There's a midfielder, 21-year-old Thomas Carroll, who Spurs fans should be really excited about.
He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s gifted and he still has it all ahead of him.
Although he made seven league appearances last season, they were all from a substitute position; and his playing minutes amounted during these games were just a mere 83. He played 83 minutes of league football last season - in 7 games.
Although he started three games in the UEFA Europa League, Tom has only ever completed one professional game for Spurs, against Slovenian side Maribor. In this game he achieved his highest match rating of 7.55 and provided an assist. He was also ranked as the fourth highest performer in that game. That was after Jermaine Defoe - who scored a hat-trick - Jan Vertonghen - who was voted one of the best defenders in the league last season - and Gareth Bale - who, well, he’s just Gareth Bale.
He achieved 89% pass accuracy, made 93 touches and even won 50% of his aerial battles. So not a bad start for his first full 90 minutes.
Going back to the league, in his 83 minutes of football he managed to achieve an average pass accuracy of 84%. This is even more impressive when you take into account his average pass length was 19 metres and 72% of his passes went forwards. He tries to open up the opposition.
He’s a positive passer, which is what Spurs need when we have the likes of Scott Parker spinning around in circles. He only created one chance in his time playing league football last season, but it was the pass to Gareth Bale before he unleashed that absolute thunderbolt against West Ham. So we have him to thank for that, too. Only 12 out of 81 passes completed last season in the league went backwards. I can’t stress enough how important that stat is to me.
So what will Tom bring to Spurs in the years to come?
With the introduction of Paulinho this year, and next season’s predicted midfield three of Sandro, Paulinho, and Mousa Dembélé, it’s going to be harder than ever for Tom to break into the team, in my opinion. However what he does have on his side, is Andre Villas-Boas's belief.
It’s clear to me that the coach believes in him. And when the older Spurs midfield generation move on, I can see Tom forming a big part of a midfield that may contain players like Lewis Holtby, Iago Falqué and possibly Ryan Mason.
Also, Tom could be a big player at international level. He’s already featured in the England U-19s, and less prominently for the U21s. However in the years to come, with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard and the like moving on, I can see him forming an England midfield along with the likes of Tom Cleverley, Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson. We will see.
I hope he achieves more minutes next season, if not in the league, then definitely in Europe, as I think he deserves it.
Good luck, Tom.
Stats taken from whoscored.com.
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