By London correspondent Tony Hughes
A Tottenham academy expert has claimed that Mauricio Pochettino’s reputation for promoting academy talent at Southampton and Spurs is overblown.
The unofficial Tottenham academy Twitter account claimed in a question-and-answer session with the Spurs report blog that Pochettino’s record of bringing through youth-team players is “underwhelming”.
He named Ryan Mason and Calum Chambers as the only two players that have made the jump from the development squads into the senior teams at St Mary’s Stadium and White Hart Lane.
Spurs have earned a reputation for producing and developing some of the best young talents in England in recent seasons.
Mason, Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, 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.
Asked if Spurs’ reputation as a club that promotes homegrown talent is justified, the Tottenham academy account provided a detailed response.
“I don’t think so,” he told Spurs report. “The fact that our talisman and two or three fringe squad members are academy products has created a distorted perception that our squad is full of them.
“Pochettino is a fantastic coach, there’s no doubt about that. His record at improving players, particularly British ones, is unrivalled. He gets a lot of praise for developing homegrown talent, and rightly so. But I think people struggle to differentiate/articulate between improving a first-team player and bringing through academy players. His record at the latter is underwhelming.
“At Southampton, [Luke] Shaw, [Adam] Lallana and [James] Ward-Prowse were already members of the first-team squad (by that I mean training with the seniors full-time *and* making semi-regular Premier League starts), they were considered genuine options, not time-wasting substitutes.
“Kane, Bentaleb and Rose made their Premier League breakthroughs prior to Pochettino’s arrival. Did he improve them? Yes. Did they ‘break through’ under him? No.
“Ryan Mason and Calum Chambers (both now at lesser clubs) are the two who have made the jump from their respective development squads to the first team under him. Two players in four years isn’t something to shout about.”
The Tottenham academy Twitter account has developed a reputation for breaking stories, revealing in July that latest wonderkid Marucs Edwards had signed a new contract with the club.
In other Tottenham news, this is Mauricio Pochettino’s response as London rivals prepare bid for Spurs 23-year-old.