Club Focus – Tottenham – Youngsters on the rise but one fledgling wants to fly the nest

Recent defeats aside, the current crop of Tottenham players are enjoying a good season. The even better news is that the next generation of wannabe Lilywhites are earning their spurs out on loan and making big impressions. No fewer than three members of the Spurs youth programme are spending time at Yeovil and have now extended their stays until the end of the season. The trio in question are 19-year-old striker Jonathan Obika, 18-year-old midfielder Ryan Mason, and 17-year-old defender Steven Caulker. Obika first joined the Glovers on loan in March, whilst his younger colleagues made the move in July. All three have represented England at youth level this campaign and are gaining valuable first team football in the football league. Yeovil are a League One side playing in a division containing several big name clubs like Leeds, Southampton and Norwich. Playing such teams regularly can only benefit the players and Tottenham in the long term.

Another youngster out on loan in the Football League is Sweden Under-21 international goalkeeper Oscar Jansson who has just extended his temporary deal at Exeter City for another month. The 18-year-old has been missing from the Grecians’ team in the last few weeks due to injury but has managed seven appearances so far in the two months he has already spent in Devon. Such has been Jansson’s form that Exeter manager Paul Tisdale has indicated that regular first choice goalkeeper Paul Jones will find it hard to win his place in the side back when he returns from a knee injury. Tisdale said: “Oscar fits in very well and he is getting better with every game. Paul Jones is going to have a fight on his hands when he comes back. We would like Oscar to continue as part of the squad, whether he is playing or not. He is such a likeable chap, he is very professional and very focused on improving.”

Of course, loan deals can also have negative results for clubs if a player gets too attached to the idea of regular first team football and decides his future lies elsewhere than at his parent club. One such instance currently facing Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is the case of Adel Taarabt. The 20-year-old Moroccan midfielder has been spending the last few months on loan at QPR in the Championship, having initially joined in March and then extending it for the whole of the current campaign. Having struggled to make a break through at White Hart Lane, he has been impressing in the second tier on a regular basis where his natural ability marks him down as one of the most skilled players in the division. He has become a regular on the scoresheet in recent weeks in a Hoops shirt, including a spectacular freekick in the 4-2 win over Derby County.

Taarabt is under contract at Tottenham until the summer of 2012, but it seems highly unlikely that he will see out his deal at the club. Even if Redknapp changes his mind over the player, who was deemed too much of an inconsistent luxury player to be trusted with a regular spot in the team, he appears now to be fighting against the wind to persuade Taarabt to play for him. The French-born youngster told the Evening Gazette: “Tottenham would like me to sign a new deal with them but, frankly, I don’t fancy going back there now. I’ve got two-and-a-half years left with them, but I hope to leave soon.” You can not really blame the player for wanting to play, but one would hope that he will have enough patience to try and earn a first team spot at Spurs that, judging from his performances this season, is clearly not beyond his ability. Playing in the Championship will have taught Adel some valuable footballing lessons and helped to have shaped a player who could potentially be the latest in a long list of elegant ballplayers at the club, such as Glenn Hoddle. Taarabt is barely out of his teens, so time is on his side, but the lure of a regular game now could well spell the end of his Tottenham tenure.

Which young players will end up making the break through to the first team at Spurs in the future is anyone’s guess, but the club can be proud to have an exciting set of prospects that are making inroads in to the England youth set up. With international games coming up in the next fortnight, Tottenham can boast a host of players in England squads at various age groups. Stuart Pearce has included Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton in the Under-21 squad, whilst John Bostock joins Dean Parrett, Mason and Caulker in the Under-19 party. Bostock is a former Under-17 captain and will look to make his debut at the higher age level in the friendly with Turkey.

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