For those who follow Spurs’ youth teams, the loss of Luis Binks to Thierry Henry’s Montreal Impact came as a shock.
Both Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are the wrong side of 30 and the England youth international, whose grace on the ball and leadership qualities stood out, was viewed by many as their natural successor. To lose a highly promising player, only a year or two away from competing for a first team spot, was incredibly disappointing.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Binks outlined some of the reasons why he chose to move to the MLS and join Montreal, despite a late intervention from Jose Mourinho:
‘I told the academy staff I was leaving and they said, “We’ll get Mourinho here”. He said how much he liked me, that I would be going on pre-season and, if I did well, I could play a few games next year.
‘That made the decision even tougher, but it also reassured me that, if I’m good enough, I will get to the top.
‘I didn’t want to take the risk of waiting for something that might never come. You then get to 21 and you still haven’t played.
‘I play for England with Mason Greenwood at Man United and it’s brilliant to see him getting on and doing so well. But he’s a forward, it’s different for a centre-half, they don’t bring you on for the last 15 minutes, do they?
‘So I needed to push myself, I couldn’t sit around in the 23s, that just wasn’t for me.’
He said that the success of Jadon Sancho was a major influence on his decision to leave Hostpur Way in search on first team football:
‘My debut here there were 30,000 fans. Last year, for the Under 23s, you’d be away to Derby on a Thursday night in front of 50 people.
‘The crowd, the occasion, it motivates you, you want more of it. You can still learn playing Under 23s, but not as much as this.
‘When Jadon Sancho went to Dortmund and did so well, it really inspired me. So I thought, “Yeah, why not?”. It felt like a no-brainer.’
Binks also recalls not holding back when mixing it with Spurs’ senior players for the first time:
‘My first training session at Tottenham, I was only 16, there was a 50-50 and I went in with Jan Vertonghen.
‘I went in hard – but fair, I think – and he got up and shouted at me, “You f***ing idiot”. Literally, 20 seconds later, the same 50-50 challenge came along… I went in full blooded again and he rolled his ankle.
‘He went mental. For six months he wouldn’t shake my hand. He’d just laugh and say, “You’re that kid who did me!”.’
Losing Luis Binks was undoubtably a blow, but you can can hardly blame him for seeking guaranteed first team football and it’s clear he has a plan of how he is going to make it as a top player. We hope he fulfils his obvious potential and eventually finds his way home to play in lilywhite.