The academy youngsters struggling to breakthrough in Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tottenham team


Tottenham won their second Europa Conference League game 5-1 when they welcomed NS Mura to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday.

This was their first fixture since their 3-1 defeat in the North London Derby, which was a bad result and poor performance from Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

The Lilywhites head coach made nine changes from the team that started at the Emirates, albeit to a much lower level side and in a European competition that often sees a rotation in starting XI from those who play in the Premier League.

One player who made an appearance in the starting XI on Thursday night was 17-year-old Dane Scarlett who played just under an hour for Spurs before being replaced by Harry Kane.

Scarlett played 90 minutes in the first Europa Conference League qualifying leg as well as just over half an hour in the first group game against Rennes.

In the most recent fixture, the youngster was the only academy player to make an appearance, whilst Tobi Omole, Harvey White and Brandon Austin all featured on the bench.

Scarlett has made the matchday squad in many games this season but not many others of the development squad seem to have been given much of a chance.

The Lilywhites boss brought on Kane, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, Emerson Royal and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg throughout the second half against Mura.

Questions have been asked as to whether this was because the home side conceded a goal, taking the score line to 2-1 or to give the regular first team players some more time to build up their fitness, ahead of the Premier League game against Aston Villa on Sunday.

When asked in his post match press conference about his triple substitution decision, Espirito Santo explained his reasoning and the energy the replacements brought to the game.

“I think the game needed. In the best way, the best way was to have the players on the pitch and they bought the energy the team needed definitely in that moment,” he said.



Dane Scarlett played 59 minutes in Tottenham's game against NS Mura on Thursday.
Dane Scarlett played 59 minutes in Tottenham’s game against NS Mura on Thursday

The Tottenham U23s have won three, drawn two and lost two of their games in the Premier League 2 this season, with their most recent fixture seeing them lose 4-3 to Crystal Palace.

Not all of the youngsters are registered to play in the European competition but many are impressing for the academy and will be looking to try and breakthrough into the first team as soon as they can, whether that be in the Conference League or other competitions.

Dilan Markanday and Alfie Devine both scored in the defeat on Friday and have been two names which have been spoken about as they continue to develop in north London.

Markanday has scored six goals in as many games in their league and registered two assists. Devine has netted five goals in his seven league appearances and also got two assists.

Nile John was alongside Scarlett in the only two U23s chosen to start in the first teams first qualifying leg and some fans began to think the competition might be used as a chance to develop these young players.

Although we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, Espirito Santo’s decisions last night seem to indicate that he wants to take the competition seriously and this could be to try and help Spurs end their 13 year trophy drought.

Despite this, Tottenham have seen the likes of Kane, Harry Winks, Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp all come out of their academy so it would seem like a missed chance if some of the current academy players don’t get more of an opportunity to show their quality.

It is still early in the season and the academy players are young, meaning they have many years ahead of them to get a chance to breakthrough into the Tottenham first team.

However it raises the question that if they aren’t given a chance to start games like the home game against NS Mura then when will they get their chance?





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