The Hard Tackle takes a look at three academy players who could potentially break into the first-team setup at Tottenham in the forthcoming season
Tottenham have evolved into a truly formidable unit in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons. Mauricio Pochettino has had a tremendous effect at the North London club, overseeing their transformation into contenders for the league title.
One of the primary reasons that has been underpinned towards such a telling effect from the Argentine is his focus towards injecting fresh young blood into the side every season. Be it Dele Alli or Harry Winks, Pochettino has long held a policy to hand an important role in his first-team setup.
In fact, the Lilywhites boast one of the youngest squads ever in Premier League history, and the effect can be witnessed in the successful implementation of his high-press style. Ahead of the 2017/18 season, The Hard Tackle takes a look at three youngsters who could be the latest to break into Pochettino’s squad this time around.
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Cameron Carter-Vickers arrived at Tottenham in 2009, aged 11, with the club’s scouts keeping a keen eye on him for well over a year. Since then, he has made steady progress through the ranks before becoming a regular part of the first-team squad, while also being a regular fixture for the US under-23 side.
But while he has already broken into the Tottenham reserves, and also made a few appearances in cup competitions, the player has remained on the fringes as far as the Premier League is concerned. But, 2016/17 could finally be the season Carter-Vickers makes his league debut, with Pochettino banking a lot on a back-three of late.
And while Pochettino is reportedly in the market for a centre-back, with the likes of Alfie Mawson and Juan Foyth being linked, he has made little progress in their pursuit. As it happens, a solution could be within his first-team squad – Carter-Vickers – who could end up saving him millions.
In Alderweireld and Vertonghen, Carter-Vickers has the perfect mentors to guide him. And, with Kevin Wimmer not managing to make a smooth transition to first team football, the teenager could finally get his big break in the Premier League – the early signs from pre-season suggest the same as well.
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Kyle Walker-Peters joined the Tottenham youth setup as a 16-year-old in 2013, and has been a regular part of the reserve side for two years now. He is yet to make his senior competitive debut for the North London club, though. Perhaps, the forthcoming season might just see him break through into the first-team setup.
The departure of his namesake, Kyle Walker, has left Tottenham a little short in the right-back slot. Hence, the player, who has shown a lot of promise with solid defensive performances in addition to nippy, marauding runs down the right flank, has a genuine chance to impress next season.
With Kieran Trippier being the only recognised option at Pochettino’s disposal currently, and with no right-back being linked to Tottenham, it is likely that the Spurs boss will impose his faith on Walker-Peters to become the backup right-back next season. His ability to play as a left-back also potentially makes him an asset.
Future is bright. 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/4KShMpnoqa
— Hotspur Hacker (@HotspurHacker) July 29, 2017
Position: Midfielder (Right-wing)
Edwards has been with Tottenham for over a decade, ever since he started his footballing education. And he is widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects in England, moving with the ball “stuck to his laces” and maneuvering out of tight spaces with ease. In fact, Pochettino himself has raved about the qualities of the teenage prodigy.
Edwards has already trained with the first-team squad on several occasions and made his competitive debut in an EFL Cup match last season. But, he looks well on his way to make his Premier League debut next season, with the failures of Moussa Sissoko and Erik Lamela potentially opening up a space for him.
Indeed, with the aforementioned duo being unimpressive, Pochettino does not have many options at his disposal. Thus, having famously compared Edwards to Lionel Messi last year, Pochettino just might give the diminutive, naturally gifted winger his big break in the Premier League in the 2017/18 season.
Wildcard: Tashan Oakley-Boothe
Oakley-Boothe was included in the pre-season tour to the US by Pochettino, with the teenager creating quite a buzz around him. The 17-year-old has been punching well above his weight, earning several call-ups to the reserve side, impressing with his tenacious displays at the heart of midfield. Perhaps, he might just spring a surprise or two in the Premier League.