We profiled seven of Tottenham’s best young prospects way back in May of 2008, highlighting who we felt would be the future stars of Spurs, or indeed who could make the step up to the first team in a few years. Since then we have seen a fair amount of activity regarding these young hopefuls, much more so since the inclusion of Harry Redknapp as manager. So we went back to take another look at them and see how they have grown over the last eleven months.
At the top of our list was Adel Taarabt, highlighted as the brightest of our prospects, yet at the beginning of the season he was not even given a number by manager Juande Ramos. It seemed like Tottenham were looking to loan him out for some much needed first-team football, yet the move never came and rumors came from within the Spurs camp that Ramos did not see him as part of Spurs’ future. He sat in the reserves for much of the season, and despite regaining his squad number from Harry Redknapp, his opportunities to prove himself were limited by the clubs relegation battle. Thankfully, Taarabt was sent off to West London to join up with QPR and went straight into their first team. Since his arrival, Taarabt has undoubtedly been QPR’s best player of those three games, contributing a handful of assists and a goal on top of his typical dazzling dribbles. Hopefully throughout the rest of the season he can build on this success and continue his adaptation to the British game. It seems likely that if he keeps up this rich vein of form, then a call up to the first team squad seems more than likely.
In stark contrast to Taarabt’s ever increasing promise, Tomas Pekhart has had a much harder time. At the start of the season it was believed he would have a place in the first team due to the departures of both Keane and Berbatov, though with the rushed loan signing of Campbell and Ramos’ preference for a lone striker, his chances were limited. A short loan spell to Southampton proved fruitless, with only nine appearances producing one goal, and he returned to the Tottenham reserves. Pekhart publicly stated that he believed he would have to leave Tottenham if he wanted first-team football and it is assumed that his loan spell at Slavia Prague till January 2010 could well turn into a permanent move.
Next up is the other of our Welsh full-backs, Chris Gunter, who despite already gaining fifteen caps at international level, has only made five appearances for Spurs. Ignoring the fact that he shares a flat with a Gooner (Welsh team-mate Aaron Ramsay), he is not too far off from the finished product at the moment, providing some excellent defensive displays for Wales and a notable start at right-back in our early season clash with Chelsea. He has since moved to Nottingham Forest on loan till the end of the season to get more first team football. It is unlikely that he will ever become a world beater in terms of his attacking prowess, but he could possibly make the step up to become a good squad player in the next few years, yet our current plethora of right-backs means that he will have to wait a while if we do indeed decide to keep him.
French central defender Dorian Dervitte has made perhaps the most significant progress out of the bunch, with two Under-21 appearances now to his name. One who has kept somewhat under the radar since his arrival in 2006, his progress has been slow, yet a loan spell to Southend United in January has proved to be an amazing piece of work by the Tottenham bosses. In his 12 outings for the seaside club, the Shrimpers have won 9 games and kept 6 clean sheets, and it has been widely agreed that the 6ft 4in defender has been integral to these results. Dervitte perhaps needs another loan spell, maybe in the Championship before we should think about bringing him into the first team, but if he proves himself there then there would be no reason not to view him as the natural successor to Ledley King.
Now it comes to the English contingent, our homegrown heroes (well it is Spurs so this will count as just being English and young), the ones that could possibly fill that hole in our Tottenham and England hearts simultaneously. First up is the most promising of the trio, Tottenham’s youngest ever player, John Bostock. It is hard to evaluate him as easy as the others due to his age, having only just turned 17, so first team appearances may be too soon yet whatever level they are at, yet his decent display in the UEFA cup shows that we may see a few more appearances for him in the next few years. No loan deal for him on the horizon, but some good showings at youth level mean that he is still very much one to keep an eye on.
Finally we come to the remaining two players, each sharing the same amount of success as the other at this time. Danny Rose has had a season troubled with injury, and the pacy winger has yet to show himself at his best. A loan move to Watford has just happened, yet he has not yet made a start due to the international break. Hopefully we will see what the potential solution to Spurs’ left handed problems can do. Then we have Dean Parrett, who despite a big money move a few years back, has yet to feature in the first-team, and still seems a good few years off of a loan move, so not much to report on that front.
So there we have it, hopefully a little insight into how these bright youngsters are doing, and of course we will come back in another year to see how they are all doing, and hopefully add a few more to the list to boot.