By Joe Nelson

Jan Vertonghen has hailed emerging Tottenham star Cameron Carter-Vickers as an “absolute beast” and claimed he is ready to be a key figure for the team this season.

The 18-year-old made his debut in Spurs’ 5-0 demolition of Gillingham in the League Cup on Wednesday night after being a regular member of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad this season.

Vertonghen has been a regular in Spurs’ defence since the arrival of Pochettino and is confident that Vickers will be in the first-team fold before too long.

“He’s still young but he’s an absolute beast,” Vertonghen said of Carter-Vickers to ESPN: “He’s a real defender. He’s strong one-on-one, in the air, he’s not afraid and he can play from the back. That’s the style the gaffer wants to see from him.

“He’s a very good player and he has time to grow into our team, to play games like he did against Gillingham.

“He’ll be there when we need him. It’s good to see him making such progress.

“In the last few months, he’s really stepped up. Before, he was just a young guy who trained with us but now he’s picked up his level. It’s great for young guys like that coming through the academy.”

The England-born defender has been fast-tracked through the US youth ranks, as he was the youngest player in the national team’s squad for the Under-20s World Cup in 2015.

Carter-Vickers is son of the former NBA player Howard Carter and has been on the bench in place of Austrian defender Kevin Wimmer in five of Spurs’ opening seven league matches.

In other Tottenham news, this Spurs defender has expressed that the side must be more clinical in front of goal.