Former Tottenham academy graduate Joe Pritchard has given a fascinating interview to Tribal Football in which he has talked about Mauricio Pochettino’s training sessions and sharing a dressing room with the likes of Harry Kane.
Pritchard joined the Spurs academy an 8-year-old and went on to spend fourteen years in North London before being released in 2018.
Although he failed make an appearance for the senior side, the midfielder captained the Under-23s and did train on occasions with the first-team during Mauricio Pochettino’s reign.
The midfielder, who now plays for League One side Accrington Stanley, raved about the Argentine’s methods and the meticulous training sessions which he oversaw.
He revealed that when the youngsters had to interact with the senior squad there were certain protocols: “With Pochettino, you walk in every morning and every first-team player you’d see you had to shake their hand and say hello,”
“His people-person philosophy when he came to the club brought everyone together. If you went into the physio room you’d say hello to every person, even if it was just to get ice out of the fridge.
“So you’d develop a relationship with the first team players, and then it was just a case of working hard because you might get a chance to work with them. Quite often we used to train with the first team. It was brilliant.
“It was really good to see it was possible, if you did it right and were good enough, that you would get that chance.
“I used to love the intensity (while training with the first-team). The detail was fantastic, it was everything you could imagine. Even just doing rondos, the coaches would stop it just to move one player’s shoulders into a different position so they could see more of the players in the circle.
“I remember when the Under-23 lads would come back to our changing room [from the senior setup], and the academy manager would come in and say, ‘We’ve spoken to the first-team staff and a few of you aren’t warming up properly’. Playing with the first team is a privilege; you should be fully at it all the time.”
The 23-year-old also raved about the way Harry Kane conducted himself both on and off the pitch and admitted he was in disbelief over the striker’s finishing ability.
Speaking about the England captain, Pritchard said: “He was the golden boy. He had such a big influence on the team, you could see it when he walked around the training ground. He has such an aura about him and it was unbelievable to watch.
“But in training, his attention to detail, his knowledge of how to work a defender and how to find space to shoot, and the technique of his finishing, was impeccable. I could not believe it sometimes.
“You’d be training and you’d try and block a shot and he’d bend it round you into the top corner, and you’d think, ‘Oh, I didn’t stretch enough to block it’. So next time, you’d stretch to block it and he’d put it through your legs into the other corner!
“You’d just think, ‘This guy – he finds a way.’ His technique, his body position, is always ready. That’s one thing I’ll never forget. He always found a way.”
The former academy star also opened up on how he used to look up to Harry Winks while coming through the ranks at the club.
He added: “I knew Winks from the age of 6. I used to play with Harry in the age group above me, so I used to be in his shadow through a lot of my career. whenever I was playing up an age group it would always be under him and with him.
“From a young age he was unbelievable, and I used to look up to him all the time, thinking, ‘I want my passing to be that good’. He went all the way and that is no surprise because of how good he was.”
Spurs Web Opinion
The part about Harry Kane particularly stands out for me from the interview. Nearly every single player who has played with Kane for Spurs and England talks about how good the striker is in training. It is his mentality to work on his craft and become the best player he can be that has helped him evolve into one of the best strikers in the world.
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