Tottenham’s youth players could well provide some alternative options next season. Whilst Mauricio Pochettino may choose to invest in a few new signings, the young players at the club should make up the mainstay of the squad.
The Tottenham Youth Players Challenging for the First Team
Whilst Onomah has already broken through into the first team, he has since been sliding down the pecking order. Initially, he made 19 appearances in all competitions in the 2015/6 season. Last season, however, he managed only 12 appearances. This is likely to be due to the emergence of Harry Winks, who has had a promising start to his Tottenham career, despite suffering an ankle injury.
Winks was deemed a more useful player, mainly due to the fact he fits into the 3-5-2 formation a little better, with the ability to drop deeper and be the playmaker. Meanwhile, Onomah is a slightly different midfielder, playing out wide or more offensively. He has found it hard to break through, with the front four of Harry Kane, Son Heung Min, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli grabbing 104 goals and assists combined last year.
Over the course of the season, Onomah has undergone some all-important development. In his recent England Under-20 matches, he has been learning to play a much deeper role. This involves a lot more defensive work. He has really taken this side of the game on with great success. His tackling, blocking and interceptions to break up play were all in evidence in the Under-20 World Cup win for England.
Offensively, his dribbling skills and attacking intent were still preserved, at one time rattling the crossbar with an audacious drive. Clearly, he is thriving in this more central role, and thus is adding to Tottenham’s squad depth.
Walker-Peters is another player on the brink of the first team. Interestingly, he usually plays at right-back, but in the World Cup he played well as a left-back, which means he could be an incredibly useful player in covering the likes of Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker, but also Danny Rose and Ben Davies.
Last season, Rose’s serious injury meant Spurs lacked his attacking intent on the left. Davies did plug the gap and was a competent replacement, but Walker-Peters could help to retain the offensive pressure that Rose contributes, ensuring that Spurs have extra depth in that area. With the switch to three centre-backs, this would give Walker-Peters all the more freedom to bomb forward as a wing-back.
A stoic centre-half, Carter-Vickers has recently been playing with his national team in the Under-20 World Cup. He too has made some mature and impressive displays for his country. His physicality is definitely up to standard for the Premier League. Like most academy graduates, he has developed to understand the Tottenham way of playing. This involves being sound on the ball, with the ability to play out from the back.
He does face some competition should he wish to break into the first team. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were immense last season, managing to keep 14 clean sheets by April 2017. Eric Dier has fought back into the first team at centre-back too, with the option of Kevin Wimmer to rotate.
Carter-Vickers will still receive opportunities, even if those three have been solidly involved in the first team. He made four appearances overall last season, with extended gameplay in the FA Cup and EFL Cup. Game-time is vital for this young player if Spurs wish to get the best out of him.
Spurs fans know all about Marcus Edwards. His speed and dribbling have caused defences severe havoc. He has already made a partial breakthrough into the first team, with one EFL Cup appearance. Like Carter-Vickers, Edwards needs more game-time to fully develop to his full potential.
Playing as an attacking midfielder or winger, Edwards may struggle to compete with the likes of Son and Eriksen, but he should be playing in the cup games again this year. With another season in Europe, his opportunity to break through raises higher again. An injury amongst the squad is likely and it is here that Edwards can strike to cement his place in the first team.