Relying on promising youth is an ethos more familiar with the likes of Arsenal, yet it appears to be paying dividends for Harry Redknapp’s side at the moment, especially in the Europa League.
Picking up points against the Greek side PAOK, in a tough away environment and Shamrock Rovers in front of the home crowd, Tottenham’s youngsters are more than proving a point and are demonstrating that Spurs have a match-winning side in the making for the more competitive fixtures of the Premier League.
I’d like to make special reference to central midfielder Tom Carroll and left sided Andros Townsend in this optimistic prophecy, who more than earned their stripes against the Irish league champions last Thursday.
Some would argue that a 3-1 victory over such weak opposition does little to enhance their reputation, however, the result could have been so much more one sided if it wasn’t for some fortuitous saves from Shamrock’s keeper and his crossbar in the first half. Performances from senior players such as Lennon (who seemed reluctant to go past defenders) also restricted the scoreline.
The plethora of first half chances were almost all engineered by the slick passing, vision and composure of Tom Carroll who linked up superbly with the likes of Dos Santos. Despite his youth and slightness in stature, he performed with confidence, strength and maturity well beyond his years. His ability in linking play even echoes that of first team star, Luka Modric, of whom he also shares a resemblance in build and mentality.
With Carroll seven years Luka’s junior, he truly is an exciting prospect. If he continues in this rich vein of form, perhaps in seven years time he’ll be tearing apart Liverpudlian defences alongside Sandro or Livermore in the Spurs midfield.
As mentioned above, Spurs were lacking in the first half against Shamrock Rovers. Lennon’s adopted tactic for this game was passing whenever he received the ball rather than his usual, and effective game plan of beating defenders with his pace. Up stepped, Andros Townsend who oozed confidence as soon as his feet touched the turf.
It was not long before it was realised that Andros could beat the defenders and produce a final ball that was was soon after met graciously by Pavlyuchenko’s head. Does Townsend represent Aaron Lennon, version two? With pace to burn and skill on the ball, all Lennon was missing was vision and a consistent cross; Townsend demonstrated on Thursday that he provides both. He more than signalled his intent against Shamrock with a performance that could see him in the starting line up in the not too distant future.
With the likes of Kyle Walker and Livermore who have already earned regular spots in the senior team, it shouldn’t be too long before Carroll and Townsend join them. The most exciting aspect is that there are plenty of other even younger talents in the Tottenham side as demonstrated by the Nextgen series such as Souleymane Coubilaly. All things considered, it would appear that Tottenham may just have a bright, and optimistic future.