Tottenham really do like signing English youngsters which does make a pretty nice change from the other Premiership clubs who are constantly looking abroad and overlooking local youth – you couldn’t accuse Tottenham of such a thing although admittedly a lot of these talents are poached from other sides. The same could be said of Kyle Naughton who is believed to be one of the top defending talents on Spurs books. Naughton’s a right back who’s also capable of playing in the centre or further up field on the right. He’s already got proven Championship appearances to his name with his local club Sheffield United and is an England Under 21 international and, now 21, you have to feel he could break into the Spurs first team as real competition for Vedran Corluka sometime soon – opening the door for Alan Hutton to leave.
Sheffield United & Loan at Gretna
Naughton was born in Sheffield on the 11th of November 1988 and it was only fitting that he would start his footballing career at his local club. Naughton joined Sheffield United’s centre of excellence and academy at the age of just seven years old. Naughton quickly worked his way up the youth and reserve teams at United, captaining the younger sides on his way up. A first team break didn’t come until January 2008 though when SPL side Gretna recognised his potential and snapped him up on loan; Naughton proved a regular for Gretna, appearing 19 times for the club and giving performances belying his age although he couldn’t prevent the club from being relegated from the SPL at the end of the season. Naughton returned to Sheffield United where he now was promoted to the first team for the 2008/09 season. He was named man of the match in his first appearance for the Blades and continued as first choice right back for the whole season, although he also put in stints at left back and in central midfield, appearing in 40 of the club’s 46 league games. Naughton’s season was so impressive that he was named in the division’s Team of the Year award along with scooping up United’s award for best young player and coming runner up to centre back Matthew Kilgallon as the club’s best player of the season.
Speculation linked Naughton away from Sheffield United this summer and he was widely expected to join Everton in a deal that would cost the Toffees around £5 million. Instead he quietly joined Spurs alongside fellow Sheffield United youngster Kyle Walker for an undisclosed fee. Whilst Walker was sent back to United on loan, Naughton was kept at Spurs to compete for a place in the first team despite being just 21. He’s already made his league debut for the club as a last minute substitute against West Ham and is a shoe-in for cup squads and surely can only improve the amount of games he appears in as time goes by.
Naughton was called up to the England Under 21’s after just eleven league appearances for the Blades, he has since made 6 appearances over the space of a year and is believed to be rated quite highly. He is also eligible to play for Ireland though and Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni is reportedly interest in getting him to switch allegiance along with fellow Spurs youngster Jamie O’Hara
Naughton’s already impressed up in Scotland and at Championship level and is believed to be one of the best young defenders in the country. At 21 he still has time to develop and could yet prove a serious contender for first team contention at the club. Obviously the fight for places at Spurs is very tough and Naughton may yet be forced to go out on loan to get more match practice but he seems a solid, no-nonsense defender and looks capable of succeeding wherever he goes. Beating Everton to his signing could yet prove a masterstroke for Spurs.