Academy Watch Comment

Tottenham’s Dream Team – 2030/31

With first Dane Scarlett and then Alfie Devine breaking the record for the youngest player in Tottenham’s history (and in Devine’s case, youngest goal scorer as well), and a clutch of other young players gaining first-team experience, Spurs’ academy prospects are looking as gifted and plentiful as they’ve ever been.

Fast forward ten years and it’s unlikely that Harry Kane will still be leading the line at the age of 37, so we look at the players who are set to make the step up. Given the talent coming through, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that our line up will be full of Hotspur Way graduates in a decade’s time.

This is our dream team 2030/31.

GK – Brandon Austin, 31 (age at the start of the 2030/31 season)

It’s a crowded field when it comes to Spurs’ goalkeeping prospects, with no less than nine Academy players on the books. However, it is England Under-21 stopper Brandon Austin that we feel has the best chance of making it in the first team.

Austin has been on the bench in four Europa League games this season and has been the first choice with the Under-23s, making eight appearances in the Premier League 2. He spent the second half of last season on loan with Danish side Viborg FF, impressing as he made 14 appearances in the NordicBet LIGA.

The next couple of years could be crucial for Austin – aged 22 and with his contract up in 2022, he will want to impress to prove to Jose Mourinho that he has what it takes to succeed Hugo Lloris and Joe Hart as they enter the autumn years of their careers. If he does so, he could be between the sticks come 2030/31.

Austin features in our 2017 piece here: ‘Tottenham’s 4 Development squad Goalkeeper’s. What next?

Also look out for Thimothee Lo-Tutala

RB – Dermi Lusala, 27

Dermi Lusala has been gaining attention for some time, and was featured in the Guardian’s ‘Next Generation 2019: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs’.

Although primarily a right-back, the Edmonton-born Lusala is comfortable playing right across the defence. He has a touch of Kyle Walker about him, his pace and athleticism down the flanks standing out – his three assists in five Under 18 games demonstrate his ability going forward.

Already capped at youth level by England, we expect him to have formed an exciting full-back partnership with Dennis Cirkin by 2030/31.

Also look out for Kallum Cesay

CB – Malachi Fagan-Walcott, 28

It’s another Edmonton boy – Malachi Fagan-Walcott.

A former 200m sprint champion, Fagan-Walcott is a quick, powerful defender, but is also good in the air and reads the game very well. He has suffered from a knee injury this season, but he turned out regularly for the Under-23s last year and even made his first-team debut against RB Leipzig as a late substitute. He has also been called up to England Under 15s, 16s, 17s and 18s.

Fagan-Walcott’s idol is Ledley King – if he can go on to be half as good as the great man, he will have a very successful career in lilywhite.

Also look out for Alfie Dorrington

CB – Japhet Tanganga, 31

Aside from Oliver Skipp, Japhet Tanganga is the player with the most top-level experience in this group. Having made his debut in the EFL Cup in 2019, Tanganga has gone on to make 17 appearances for the senior side.

A versatile player comfortable playing right across the back, Tanganga has appeared for England at every youth level from the Under-16s to the Under-20s, and was called up for the Under-21s, but had to pull out due to injury. He signed a new five-year contract last summer and looks set to become a mainstay of the first team squad for years to come.

Hackney-born Tanganga joined the club aged just 10 – by 2030 he’ll have been with the club for two decades.

Also look out for the return of Luis Binks…?

LB – Dennis Cirkin, 28

Over two and a half years ago, I attended an Under 15s/16s game against Ipswich Town. A fair few players stood out in the 6-1 win – Luis Binks, Harvey White, J’Neil Bennett, Max Robson and Chay Cooper all shined. But it was our left-back that day who you instantly knew was destined for something special.

Dennis Cirkin is a future England international with a staggering array of attributes. His reading of the game, technique in both defence and attack, work-rate, surging runs from deep and ability to score and assist offers an all-round package rarely seen in someone so young.

Although he has yet to make his competitive first-team bow, Cirkin appeared in the friendlies against Ipswich and Reading and has been named as a substitute on a handful of occasions. Despite the presence of Ben Davies and Sergio Reguilon, it will be a matter of time before the England Under-18 left-back makes his debut.

When he does, he’ll be one step closer to making that number 3 shirt his own for the next decade.

