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Inside Lane: Why Spurs prospects may benefit from staying with youth squad

PUBLISHED: 11:58 22 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:29 22 March 2013

Ryan Mason

Ryan Mason

EMPICS Sport

Tottenham blogger Chris Miller discusses the difficult decisions facing Tim Sherwood and the Spurs hierarchy as they attempt to develop the Lilywhites’ young talents.

The debate over the wisdom of Andros Townsend’s loan to Queens Park Rangers has highlighted the difficulty of the job facing Tim Sherwood, along with the posse of coaches and officials who determine the future of our young players.

The emergence of Kyle Walker and Steven Caulker came after successful Premier League loan spells, and hopefully the likes of Townsend, Danny Rose, Harry Kane, Yago Falque and Adam Smith will similarly benefit with QPR, Sunderland, Leicester City, Almeria and Millwall.

However, it is also worth noting that loans spells will not suit every player. With our Under-21 side flying high and playing consistently good football with a strong focus on ‘playing the right way’, I am left wondering whether players like Jon Obika may be better suited to carrying on his goal-scoring exploits in the Under-21 league rather than sitting on the bench at Charlton.

Meanwhile Ryan Mason, who was sent to French side FC Lorient in January, has not yet appeared for them. Indeed, he made the bench for the first time at the weekend – this after being one of the key players for Spurs’ Under-21s, who are currently leading the elite group in the Under-21 Premier League.

Of course, the Spurs staff will say they are not bothered about winning the Under-21 league – that the focus on individual player development is more important – and the question mark over the Under-21s is whether the quality of opposition is good enough to test our young hopefuls.

But there is a lot to be said for how a player can develop while being part of a team that is playing good football – even if it is not first-team football. These are issues that Sherwood and his colleagues wrestle with as they weigh up whether a loan spell is the best option for a player – and, if so, where?

Who is to say that Alex Pritchard will benefit more from being at Peterborough than playing consistently for our Under-21s, or that Simon Dawkins being on the bench for Aston Villa is better than starting every week for San Jose Earthquakes, where he was previously placed?

The focus is currently on Townsend as he is the most high-profile example of Spurs’ ongoing attempts to develop all of their young stars’ potential. There are plenty of others who are worth watching – in their loan spells and in the youth sides.

Follow me @WindyCOYS

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