October 25 2014 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Tottenham’s head coach Tim Sherwood and academy manager John McDermott dicsuss how the changes to the club’s hierarchy have impacted on their work with Spurs’ youngsters.
When Tim Sherwood stepped up from his role as Tottenham’s technical co-ordinator to become the first-team head coach, he admitted that the club would need to consider the impact on the academy.
The 45-year-old had previously been managing player development across all of the youth squads, along with Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey.
And, when he initially replaced Andre Villas-Boas on a short-term basis, Sherwood said: “At the moment I’m leaving what I was doing with development to step up to this.
“We’re juggling that area at the moment. If something happened longer-term with me, that would have to be addressed. The last thing we want is to stunt their growth because there are some top young players down there and ready to step up.”
Three months on, Sherwood is still in the top job, so has there been any negative impact on the youth development programme? The head coach doesn’t think so.
“We had enough coaches around to fill in,” said Sherwood. “I still go over and train with them, and more of them have trained with us on a regular basis – especially when we have had a lot of injuries.
“We’ve had seven or eight of the elite kids across and they have had the experience of training with the senior pros.”
Academy manager John McDermott agrees with Sherwood’s assessment.
“If anything it’s a positive,” he said. “Tim knows all of these players and Chris has worked with them for seven or eight years.
“We’ve had a very good season, both with Andre and with Tim. Andre played our players and Tim’s picking players from the academy as well.
“I’ve always thought we’ve had talented players and, from the beginning of this season, opportunity has met talent with Nabil [Bentaleb], Andros [Townsend] and Harry Kane. They’ve been able to seize that opportunity.”
McDermott is delighted that his young charges are getting more chances to train with the first team.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “As much as I’m sure they love training with me, to train next to the likes of [Mousa] Dembele, [Roberto] Soldado, Paulinho, Andros and Michael Dawson, I think it’s a real buzz. It’s training at another level.
“To be fair that’s always happened at Spurs, but perhaps there have been more opportunities this season to do it. It rubs off very positively on the younger players.
“In an international week the boys will be up there [with the first team] all of the time, but I would say probably on a daily basis there’s an opportunity for a group – sometimes an individual and at other times the whole squad – to go up and maybe play in the 11 v 11s against them, so it’s a regular occurrence.
“Irrespective of who the manager is, what we’ve had here in the last season, and particularly the last three or four months, is fantastic opportunities for all of these players to play with the first team and train with them.”
Sherwood, Ferdinand and Ramsey were all present at White Hart Lane last Friday as Spurs’ Under-21s overcame Arsenal 2-0 in the Under-21 Premier League.
Ruben Lameiras won a first-half penalty, with Gunners captain Isaac Hayden getting a straight red card for the foul – and Souleymane Coulibaly converted from the spot before Harry Winks doubled the winning margin in the closing stages.
Two days later, Winks was on the bench for the first team’s game at Anfield, but it was Lameiras who stole the show against the young Guns at the Lane.
McDermott said: “Ruben got released from Millwall a few years ago, and he’s Under-19 now. He’s always been quite small and he’s just growing into his body now.
“He’s always had quite a lot of creativity with his left foot, and I was really pleased for him, I thought his performance was stand-out.”
Meanwhile, 19-year-old striker Shaquile Coulthirst has joined League Two strugglers Torquay until the end of the season.
“I think you probably know our view,” said McDermott. “As good as it was to play Arsenal’s Under-21s at White Hart Lane - and I thought there was a real buzz to play in a local derby - we think it’s really important that our young players go and play out at the coal face and experience trying to score goals in the Football League, so Shaq’s gone down to Torquay.
“Irrespective of what happens I think it will be a positive experience for him. He’s a good boy, he’s played quite a lot of Under-21 football.
“He will see it, and we see it, as another step, some more experience, and he’s going into a really tough environment - but he’s a tough kid and I’m sure he’ll survive there. I’m sure he’ll do well.”
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