Developing players

There was an interesting article in the Daily Mail recently about former England player Ugo Ehiogu and his part-time work with our Under 16's while he is taking his coaching badges.

Ugo Ehiogu is taking his first steps towards eventually gaining his elite coaching badge and part of that is analysing the game so he has looked at the fact England have no structure, no DNA as he puts it, for how England are to play. He goes on then to tell us that Spurs do have a DNA in place.

He says "In my role as assistant U16 coach at Tottenham, there is a clear DNA outlined at the club through out the academy ages.

"That DNA is laid out and passed down from Tim Sherwood, Head of Football Development, John McDermott, Head of Academy, and the wonderfully experienced Chris Ramsey, who is Senior Professional Phase Coach.

"The way that Tottenham teams play is clear and all the coaches know what is expected of them. The emphasis is on technique at a very early age and the idea is to try and produce players who can progress into the first team, or go on and make a living in the game."

The important and often missed point on supporters there is at the very end of those remarks, "produce players who can progress into the first team, or go on and make a living in the game."

Our Development squad is not all about producing players for Spurs, yes obviously they want to, but as a club you cherry pick the very best, the rest you bring on and develop to be sold for a sum that then pays for the system to continue. Sales of players who come through the development system should pay for the whole system to operate, that's how Barcelona do it, Real Madrid do it, the principle is he same at Spurs.

Harry Kane Tottenham Development Squad
Football is a ruthless business and ruthless decisions have to be made regarding youngsters. Opinions rage but take someone like Harry Kane, eventually a decision will have to be made, is he going to be good enough or do we sell. Then you have to decide if you choose to sell, when do you sell? How far do you develop a player, the more development the bigger selling fee. 

The loan system is crucial in this and we have recently embraced it under the guidance of Tim Sherwood. Now we have a whole host of youngsters go out on loan to gain first team competitive football experience. Remember these are young lads and they are often having to move away from home to new digs and look after themselves. They are learning to grow as a person as well as a footballer. 

We have clearly formed an unofficial link with Swindon. I have no doubt that Sherwood has had extensive chats with senior figures at the club and others, to discuss playing style and player development. Swindon will have presumably been settled on as a club who want to develop playing passing and moving football on the floor. We can then send players to Swindon knowing they are continuing to learn and develop in the style we wish them to. 

Such an arrangement would suit both clubs, having the arrangement with more than one club and at a different level would give our youngsters stepping stones. Obviously we still need to use other clubs, we have so many to send out on loan afterall but links with a couple give us a framework to build around.

Often in the older players contracts is a clause that they play a senior game, which is where the League Cup is so useful or European ties like Thursday when you can give some youngsters a game with some experienced players.

I'm looking forward to Thursday, it may be almost a dead game but I'm expecting to see Tom Carroll and Zeki Fryers start with Harry Kane getting some game time and possible a couple of others with later substitute roles.

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