Are Harry Redknapp's Youngsters Actually Any Good?

Chris PotterCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2009

Tonight should be of even more interest than Sunday afternoon for Tottenham's long-suffering supporters.

Injuries, suspensions, dodgy league form, and a suffocating schedule have conspired to hand the club's fleet of youngsters a chance to take off and propel themselves into genuine contention for a place on the bench at Wembley on Sunday afternoon—and a place in Redknapp's masterplan to recover the mess Juande Ramos left.

Much was made of schoolboys Dean Parrett and John Bostock's moves to Spurs from the youth ranks of QPR and Crystal Palace respectively. Tonight they can show eagle-eyed fans that they can usurp the under-performing Jenas and Zokora in the heart of Tottenham's current crop of no-hopers.

Redknapp was credited for helping turn Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, and Frank Lampard into outstanding Premier League performers at the turn of the century. He would love to give Mr. Capello a few more before he hangs up his boots for good.

Ironically, this may only truly be possible were Spurs to drop leagues at the end of the season. For too long the club's hierarchy has shown too little patience, with an unhealthy disposition to thoughtlessly throw money at the problems that have arisen from a culture of mediocrity.

It is difficult to see a way into the team for the likes of Bostock, Parrett, and Taarabt (pictured) and strikers Ryan Mason and Johnathan Obika so long as high-profile players such as Bentley, Modric, Dos Santos, Pavlyuchenko, and Bent are forced to justify their hefty price tags.

Unfortunately, with the exception of a handful of players, it is not a lack of effort that has undermined Tottenham's campaign this time around, but rather more worryingly, a lack of quality and an inability to concentrate—neither of which are likely to be solved by introducing inexperienced youngsters.

The only chance for some of these players to prolong their Tottenham careers will be to beat Shakthar Donetsk comfortably tonight and prove to Redknapp that, if they can help defeat seasoned Champions Leaguers, they are more than ready for the Premier League.

Tonight could prove to be a crossroads for Chris Gunter, Gareth Bale, Giovani Dos Santos, Fraizer Campbell, and Adel Taarabt. These are players who, despite being expected to make the grade, have let many hopeful supporters and club officials down with inconsistent and/or forgettable performances.


Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Shakthar Donets

D-Day: Dos Santos, Campbell, Taarabt

Jury Still Out: Bale, Gunter

Have Time on Their Side: Bostock, Parrett, Townsend, Obika, Mason, Smith, Jansson