Kids

Cheap and Very Cheerful

Kids. Who’d have them, eh? Well Tottenham would, and after a mass of big budget transfer flops, who could blame them.

David Pleat has been the main mover and shaker behind the purchase of some of Spurs young guns, and behind the scenes former player Chris Hughton has been enabling their development as reserve team manager.

But are they any good, and who is likely to make a permanent first-team breakthrough? As usual…I don’t have the answers. But I’ll give it a go.

Stephen Clemence

Age 23 | Position Midfielder | Former Clubs None

Or ‘Son of Ray’ as he is known. Clemence has been a pro at Spurs for 7 seasons now and in the last 2 seasons he has made his position in the first team a fairly regular one. The battling midfielder is certainly committed to the cause, but lacks real quality for the long term. His versatility has won him more appearances than he may have expected as he has deputised in the left back and wing back positions on many occasions. His favoured position is center midfield where he certainly is more consistent.

Star Potential 6 out of 10

Comments Hard working but his future might lie in the first divison.

Simon Davies

Age 21 | Position Midfielder | Former Clubs Peterborough | Fee 700k

Signed from Peterborough in the £1.2m deal that took both himself and Matty Etherington to White Hart Lane. The box-to-box midfielder looks to have a very bright future in the game and has already been called up to the full Welsh set up (yeah I know, not exactly full of midfield talent are they?). Has impressed with his creativity and determination and scored three goals in his limited appearances for the first team.

Star Potential 9 out of 10

Comments There are not many Spurs fans who are not impressed with this guy.

Gary Doherty

Age 21 | Position Defender/Forward | Former Clubs Luton Town | Fee 1m

Where to play this guy is the big question. George Graham, David Pleat, Glenn Hoddle and his international manager, Mick McCarthy, have all yet to decide on where Doherty plays best – in defence or up front. Pleat thinks Doherty is a striker while McCarthy thinks he is a better defender. At 21, there’s still time for Gary to adapt to one or the other and it would be better for him if he did (look at Paul Warhurst!). As it is, his performances in defence have impressed all at White Hart Lane and he slotted in very nicely alongside Sol Campbell and Chris Perry during the season. Only a striker crisis forced the Donegal-born hybrid from retaining his central-defensive posistion. It remains to be seen where Glenn Hoddle chooses to play him next season.

Star Potential 8 out of 10

Comments One of the finds of the season.

Matthew Etherington

Age 19 | Position Midfielder | Former Clubs Peterborough | Fee 500k

Lightweight left-winger Matty Etherington has a large void to fill after the summer departure of Spurs hero, David Ginola. With Spurs adopting mainly a wing-back system during the season, opportunities for the tricky attacking midfielder have been limited. When he has played he has shown glimpses of skill and his ability to cross from the byline have caused problems for opposing defences. At only 19, time is on his side to make his mark. He is the type of player that Spurs fans have traditionally warmed to and many will be hoping he breaks through next year.

Star Potential 7 out of 10

Comments May have the quality, but too early to tell.

Steve Ferguson

Age 20 | Position Forward | Former Clubs East Fife | Fee 100k (may rise to 250k)

After banging in nine goals in ten games for East Fife at the start of the season, Steve Ferguson was snapped up by Spurs for a relatively small fee. The twenty year old has already netted a couple of times for the reserves and although it is early days, hopes for the life long Spurs fan are high.

Star Potential 6 out of 10

Comments He’s only been here five minutes, but early indications are good.

Anthony Gardner

Age 20 | Position Defender | Former Clubs Port Vale | Fee 1m

At 6 foot 5 inches, the huge Gardner looks like a quality replacement for Sol Campbell. Of course Spurs will be hoping that he is a quality compliment for the contractually-challenged Solman rather than a deputy. After making his mark in division one with Port Vale, Gardner has made a confident start for Spurs playing under Hoddle in the last month. Elegant and composed, he looks as good a young defender as Spurs have on their books.

Star Potential 8 out of 10

Comments This guy looks a lock to break through.

Ian Hillier

Age 21 | Position Defender/Midfielder | Former Clubs None

Recent appearances on the bench may suggest that Hillier has an unlikely future with Spurs. Originally released as a trainee, he returned to Spurs to win a contract a couple of years ago. But time and opportunities are passing the youngster by and unless he makes his mark very quickly, he may find himself squeezed out by the progress of other defenders.

Star Potential 5 out of 10

Comments Might be too late for the Welsh born defender.

Yannick Kamanan

Age 19 | Position Forward | Former Clubs Le Mans, Paris St Germain

A player who turned a lot of heads at U-19 level, and this season progressed into the reserve team where reviews have been equally as flattering. Fast and skilful, there is every chance that the young forward will get a first team break next season if he continues his impressive progress.

