Dilan Markanday could save Tottenham Hotspur a lot of money in future transfer windows.
The 20-year-old academy gem was a surprise absentee from Nuno Santo’s first-team squad for their UEFA Europa Conference League clash against Slovenian minnows NS Mura on Thursday night but he is a player with undoubted potential.
His day should come sooner rather than later as he continues to impress for the U23 squad.
Already this season, the versatile attacking midfielder – who can play literally anywhere in attack – has bagged five goals and provided four assists across seven appearances in the Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy.
It takes his total to an impressive 11 goals and 12 assists in 51 appearances for the U23s, adding to his 17 goals and six assists in 39 games for the U18s, as per Transfermarkt.
His ability to play in a multitude of positions should be of great appeal to Nuno.
The Portuguese head coach has had to endure plenty of injury problems since his appointment in the summer and a lot of those have come in key attacking roles.
Right now, both Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon are on the treatment table, whilst there’s still no obvious no.10. You also have to consider that Harry Kane does not have a genuine backup.
That’s where Markanday can be of use. He can play out wide, through the middle and up top, so the Barnet-born gem could be very, very valuable.
Spurs’ official website has described him as a ‘clever attacking midfielder’ who can weave ‘his way into dangerous areas’.
His playing style and performances for the youth setup have led to comparison to one of the Lilywhites’ former academy stars, one who was once likened to Lionel Messi by former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“Markanday has looked bright today. Have always felt he has a very similar running and dribbling style to Marcus Edwards,” claimed football.london’s Alasdair Gold back in March 2019.
On the above evidence, Nuno and Spurs clearly have an exciting young talent on their hands. If handled properly, Markanday could well be the next youth product to break into the first-team, following the likes of Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp.
The 47-year-old must look to unleash him more frequently throughout the season.