By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Chelsea chief Michael Emenalo has claimed the praise given to Tottenham for their youth policy is misguided as the one key player they have produced is Harry Kane.
Emenalo, the technical director who is heavily involved in recruitment at all levels of the west London club, is convinced that Chelsea’s academy is better placed than their Premier League rivals.
Tottenham have been widely praised this season for challenging for the title with the youngest team in the top flight.
Led by Premier League top scorer Harry Kane, they are Leicester’s only realistic challenger to winning the competition with four matches of the campaign remaining.
Yet Emenalo believes the role of the Spurs academy has been overstated in the north Londoners’ unexpected rise and that Chelsea are not the only club to have struggled to develop stars for the first team.
“We try to remind them it’s not just a Chelsea problem,” the Nigerian said, as quoted by talkSPORT. “That’s what they hear. (But) with all the hoopla (around Tottenham), it’s the one player.
“The one key player is Kane. Delle Ali they bought from MK Dons, (Tom) Carroll is a peripheral player and (Eric) Dier they bought (from Sporting Lisbon).”
However, Emenalo has overlooked Danny Rose, who was named in the PFA team of the season on Thursday, as well as a handful of other key squad players produced by the Spurs academy.
Rose joined the Tottenham youth ranks from Leeds as a 16-year-old, while Carroll, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Josh Onomah and Newcastle’s January signing Andros Townsend have all graduated from the Tottenham academy into the first-team squad in recent seasons.
Mason, who has been troubled by injury this season, is a full England international while Bentaleb has played 17 times for Algeria.
In other Tottenham news, Arsenal legend Thierry Henry believes an unsung Spurs hero deserves more credit.