When Alan Hansen famously claimed ‘you can’t win anything with kids,’ Alex Ferguson didn’t just prove the former Liverpool captain wrong once, but repeated the feat again and again and again.

The school of ’92 went on to arguably be the best team in Premier League history. Players of the ilk of Beckham, Giggs and Scholes have become household names and the club from Old Trafford have gone to unprecedented
continuous success.

On the back of that, Alex Ferguson has blooded other young players into the team, not afraid to put his hand in his pocket with the purchases of Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, who both played prominent roles in their double winning season of 2008.

Even before these two great generations of players, Ferguson introduced the likes of Russell Beardsmore, Lee Sharpe, Mark Robins and Lee Martin. That faith proved crucial, with Robins arguably saving Fergie’s job with a
famous cup goal at the City Ground and Lee Martin securing the man from Govan’s first trophy with an FA Cup win in 1990.

He is now introducing the next breed, with Smalling, Jones, Welbeck and Cleverley showing they have what it takes to take over the mantel of their famous predecessors.

Watching this new generation coming through has led me to wonder if they are really that much better than our own current breed of young stars?

Since Alex Inglethorpe has come to the club I have noticed a number of exciting players on the fringes of the first team. Due to considerable pressure, Santini and Jol never seemed brave enough to give them a try.

I remember a young left back Phil Ifil making his debut against Liverpool in Santini’s first game in charge. He was quick, not scared of going forward and looked a good prospect. After such a promising start he was never given a look in, went out on loan to Millwall and has never been heard of since.

Even though I’m probably the biggest fan of Martin Jol, my only criticism was he didn’t give many youngsters a chance. I remember the likes of Dean Marney having a great game against Everton, but wasagain unable to establish himself into the team.

A lot of you might ask what have they done since, as Marney plies his trade at Burnley, but players develope differentially in a different environment. Players sometimes only improve with the experience of playing with better players. They haven’t had that since they left the Academy at Tottenham.

Our current crop contains some players who in my mind, match their northern counterparts. Youngsters like Walker, Caulker and Naughton have proved themselves at Championship level and have deservedly earned a
Premiership chance.

In Walker’s case he has come back vying for a place in the Spurs first teamand if you take his performances at Villa and with the England U21’s, ‘The next Roberto Carlos’ will be surely be given a chance.

Caulker has earned his stripes in the lower levels, first in League One with Yeovil and then the Championship with Bristol City. In Naughton’s case he has been voted into the Championship team of the season on two occasions (Sheffield Utd and Leicester). Other lads such as John Bostock, Danny Rose, Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, Jon Obika and Tom Carroll and Harry Kane all went out with moderate success.

Harry Kane was out on loan with Leyton Orient last season and although his impact was minimal, he has comeback a better player, scoring goals for fun in pre-season. I really like the player; he seems to be a natural finisher in the Robbie Fowler mould, but strong enough to hold the ball up. If given a chance he could be a superstar, but will Harry be brave enough to play him?

History says yes, as Harry was in charge of West Ham when Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole were coming through. He was using the same template there as he is now – sending them out in the real world of lower league football. It’s a sink or swim philosophy which worked well at the East End club. Let’s hope he keeps his promise of playing the kids in the League Cup and Europa League, even though the opening game of the season has been cancelled.

I obviously don’t see these young players train every day or know what their characters were like, but only seeing Sol Campbell, Stephen Carr and Ledley King establish themselves in my time as a supporter, is very disappointing.



  1. Let’s be real. We will play one striker. We have 4 official strikers being paid tens of thousands a week. Before you get to Kane, you will have to snub up to 3 highly paid strikers to even bring him on Kane as a sub. “Scoring goals for fun”? One pen vs Barnet. 2 goals vs MK Dons. Scoring against League one and League two opposition is not exactly a statement of being ready. He may well have a future, but in the “future”. Loan move to Championship will show his worth. How about to Ipswich? They have just lost Wickham, and could do with a replacement with certain similar qualities.

  2. The above comment on Kane brings realism to it all, but in general I do not think Spurs really give youngsters a chance. Only with an extended run in the team will you see if they can really take the big step.

  3. TonyRich – he has been scoring goals easily in the pre-season, which is a good sign, i think you’re jumping down on a good article really TonyRich. some valid points have been raised and the article poses questions that many spurs fans are pondering. granted we played 4411 a lot last year, but that wont work with JD up front, and Harry must realise we need goals this year to improve, so things should change. maybe u should read it again mate, as a spurs fan the lack of younsters that have come through is shocking, and great teams like utd promote their young players and introduce them gradually, so many i could list but welbeck, cleverley the lastest. Spurs have great opportunity to do this now, and Harry can leave in a years time and be proud that he started a legacy! COYS

  4. Didn’t Kane recently score a hat trick against Birmingham City in a 6-3 win?

    I think it’ll be good if he was actually given a chance.

    I’d put him in the squad, play him in the League Cup and Europa league and depending on how successfull he is, keep him in the squad or loan him out to a Championship club in January.

  5. I was at the everton game few yrs back when Marney scored 2 on his debut – hardly got a look in after that? answers on a postcard??

  6. This article is exactly what I have been saying for years. A succesion of Managers all frightened to promote from within and want to buy in success.
    I would even extend that to some youngsters purchased – was Gio or Taarabt truly given half a chnce or even a glimmer to succeed?

    Kane is one who really should. Scored 2 against MKD in 15 mins after defoe had done nothing for 75.

    Caulkner will be interesting to watch him grow – but I feel he should be in our ranks alongside Dawson. Caulkner is only a whisker behind Smalling and Jones in the u21 set up …surely, he is good enough for us?

  7. The author of this article has echoed my thoughts. Surely it would be beneficial to both club and player to bring the youngsters on,even if they play the odd one or two in the (easier) fixtures you find in the Premier League.

    For the club it would increase the value of the player should he come good,whilst saving millions in transfer fees. As for the player it would give him an abundance of match expeireance helping his career no ends.

    Of course not forgetting the fans would also get to see the youth set up in action.Everyones a winner.

  8. You didn’t go back far enough – you might have mentioned the great ManU team of 1957, prior to their tragic air crash. They were mostly a bunch of youngsters.
    Yes, I think Kane should be given a shot as a starter The three high priced starters haven’ scored many goals so why start them ahead of him?
    And yes, I do think Harry is too cautious to give Kane a chance in the near future. I’m sure Wenger and Ferguson wouldn’t hesitate to blood him.

    • I think it was because the author was referring to Alex Ferguson rather than Man Utd as a whole.

      Fergies kids were great but nothing compared to the ones lost in Munich in 1958.

  9. Lennon, Huddlesdon, Bale, Dawson these were all young players that were given a chance and they grabbed it with both hands, how can you say we dont give youth a chance,??? Also Danny Rose and Kyle Walker look both like they will both make the team this year, hardly a team that doesnt give youth a chance.

    Look at that lot down the road all they have been doing is giving youth a chance with their kids and won Fcuk All.

  10. Bale was almost shipped out, but an injury to a team mate got him a reprieve.

    The others were bought in as ‘ready players’ – not as 16 yolds being nurtured.


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