Sam Cox has had an unusual career trajectory, to say the least. The midfielder was quite highly rated coming through the Spurs academy and played with the likes of Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, and Ryan Mason.
However, he didn’t quite make the grade at Spurs and had to drop down to the lower leagues in order to build a professional career.
The 29-year-old currently plays for Hampton & Richmond Borough, who compete in the sixth tier of English football. However, he has already completed his coaching badges and has subsequently been offered a role by Tottenham in academy development.
It is not just his coaching at Spurs and his club career that Cox has to shuffle though, as he remains the current international captain of Guyana, a tiny Caribbean country who defied the odds and qualified for their first major tournament, the Gold Cup, in 2019.
After qualifying, people expected Guyana to be the whipping boys of their group when drawn against the United States, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago.
However, although they were beaten by both the United States and Panama, they managed to get a 1-1 draw against Trinidad that saw them finish third in the group. Despite this, Cox is adamant that they deserved to win that game.
Speaking to Football.London, the midfielder said: “We should have won that game. We know that. But we finished third in the group, that’s all that matters. It should be a huge thing to build on.”
Sixteen of the 23-man squad were not born in Guyana and the majority of them had never even been to the country before being called up. Therefore, Cox revealed that he ensured the players knew of their background and what they were representing.
He added: “Most had played in qualification but there were a couple of newbies who didn’t have much affiliation with the country.
“That’s always difficult but the boys who had been previously, the likes of myself and Neil Danns, who had been playing the last five years – we have a big connection with the country, the people and family there.
“But we did make sure all the boys knew the national anthem.
“We made sure the boys did a tour of the country, got to see the culture and understand what Guyana was really about but in the Gold Cup everybody had to sing the national anthem, be proud of where they came from. They had to understand their roots and where they came from. It was humbling for all of us.”
Cox also admitted that his experience of coming through the ranks at Spurs was invaluable in helping him cope with the pressures of a major tournament.
He said: “The level of competition didn’t phase me because of my background. Obviously, I didn’t make the grade at Tottenham. I was close to it, training with the first team, so I knew what the standard was.
“Dropping down the leagues you still play against top opposition and I’d played against World Cup and Premier League winners. It was kind of more about where I should be. I’ve worked my way to it; I deserve the moment. But, no, it didn’t phase me one bit.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Cox does sound like an extremely driven person who has his head screwed on. It was a great call by the club to offer him a coaching role, as his experience in the Tottenham academy will allow him to help youngsters coming through and understand what they need to do to have a successful professional career in the game.
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