‘The boys are a bit special’ – Tottenham

With a lack of funds available to Harry Redknapp this summer and a relatively small squad to play with and with Europa League games throughout at least half of the season, Redknapp has been forced to dip into his youth team to give his youngsters a chance to prove their worth at White Hart Lane.

Three youngster in particular are impressing Redknapp and here is a more detailed look at what the Tottenham Hotspur team could include in the coming years. With a second string side in the Europa League under Redknapp and a few injuries to the first team players, who knows, they could be regulars before you know it.

Jake Livermore has stepped up to the plate and cemented himself in the first team squad at White Hart Lane this season, often filling in when injuries have scuppered Redknapp’s plans and impressed greatly in midfield. Redknapp admitted he was close to losing Livermore in the summer as part of the Scott Parker transfer from West Ham, but Tottenham ended up paying more for the England midfielder so that Livermore would not be used as bait in the deal.

The Enfield-born midfielder signed his first Tottenham contract in 2006 and became a stand-out player in the Under-18’s side earning himself a two year contract at White Hart Lane. Since 2008 the 21-year-old has become a veteran of loan stints, making appearances for MK Dons, Derby County, Peterborough United, Ipswich Town and Leeds United before getting his chance at his beloved Tottenham Hotspur this season. Experience then should not be an issue for Livermore, who also scored his first Spurs goal at the beginning of this campaign again Hearts.

A regular in the Europa League team and a few appearances in the Premier League have given Livermore plenty of opportunity to make that central midfield place his own. With the arrival of Scott Parker and return from injury of Sandro and Tom Huddlestone, Livermore may find himself restricted to Europa League games this season but the 21-year-old has got a bright future at the Lane.

Another central midfielder working his way up the ladder at Tottenham is 19-year-old Thomas Carroll, a London born product of the Spurs youth system made his first team debut this season in the Europa League against Hearts in August and has gone on to make four more appearances in cup competitions partnering Livermore in a young midfield. Carroll was the star performer in the clubs academy last year, prompting the Spurs staff to take note and give him first team opportunities this season.

Having played 12 times on loan at Leyton Orient at the end of the season, Carroll returned to White Hart Lane and became a squad player in Redknapp’s plans. This week was also a milestone in Carroll’s; as yet short career, as he got a call up from Stuart Pearce to the England-under 21 squad for this week’s qualifiers with Iceland and Belgium that clearly shows how much he has impressed in his time in the Tottenham first team squad.

Carroll’s role in the centre of midfield is a very competitive one at White Hart Lane, with at least 4-5 players currently beating him in the pecking order, another loan spell may be on the cards this season to gain valuable first team experience but there is no doubt he has a future in the Premier League. Make sure you take notice of his performances for England this week as it may be a name you will have to remember.

The final youngster that is definitely one to watch for the future is 16-year-old Souleymane Coulibaly who arrived from Siena in the summer for around £2million after his golden boot winning performance in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in July. The Ivorian scored a staggering nine goals in four matches including four against Denmark and a hat-trick against Brazil as his country were knocked out in the round of 16. The raw, pacey striker has been in unstoppable form for the clubs youth and reserve teams so far scoring 10 goals in five games, a real prospect for the future.

Coulibaly evacuated his native Ivory Coast at the age of 13 due to ongoing conflict and moved to Italy with his father who married an Italian woman and he was snapped up by Siena last year. Many believed he was good enough to play for the Siena first team but injuries restricted him to just 10 youth team games. Coulibaly has featured in the NextGen series for Tottenham where he has scored three goals in two games, making his mark in Europe as well as England.

Coulibaly was linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona in the summer and is constantly likened to Didier Drogba due to his nationality and direct style of play. He seems perfectly suited to the English game and will cause defenders all sorts of problems in the future as he makes the step up to Spurs’ reserve team this month as he becomes eligible to play.

All three youngsters will be hoping to break into the first team squad and become a regular in the near future and there is no doubting their potential to become top class footballers as Tottenham begin to put themselves back on the map of great youth systems after a spell away from the list. Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Sol Campbell were the last gems to appear from the historic youth project but it could be time for a new breed to have their turn.

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