NEXT BIG THING: Top 8 kids inside Tottenham youth system

tribalfootball.com’s next edition of ‘Next Big Thing’ takes a closer look at the most promising names currently on the books at Tottenham.
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tribalfootball.com’s next edition of ‘Next Big Thing’ takes a closer look at the most promising names currently on the books at Tottenham.

Continue reading to learn a bit more about our Top 8 coming out of Enfield’s Hotspur Way in 2013/14.

Kenneth McEvoy

The Irish attacking midfielder arrived in north London in 2010 and quickly emerged as a very promising talent in the Spurs academy, which he became an official part of in July 2011.

Last season, he scored seven goals in nine U18 outings and impressed during the FA Youth Cup campaign with his ability to get past defenders with bursting runs.

The 19-year old Waterford native, who bears an uncanny resemblance to former Spurs ace Gareth Bale, was part of the first team squad for the Europa League trip to Tromso in November which shows how far he has come since laying his roots in N17.

Last year, McEvoy said he was thrilled to be in such a professional environment where he could gain an education from world-class footballers.

“I chose to sign for Spurs in 2010 because I knew it was great club for a young player to develop at,” the Republic of Ireland youth international said.

“Learning from world-class players such as Bale in training has helped my own career. It can only be a good thing to be in that environment.”

Souleymane Coulibaly

19-year old Ivory Coast striker Coulibaly left his home country as a young teenager to make a new base with his father in Italy.

He was involved with the Siena youth academy between 2009 and 2011 before Spurs snapped him up in the summer of 2011 after he scored nine goals at the FIFA U17 World Cup to equal the tournament record.

‘Soli’, as he is affectionately known, spent the second half of last season on loan with Grosseto and managed to score twice in 12 Serie B appearances.

Coulibaly, who has drawn comparisons to Ivorian star Didier Drogba, has taken a little while to make an impact in north London but is expected to figure prominently for the seniors in the coming years.

Nabil Bentaleb

Bentaleb is a highly-rated French midfielder who has had somewhat of a breakout season by making a handful of first team appearances for Spurs.

The 19-year old from Lille joined the Spurs academy from Belgian club RE Mouscron in January 2012 and was quickly integrated into the U21 team that season.

Since then he has gone on to even bigger things by making his debuts in the Premier League and FA Cup for a total of four outings for the north Londoners thus far.

Bentaleb’s first league game was a 3-2 win at Southampton when he replaced Mousa Dembele early in the second half and his performance on that day was praised by new manager Tim Sherwood who worked so closely with him in the academy.

"He was excellent," Sherwood told the club’s official website. "I knew he wasn’t going to be fazed, he’s not that type.

"He trains every day as if it’s the last day in the world, he wants to improve and he listens.

"He’s a top player and ready to play. I knew he was ready. If I don’t think they (the younger players) are ready, they won’t even be on the bench.

"I was convinced he wasn’t going to be fazed and give us a performance of energy and responsibility.

"At times, he was the one who took the sting out of the game, passed it back and to the side. I wouldn’t hesitate (to play him)."

Alex Pritchard

The 20-year old attacking midfielder signed with the Spurs academy in 2009 after joining the club at a very young age.

On the back of a solid 2011/12 and the first half of the 2012/13, which included four goals in each of the NextGen Series, Pritchard signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at White Hart Lane in January 2013.

The England U20 international was then sent on loan to Peterborough United where he made six first team appearances in the Championship.

Spurs were keen to continue his development in a first team environment so sent him to Swindon Town, along with Spurs mates Grant Hall and Ryan Mason, this past summer and the move has been a major positive for all parties involved.

Thus far, Pritchard has featured in 21 league games and has scored four goals – to help the Robins to ninth on the League One table – for a total of 28 outings in all competitions.

After an impressive display in November, Swindon boss Mark Cooper swept praise on the diminutive midfielder.

“Technically, Pritchard is fantastic. He’s a little imp around the place – people were put off in the past by his size, but he gets in pockets where he’s difficult to track,” said Cooper.

