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Spurs Sign Young Full-Backs – But Will We Ever See Them?

So, our first signings of the summer are announced – and rather curiously they are more full-backs. The trendily-named Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker – 20 and 19 respectively – may sound like characters from Starship Troopers, but they are now lilywhites, plucked from Sheff Utd for anywhere between 5 and 10 mil, depending on which website you trust.In theory it’s rather a charming idea – buying up the cream of young English talent, and watching with paternal pride as they break into our first team and blossom into seasoned internationals. It’s vastly preferable to the dastardly Wenger’s any-nationality-but-English policy, or Man City’s excitement-sapping approach of buying up every striker available. I’m also rather illogically chuffed that we snatched Naughton and Walker right from the paws of Everton – suckers.

In practice however, this makes little sense. We collect full-backs like train-spotters collect – well, whatever it is train-spotters collect. Anoraks or something. Corluka, Hutton, Assou-Ekotto, Bale, Chimbonda – anyone I’ve forgotten? O’ Hara could probably do a job at left-back. Gilberto might still be at the club. With the best will in the world, I really cannot see Naughton and Walker leap-frogging all this lot to get anywhere near the first team in the next couple of years.

Actually, the Walker business might work, as he is being loaned straight back whence he came, to Sheff Utd. Smart move. He’ll get regular first-team action, in a team with which he is already au fait, and hopefully he will progress accordingly. If he does so, we can merrily pluck him back.

Naughton however, has effectively put his career on hold for a couple of years. He may have made the PFA Championship Team of the Year, but his career is almost certainly about to regress. ‘Arry has not shown any inclination to blood our youngsters, other than when he was trying to write off our Uefa Cup campaign last season. Cast your minds back to the end of last season, and a mystifying aspect of his tenure was his absolute refusal to make substitutions. Even when we were imploding towards a 5-2 defeat at Man Utd, despite having internationals on the bench, he would not make a change until the game was up in the final 5 minutes or so.

’Arry won’t introduce our kids as subs, and he most certainly won’t throw them into the starting line-up. He has shown little willingness to gamble on the likes of Taarabt and Giovanni, and I would be mightily surprised if Rose, Obika or Bostock were given decent runs in the team at any point this season. The likes of Hudd, Lennon, Carrick and even Jenas are examples of how young talent can break into the first team – if given an extended run. However, there is little to suggest that this will happen under Redknapp, particularly in Naughton’s position as full-back.

I’m not exactly renowned for the accuracy of my prognostications, but I’m willing to stick my neck on the line and predict that for Naughton’s Tottenham career we need look no further than Chris Gunter. To be honest I give Gunter credit for escaping before the staleness got to him and withered him away. After 18 months and 16 appearances he has seen enough and taken off, leaving us none the wiser as to whether he would have made the grade at Spurs. It pains me to write these words, as I still recall the quite stupendous start to his Spurs career, but I see Bale similarly either being pushed or jumping from the good ship Tottenham, due to lack of opportunity.

I very much hope to be proved wrong in time. I would like to see what this Naughton chap can do for us. More broadly, I would love to see us become a club that develops young talent. And I reiterate – in theory, the signing of these promising youngsters, and the willingness to spend big money on English talent, is a cracking idea. The nagging suspicion remains, however, that in practice we are not the sort of club (and ‘Arry not the sort of manager) to blood these kids, and that neither they as players nor we as a club will benefit. Which rather begs the question – why has Redknapp signed Naughton and Walker?

 

9 Responses

  1. Norm Says:

    If you went to Aldershot you would have seeb Naughton

  2. Frazzler Says:

    Naughton is said to be ready to challenge for the first team, hence why he isn’t going back with Walker. He can play anywhere across the back and even has been known to run out in midfield.

    Gunter gone, Gilberto gone, Chimbo probably going, and Corluka more likely to be covering King means his only real competition is Hutton.

    I can see this lad getting a game – if he really is all that and a bag of chips. Blades fans rave about him, PFA say he was the best RB in the league, solid for England – why not!

    He played in a Spurs XI tonight and laid on a delightful assist for our goal.

    Good start!

  3. Lightning Smith Says:

    Your assesments are way of line. Find another subject. and while you’re at it
    learn a little about the Harry Redknapp factor whem it comes to young players

  4. Jim Dalley Says:

    The troble is that we have had 3 managers in as many years, and each manager has tried to make over the team each time. Last season we bought in Gunter & Bale Welsh internationals and neither have really been given a run by Harry (Gunter has now gone) Gilberto is hopefully next, What about Hutton. Chimbonda, Corluka, O’Hara all used as full backs.
    Dos Santos (who)is tearing up the Gold Cup for Mexico) & Taraabt have not really been given a run. Lets save some cash and see what we have in the system already

  5. afreundindeed Says:

    I don’t understand,why right an article based on total ignorance of a player.

    Harrys track record for nuturing youth is unparalelled in this country. If you’d actuually ever watched naughton you’d know that this kid is a real find. I fully expect him to start as our first choice right back. He’s that good.

    the comparison to gunter is nonsense. I live in cardiff and was bemused when we bought the lad. He was vey rarely a starter at ninian park.

    as for the like of bostock…he’s 17! other than rooney and fabregras how many 17 year first team regulars have you seen in top half of the league?

    dos santos and taraabt have not been played because they’re mediocre players who have neat skill but nothing more,hardly what you need in relegation race when you have the likes of modric,palacios and jenas to choose from.

  6. Enorme Nuez Says:

    Has no paid attention to the fact that ‘Arry does indeed blood youngsters. A huge example is Jermane Defoe, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Glen Johnson. They all came through the Spammers youth system while he was there. I think we are jumping the gun a little, if we are basing it upon last seasons performance. Last season was not one where we could introduce young, talented players and play their way into the squad. It was all about Premiership survival. I believe we will see a vastly different ‘Arry this time around.

    I could be mistaken but wasn’t Walcott and Bale at Southampton when ‘Arry managed them?

  7. who framed ruel fox? Says:

    It’s a fair comment.

    Redknapp may have a history of developing young talent; Cole, Carrick, Lampard etc, but he certainly didn’t infuse much confidence in our younglins last term. I’m hoping this was due to our precarious position. In the same way he rejcted the UEFA cup in favour of the league, he sought a ‘means to an end’ to keep us afloat. Letting the likes of Gunter, Taraabt and GDS develop wasn’t really a priority.

    Hopefully this season, with a bit more stability, they’ll get their chance.

    A great read, as ever, AANP.

  8. JimmyG2 Says:

    If we make a bad start the lads won’t get a chance it will be like last season. If we make a good start they won’t get a chance because we won’t want to jeopardise it.
    Harry’s reputation is a bit old now and we have seen little recent evidence of it. He might be forced into blooding the lads by injury or absence at the Africa Cup, Dervite might well play on Friday for example.
    My last piece for Topspurs was entitled ‘Give em a chance Harry’ but I’m not holding my breath.
    There’s too much at stake now for both club and manager. If we’ve got two points from eight games Harry will be gone.

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