“I’d let the manager down” – Ex-Spurs man opens up on injury troubles and career regrets

Image: SpursWeb

Ten years ago, Tom Carrol was considered one of the brightest talents to come through the Spurs academy which is nothing to be scoffed at given that he came through during the same time as the likes of Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Ryan Mason.

The midfielder was handed his first-team debut as a teenager by Harry Redknapp and it appeared to be thought of highly by Andre Villas-Boas after he continued to get minutes in the Europa League.

Tim Sherwood even once compared him to Luka Modric and suggested that Carroll could play for Barcelona one day.

His career seemed to be going on the right trajectory when he came back from a successful loan spell from Swansea in 2015/16 and subsequently went on to make 30 appearances for Spurs the following season under Mauricio Pochettino.

However, he was sold to Swansea the following summer and his career has gone on a downhill trajectory since the Welsh club’s relegation to the Championship in 2018.

Reminiscing about his time at Spurs, the 28-year-old told talkSPORT: “Looking back it’s disappointing that I didn’t achieve more for Spurs and really cement my place in the team.

“Redknapp gave me my debut and then he’s gone, then AVB comes in and he’s gone. You just have to keep proving yourself to different managers, so in that respect, it was very tough.

“You’ve proven yourself under one manager and then automatically they probably want to play the £30million player and so you’ve literally just got to go again and again.

“I’d played bits and bobs for quite a few managers, but it was getting to that stage where I needed to be starting 15/20 games in the Premier League.”

When asked about Sherwood’s praise and if comparisons with Modric had put too much pressure on him, the midfielder responded: “I didn’t feel that was unneeded pressure; pressure’s a good thing to have.

“It’s nice to hear those kinds of things from people who have achieved so much in the game.

“I loved my time coming through at Spurs. I feel like I got to work with some of the best coaches [in the game] and people I’m still in contact with today such as John McDermott, Alex Inglethorpe, Tim Sherwood, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand.

“They gave me the best opportunity possible, along with several others, to succeed in the game.”

After being ravaged by injuries and losing his place in the Swansea side, Dean Smith took the former Tottenham man to Aston Villa on loan in what seemed like a golden opportunity to rebuild his career.

However, Carroll’s body failed him that season and he described his time at Villa Park as the most difficult of his career.

He said: “That was a really tough time. It was probably one of the hardest moments I’ve been through in my career really.

“Dean Smith took me in at a time where I was struggling a bit. I’d already had some hip issues that season at Swansea, so at that stage, I was just hoping I was over it.

“I felt it go in the first training session. We had Reading the next day and in the warm-up, I felt something pull [my hip flexor].

“I was just so gutted and I knew deep down things weren’t really getting any better. I could feel the pain with every pass I took, so something had to be done.

“The whole thing just looked crap on me. I felt like I’d let the manager down as well, he’d put his trust in me by bringing me to the club and then I just broke down.

“I’ve gone there and played 30 odd minutes, the fans are obviously not going to have any nice things to say about me.

“I’m probably a little bit, not a joke to them, but they’re probably thinking, ‘well that was a good signing… he was brilliant wasn’t he?!’

“Mentally that was tough for me, and then to rub salt in the wounds Villa obviously went on and got promoted.”

The former Tottenham academy graduate was signed by QPR in the summer and is now determined to make up for lost time at Loftus Road.

Carroll said about his move to Rangers: “I want to make up for lost time. It’s been a tough two or three years personally for me, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of football left in me.

“I still feel like I’m at a good age, I don’t feel like I’m 28. I’m not an old boy on his last legs. I’m still here to do my job.

“There’s still so much I want to do and achieve. As long as I’m enjoying my football I’d love to keep on doing it.”

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