While Pritchard was thrilled with how he was coming along under the tutelage of the former Fulham and Exeter City midfielder.

"He’s been good to me," he said. "Being a young lad, he’s put his arm around me, helped me out and told me things. I’m learning.

"We have a young group with some old heads. We’re just outside the play-off positions now, promotion has to be the goal."

Milos Veljkovic

Veljkovic is an 18-year old midfielder/defender born and raised in Switzerland who represents Serbia at youth level.

The product of Basel was a regular in the Spurs U21s last season and is being tipped to get some game time in the knockout stages of the Europa League which takes place against Ukrainian side Dnipro in late February.

Veljkovic has played for Serbia at U17, U18 and U19 level and was a key contributor in Tottenham’s NextGen Series campaign last season, featuring in all eight matches.

It is believed that Swiss boss Ottmar Hitzfeld could try to cap the elegant Veljkovic, who can play centre-back or defensive midfield, at senior international level while Spurs see him as a potential future replacement for Steven Caulker who they lost to Cardiff City in July.

Veljkovic was on the bench for Sherwood’s Premier League debut as boss in the 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day suggesting his first team chance could be just around the corner.

Will Miller

A former child actor, Miller arrived at Tottenham from Leyton Orient in 2012 and has quickly become an emerging star in north London.

After his portrayal as Oliver Twist as an 11-year old in the BBC One Christmas adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel in 2007, Miller turned his attentions to football, and it is expected he will kick on and regularly represent Spurs at senior level.

His call-up to the England U18 team late last year was well-received by the club prompting academy manager John McDermott to praise the gifted attacker.

“Will Miller’s going away with England – we’re really pleased with Will,” he told the club’s official website in October.

“…this is Will’s first call-up so he’s done really well.”

Shaquile Coulthirst

Coulthirst is a 19-year old locally produced striker who has massive wraps after officially joining the Spurs academy in July 2011 prior to signing a professional deal in April 2012.

‘Shaq’ rose to prominence when scoring a hat-trick in the 4-1 NextGen Series win over a strong Barcelona side last season which led to his first team debut under Andre Villas-Boas in a Europa League win over Anzhi Makhackala in December.

Coulthirst, who replaced Roberto Soldado in the 78th minute on that occasion, now finds himself on a six-month loan with League One side Leyton Orient.

The England U19 international made his debut for the O’s in their FA Cup loss to Yeovil Town on January 4 and his presence has his temporary manager Russell Slade extremely excited.

"This loan is a big opportunity for Shaquile,” said the Orient manager.

“It was the same when we had Harry Kane, Paul-Jose M'Poku and Tom Carroll here, they had not had a first-team game before they came to us and this is what they strive for.

“It is very early stages but he was quite sprightly when he came on against Yeovil, which was very positive. He is very direct and I was very impressed with his positivity. Whenever he picks the ball up, he likes to turn and run at defenders.”

Tom Carroll

Already known to many after taking in loan spells at Orient, Derby County and more recently QPR, 21-year old midfielder Carroll faces an exciting future in north London.

The England U21 ace arrived at Tottenham in 2008 before making his debut with the senior side in a Europa League fixture against Heart of Midlothian in 2011.

A loan to Orient followed where he made 12 League One appearances and two in the FA Cup before he moved to Derby in January 2012.

For the Rams he also appeared 12 times in the league, this time in the Championship, as he continued his progression into a senior footballer.

The 2012/13 season saw him receive seven substitute outings for Tottenham – his Premier League debut coming in November 2012 – prior to his short move across London to Loftus Road this past summer.

Since being under the tutelage of former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, Carroll has played ten times in the Championship but could soon be recalled by Sherwood who is a massive fan of the Watford-born youngster.

In 2011, Sherwood said of Carroll: ''He could play for them (Barcelona), no question.

''He's got the lot. He's technically good enough, sees a pass, can pop it round the corner…”

 
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