Report: Big problem with Spurs academy as manager used starlets as ‘cones’

A damning report from The Athletic has highlighted a slew of issues within the Tottenham Hotspur academy and suggests there is a severe disconnect between the youth squad and the first team at the club.

Any football fan would tell you how important it is to see a consistent conveyor belt of talent progressing through a club’s academy and into the first team.

For a long time, Tottenham have delivered on this front. Players like Ledley King, Danny Rose, Harry Winks, and of course, Harry Kane all came through the club’s academy to become first-team regulars.

Despite exciting prospects like Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine emerging at the club right now, there is concern that the pool of players in the development squad is not deep enough or strong enough.

Alfie Devine
(Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The proof is in the results, as the current Tottenham Under 21 side sit second bottom in their respective league, and could face relegation this season due to poor results.

The cause of these problems becomes clearer thanks to the latest from The Athletic, where it is revealed that during Antonio Conte’s reign at the club, academy players were treated like training “cones” when invited to work alongside the first team.

The fact that youth players were called up to first-team training sounds like a positive, but it is suggested there was very little concern for the impact this would have on their actual game preparation for the development squad.

The involvement with the first team “reduced their training time” and negatively affected the academy.

With their current league position, it is feared that relegation for the Under 21 side could be “damaging to the club’s prestige and potentially affect their ability to recruit and hold onto players and staff.”

It is thought the answer to the issues could be found by utilising the likes of Jerman Defoe and Yaya Toure. It is suggested there “could be value to hearing from” the players-turned-coaches.

It is felt there was a “missed opportunity” that neither were named as part of Ryan Mason’s backroom staff recently.

These concerns have been ongoing for a while, it seems. During Jose Mourinho’s time at the club, we saw both Devine and Scarlett among the first team, but there were “doubts over whether it was the best thing for their coaching and development.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I have been worried about the state of the academy for a while now, as results there have not been good at all and it appears there is a real lack of depth and quality at that level.

The club seems to be adding plenty of young talent to the ranks, but the problem is clearly more systemic and requires more than a quick fix.

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