Also look out for Jordan Hackett-Valton

RCM – Oliver Skipp, 29 (Captain)

“He can be a future captain here.”

Not my words, but those of Jose Mourinho, a man who knows a thing or two about these sort of things. After being with the club since 2013, Oliver Skipp made his debut as an 18 year old for Spurs, going on to make 23 appearances in all competitions over the next two seasons.

He has made a huge impact on loan with Championship side Norwich this season, quickly establishing as an indispensable member of a side pushing for promotion. If they go up, it may well that Skipp remains with the Canaries to get a full season of Premier League football under his belt.

Whether or not Skipp returns to Spurs next season, there is little doubt that the England Under-21 midfielder will be the heartbeat of our midfield for a decade to come. Like Jose, we believe he’ll be our captain in 2030/31.

Also look out for Jamie Bowden

CM – Alfie Devine, 26

At just 16 years and 163 days old, Alfie Devine became the youngest player in Spurs’ history. The youngest goalscorer in Spurs’ history.

Devine is an all-action central midfielder, his energy matched by his creativity and his ability to appear in and around the opposition penalty area and score goals. The England youth international has had a meteoric rise through the Spurs ranks after joining the club last summer, performing at Under-18, Under-23 and senior levels with distinction.

Along with Oliver Skipp and Harvey White, Devine represents the future of Spurs’ midfield.

Read our profile on Devine here: ‘A Touch of the Devine

Also look out for Nile John

LCM – Harvey White, 28

Harvey White completes our 2030/31 midfield trio.

A versatile, set piece specialist, comfortable in possession with and a wonderful left foot, White made his debut off the bench against Ludogorets in November before making his first start against Marine in the FA Cup.

Although he has been in and around the first-team squad for much of the season, White has underlined his creative potential with the Under-23s, scoring three goals and providing seven assists in just 11 games.

White was recently called up to the England Under 20 squad and he certainly has the talent to continue to move through the ranks to become a Tottenham and England regular by 2030/31.

Also look out for Max Robson

RF – Jamie Donley, 25

If our fan’s main Academy interest was Troy Parrott last season, and Dane Scarlett is this season’s, 2021/22 will see the focus switch to Jamie Donley.

Donley joined Spurs seven years ago from Colchester Villa YFC. As an Under 8, he scored a barely believable 175 goals from midfield. You read that right. 175.

Donley has only just turned 16 – and is the youngest player featured on this list – but his ability is obvious. Already this season, he’s scored 17 goals in just 12 games for the Under-16s, and has played three times for the Under-18s, scoring on his debut against Leicester. With Dane Scarlett likely to step up to the Under-23s by the end of the season, we expect to see Donley fill his shoes.

If the England youth international keeps scoring every time he moves up a level, we could be left with the mouth-watering prospect of a lethal Donley – Scarlett – Parrott forward line in 2030/31.

Also look out for Jack Clarke

ST – Dane Scarlett, 26

After his five goals against Newport in the FA Youth Cup, we posted a picture of Scarlett next to one of the great Ronaldo. It might have been a bit tongue in cheek, but if he keeps scoring at his current rate, the comparisons will only continue.

Scarlett has been in lethal form at youth level this season, scoring 19 goals in just 13 games, including three hat-tricks. As evidenced by his strikes against Newport, the England youth international’s goal scoring instincts are outstanding – his third goal in particular, a Cruyff finish, was sublime.

His record as Spurs’ youngest player may have only stood for two months, but we expect to see the name ‘Scarlett’ featuring on Premier League scoresheets for years to come.

Read our profile on Scarlett here: ‘A Study in Scarlett

Also look out for J’Neil Bennett

LF – Troy Parrott, 28

The heir to Harry Kane.

Although Troy Parrott’s recent spell at Millwall hasn’t gone to plan, we’ve got to remember he’s only 18. Injuries have disrupted his time there and he has often been played out of position – even Kane’s loan spells weren’t always an unqualified success.

Parrott remains a major talent – he’s already received two caps for the Republic of Ireland – and his natural ability will hardly disappear after only a few months. Let’s not forget, this is a player who made his debut for Spurs at the age of 17 and spent most of last season in the first-team squad. He has also scored 31 goals in just 38 games for the youth sides since joining the club in 2017.

With the right support and opportunities, we have little doubt that, in time, Parrott will blossom into one of Tottenham’s leading players.

Also look out for Roshaun Mathurin

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