Opinion: The 10 academy starlets who Spurs let go too soon – Beckham to Edwards

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

One of the best sights in football, without a doubt, is seeing one of the club’s very own becoming a success on the football pitch.

There is not a Spurs fan out there who does not love seeing a homegrown talent pull on the famous Lilywhite shirt and step foot on the pitch, fulfilling every spectator’s dream.

At Spurs, we are lucky to have one of the best academies in English football; a set-up capable of producing some of the country’s best and most exciting talents.

Take a look at some of the graduates, most noticeably Harry Kane, who has developed over the years into one of the best strikers in the world – as well as top players like England internationals Andros Townsend and Harry Winks.

There are also plenty of great players starting to appear over the horizon, with talents such as Troy Parrott, Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp, Dane Scarlett, Harvey White, Alfie Devine, and Dennis Cirkin all beginning to make their move into the professional game.

However, what about the ones that are deemed not good enough? The ones that are let go, before reaching their full potential.

Here is a list of ten players Spurs let leave far too early…

Noni Makueke

Starting off in current times with current PSV youngster, Noni Madueke who has been tearing up the Eredivisie this season with six goals and six assists in just 15 games. Not bad for an 18-year-old. (Transfermarkt)

The electric right-winger with a keen eye for goal joined the Spurs academy in 2014 after a free transfer from Crystal Palace.

However, after only four years, he move on and joined PSV’s U17 side, something that I am sure Spurs fans wished never happened, as we could be seeing one of Europe’s top talents develop in front of our very eyes.

David Beckham

Yes, you did read that right. Former Manchester United, England and Galactico legend David Beckham was once apart of the Spurs youth system.

The six-time Premier League champion left the club in the summer of 1991 at the age of just 16 (Transfermarkt).

A story of what could have been, as he then developed into one of the world’s biggest ever footballing stars, playing alongside some of the best players of all time on a weekly basis.

Marcus Edwards

This is a player that many Spurs fans will be familiar with. For years, Marcus Edwards was hailed as the next player to look out for and was evened likened to six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi by former boss Mauricio Pochettino (The Sun).

Edwards was on the books in N17 since he was just six-years-old but, after 14 years at the club, decided the time was right to pursue regular first-team football elsewhere.

He departed to Portugal and joined Liga Nos outfit Victoria SC in 2019, where he has since scored nine goals and 11 assists in the league, as well as two European goals, one coming against old rivals Arsenal at the Emirates (Transfermarkt).

Edwards has since been linked with a move back to the Premier League but ended all speculation after signing a new deal with his Portuguese club, which includes a staggering £45 million release clause (Daily Mail).

Luis Binks

Luis Binks follows the pattern of young stars that seemed to be destined for a big future at Spurs but were allowed to drift away.

The 19-year-old centre back’s transfer caused quite the stir on social media, with fans asking why a player of his potential was permitted to leave without being given a proper chance (TBRFootball).

Binks was a highly-rated asset in the Spurs youth ranks and has even trained alongside the senior squad under Jose Mourinho, but the lack of first-team opportunities caused him to look elsewhere (Goal).

Since moving to Serie A side Bologna, he was loaned to partner club Montreal in the MLS where he has become a regular feature.

Reo Griffiths

Local lad, Reo Griffiths, was a sparkling talent, scoring on a regular basis for Tottenham’s under-18s and was a player that had Tottenham fans excited.

Griffiths grabbed the attention of some of Europe’s major sides when he netted over 60 times across two seasons for Spurs, including an incredible four goals in an academy match against Arsenal (Mirror).

The young star was grabbing all the headlines and earned himself a move to Ligue 1 side Lyon in 2018 (Transfermarkt).

However, after struggling to break into the French club’s first-team reports have begun to circulate over a possible return to England.

Yuri Berchiche

Yuri Berchiche was once a part of the club’s under-21 set-up before leaving for his homeland of Spain, where he has stayed for the majority of his career apart from a brief one-year stint at French giants Paris Saint-Germain where he won the domestic treble.

The veteran left-back has made over 160 appearances in Spain’s topflight, for three different clubs and currently plies his trade with Athletic Bilbao, who recently defeated Barcelona to lift this seasons Supercopa de Espana.

Having shown his ability to play at the top level in some of Europe’s top footballing nations, it leads to the question why he was allowed to leave for free back in 2010 and has been labelled as one of Spurs’ biggest transfer mistakes (Football.London).

Keanan Bennetts

Next up is Keanan Bennetts, who despite spending many years at the club never made a full first-team appearance before leaving for Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach in 2018 for just over £2 million.

Having not made his debut for the German side as of yet, he was loaned to Ipswich Town in League One, where he has made a series of appearances both off the bench and in the starting 11.

The England under-19 international can play anywhere on the left flank and is set to be a strong asset for his club.

William Troost-Ekong

Next up is a player who has racked up an impressive 44international caps and played 66 times in Italy’s Serie A.

William Troost-Ekong, is a Nigerian international who currently finds himself in the Championship with promotion hopefuls Watford.

The 27-year-old left North London back in 2013 on a free deal but has since made a successful career for himself with some top clubs.

Milos Veljkovic

Serbian international, Milos Veljkovic, is slightly different to many players on this list as he has represented Spurs in the Premier League – Albeit on only three occasions.

The central defender has now played 116 games in the Bundesliga, alongside his nine caps for his country.

Anton Walkes

Anton Walkes is another player who now plays his football state-side in the MLS, but in his case, it is with Atlanta United.

Following a lack of first-team chances, Walkes went away on his first spell with the American club before returning to England to play for League One side Portsmouth.

After making an impressive 66 appearances for the south coast side, he took his talents back to Atlanta in the January window of 2020.

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