back as his father wants.

We have of course heard all this before with other youngsters so until something is in the dotted line one has to remain wary.

Also at Hajduk Split is 19 year-old Marijo Pasalic who we have been linked to but all reports are that he has already agreed a deal with Chelsea.

Julian Green is a winger we are reported to be willing to offer £5 million for. The Bayern Munich B player can't get into the first team but has still been selected by the USA to go to the World Cup. 

The youngster apparently wants a move to get more football and keep his place with the USA, something that may be difficult if he remains at Bayern Munich with his path blocked by big money signings.

Mauricio Pochettino is said to have had him watched when at Southampton and he is thought to want to bring him to White Hart Lane.

Tottenham look to youth buys Tottenham look to youth buys Reviewed by THBlogNews on 2:30 pm Rating: 5

Part 10 - Youth Development

8:30 pm
Spurs Need To Go Mental - Part 10

In Part 9 of the Spurs Need To Go Mental series I'm going to take a look at Sports Psychology and what a psychologist would look at in a player to determine his mental strengths and weaknesses. I'll provide you with a 43 point player checklist and the 1,075 improvements Spurs could make.

In Part 10 of the Spurs Need To Go Mental series I suggest the way the first batch of academy students have been taught is all about me me me and produces players not interested in the result.

They youth at any club are vital yet fans expect a finished article immediately, just look at some Spurs fans now after Harry Kane has scored 3 goals in 3 Premier League games, better than a £26 million purchase has done but labelled Championship standard!

Nabil Bentaleb has looked right at home as a defensive midfielder, nobody has done better in the role this season, he has been their equal and yet he gets abuse all the time even though the fans favourite was playing very poorly.

Preparing them for the first XI is not simply a matter of teaching them football skills, they have to be intelligent and adaptable, it's no good only being able to play in one system. If we want to gain an advantage on other clubs we have to mentally train them as well, not in the usual leave it all up to the youngster method currently employed but in a more professional way through the specialists available.

Now you may disagree with that but I'll bring you the insight from someone who has actually been through the system, not at Tottenham I might add, but through a clubs coaching. The result didn't surprise me but may surprise you and provides another example of why a Sports Psychologist is vitally needed at Spurs.

The academy system has been in place for 17 years now since Howard Wilkinson introduced it giving clubs control of youth development from the age of 8 upwards.

Now our player was at Peterborough United and began there in 1999. At the time it was considered as one of the best academies in the country. Any academy can not be judged until a group has been right through the system so while 1999 might seem a long while ago the boys in that academy are now only 23.

The FA Director of Elite Development and other highly qualified coaches taught the boys at Peterborough so not a Premier League club but still access to the top men in the country and all the latest techniques. They played a game on Sundays and had three training sessions a week at the age of 9. In addition everyone had to practice kick-ups every night at home and work on agility and balance.

What he reveals though was a trend among the boys, despite three of his year making it as professionals, that they didn't particularly care about winning.

Now that may be astounding to some but it was prevalent for me under AVB and I'll go on to explain why I think so shortly but let's return to the story of our youngster going through the system.

The onus is on the individual to play well winning didn't matter. After every game the lads would have to mark themselves write down an assessment of their performance. The coach would then give his assessment and his mark. This produced a system that meant the youngsters were more interested in their own mark than anything else.

Too many low scores and that's the end of your career, aged 10.

Everyone was afraid to make a mistake and the players would get rid of the ball as soon as they were under pressure to avoid making a mistake. Letting in goals didn't matter as long as you as an individual were not at fault. Coaches he says drilled to into them that the performance was all that mattered.

Now lets turn to the players under AVB where passing to a teammate was everything regardless of whether you created any chances or not. We had a culture where nobody was trying to make a telling pass but passing sideways or backwards to someone else to take responsibility. Thus a players stats looked good, he hadn't made mistakes but he hadn't actually dome anything either, that was left to someone else.

What happens when a player does take responsibility and try and make a telling pass like Walker often does trying to play it in behind the full-back for Lennon to run on to? The fans slag him off for not being successful with it while the Dembele's of this world who once in a blue moon try a creative pass get let off with a far lesser degree of criticism, when in fact it should be the other way around.

