Alex Pritchard has made just one appearance for the Spurs first team so far, coming on against Aston Villa in 2013/14 and since then the prospect of becoming a Tottenham regular has appeared to be a long way away. However fast forward twelve months and Pritchard’s prospects have accelerated.
Pritchard only has to look to his fellow Spurs team-mate and academy graduate Harry Kane for inspiration to make the step up to the first-team. Kane’s spectacular rise will give hope to many young players aiming to break through, but it is another Spurs academy graduate in the shape of Ryan Mason – a man who has also broken into the England set-up – that provides a more pertinent example of the possibilities within Pritchard’s grasp.
Pritchard and Mason spent part of the 2013/14 season on loan together at League One side Swindon Town and whilst Mason made the step up to the first team last season Pritchard spent the season on-loan at Brentford. However Pritchard’s experiences at the Championship club will stand him in good stead for the coming season for sure.
Pritchard even himself admits he is a “late developer“. He is only 5ft 7” and has not fully filled out his frame yet, nevertheless he adapted to the hustle and bustle of the Championship to perform consistently throughout the season, scoring goals and setting up plenty too. In fact his twelve goals and seven assists earned Pritchard a spot in the PFA Championship Team of the Season.
And only nine players in the Championship could claim better figures than those of Pritchard turned in – all of whom were older than the 22-year-old Spurs man. He showed how much of a creative talent he is, too, producing impressive creative figures – he laid on 97 chances for his team mates. This brand of neat passing is the sort of play that will translate well at Spurs considering the way Mauricio Pochettino deploys his sides.
Pritchard himself admits that the “defensive side” of his game has matured too, and former Bees boss Mark Warburton described Pritchard as good “tactically and technically” – skills Spurs boss Pochettino will be looking for in a young player.
However there are some rumours that Pochettino is worried about Pritchard’s physical attributes and has reservations whether Pritchard can play the pressing game he demands his team to operate with, and despite his obvious talent the margins are tight for Spurs who target the top four and can’t afford to have players not pulling their weight.
We obviously don’t know if Pritchard really will get the opportunity he deserves, however, Pochettino has said “He is in our plans for next season” and will at least be given a chance to impress the Argentine in pre-season. That is all Pritchard can ask for as he looks to force his way in.