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EXCLUSIVE: Ebbsfleet pride at development of Tottenham starlet Shilow Tracey

Tottenham Hotspur turned heads when they signed little-known Shilow Tracey from Ebbsfleet United in January.

The 17-year-old midfielder impressed on trial with Spurs before sealing his move to North London on a second-year scholar deal in the winter.

Many Spurs supporters may have asked 'who?' when Tracey put pen to paper but he is certainly not an unknown to his former club where he swiftly rose through the youth academy before being snapped up by the Premier League title-chasers.

The National League South outfit's media chief Ed Miller exclusively told Tribalfootball that Tracey's shift to Tottenham has been a major positive for all parties involved and is expecting the youngster to kick on under the guidance of a more professional outfit.

"We've seen he's played for the U18 side, even as a full-back in a couple of games, and he still has a lot of friends in the EUFC Academy side and management so I am sure they're keeping tabs on his progress," said Miller.

“The Fleet fans always keep an eye out for former players and we're hoping he might feature in an U21 game against us next Tuesday (though we understand he's more of an U18 at Spurs)."

Regarding the rapid development of Tracey, Miller suggested that his transfer to a Premier League club shows just how well he advanced thanks to the influence of the newly-formed Ebbsfleet academy.

“With the Academy less than two seasons old, to have brought through a player so soon and to have developed him to be picked up by a Premier League club, without having really come to notice in our own first-team, is a big source of pride and achievement at Ebbsfleet," he added.

While the step up from sixth-tier youth football to academy level with a top flight club is big enough in itself, the next challenge for Tracey is to force his way into Mauricio Pochettino's first-team plans at White Hart Lane which the Fleet faithful believe he is capable of in due course.

“Our manager Daryl McMahon has coached youth players at League teams and at Spurs before becoming first-team manager at Ebbsfleet and he knows it'll be a big learning curve for Shilow who is expected to be developed methodically at White Hart Lane," Miller said.

“Daryl had said that Shilow would have undoubtedly made the Ebbsfleet first team this season had he not moved to Tottenham, so there's certainly no reason why he can't, if he's good enough, perhaps be knocking on the door after a full season of development at Spurs."

Asked whether or not there are any other Fleet talents who could follow the same path as Tracey, Miller concluded: “There's a left-back called Karn Miller-Neave who caught the eye before Shilow, becoming the fourth youngest ever scorer in the FA Cup with almost his first touch in the first team, direct from a free-kick.

“He's quite small in stature but he's a great set-piece taker and very calm on the ball - on the occasions he's had a few minutes for the first-team, he's played well against bigger and more experienced players.

“We have a number of our academy players tied to contracts now as we expect bigger things from them - goalkeeper Rhys Hughes, defenders Joe Denny, Ollie Boulding and Hugo Atkinson and striker Jeff Nguede."

Evidently, if Shilow Tracey's rapid rise to Tottenham is anything to go by, we are sure to see plenty of promising youngsters from the fledgling Ebbsfleet academy make their way to Premier League or Championship clubs in the coming years as teams in more powerful positions continue to run the rule over hidden gems at lower league level.

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Andrew Slevison
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