With Tottenham’s transfer window tending to be quite a busy period with many ins and outs; it’s a breath of fresh air to see the youth products blossoming under the reigns of Mauricio Pochettino.
On Christmas Day they will sit level on points with Arsenal and five ahead of Liverpool, with a semi-final spot in the Capital One Cup and a place in the last 32 of the Europa League all secured as they enter the second-half of the season.
Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Andros Townsend are all graduates of Tottenham’s Academy and they are really starting to make an impression in Pochettino’s inaugural season as Spurs boss.
Pochettino’s style of play he adopted at Southampton is being slowly implemented at his new team, along with a policy of promoting youth and giving them a platform to showcase their worth.
At St. Mary’s, the Argentinean was a heavy user of the academy crop made up of the likes of Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and Adam Lallana.
That trend continues at Spurs where he has a fresh quartet of talent who are getting plenty of action.
“For us, it’s very important to develop our young talent because we have an unbelievable academy and training ground, and we need to profit from it,” said the 42-year-old.
“It is important because the academy is always the heart of any club. It was one of the main reasons I decided to come here. The opportunity to work with this club’s academy was fantastic. I think it is the best in England, maybe even Europe.”
The stand-out star who will take the plaudits to date is Harry Kane. The 21-year-old has made his way through the Spurs youth teams and is now making his mark in the first-team squad. He has 14 goals in 23 games in all competitions this season, and there are roars growing that he could soon be in line for an England call-up.
Kane’s work-rate has been a beacon of light that has shone through for many Spurs fans, and his goals could be huge come the end of the season with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor both struggling to find the net consistently.
In midfield, the trio of Mason, Bentaleb and Townsend are showing that they are also capable of competing at the top level.
We have seen Townsend prior to this season do the business for club and country, and now he is back to full fitness, Spurs will be hoping to see the performances that saw him burst onto the scene prior to injury last season.
Central-midfield is a position that Spurs have a stock load of talent however it’s the graduates who are cementing themselves in the line-up. Enfield-born Mason and Algerian International Bentaleb are keeping players like Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Mousa Dembele out of the side and it’s testament to Pochettino for giving youth a chance.
The conveyor belt of talent continues to yield with Spurs’ under-21’s producing more young stars that are set to follow in the footsteps of Kane, Mason, Bentaleb and Townsend.
Joshua Onomah, Harry Winks, Nathan Oduwa and Cameron Carter-Vickers are all very highly rated by Pochettino as he reflected on the position the club are in.
“These players identify with the culture of the club and feel the club,” said Pochettino. “If you stay 10 or eight years in the club, with your dream to arrive to the first team, then when you arrive in the first team it’s difficult for you to leave. For that, it’s important to keep your culture and identify the player with it.
“We have a lot of talent here and it is very exciting. We watch a lot of games in the Under-21s, 18, 16s and even 14s sometimes. We have a very strong staff on the academy and a very close relationship with John McDermott. We analyse and talk about players every day.”
So as we approach another January transfer window many will look to spend big and improve their squads, shipping in talent from across the world for six-figure price tags.
However, maybe we should look a little closer to home, invest in our youth systems and give the best possible platform to our younger players to breakthrough.