A look at six graduates of the Tottenham academy, seizing their Europa League opportunities and potentially gaining first-team recognition.
In the 50th minute of Thursdays Europa League clash, Shamrock Rovers shocked the watching audience by taking an unexpected and undeserved lead against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. The Tottenham side featured several inexperienced, untested youngsters and anxiety filled the air around the ground as these fledgling stars had to take responsibility, and dig themselves out of a potentially very embarrassing hole. They did just that. So now seems a perfect time to look at the six next generation Spurs youngsters who featured as Spurs eventually cruised to victory.
Kyle Walker. Position: Right Back
Walker is possibly the most famous of these six youngsters thus far, after impressing for QPR and Aston Villa whilst on loan last season and also for Englands under-21 side during the summer. The attacking full back has bags of potential, and his excellent form led to the sale of Scotland international Alan Hutton to Aston Villa during the summer transfer window. This move shows the faith that manager Harry Redknapp has in the 21-year-old former Sheffield United man, as he looks set to become a first team regular at The Lane this year. If he continues developing at such a pace, he will soon be challenging Glen Johnson and Micah Richards for the right-back spot for the national side.
Jake Livermore. Position: Central Midfield
Whilst the news that Tom Huddlestone requires surgery will be met with disappointment and anxiety from the Spurs fanbase, they need not worry too much with Jake Livermore a ready made replacement waiting in the wings. A stylish and composed midfield player, Livermore has plied his trade at no less than five lower league clubs on loan, (it would have been six but he ended his loan spell at Crewe without playing a single competitive game after breaking his leg in a pre-season fixture) and apparently growing up as a Spurs fan, will be desperate to grab this opportunity with both hands.
Tom Carroll. Position: Central Midfield
Another central midfielder, Carroll has impressed in all the Europa League fixtures he has been involved in alongside Livermore, and the diminutive midfielder has the creativity and engine to really challenge the more established players for a first team spot. At just 19 years of age, he has showed he is able to deal with the pressure, as he shone in Spurs' clash at PAOK in front of one of Europe's most notoriously troublesome crowds. Handy with set pieces and possessing great passing ability, Carroll could develop in to a very good midfielder if Redknapp continues to use him in these fixtures and thus help to develop his potential.
Danny Rose. Position: Left Back/Left Winger
Rose exploded onto the scene on April 14th 2010, when on his first Premier League outing, Rose slammed home a terrific volley versus Spurs' arch rivals Arsenal, instantly becoming a hero with the Spurs following. Signed for £1 million from Leeds United as a left winger at just 17 years of age, Redknapp has recently used Rose as a left-back, and has expressed his intentions of making left-back the players most prominent position. The Doncaster-born man has represented Englands youth sides on 36 occasions scoring 6 goals, and certainly has a bright future ahead of him with the talent he has already showcased for Tottenham.
Harry Kane. Position: Striker
18-year-old Harry Kane is definitely regarded as a massive talent at Tottenham Hotspur, after rising through the ranks of the academy with an impressively prolific strike rate. In his last full season with the youth side (09-10), Kane bagged 18 goals in 22 appearances, and has also netted 6 times in 9 England youth internationals. Sent on loan to further his development at Leyton Orient last year, Kane played 18 times for the League One club, and impressed with the O's, particularly in the match versus Bristol Rovers, where he came off the bench to score twice in the final twenty minutes. A predatory talent, Kane is likely to be sent on loan a few times before challenging for a first team place in the League, despite his obvious ability in front of goal.
Andros Townsend. Position: Winger
Move over Aaron Lennon. On January 9th 2011, Spurs fans were treated to a magical performance from debutant Andros Townsend versus Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup, and were left with their mouths watering, as the youngster scored and was voted man of the match. Having spent most of the last three years out on loan, Townsend will now be desperate for a chance in the Premier League, after he set the Championship alight with his appearances for Millwall and Ipswich last season. Pacey, tricky and with an eye for goal, Townsend is a player that is bound to have Spurs fans on the edge of their seat in forthcoming years.
And there we have it. Six exciting prospects ready to light up The Lane, and hoping to impress with the chances they've been handed in the Europa League. Add the likes of Juventus loanee Falque, and the inconsistent but often brilliant Dos Santos to the mix and Tottenham Hotspur appear to have a vibrant, youthful squad ready to take on the challenge of European football, and compete with the established players for first team places, as Spurs look to regain their Champions League status for next season.