With the introduction of new Premier League legislation this season allowing clubs to name an unlimited number of under-21s in their squads, the Tottenham Hotspur starlet John Bostock may well have been hopeful. The 18-year old midfielder who made his debut for Spurs in a Uefa Cup tie against Dinamo Zagreb in 2008 has not featured much since. He recently bemoaned the chances of youngsters such as himself getting playing time in the cosmopolitan Premier League. Having spent a short spell at Brentford last year he has now committed to a season long loan at Hull City. Bostock now has to use this opportunity to do his talking on the pitch if he wishes to command a more prominent role on his return to north London
The gifted midfielder’s transfer from Crystal Palace to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 was particularly bitter. The then Palace chairman Simon Jordan was determined to retrieve the highest possible amount for the club’s prized asset. The two clubs failed to settle on a fee which was eventually set by a tribunal at £700,000. Bostock would have felt flattered by an ambitious Premier League club recognising his promise and fighting to secure his services.
The feeling of being wanted by a club, which all players seem to crave was not to last. Bostock has recently hit out at the number of foreign players in the league blocking the path of young players into regular top flight football. He spoke in broad terms about the problem in the Premier League which is harming youth development. “You look at the foreign contingent over here and it’s blocking us. It’s hard because we might have to wait until we are 21 or 22.” But could his sweeping comments be interpreted as a swipe at his club’s Croatian contingent, which Harry Redknapp palpably enjoys working with. Attack minded midfielders such as Kranjcar and Modric are way ahead in the pecking order at White Hart Lane. For an aspiring 18-year old his comments are unrealistic but his eagerness to play for the club which fought for him is admirable.
In comparison to many promising players of his age a scenic route around the grounds of League One and the Championship is the best way of eventually securing first team football. Having spent a month at Brentford last year, Bostock recently agreed to a season’s loan at Hull City. His arrival at the KC Stadium may be the remedy this beleaguered side have been looking for. The financial state of the club remains perilous yet the Hull faithful would have been cheered by Bostock’s match winning performance in their first match of the season against Swansea. He tested De Vries early on before unleashing an unstoppable 30-yard screamer which was always destined for the top right-hand corner. Already being touted as the Championship goal of the season it was not simply this wonder strike that had the fans brimming with delight. Operating in the hole behind the lone front-man Bostock was able to exploit this space despite the increasing pressure placed on him by Swansea’s defence.
Performances of this nature will not go unnoticed at the England under-19 international’s parent club. Players who just want to play must relish their opportunities however unorthodox or unexpected. Frequently players on loan will enjoy encouraging starts before fading away due to frustration at a change of setting, team-mates and tactics. If Bostock adopts the right attitude and develops as a player he will return to Tottenham with a renewed hope of competing with their biggest stars.