Academy Watch Comment

The Ones Who Got Away

With former Academy prospects like Luis Binks and Kyle Walker-Peters showing real signs of development away from the club, we take a look to see which other Spurs youth players left and found success elsewhere:

5. Peter Crouch

OK, so Peter Crouch did eventually find himself back at Tottenham, but only after racking up more than 100 goals and £30 million worth of transfer fees at seven different clubs.

Crouch first joined Spurs in 1995 before signing his professional contract in 1998. However, despite loan moves to Dulwich Hamlet and IFK Hässleholm, Crouch found the route to the first team blocked and he was sold to QPR in 2000.

However, although moving clubs relatively frequently, Crouch carved out a highly successful career, scoring goals on a regular basis and winning the FA Cup with Liverpool in 2006. He also made his England debut in 2005, going on to score at a rate of more than a goal a game and ending his career with a very decent return of 22 goals in 42 appearances.

In 2009 Crouch rejoined Spurs for £10 million and scored some crucial goals over the next two seasons. His highlights included his winner against Manchester City which helped the club qualify for the Champions League for the first time, as well his goal against AC Milan at the San Siro on the way to the Champions League quarter final.

After eight seasons with Stoke, and a final year at Burnley, Crouch retired having made 735 career appearances and scoring 205 goals. Not a bad return for a player who was let go by Spurs for just £60,000.

4. Jamie Redknapp

Like Crouch, Jamie Redknapp made his way back to White Hart Lane. Unlike Crouch, he had already spent his best years away from the Lane.

Redknapp was part of the Spurs youth set-up in the late 80s, but decided to join his Dad, Harry Redknapp, on the south coast with AFC Bournemouth. He made his first team debut aged just 16 and it wasn’t long before he was on the move again, becoming one of Kenny Dalglish’s last signings in 1991. It was here Redknapp made his name, making over 300 appearances and becoming club captain. He was a technically gifted player, and stood out for his passing, set pieces and long range shooting.

However, by the late 90s, injuries began to take their toll and he essentially missed two entire seasons between 2000 and 2002, including the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup Treble win. Despite his talent, he only gained 17 England caps with injury all but ending his selection for France 1998 and the Euros in 2000.

A move to Spurs in 2002 didn’t bring the revival he hoped for, with his continuing injury problems restricting him to less than 50 appearances in three seasons. One last move to a south coast team managed by his Dad – this time Southampton – couldn’t stave off either relegation or Redknapp’s injury problems and he retired in 2005 aged 31. He is now a pundit for Sky Sports.

3. Kerry Dixon

A prolific goalscorer – tall, a decent turn of pace and good with both feet as well as his head. What a shame that the goals came in the blue of Chelsea rather than the lilywhite of Tottenham.

Starting out as an apprentice, Dixon was released by the club in 1978 and dropped down the divisions for spells with non-league Chesham United and Dunstable. Spotted by Reading in 1980, he ended up as the Third Divison’s top scorer in the 1982-83 season, earning himself a move to Cheslea.

For the best part of decade Dixon continued to score at a rapid rate, finishing as the division’s top scorer in the 1983-84 (Second Divison) and 1984-85 (First Division) seasons. He ended his career at Chelsea as the club’s third highest goalscorer of all time with 193 strikes across all competitions. He made eight England appearances scoring four goals.

Over the next half five years he appeared for six more sides, before retiring in 1997.

2. Graeme Souness

Signed in 1968 by Bill Nicholson as a 15 year old, Graeme Souness was one of the most promising players to emerge from Tottenham’s victorious FA Cup Youth team of 1969-70. He had scored the winner in the 2nd replay (yes, four games were needed to decide the winners that year) and it looked like he was the future heartbeat of Spurs’ senior team after signing professional forms soon after.

However, things quickly turned sour – Souness suffered from homesickness and he and the club engaged in a contract dispute after he returned to Scotland without permission. Although he remained with Tottenham until 1972, his relationship with the club never recovered and he moved to Middlesbrough after a single, solitary UEFA Cup appearance.

Here he started to fulfil his potential, helping the club win the Second Division in 1973-74 and making 176 league appearances. However, he is best remembered for his time at Liverpool where he made over 350 appearances, captaining the side and winning five League titles, three European Cups and four League Cups. He also appeared for Scotland 54 times scoring four goals.

After leaving Liverpool in 1984, Souness went onto play for Sampdoria and Rangers before retiring in 1991. He then went into management, leading a number of teams with mixed success and attracting significant controversy on a number of occasions. Like Redknapp, he is now a pundit on Sky Sports.

  1. David Beckham

They say you should never do ‘what ifs’ in football, but it’s hard not to with this one.

Born and raised in north-east London, David Beckham attended Tottenham Hotspur’s school of excellence for four years from 1987. However, after Manchester United came calling in 1991, there was little chance of Spurs keeping hold of him. Unlike his Spurs supporting Grandad, Beckham was a huge United fan himself, even appearing as a mascot in 1986. The rest, they say, is history.

Beckham went on to become the game’s most recognisable player, playing for some of the games biggest clubs in Manchester United Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG and winning 19 major trophies. He won 115 appearances for England, captaining his country in 58 of those, and playing in five major tournaments (OK we won’t mention 1998). Unfortunately, he always raised his game against Spurs while at United, and he scored seven goals in 17 games, including a strike in THAT horror 5-3. He ended his 20-year career after making over 700 club appearances and scoring 129 goals.

There was briefly a possibility that Beckham would join Spurs on a short-term loan in 2011 after training with the club, but a move never materialised. He has, however, remained a friend of Tottenham and regularly visits the club. It would have been nice to see him appear in the famous Tottenham lilywhite just once though, right?

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