Sutton United defender Ben Goodliffe has admitted that being released by Tottenham Hotspur as a youngster is the best thing that could have happened for his career.

Goodliffe joined Spurs as a centre-forward but the coaches at the North London club converted him into a defender.

The Watford-born footballer was not able to make it at N17, with the Lilywhites releasing him at the age of 16.

He then had a brief spell in the Wolves academy before leaving Molineux in 2019 to join Sutton, where the youngster has enjoyed a whirlwind three seasons.

After helping the club win promotion to the EFL for the first time in their history and even making a Wembley final in the Papa John’s Trophy, Goodliffe now has a chance to win promotion to League One, with the U’s occupying the final playoff spot at present.

He told The Sun regarding his time at Spurs: “When you get released by a club like that you suddenly have doubts in yourself.

“I have a good family who picked me up, telling me to keep enjoying my football and get back into the habit of getting a smile on your face again.

“After all, that’s why we get into football in the first place because it’s something we love. At that time I wasn’t — but it was the best thing that happened to me, leaving Tottenham.”

Sutton, who played alongside the likes of Japhet Tanganga and Brandan Austin at Tottenham, admitted he will always be thankful to the academy coaches at Spurs for turning him into a defender.

He added: “I had signed as a centre forward at Spurs. I was an attacking player and everyone wants to score goals at that age.

“But it was recognised I had some defensive traits in me. I got moved after six years to centre half and playing right-back and, being a young kid, I wasn’t happy with it myself but Spurs could see something in me.

“My performances weren’t as great because people were physically stronger and I got released on the back of that. I can’t be upset because that’s the position I’ve found myself playing for the last five years and I’m thriving off it.”

Spurs Web Opinion

The majority of youngsters from the elite academies do not make it as a professional. It is only a lucky few who do make it. Bouncing back from adversity at such a young age as Goodliffe has, can be very difficult unless one has the right support system around them.

Have something to tell us about this article?