Star Potential 7 out of 10

Comments Looks good for the youngster. Already rejected contracts from Le Mans and Paris St Germain to try his hand in the Premiership. Now lets not like Wenger snap him up.

Ledley King

Age 20 | Position Defender/Midfielder | Former Clubs None

Arguably the jewel in the Spurs crown. The defender-cum-midfielder has established himself as a mainstay in the Spurs first XI this season, only injury robbing him of a consistent place in the last month or so. Although breaking through as a central defender, George Graham moved the confident King into midfield where his skilful determination has won many admirers from outside of White Hart Lane.

Star Potential 9 out of 10

Comments You got to like this lad. Is moving out of Sol Campbell’s shadow.

Dave McEwen

Age 24 | Position Forward | Former Clubs Crouch End Vampires, Crawley Town, Dulwich Hamlet | Fee nominal

What a move for the slightly more mature, McEwen. The former part-time football, part-time student, won a dream move to the Premiership after impressing someone at White Hart Lane. Since then he has completed his studies and began full-time training. McEwen is probably around 12 months away from regular first team action at least. Hopefully he won’t run out of time and can develop sufficiently to build a professional career. Whether or not it will be at White Hart Lane is in the balance.

Star Potential 4 out of 10

Comments He would be a very unlikely success story.

John Piercy

Age 21 | Position Midfielder | Former Clubs None

Piercy is a bit of an unknown quantity but has already made four appearances this season. The right-sided midfielder has consistently played well for the reserves and with Darren Anderton permanently injured (as well as being out of contract), he has his best chance to make an impact. A lot will depend on the opportunities afforded to him by Glenn Hoddle next season.

Star Potential 5 out of 10

Comments Not a vaunted talent at all, but has an outside chance of establishing himself.

Alton Thelwell

Age 20 | Position Defender | Former Clubs None

Those familiar to Tottenham’s reserve football were surprised that Thelwell received his first team call up against Liverpool this season. The center-half starred in the miraclulous 2-1 home win over the future Worthington Cup winners, but has been in and out of the team since then. A loss of confidence over Christmas have undermined his attempt to cement his first-team place and he now finds himself under pressure from Anthony Gardner, Gary Doherty and Luke Young for the center-back role.

Star Potential 6 out of 10

Comments Looks a bit panicky on the ball. I’m not entirely convinced about him, but he coul still develop into a better player.

Luke Young

Age 21 | Position Defender | Former Clubs None

Young seems to have been around for ages now, making his debut in the 1998/1999 season under George Graham. He primarily has appeared as left back or wing back (a problem spot for Spurs this season with Tarrico and Thatcher out all year), but Young is capable of playing in both the center of defence and midfield. With quite a lot of first team experience, Young should be ready to make the permanent breakthrough at this point. With so many young players in competition with him, it doesn’t look as clear cut for him as it might have done twelve months ago. If it doesn’t work out, the boy-band looks could see him launch a career on the catwalk!

Star Potential 7 out of 10

Comments Slightly inconsistent, Young normally has a few nightmare moments in every game. He looks a good player but may never hold down a regular place and may have to settle for periphiral action.

And then some

Other names who we might see popping into those Friday evening teletext squads are Johnnie Jackson, Ben Bowditch, Mario Consorti, Jon Jonsson, Ciaran Toner and goalkeeper, Gavin Kelly. Very few, if any, of these players will make the grade at Spurs, some may not even maintain professional careers for very long.

But that is the motivation for these youngsters in the cut-and-thrust of professional football. No point coming in to the first team and scoring that wonder goal before finding yourself out of contract and out of work 12 months later. Remember Terry Cooke? How about Ritchie Humphries? Or Spurs own Scott Houghton or Andy Turner?

And finally…

It all got a bit much for Everton’s MIA midfielder, Alex Nyarko, this week when a disgruntled fan ran on to the pitch and attempted to swap shirts with the Ghanaian, as if to indicate that he felt he could do a better job than him. In a huff, Nyarko declared that he would never play for Everton again and a lot of blues fans cheered quite a bit.

But smart-alec comments aside, this is a multi-faceted situation. Firstly, the condemnation of that bloke who encroached on the pitch has been relegated to secondary importance behind the fact that Nyarko has announced his retirement. Everton need to highlight the fact that the fan was wrong to do what he did and even go as far as to ban him next season.

Secondly, the whole incident should be seen as an embarrasment by the club to one of it’s big summer signings. Nyarko by all accounts is a useful player, regardless of his form this season. With the situation the way it is, Everton have essentially written off the 5m value that would be floating around his head.

Thirdly, Nyarko needs to grow up a bit. I mean why throw your rattle out of the pram like that? There is precedence, and all he needed to do was follow it. If a fan abuses you, land a kung fu kick on his chest, do 200 hours of community service, complete a 7 month global ban and return to drive your team to Premiership glory with a series of stunning goals.

Oh, and turn your collar up too.

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