By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Ex-Tottenham coach Les Ferdinand has tipped teenage sensation Marcus Edwards to be “the next big thing”.
Edwards, 17, made his Spurs debut last week in the team’s 5-0 League Cup hammering of third-tier side Gillingham.
The playmaker came off the bench for the final 17 minutes of the match as he became the latest academy product to be promoted to the senior side by manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Pochettino has done little to temper the excitement surrounding the wonderkid by stating that Edwards’ diminutive frame and style of play reminds him of a young Lionel Messi.
Ferdinand, who worked in Spurs’ academy along Chris Ramsey and Tim Sherwood before becoming QPR’s director of football, is unsurprised to see the teenager making headlines already.
“I obviously worked with and saw a lot of youngsters while I was at Tottenham, and Marcus Edwards is right up there,” Ferdinand told the Ham & High newspaper.
“It’s no surprise to me to see Mauricio Pochettino now putting him in and among his first-team squad.
“At every age group he impressed and on the sidelines we spoke about how good he was and how good he could be in the future. Every step up he’s made, he’s taken it in his stride. He looked to be a class above the other players on the pitch.
“Tottenham have obviously got an excellent record of developing and nurturing talent and I genuinely think this kid is the next big thing.
“He’s got pace, power and skill – he has it all. I think he has the capability to be a huge player for Tottenham in the years to come and maybe England too – he’s certainly got the potential.”
Edwards was promoted to train with the senior Tottenham squad on Thursday as they begin preparations for Sunday’s Premier League showdown against Manchester City.
Edwards was pictured in action alongside established first teamers Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Janssen and Kieran Trippier at the club’s Enfield headquarters.
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Pochettino has hailed Edwards as having the potential to become a great player.
“He [Edwards] is a very good prospect and, potentially, he can be a top player but we need to be patient and tell him that he has a lot of talent, enough talent to be a top player, a great player but now it’s how he builds his future, that’s very important,” Pochettino said, as quoted by the Telegraph. “And it’s our responsibility to tell him.”
Spurs have earned a reputation for producing and developing some of the best young talents in England in recent seasons.
Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll, Josh Onomah, Danny Rose and Crystal Palace summer signing Andros Townsend all graduated from the Tottenham academy into the first-team squad, while Eric Dier and Dele Alli have taken huge strides in a very short time at White Hart Lane.
In other Tottenham team news, the club have reached an agreement with a new defender signing.