As a fan without a large income, I always do my best to attend U21 games that are held at the Lane just to get more WHL trips around my belt aswell as wanting to see the young blood of Spurs in action and develop my own opinions on individual players rather than hearsay,”Oh that guy is supposed to be good!”.
My first one this season was an U19 game in the NextGen Series which you may of heard of, if not look it up it is basically an U19’s Champions League and it does wonders for the youth teams, attracting decent crowds and prepares them ready for the future.
Anyway the game was against Barca and had attracted a pretty large crowd for an U19’s game so you could tell the young lads were nervous, this would be the biggest crowd they had played in front of yet! Around 9000 I think it was.
As I watching the match with my little brother Ben I noticed this youngster for Spurs kept calling for the ball. He seemed so eager to get the ball and make something happen and yet at the same time not so eager as to lose the ball when he did receive it.
He would get the ball look up shrug off his marker and make an intelligent pass to try and go forward with the team. Almost every time he passed he was calling for it straight back and was showing the attitude of a captain at work!
I said to my brother: “Who’s that?” He didn’t know so we looked him up in our little one page program you get for free at the matches. “Ohhhh that’s Alex Pritchard!” That was it from then, I wasn’t glued to the game I was glued to Alex, He was always calling for the ball, shouting at team mates, covering every yard he could and even though we lost 2-0 that night he was by far the best player on that pitch!
After that I have been to see our U19’s play Aston Villa at home and Southampton and he showed the same urgency and characteristics in those games as he did against Barca. It is for that reason that I hold Alex the most highly out of all the current youth players not to yet break into the 1st team.
It is his mentality that makes him special, he wants to win, he wants the ball! All the runs and passes he makes are very intelligent and those of a player competing in a competitive league.
Without me being lynched and hated on I would like to say his playing style and ability reminds me a lot of Jack Wilshire and as much as we loathe him Jack has a great love for Arsenal they are his team and he genuinely loves the club which I think every team needs! (A player who is an actual fan)
Jack loves Arsenal because they raised him put him on the big stage believed in him and made him a star so he owes them everything.
This is why it worried me so much when I saw that Alex Inglethorpe, the Spurs Youth Team Manager was appointed as the new Liverpool Reserve Team coach.
Now I wasn’t worried when he left for Liverpool because from what I could see Tim Sherwood was having more of a say and an impact just from shouting from the stands at the lads all of which he knew them by their first name because he nurtures them day in day out, and what a great job he is doing!
But when I see that what I consider to be our very best and most star destined youth player is stalling on signing a new contract because he is reportedly being swayed by Liverpool it sickens me as I cannot understand the player’s logic!
Why would you leave a club competing regularly in the top four who bring youth through the system then on loan and then back to WHL if they are good enough. A club going nowhere but uphill as Liverpool continue to plummet year in year out?? Does history really matter in these decisions???
I hope Pritchard makes the right decision and continues to improve and run the show in our U21/development squad with the rest of our bright future Lillywhites.
I also urge Spurs fans to attend U21 games when they are available, it is only a fiver to get in and juniors £3 pound, normally on a Monday night around 7:30pm and is a decent night out where you get to see our young bloods in action
The next one I know of is in April at Barnet’s Underhill Stadium against Arsenal as we made it through to the elite stages of the U21 Premier League finishing top of our group beating the likes of, Man Utd, Southampton, Aston Villa, Stoke etc.
This is the best our U21’s have been doing for a long time so get yourself down there when you can!
The future is bright, the future is Lillywhite!!
By George Everitt
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