Ryan Fredericks assesses Millwall loan move and Tottenham future
PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 March 2014
2014 Getty Images
EXCLUSIVE: It is difficult for youngsters to break into ambitious Premier League teams at the best of times, but it is particularly tough when the first-choice player in your position is an England regular – and when that rival is only 23 years old.
That is the challenge facing 21-year-old Ryan Fredericks. And, although Kyle Walker is currently struggling with a nagging pelvic injury, the defender looks set to keep the right-back spot nailed down at Spurs for the foreseeable future.
Kyle Naughton recently stated that he might have to weigh up his options in the summer, and 22-year-old right-back Adam Smith left the Lilywhites in January, agreeing a permanent move to Championship outfit Bournemouth after making just two competitive appearances for the north Londoners.
Fredericks has played four times for Tottenham in Europe, most notably in December under Andre Villas-Boas when he came off the bench against Anzhi and won the penalty which completed Roberto Soldado’s hat-trick at the Lane.
Like Nabil Bentaleb, Fredericks has played under Tim Sherwood in the development squads. But, like so many of Walker’s rivals – and his fellow youngsters - he has had to go out on loan, joining Millwall in January.
Fredericks has made nine appearances for the Lions so far, scoring one goal – and he says he is gaining valuable experience which will help him in future, whatever that brings.
“I’m not too sure [about my future] really,” he told London24. “Hopefully I’ll finish the season here at Millwall. I want as much experience as possible - be it for Spurs or another club, and I’ll give it a good go.
“I can’t put all my eggs in one basket. If something pops up that’ll be good for me I’ll have to take it. First and foremost I want to try to play at Spurs.
“I’ve got time on my side to impress Tim [Sherwood]. There are good coaches at Spurs and I have all I need to push on.
“He knows what I can and can’t do. If he felt I was ready to go in I don’t think he’d have any second thoughts. If he thinks you’re good enough, he’ll play you.
“I’ve been with him for the last few years. He said it would be a great experience for me [to go on loan to Millwall].
“It puts a few hairs on your chest. You grow up a bit coming to a team like this. It’s all good experience. They all had good things to say.”
Millwall are renowned for their passionate fanbase and it can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how the team are playing.
“If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere,” Fredericks admitted. “You’ve got to bring that passion to the table when you’re playing.
“I’m always close to them on the touchline and they give you that extra boost when you’re tired, making you keep going and not give up. I’d like to stay in their good books.”
Fredericks is now working under Ian Holloway at The Den – and he says his new boss shares a number of characteristics with Sherwood.
“I would say they are quite similar,” said the defender. “They both want to win, they’ve both been players themselves. They’re winners and want to win as much as possible.
“They have not too dissimilar styles. In the position we’re in we’re playing a little bit more direct. We’re playing forward earlier. The way they set up the team with wingers coming inside, it’s not too dissimilar.”
This is the second loan spell of Fredericks’ career, having spent a brief period at Brentford last season – but he only made four appearances for the Bees.
“I didn’t get much of a chance at Brentford,” he said. “It was a weird one. I went into a team that had their starting XI nailed down. It’s hard going into a club and not getting a chance to play.”