Before Mauricio Pochettino took over as Tottenham Hotspur boss, they had finished in the top four just twice in 22 Premier League seasons. He has helped raise the level of the club in recent years, including four consecutive top-four finishes. A Tottenham Hotspur youth movement helped build this current squad, and bring the club to a higher level of success.
As he began his career in north London, Pochettino relied on the development of young talent. His first few seasons the team had a large core of players all under the age of 23. Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, and Eric Dier all broke into the first team at a young age, and have carried the club through this run of success.
Tottenham Hotspur Youth Movement Aims to Take Club to Next Level
Young Guns II
The one caveat to the recent success has been the lack of silverware for this core group. They have become a constant figure near the top of the league table, and have played in five semifinals and two finals in cup competitions during Pochettino’s tenure. For different reasons, they just haven’t been able to get over the line and raise a trophy. Entering his sixth season in charge, there is another Tottenham youth movement happening. This time it will serve to refresh the squad and build on what is already in place. With a greater depth of talent at their disposal, Spurs should be able to push forward from challenger to contender.
After a long wait, Spurs finally made some waves in the transfer market this summer. They brought in three new players to the squad, all of them 23 years old or younger. The burden of multiple deep cup runs, the long grind of the Premier League season, and a rash of injuries weighed the club down last season, as they scuffled in the final few months. The additions of midfielders Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso will provide a physical and creative boost in the centre of the pitch. Teenager Ryan Sessegnon will bring pace to either the left-back or wing positions.
There are also a few academy products who will have their opportunities in cup competitions or off the bench. Oliver Skipp has already shown promise in cameo appearances last season and was a substitution in Saturday’s Premier League opener. Seventeen-year-old striker Troy Parrott had a solid pre-season and could also see minutes with the first team at some point this campaign.
Ndombele had a standout performance in his Premier League debut on Saturday. He scored the club’s first goal to level things with Aston Villa. It was a thunderous strike from outside the box. While he had performed well up to that point in the match, he showed a swell in confidence after his big moment. The French international grew in confidence and comfort as the match progressed. He showed the ability to win the ball in midfield and to dribble past opponents with strength and skill. Ndombele also linked up with teammates better and better as he grew into the game. As his familiarity with his teammates and the level of competition increases, he could develop into a star man in the centre of the park. He paired with Harry Winks, who at only 23 is part of this current Tottenham Hotspur youth movement after a breakout campaign last season.
Lo Celso arrived on deadline day so he was not a part of the season-opening squad. He tallied 12 goals and five assists in 43 appearances for the Spanish club Real Betis last season. The 23-year-old has the creative spark you need in the midfield but has also shown the toughness to mix it up. He will bring an aggressiveness on the ball, and willingness to attack defenders with the dribble. If Eriksen happens to leave the club in the next few weeks, the Argentinean midfielder will be asked to fill the creative void left behind.
Sessegnon has room to grow in the progression of his game, but he can still impact this squad. Even if he can’t beat out Danny Rose or Ben Davies for the left-back position, his pace on the wing can be valuable. On the other side of the backline, Kyle Walker-Peters will have a shot to make the right-back role his own. The 22-year-old started in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa and had a very good performance. He is continually improving as a defender and has shown a knack for setting up his teammates. Walker-Peters has five career assists in his 12 appearances for the club.
Versatile Argentinean defender Juan Foyth should also see more first-team opportunities. He can play centre back or on the right. After a solid showing at the Copa America, the 21-year-old can expect an increase over the 15 appearances in his first season in north London. Davinson Sanchez is becoming a Premier League veteran as he enters his third campaign with the club. He is, however, still only 23 years of age. Sanchez will be used in rotation with the Belgian pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld at centre back. He has already established himself as a high-level option in defence.
Over the Line
When Pochettino began his tenure at Spurs, he was trying to build the club into one that competes at the top of the league. His promotion of youth saw a core of players develop and carry the club to new levels. As that group is now reaching the prime of their careers, another Tottenham youth movement is taking place. A deeper squad, with a blend of young talent and veteran standouts, give this club everything it needs to push forward. Pochettino now has the tools at his disposal to not only challenge the top teams in the table but to contend all season long.