Football FanCast columnist and Palace fan Alex
Dimond feels that Juande Ramos should look to bring a kid in to do a man's job
at White Hart Lane.
So, after a preseason
filled with hope and expectation, Spurs predicted season of success has
unfortunately failed to materialise. The only thing the club have achieved so
far – if you can call it an achievement – is successfully reminding the world
of the year the Titanic sank.
1912, apparently – a
fact the newspapers trotted out incessantly last week to illustrate the last
time Spurs had such a poor start to a season. Of course, the North London
club's 2-1 defeat to Stoke on Sunday ensured that you now have to go right the
way back to 1908 – when, presumably, one of the Titanic's designers was
overlooking the destructive power of icebergs – for the last time things were
going so horribly wrong at the club.
The defeat at the
Britannia Stadium was a source of great frustration for the Spurs faithful.
While a visit to the Potteries will not be high on any club's wishlist this
season, the manner of Spurs' loss was still extremely disappointing.
Gareth Bale's sending
off and the resulting penalty from Danny Higginbotham, ensured Spurs got off to
perhaps the worst start their fans could have wished for, but they surely would
have at least expected the remaining 10 players to put up a real fight. While
the defence were resolute – both Vedran Corluka and Heurelho Gomes picked up
injuries in the line of duty – there was a distinct lack of attacking intent.
Even Darren Bent's goal was laced with luck, and other chances were few and far
Juande Ramos, a man
who was brought to the club under much fanfare this time last season, is now
under considerable pressure. He needs to turn things around, and quickly. The
say that ‘desperate times call for desperate measures', and surely times can't
get much more desperate down the Lane.
As a result, it must
be time that a couple of youngsters get the chance to reinvigorate the
first-team. Like the effect Jamie O'Hara had on the side last season, the
promotion of a few key performers from Spurs' ‘developmental' squad could help
oversee a turnaround in results. One player in particular deserves a chance –
Bostock has enjoyed a
fantastic run of form since joining Spurs from Crystal Palace in the summer,
including scoring a hat-trick in an academy match and scoring on multiple times
for the reserves – culminating in grabbing the winner against Middlesbrough
reserves last week. For a central midfielder, it is an impressive goalscoring
record, but his all-round performances have also turned heads.
importantly, Bostock has already had some experience of first-team football
with Spurs, having been involved with the squad throughout their impressive
preseason. If he was to be called upon, he should fit in seamlessly.
The big question
surrounding Bostock, however, is his age. Still only 16, many fans believe he
is too young for the Premiership, and experiencing it at this stage in his
development could do more harm than good.
But there is another
saying in football, ‘if you're old enough, you're good enough', and there is
not a lot more that Bostock could have done to prove he is good enough for the
Premiership, and deserves to get a chance to show it.
He has starred in the
reserves for Spurs – at the same time as Didier Zokora and Jermaine Jenas have
failed to stamp their authority on Premiership matches. What is the purpose of
the reserves, if not to give squad players the chance to show they deserve to
play every Saturday afternoon?
Of course, there will
be doubts about the ability of any young player to adapt to the rigours of
top-flight football, but Bostock is not any young footballer. Few 16-year-olds
have the physical strength to cope with the rough and tumble of the
Championship, but Bostock did that from the first minute of his Palace debut.
appearances, he also demonstrated that he already had the technical ability to
play at a higher level. Tottenham surely did not sign Bostock to be the crown
jewel in their reserves, and he has already shown himself to have great
Ramos played many
young players while at Sevilla – Jesus Navas, Diego Capel, Dani Alves – so why
not roll the dice this time?
At the end of the day, if Tottenham are looking
for examples of the impact youngsters can make on a team, they needn't look
far. Just across North London, Arsenal have long been pioneers in the promotion
of youth players – including giving initial opportunities to a certain
16-year-old Spanish central midfielder, Cesc Fabregas.
Look how that turned
Bostock might not be on the same level as Fabregas (after all, few players in history have been), but few Palace fans
would disagree that he is an outstanding prospect. At this stage in his
development, he looks to have all the tools to go to the very top. If that is
the case, he should be able to make an immediate impact at White Hart Lane.
With Bale and Michael Dawson suspended for the foreseeable future after
their dismissals at Stoke, surely Bostock must find his way onto the Spurs
bench – starting with this weekend's match at home to Bolton. If he
subsequently has the opportunity to get on the pitch, then maybe Ramos will be
encouraged with what he sees.
After all, the Spaniard needs to do something quickly, before he sees
his team sink even quicker than the Titanic. There are arguably many potential
solutions to the current crisis – John Bostock could be one of them.