Over the past five years, the Tottenham Hotspur academy has been under scrutiny due to the lack of first-team players produced in N17.
The frustration has come mainly from the lack of cohesion between the academy and the first team. In recent years bridging the gap between the U23s and the first-team squad has never been harder
The 2022/23 season has been a whirlwind for the academy, with two Premier League cups lifted and some potential talents making their mark.
The U18 and U17 academy squads were captained by Luca Gunter, and these age groups excelled, coming 5th in the U18 Premier League South (Premier League), alongside both the U17 and U18 Premier League cups. Both finals were thrilling to watch and displayed all of the talents in these squads.
However, the U23 squad had a disappointing season and they went into the last game needing a win and results elsewhere to favour them staying in the league. Despite Spurs’ win against West Ham, they finished the day in the relegation zone.
This was a crushing blow as it would disrupt the player pathway for all the U18s as they would have to compete in a league of lesser quality at the U23 level.
Nevertheless, it looks like the academy league system is set to change, which means Spurs will not go down. They will adopt a single-tier league system without relegation or promotion (Football.London).
The academy is currently very strong, and there are some talents working their way up the club. Some prospects could make their Premier League debuts under Ange Postecoglou.
Here are some of the future talents that Spurs have climbing the ranks:
Alfie Devine – 18
Throughout the season, the attacking midfielder has been travelling with the first-team squad but he has only played one minute for them.
However, he has played a crucial role in the U23 squad. In the season gone by, he played 17 games for the U23s, where he scored twice and picked up three assists (Transfermarkt).
Devine has also represented England in the Under-20 World Cup. He started in all of England’s games and played an important role as the No.10 in the squad. In the four games they played, Devine scored twice and assisted England teammate Bashir Humphreys (SofaScore).
Mikey Moore – 15
On June 19, Mikey Moore committed his future to Spurs, meaning the 15-year-old will be at Spurs until 2026 (Fabrizio Romano). Moore is a future star in the making and has already featured for the U18s and the U23s.
Moore has had a stellar season and has performed fantastically for the youth squads. He has seven goal contributions in 10 games for the U18s in the Premier League South this year (Transfermarkt). This is on top of his outstanding performances for the U16 squad.
He is comfortable playing in any attacking position but is at his best playing on the left-hand side. He has been a mainstay in the England U16 squad and has scored in 2 of his last 3 games (Livesport)
Despite his age, we will be hearing a lot about Moore’s endeavours in the coming years and hopefully, we will see him making his first team debut in the near future.
Jamie Donley – 18
Jamie Donley has led the line for the academy this year. He has represented the U18s and the U23s throughout the season. Not only did Donley play as a striker, but he has filled numerous positions in an injury-riddled squad.
Donely has been a key figure in the academy’s output this season. For the U18s, he had nine goal contributions in only six games. This impressive return was not necessarily mirrored for the U23s, with five-goal contributions in 21 games (Transfermarkt). However, for many of these, he was forced into alternative positions due to squad injuries.
Will Lankshear – 18
Will Lankshear has largely played for the U18 squad; however, he has made appearances for the U21s in the league and in the UEFA Youth League, where he scored against Sporting Lisbon (Transfermarkt).
In the U18 Premier League South, he scored four goals in five games. This impressive goal return was cut short when he injured his knee in February. This injury required surgery, and it has kept him from playing ever since (Football.London).
We will likely see more of Lankshear in the coming season where he will feature regularly for the U21s. He was in great form before his injury and hopefully, he can reach those heights of form again.
Matthew Craig – 20
Matthew Craig has been a regular starter for the U23 and his presence at the base of the midfield has been fantastic. The 20-year-old can play anywhere across the midfield and made his debut on the final day of the season against Leeds. Despite only playing 13 minutes, this was a momentous day for the future star.
Craig has been incredibly important for the U23s this year. He has assisted five goals in the Premier League 2 this year (Transfermarkt). Not only has he contributed with his play but he has also captained the side on numerous occasions
It is looking increasingly more likely that Craig will sign a new deal for Spurs(Alasdair Gold). This will be another important extension for the academy.
Oliver Irow – 17
Oliver Irow has enjoyed an incredibly successful second half of the season. Despite having a slow start to the season, Irow has turned a corner and has become one of the most exciting prospects in the academy.
Irow has mainly played on the left side this season; however, he is versatile and can play anywhere in the front three. After a slow start to the season, Irow picked up fantastic form starting in game week 13.
He has scored six goals in the last five games (Transfermarkt) – not only did he achieve in the league but in the cup final he had a remarkable game.
In the U17 Cup final Irow was spectacular. The front three of Moore, Donley and Irow were deadly and Irow opened the scoring for Spurs despite slipping while taking his shot.
In the second half, Spurs were firing on all cylinders, and Irow then had a chance for his second goal when Donley gave him a 1 v 1 with the keeper. Irow was never going to miss it and he fired near post past the Nottingham Forest Keeper. (Tottenham Hotspur).
Alfie Dorrington – 18
Alfie Dorrington has been one of the most senior defenders in the academy this season. He has played across both the U18 and U21 squads and has been selected consistently in both. He made 16 appearances for the U18s in the league, and he played in 10 games in Premier League 2 (Transfermarkt).
Alfie is not only a dominant centre-back but also a very capable ball carrier, and he has shown this throughout the season. In the U18 Premier Cup final, he was imposing, but his distribution was pinpoint.
Dorrington could be selected to go on the pre-season tour as he is one of the most experienced academy players, and Spurs look likely to have an overhaul in defence.
Luca Gunter – 18
Luca Gunter arrived at Spurs at the age of 12. Now 18, he has been a leader for the academy this season. He has captained the U18s and started nearly every game for them.
Luca has not just been an inspiring presence but also a standout player; he has five clean sheets in the league and one in the Uefa Youth League (Transfermarkt).
Gunter lifted two trophies for the Spurs this season in back-to-back Premier Cup finals. The impressive achievements don’t stop there as Gunter was awarded a contract that lasts until 2025 (Tottenham Hotspur).
Gunter will likely play for the U21s next season in the new Premier League 2 format. There is no doubt that we will see Gunter on the team sheet for the first team squad in the future.
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