Tottenham Hotspur: 5 Young Players Who Could Make an Impact This Season
After the first few friendlies of the summer, Harry Redknapp and the rest of the Tottenham coaching staff have had a chance to assess the early fitness and ability levels of the first team squad.
We all know the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale, and Luka Modric (Chelsea: A Battle of Kind Words for Luka Modric's Affection) barring transfers to a certain rich West London club, will be in the starting XI against Everton on August 13.
No matter how these players perform in the preseason, or how “confused” they are about their futures, the manager will be not hesitate to play them in front of a rocking White Hart Lane.
But the most interesting and exciting news of the summer for Tottenham has come from both the relatively unproven, and fairly unknown players on the fringe of the squad.
In a Tottenham Hotspur season that seems dead-on to be the most important in history, let’s take a look at five young players who could take the Premiership by storm, if given a chance, this season.
Position: Right Back
After an impressive loan spell at QPR and an electric second half of the season with Aston Villa, the England U-21 International looks set to compete with Vedran Corluka as Tottenham’s first-choice right back.
Walker’s raw talent and marauding style have allowed him to thrive at his three loan spells away from the Lane. Though Tottenham fans have only seen his exploits in colors other than lilywhite, they have been eager to see what the player can do for his parent club.
Since the role of right back was a revolving door and spot of unease last season, any run of success at the position for Walker will make him an instant favorite at the Lane and a fixture in Harry’s starting squad.
Position: Left Back or Left Midfield
The young man who catapulted himself into Tottenham lore in April 2010 will be eager to improve on the stellar end of his campaign with a run in the Spurs squad.
While his exploits on loan at Bristol City and others left much to be desired, Rose thrived on his chances at Tottenham, covering the role of left back while Benoit Assou-Ekotto was sidelined at the end of 2011.
Though Assou-Ekotto is still very much first-choice in Harry Redknapp's squad, Rose has shown he is a more-than-capable replacement for the Cameroonian international. He provides balance and a calm head at the back, as well as showcasing a strong left boot and effortless pace that could link up very well with Gareth Bale.
Rose's place in the starting lineup is much more questionable than that of Kyle Walker's; but as past performance's show, he has the ability to make critical impact when called upon.
The Ivory Coast sensation, who was a little-known before his prolific U-17 World Cup campaign, signed for an undisclosed fee a week ago and promptly scored on his debut for a Tottenham XI side against Brighton.
Eyebrows may be raised about signing such a raw and young striker, but his goal-scoring ability and desire to turn possession into chances cannot go unnoticed.
At 16, "Soli" will take time and need more experience to get acclimated with the English game, but coach Tim Sherwood has already noticed the positive aspects of his game:
"He has a one-track mind and that's to go for goal, he gets the ball out of his feet and smashes it. He did well."
With these glowing words, I'm excited to see what the boy could bring to a less than exemplary strike-force. If Harry Redknapp is willing to take a gamble, he could bring the player into the squad for one of the remaining friendlies against Brighton or Athletic Bilbao.
Impressive or not, it would be a win-win for the club to see if Soli already has the tools to succeed on the next level, or needs time to foster and develop his skill.
Behind a list of confident and capable midfielders in a large Tottenham squad lies Andros Townsend. After getting his chance in the FA Cup against Charlton, and taking it to full advantage, Spurs fans are eager to see if a genuine youth system product can impact the first team squad.
Andros has been subject of a handful of loans varying in success, the best of them coming last season with Millwall where he scored two goals and garnered much praise.
True, Andros will most likely not find his way into a Spurs PL match team as long as Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon are at the club; but he could make a huge impact in either the Europa League or domestic cup campaigns.
It is again likely the winger will go out on loan, but Harry Redknapp would do no harm fitting Andros into the Thursday evening or Carling Cup squads to get him high-level experience this season.
A player who has been a goal-scoring machine at every level he's played, Harry Kane is another bright prospect out of the Tottenham youth system.
Harry's recent impressive loan spell at Leyton Orient, where he scored 5 times in 18 appearances, caught the eye of Tottenham supporters and forced them to watch the club's FA Cup tie and replay against rivals Arsenal.
His form has crossed into the preseason, where the forward has netted 3 times in 3 matches against Nottingham Forest, Brighton, and Barnet.
Harry Kane's first team prospects at this point, much like Soli and Townsend, are low. However, another fruitful spell on loan with a high-level Championship side could push the Manager's hand in giving the forward a chance with the Premier League big boys.
Other Young Players to Watch: Jonathan Obika, Massimo Luongo, Jake Livermore, Cristian Ceballos