I like Dembele, his ability to beat a man is great but what does he do next with the ball, never a telling pass, rarely a shot. There is a mush better player that could be unlocked if you get his mind right.

Now I exclude defensive midfielders in this because their role a lot of the time is to play the simple short pass and to receive the ball from one wide centre-back and play it to the other to switch sides. Mousa Dembele plays as a link midfielder though and not as a defensive midfielder.

The problem under AVB this season was not just Dembele, the whole midfield were doing it as if to say, I don't want to be the one making what looks like a mistake, you do it. I wonder just how much of that it's all about my performance and my passing stats mindset is in our players at times.

In youth development abroad winning is not everything but having a point where it doesn't matter can't be right. There comes a point where winning does matter but if you have conditioned people that it doesn't then you have to recondition them that it does. There comes a point when individual improvement must be harnessed within team improvement to achieve results.

Is it those that are reconditioned that become the world stars of the game and those that still retain a bit of the old training don't?

Clearly at Spurs the mentality of the players is wrong and the individual has to take their share of the responsibility for that. , They should be motivating themselves for every game, yet they are half asleep when they start. Are they frightened of making a mistake?

Youngsters do get exposed to a sports psychologist but is there role seen as important enough within coaching, I don't think it is. A team of them could not only work with the players at the club at all levels but they could be given tapes of transfer targets for an initial assessment using the 43 point check list I introduced in Part 9 that comes from a professional Sports Psychologist who has worked with Premier League players.

Recent Posts - The Spurs Need To Go Mental Series
Part 8 - Fan Bonding & Substitutes Preparation
Part 7 - Les Ferdinand must go
Part 6 - £20,000 would have avoided the Lamela fiasco
Part 5 - Spurs need Gareth Bale's attitude 
Part 4 - Spurs need to assess players better
Part 3 - Spurs players should learn from Harry Kane
Part 2 - The mental shift Spurs must make to be successful
Part 1 - Spurs need to go mental

If the club want to be the best they can be then a Sports Psychology department that not only worked with all the age groups but worked with the local community and local football clubs could have beneficial effects. If you were a talented local lad would your parents want you to go to the club that is going to develop you mentally as well to make you the best you can be giving you the best chance of success?

If we are honest here, to a professional what is the attraction of coming to Tottenham at the moment? We are a club who can't buy the best so have to try and find those that want to be the best but it's no good just asking the player if if he wants to be the best he can be you have to independently mentally assess then to see if they are motivated enough to achieve it. Most players aren't.

If you pick up the best talent because you look after them and give them what other clubs aren't then that will eventually fund itself through sales but also produce better players for the club itself which in turn attracts other talent from around the world.

If Tottenham are helping youngsters in that way and producing a conveyor belt of talent then we become more attractive as we would be developing them in a way other clubs are not. It's a string we can add and need to add to our bow. Being a sheep will not turn us into winners, it will not allow us to win titles over clubs with money so we have to be better than them in areas where we can, not simply copy them.

The club have to look for continual improvements, if we do the same next year as we have done this year or the previous years we can expect the same results.

Simply buying a bunch of players and saying get on with it chaps is a rather hit and miss approach as we are finding out. There is plenty we can do to improve but do we really want to or will we stick with the same old same old and achieve the same results.

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Part 10 - Youth Development Part 10 - Youth Development Reviewed by THBlogNews on 8:30 pm Rating: 5

We need someone of Tim Sherwood quality

10:01 am

Fans of course, as we know ourselves, come second to the club. If the club has a strategy they follow it whether that is against fans wishes or not. Sometimes that means taking wrong turnings or backwards steps but always with the long term strategy in mind.

We need someone of Tim Sherwood quality
Grant Hall on loan at Swindon
Our arrangement with Swindon Town was, is a welcome one. From our point of view yes it is all about developing our youth players by giving them first team football. However there must be spin off benefits for the club taking the loanees.

This article from The Two Unfortunates is an informative and enjoyable read from a Swindon Town perspective about young player development but specifically the arrangement with Tottenham and how everything is not rosy for the fans. I highly recommend you have a read.

The fact that the article says Swindon have been approached by two other Premier League clubs to take loan players because of the style of football being played, which is clearly to accommodate our loanees and ape our style, suggests the initial stages of this strategy are a success.

