It’s hard not to mock everything that Tim Sherwood says. His Harry Redknapp parody act – in which he denies culpability for anything that goes wrong, while claiming credit for things that he has absolutely no right to – is pretty much the funniest thing in football.
Yet even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day and amidst Sherwood’s boast that he single-handedly prevented Harry Kane being sold by Spurs, there was a nugget of truth as he expanded on the subject.
“I just think it’s ridiculous that you let your homegrown players go. I thought it was poor that Livermore should leave, I thought it was poor that Caulker should leave, I’m talking about players who are playing in the Premier League week in and week out.”
If this season has taught us anything it’s that you have to keep your homegrown players at the club and give them the opportunity to prove that they’re good enough. Harry Kane has done that this season, despite a string of loan spells in which he largely failed to set the world alight.
So too has Ryan Mason, who has made his breakthrough this season at the relatively advanced age of 23. Andros Townsend is the same age and like Mason and Kane, is also establishing himself at the club having travelled the country on loan in his youth.
What has been clear to see this season is how much these players care about the club, the effort they’re willing to put into the cause and the way it rubs off on the players around them.
Jake Livermore and Steven Caulker might not have been world beaters but they were good enough to hold a place in the Tottenham squad. They should be there now, alongside Nabil Bentaleb, Kane, Mason and Townsend.
Livermore was a much derided figure during his time at Spurs. He was most often being picked alongside either Scott Parker or Sandro and as a result the central midfield lacked any creativity. This wasn’t Livermore’s fault – blame the club’s management for picking two similar players together and building an unbalanced squad. Yet it was generally him that received the grumbles of Tottenham fans over the England midfielder or the Brazilian cult hero, despite the fact that they were equally lacking in creativity as Livermore.
As I’ve said, Livermore isn’t a world beater but he is a disciplined player, well capable of playing in a defensive midfield role in the Premier League. Even if you don’t rate him, you’d probably concede that he’s at least the equal of midfielders such as Etienne Capoue and Paulinho who replaced Livermore at the club at great expense.
Like Livermore, Steven Caulker had won an England cap at Spurs before being prematurely sold. There are various rumours as to why he left the club but again like Livermore, it’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t be as useful as squad members such as Vlad Chiriches, Federico Fazio and Younes Kaboul, all of whom cost many millions.
It was a mistake to let these players go but hopefully the success of the current crop of Tottenham youngsters will prevent further errors of judgement. In Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs finally have a manager willing to give youth a chance and it’s resulted in an extremely exciting season.
In a global league awash with money, Tottenham have gone back to growing their own and they’ve found that with a little patience, these players can be just as good as those that cost a fortune.