Academy Predictions: Who will be next to step up?

Academy Predictions

With this January transfer window shaping up to be a quiet one, and the summer ahead predicted to be much of the same, it’s almost a certainty that Mauricio Pochettino will dip back into his academy to freshen up the squad. Pochettino has re-iterated his stance that only a very specific type of player will ever be added to the squad. And it seems like the gaffer’s preferred method of finding this type of player is to develop them into what he wants, rather than shell out big money for someone in the transfer market. We’ve already seen a number of youth prospects transform into important first-team players under the Argentine boss, with local lad Josh Onomah being the latest. That being said let’s have a look at three academy hopefuls, who could be next in line to make their first team bows.

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Luke McGee

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Twenty-year-old goalkeeper McGee has already turned out for the first team in a pre-season friendly last summer, but is still yet to make an appearance in a competitive game for the club. Tall, athletic, and with a long reach that enables him to pluck the most difficult balls out of the air, McGee has all the tools to become a top class goalkeeper. In a subtle show of confidence, Pochettino elected not to sign another goalkeeper after the retirement of Brad Friedel, thereby promoting McGee to third choice behind Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm. While not an obvious endorsement, this means that McGee is only one injury away from being a part of the first team squad. Currently in competition with another talented stopper in Aussie youth international Tom Glover for the U21’s, McGee is progressing at a steady rate. A loan move to get regular first team football may be the next step, however with current No.2 Michel Vorm struggling to impress, McGee could find himself in the first team sooner rather than later.

Kyle Walker-Peters

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Like his namesake currently occupying the right flank for Spurs, Walker-Peters is also a flying right full-back. At only 18 years of age, Kyle the younger is far and away the best full-back in the Spurs academy, and is considered by many to be arguably our best prospect. With a decent turn of pace and a low-centre of gravity, Walker-Peters also boasts a level of technically ability that belies his age. Regularly manoeuvring himself out of tight situations be it through clever passing or quick feet, the young right back is mature beyond his years. Walker-Peters has just been named the U21 league’s player of the month for December and is currently on trial at Dutch side Roda JC with a view to a loan move. This is a wise course of action as experienced full-backs Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier currently block his path to the first team, with American international DeAndre Yedlin still to return from his loan also. However Walker-Peters talent is such that this competition may not matter, and if the senior players let their performances slip, they could well see themselves losing their spot to the talented teenager.

Cameron Carter-Vickers

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Finally the player who is most likely to make an appearance for us this season. American youth international Carter-Vickers has only just turned 18, but has physique and aggression to his game far beyond his years. Already a captain for the U21’s by the time he was 17, Carter-Vickers found himself up against Colombian hitman Radamel Falcao who was trying to get to grips with England football by playing for Manchester United’s U21’s last year. Most 17 year old would be daunted at the prospect of facing such a notorious opponent, but young Carter-Vickers dealt with the Colombian with such a supreme confidence that you’d be forgiven for believing he was the senior player. There are already calls by some in the States to bring him into the National side’s first team, and it seems Mauricio Pochettino may agree with them. He has already named Carter-Vickers on his bench in the Europa League, and with Federico Fazio likely to be shown the exit door and Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer the only other cover at centre back, don’t be surprised to see the teenage American make an appearance at the heart of our defence this season.

By Josh Smith

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