Opinion: Why Tottenham can never complain about fatigue

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
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Only a few years ago, it felt as though Spurs could do no wrong as a club.

With a brand-spanking-new stadium on the way, a top-drawer manager at the helm, and a youthful and invigorated squad at our disposal, things were looking up.

And another aspect of the club which promised so much was the youth set-up. 

Harry Kane and Harry Winks are perhaps the two most successful players who have graduated from the academy in recent years.

But there is a longer list of players the academy has produced, who have then made their way into the first team, and when it didn’t work out, fetched a tidy sum for Levy and co.

In particular, Kyle Walker-Peters’ transfer to Southampton brought in £12m, Ryan Mason’s move to Hull City was worth nearly £14m, as was Andros Townsend’s switch to St James Park, and even Alex Pritchard tempted Norwich to fork out over £8m (TransferMarkt).

With the exception of Pritchard, these players all got a serious chance in the first team, before it was decided that they should move on. And it was in competitions like the Europa League and the FA Cup that they were afforded such opportunities. 

So what’s happened? Surely, the FA Cup third round, against League One opposition would allow the perfect opportunity for the youth to take to the pitch and show what they’re all about.

But instead, only Dane Scarlett and Maksim Paskotsi made the bench, with the latter failing to get any minutes on the field. And surprise, surprise, what transpired was another limp display.

But the real point to be made is this: The players who started the match against Morecambe failed to pull up any trees, again. This is, by and large, the same few who failed in every single away fixture in the Europa Conference League earlier this season. Yet they keep getting minutes on the pitch. 

Surely it can’t just be me that thinks, ‘Throw on the young kids. It can’t get any worse’. After all, as Einstein said, you don’t repeat the same experiments and expect different results. 

So are the academy products really so poor that they can’t get a look-in ahead of any of our ‘B-team’? Or are the Spurs managers so dead-set against playing youth that they stubbornly persist with players who aren’t good enough? 

FA Cup third-round weekend provided us with the ability to view how each team prioritised the cup. And it was noticeable how all of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool started their games with many youngsters who would not have normally made the starting eleven.

The same happened again in the fourth round, albeit this time against Premier League opposition in Brighton. It can be seen in the Conference League, FA Cup, League Cup and week after week in the Premier League.

While others can afford to rest players and give youth a chance, Tottenham simultaneously run their star players into the ground and keep giving chances to those who have seemingly proved they do not deserve them.

Unfortunately, academy players will never get any better or find a clear route into the starting XI unless they are given minutes on the pitch and chances to impress.

So I don’t want to hear anything about how Spurs’ players are getting tired as our fixtures pile up. We’ve brought, and continue to bring, this upon ourselves.

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