Like ourselves, their fans appear to be growing tired of constant passing with no end product. As with any style, it's fine if you are winning, it's a problem when you are not. There was nothing wrong with the style under Andre Villas-Boas if it could have had the added element of creating chances at the end of it but it lacked that basic and essential element.

We have seen similar under Sherwood at times, usually when we are trying not to lose as opposed to trying to win, Everton springs to mind, most first half performances spring to mind.

I have only watched one Swindon Town game and it was a delight to watch. It was early season at the MK Dons and both sides were playing passing football. perhaps MK Dons should be another club we link with to nurture our youth, after all surely we don't want all our eggs in one basket and they play the type of football we are looking for.

I wrote earlier in the season about youth development abroad, highlighting the development of Eric Dier, an English centre-half and defensive midfielder at Sporting, formerly Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. I looked at how it differed greatly from the development at a young age of players over here.

Abroad development was more important than results and youth players played first team football at a much younger age than in the Premier League. I felt then that perhaps we should be developing more links with clubs in Portugal, Spain or Holland to loan youth players for a seasons development.

The game has gone the way of Premier League teams buying all the talent and loaning it out, not something I am totally in favour of. Personally I don't think a Premier League player should be allowed to be loaned to another Premier League club.

If a club doesn't want a player they should sell him and not hoard talent. How many times has Lukaku actually played for Chelsea yet now they are talking £40 million. That is not right In my view. If a Premier League team wish to loan a player he should have to go abroad. Would that stop player hoarding? I don't know but it wouldn't be worse than the situation we have now although I suppose it would simply be covering up the problem, sweeping it out of sight.

Arsenal it seemed to me were one of the first to start hoarding youngsters, a policy that has served them very well over the years, we are playing catch up. Having put a similar strategy in place because it fits with the financial constraints we have, we needed to evolve to start sending players out on loan.

Tim Sherwood has been instrumental in that, he has transformed youth player development at Spurs and embraced the loan system. There is little doubt that our youth players are developing better now than they ever have and in greater numbers. Love him or hate him that is done to Tim Sherwood and a club strategy.


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It seems inevitable that Sherwood will be leaving Tottenham in the summer to pursue a management career path. There is no indication yet who will take over youth development on a full time basis, LesFerdinand is rumoured to be leaving as well laving just Chris Ramsey on the three.

Louis Van Gaal develops youth, will he be bringing someone to head the academy, will we promote from within or hire from outside, we certainly won't continue to muddle through as we seem to be doing at the moment.

What is Steffen Freund's future, Van Gaal keeps one coach at a club, is he to be that man or would he be ideal to head the next stage of youth development, having coached German youth sides. Will he be Van Gaal's number 2?

Will Chris Ramsey take the youth lead, he seems more of a coach than an administrator and it's a manager, administrator with contacts more than a coach we need.

Whoever takes over we will need them to be at least of Tim Sherwood quality who will continue the good work with the likes of Swindon and expand upon it.

We need someone of Tim Sherwood quality We need someone of Tim Sherwood quality Reviewed by THBlogNews on 10:01 am Rating: 5

What Academy?

11:36 am
I read Mihir Bose's article on Harry's comments relating to the players Arsenal are bringing on.

Harry made a few interesting comments that I never knew were not in fruition at Spurs. For example, he said that Arsenal "have got full-time scouts all around the world and they have invested heavily". So does that mean we don't?

I'm not too sure of what to make of this? I would have thought that a club of our stature was surely employing a network of scouts from around the world? If we are to take Harry's word for it, then we do not.

Now, I find this interesting on two fronts. Firstly, because this means players are being offered to us either via sporting agents, or via word-of-mouth. Secondly, this must leave Harry with little time. He should have enough on his plate and with the added incentive of being a psychologist to Pavlova, his time must be extremely limited.

We all know how Harry works. He can be a bit of a craft so and so now and again, and it's fairly obvious that he plans to talk to Daniel Levy about us employing a network of scouts. Or, he's already spoken to Daniel, and our Chairman has said that he'll think about it; so out comes Harry with his media rendition, so as to hurry up the decision making process.

If Harry and Danny have had a chat about matters such as these, then surely we shouldn't be thinking about making these kinds of moves, but rather, doing them.
What Academy? What Academy? Reviewed by Frank Spencer on 11:36 am Rating: 5
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