Win £1,000 with Camelot. See this week's Ham & High

on sale 15th October

Spurs youngsters need to see homegrown heroes in first team, says Ferdinand

12:25 30 January 2014

Les Ferdinand (right) on the touchline at Southampton

Les Ferdinand (right) on the touchline at Southampton

PA Wire/Press Association Images

EXCLUSIVE: Les Ferdinand believes it is vital that Tottenham’s youngsters see homegrown players in the first team as the Under-18s prepare to take to the field in the FA Youth Cup tonight.

Nabil BentalebNabil Bentaleb

Spurs’ juniors face London rivals Fulham in the fourth round at Dagenham and Redbridge FC, kicking off at 7pm.

The club’s next generation may well have been disillusioned about their long-term futures at the club after seeing three academy graduates leave the club in the summer due to a likely lack of playing time.

Steven Caulker was sold to Cardiff, while Jake Livermore and Tom Carroll were loaned to Hull and QPR respectively as Tottenham spent over £100million on foreign stars.

However, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend have been first-team regulars this season, and the new management team have also promoted 19-year-old Nabil Bentaleb, who got his fourth conseuctive start in last night’s clash with Manchester City.

Ferdinand feels that will give huge encouragement to those who are trying to catch the eye in the development squad.

“I think it’s extremely important for our young players to see that,” said the coach. “For you to believe you have a chance at a football club you’ve got to see your peers or the people that have gone before you getting an opportunity.

“In the past we went out and spent a lot of money in the summer, so if you’re in that development squad you’re thinking you’ve got no chance of playing, and that can’t be right for the club.

“Players have to believe that they’ve got a chance of playing in your first team, otherwise what’s the point of them being here?

“What we have [as a management team] is a knowledge of what’s in that development squad at the moment, and we’ll continue to have that.

“If you’ve got the knowledge of what’s going on in that development squad then you can identify whether players will be good enough for your first team.

“We understand that these boys can’t come from the development squad and become first-team regulars straight off - sometimes they need to be dipped in and out. It’s about finding the right games for that, but what they need is an opportunity.”

Tottenham have invested £45million in building a new training facility which functions as an academy as well as a first-team base.

They demonstrated the talent in their youth section by reaching the final of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League last term – where they lost 3-2 to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Tonight’s FA Youth Cup tie could be viewed as another barometer of the talent in Spurs’ youth section – but Ferdinand feels the competition has limited importance.

“People used to get an idea that if you won the FA Youth Cup or if you won this or that [youth] league then you’re doing well as a youth team,” he said.

“You can win as many youth cups as you like and win as many leagues as you like, but if you’re not producing players who are going into your first team, what does that mean? Where do those players go to if they’re not coming into your first team?

“Surely the whole point of having a youth development squad and an Under-21s squad is to be trying to produce players to go into your first team.

“Otherwise you have to do what this club has done and what a lot of other clubs do - go out and buy players. What’s the point in having a development squad then?

“I don’t buy into the idea that because your team wins in the FA Youth Cup you must have a great crop of players coming through, because if you look at when we were winning FA Youth Cups and things like that in the past, how many of those players went on and played in Tottenham’s first team? That would be the question.”

Ferdinand added: “We’ve got a lot of players around, and we’ve got a very big [first-team] squad so it’s difficult to bring younger players through at the moment.

“When you look at the squad that we’ve got, if you’re trying to keep everybody happy then you’re going to look at opportunities to give them a game as well.

“When it’s right to bring youngsters in we’ll do it, whether it’s in Europe, in the league or wherever it may be. If we think the kid’s good enough and done well enough then he’ll get an opportunity at some stage.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs


Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 11:20
Ben Parker scored Belsize Park's first and last tries. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Ben Parker touched down twice as Belsize Park came from behind to earn a third successive victory, triumphing 33-29 away at Grasshoppers and climbing into the top two places in London North-West Division Three.

Mon, 18:03
UCS Old Boys' Stefan Filip scored two tries and would have had a hat-trick but for a knock-on. Pic: Nick Cook/UCS Old Boys RFC

Stefan Filip led the way as UCS Old Boys’ pack pushed their team to a third win from their first four games, securing a 26-14 victory away at Royston and a place in the top four spots in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

Mon, 16:35
Hendon captain Cian Hynes flicks a pass out to Adam Johnson (left) to set up the first of the winger's three tries. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hendon’s devastating start to their Herts/Middlesex Division Two campaign continued as the league leaders ran in 14 tries to thrash Chess Valley 84-10 and maintain their perfect record in their opening four league games.

Mon, 14:32
Weston-super-Mare goalkeeper Luke Purnell makes a low save and holds on under pressure from Wingate's Ola Sogbanmu (in blue). Pic: Martin Addison

Wingate & Finchley manager Simon Lane feels Saturday’s FA Cup exit was a “missed opportunity” as the Blues lost 3-1 to Weston-super-Mare in the third qualifying round.

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Marta Corredera of Arsenal Ladies

Arsenal Ladies 3 Birmingham City Ladies 1

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Arsenal Ladies' Jordan Nobbs battles with Kathleen Radtke of Manchester City Women (right) during the Gunners' 1-0 win in the Continental Cup

Midfielder Jordan Nobbs is determined to finish her frustrating season on a high by helping the Gunners to regain the Continental Cup.

Thursday, October 8, 2015
The Camden Swiss Cottage squad

Camden Swiss Cottage’s young swimmers competed in their first Southern Junior Inter League Final on Sunday – and they finished fifth to narrowly miss out on a place in the national final.

Thursday, October 8, 2015
The 24 competitors from The Hall and South Hampstead High School pose together after their success at the Hemel Hempstead snow dome

South Hampstead High School and The Hall both took three teams to the Caxton FX 2015 indoor British Independent Schools slalom race at the Hemel Hempstead snow dome.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

Amazon: Everything you want to buy all in one place!

With £1,500 to spend online at Amazon, there’s really nothing you can’t buy.

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder