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McDermott: Spurs academy has created a “no excuse culture” for young stars

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:01 26 March 2013

Spurs' academy manager John McDermott

Spurs' academy manager John McDermott

EMPICS Sport

Tottenham’s academy manager John McDermott says the club’s new training ground has created a “no excuse culture” which is aiding his efforts to develop Spurs’ young prospects.

The Lilywhites moved into their £45million state-of-the-art facility, which houses the first team and the youth section, at the beginning of the season – and McDermott feels the players’ surroundings are having an effect.

“Is there more of an emphasis on producing young players now? I like to think it’s always been the case,” he said.

“In terms of the new training ground, it’s brought a huge boost to us, and to the whole club. It’s an outstanding environment to work in and it just provides a no excuse culture really.

“They’re fantastic pitches and there’s plenty of staff. Players with talent and players that apply themselves have got every chance of doing well – and this year Andre [Villas-Boas] has been giving a number of our boys an opportunity. As somebody in my job that’s what you want.

“You want talent to be able to meet opportunity and thankfully with Steven [Caulker], Tom [Carroll], Andros [Townsend] going out on loan and Danny [Rose] playing at Sunderland, the boys are now having the opportunity to showcase their talent, and that’s all I can ask for really.”

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy made reference to the long-term importance of the club’s youth development programme when he appointed Villas-Boas.

Levy said in July: “Andre [Villas-Boas] shares our long-term ambitions and ethos of developing players and nurturing young talent, and he will be able to do so now at a new world-class training centre.”

Nine months on, McDermott says Spurs’ head coach is committed to that mission and is keeping an eye on a number of the talents who have been impressing in the youth sides.

“The manager has been fantastic,” he said. “Shaq [Coulthirst] was on the bench at Liverpool, and he’s trained with the first team quite a lot. So has another of the boys, Harry Winks.

As I said, in terms of the no excuse culture at the training ground, the manager’s giving the boys the opportunity and he knows who they are. It’s up to people like Shaq and Harry to take the opportunity and impress.”

Unfortunately, Spurs’ young stars suffered disappointment last week as the Under-19s were eliminated from the NextGen Series.

The junior Lilywhites lost their quarter-final against Sporting Lisbon 5-3 after extra-time at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road, having fought back from 3-1 down to equalise in the 95th minute and force another half an hour of play.

“It’s disappointing really, the way we started the game and going 3-1 down,” said McDermott. “We got back to 3-3 and I thought we had a real chance in extra-time, but a mixture of good striking from them and maybe not the best defending from us just helped them to get it in the end. I’m just disappointed that I don’t think we showed as well as we can play.”

Despite the result, McDermott feels his side will be better off for their experience in the prestigious European competition.

“I think the tournament’s outstanding,” he said. “We’re trying to produce Premier League players here. The Premier League is obviously multi-national and it gives our players the opportunity to play against top Portuguese, French and German players.

“It’s real category A opposition and it gives us a true reflection of the different types and different blends that you get in the Premier League.

“For the last six or seven years we’ve been playing lots of different international tournaments. We normally go abroad and try to find them but NextGen have provided a fantastic opportunity for an organised tournament throughout the season.

“We go to a number of other tournaments now. We go to Ajax and we go to Moscow.

“We’ve still got a league to play in with the Under-18s. We’re doing well in that league and we’re doing well in the Under-21 league – and there are three tournaments between now and the end of the season to continue in this vein.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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