Loan Watch – Season Review 2013/14.

Tottenham Hotspur are known for utilising the loan system to give game time to young players and fringe players. This season has been no different, and now it’s time to evaluate how well the players have done in their loan spells for several different clubs in few different countries, and see what the future holds for them, whether it is at Spurs or away from Spurs, permanently, or on another loan deal.

Ryan Fredericks – Championship – Millwall. – The 21 year old right back made the move to Millwall in January, brought in to help the Lions avoid the drop. He started really well with a goal on his debut, but unfortunately Ryan dropped out of the Millwall team and didn’t play as much as he may have wanted, but was praised by manager Ian Holloway for his fight and quality during his time at Millwall. He played 18 times, scoring 1 goal, and I think we can say that this was a relatively successful loan spell, in which Fredericks gained vital League experience. Ryan has a future at Tottenham, he showed that with a brilliant performance against Anzhi in the Europa League prior to being loaned out, and he has shown a lot of quality and shown that he has a good attitude to the game. I’m looking forward to Ryan returning to Spurs, and possibly giving Kyle Walker competition next season.

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Jon Obika – Championship – Brighton & Charlton. The 23 year old striker firstly made the move to Brighton in January, in which he didn’t start a League game and only made 5 appearances from the bench, he didn’t score a League goal for the Seagulls. He started his only game for Brighton in the FA Cup and that is where his only goal came, against Port Vale. He made 8 appearances overall in his time down South, but he became something of a scapegoat at Brighton and after watching him play, it was fair. He was dreadful. He was then sent back to Tottenham in mid March, and then straight away sent out to Charlton, he didn’t score a goal during his time and 12 appearances, but 9 were from the bench. The player doesn’t have a future at Spurs, he is too old and doesn’t have the quality. A sale in the Summer is the best we can hope for.

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Alex Pritchard – League 1 – Swindon Town. Pritchard was on a youth loan deal at Swindon, and he recently turned 21 and so had to return to Tottenham early, but in his time at Swindon he had a very impressive season, being nominated for Young Player of the Year in the Football League and Young Player of the Year in League 1, he didn’t win, but it was a great achievement to be nominated. In 36 appearances, only 3 were from the bench and he became a key player for Swindon who eventually missed out on the play offs and finished 8th, but Alex Pritchard provided 8 goals and getting 11 assists, which I class as a real success and can see a real future at Tottenham for him, but first I’d give him one more season on loan, hopefully at a Championship club or a Premier League club.

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Shaquile Coulthirst – League 1 & League 2 – Leyton Orient & Torquay United. Our 20 year old striker had a very short stint at Leyton Orient in League 1, in which he only made 2 sub appearances after joining early on in January, he scored on his debut but then returned to Spurs after his one-month loan deal run out. Coulthirst was then loaned out to Torquay United in League 2 late on in March, in which he played 6 times for the Yellows in a short spell to try and help them stay in the Football League, unfortunately Shaq wasn’t able to help them stay up, but he scored 2 goals in those appearances. Unluckily, Coulthirst was injured in his final appearance for Torquay, and has now had surgery to his ankle and has a summer of rehabilitation ahead of him. Hopefully he comes back stronger, I believe Coulthirst has the right attitude to the game, and after another loan to a team in the Championship, a bit like Alex Pritchard, I think he could have a future at Tottenham.

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Lewis Holtby – Premier League – Fulham. Our 23 year old attacking midfielder joined Fulham in January after playing a fairly important role in the first half of our season, but Sherwood was not keen on Lewis. An opportunity for Lewis to get Premier League experience and come back next season stronger and better for it. I think we can say it was a successful loan spell, despite ending in relegation for Fulham, Lewis performed admirably in a dreadful team and was a fan favourite instantly due to his passion and commitment. He played 13 times for the Whites getting 1 goal and 3 assists, which by Fulham’s standards is pretty decent! I judge Lewis’ loan spell as a success and believe he can become a big player for Tottenham still.

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Jake Livermore – Premier League – Hull City. Jake is now 24 & his loan to Hull as been a complete success for the England international. Jake has been on the fringes of the Tottenham side for quite a long while now, plugging holes in our first team, but has never had a run in a Premier League team, until his loan to Hull. He has been a regular for the Tigers, playing 41 games, becoming a key player and learning next to Tom Huddlestone. He’s scored 3 goals and assisted 4, a good tally for a holding midfielder. Jake has expressed his desire to complete a permanent move to Hull City, and with the quality we have in his position, I don’t think whoever is our new manager will make Jakey stay. He deserves first team football, and he’ll get that at Hull.

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Iago Falque – La Liga – Rayo Vallecano. Now 24, this loan for Iago was extremely important, either to prove himself to a Tottenham, or the more likely option of him playing to be bought by another club. What this loan has done for him is to propel himself into the limelight at Rayo, and get him a permanent transfer to La Liga after playing a key part in their campaign. You may ask, why can’t he make it at Tottenham? I think the reason is that he is set on first team football, regularly, to improve himself and better his career. He wouldn’t start at Tottenham. Iago scored 3 goals and got 2 assists for Rayo in 31 appearances, becoming a regular for them.

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Ryan Mason – League 1 – Swindon. Ryan has had an injury stricken season with Swindon, having an ankle injury which needed surgery, he was playing very well for Swindon along with Pritchard & Grant Hall, he played 18 times, which is still a respectable amount, starting 13 times. Ryan is 22, and is not at a Premier League level, so I do not know what the future holds. Mason needs to concentrate on getting fit in the summer and coming back stronger to either push for another loan move, or a permanent transfer. Mason scored 5 goals and got 1 assist for Swindon in his 18 appearances.

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Cristian Ceballos – Primeira Liga – FC Arouca. Ceballos is 21, we signed him from Barcelona in 2011 and had extremely high hopes for his future, of course the media tipping him as the next Lionel Messi! This season, Ceballos was in Portugal, & although I haven’t seen him play, the stats suggest he hasn’t hit it off as he would have wanted. Next season, I think a loan to a more prestigious club would be much better for him, testing him at a higher level. Cristian has played 19 times but only scored 1 goal, with Arouca finishing 12th in the Primeira Liga out of 16 teams. I would like to give Ceballos another chance to prove himself next season, on loan, hopefully at an English club.

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Tom Carroll – Championship – QPR. It’s been an on-and-off season for Tom Carroll. At 21, you could say he still has massive potential to become a wonderful player, but then you compare him to where Christian Eriksen & Erik Lamela are at the same age and it takes the shine off of his potential. At QPR, Carroll wasn’t best liked by the Ranger’s fans, but still played a lot of games. Although, he struggled with the physicality and intensity of the Championship, & I’d argue it wasn’t the best move for him, & Tottenham should have pushed for a Premier League loan move, or potentially abroad, to a club like Ajax. Carroll has a massive season ahead of him now, in which he can show he has a massive future, or it all goes a bit pear shaped for the young lad. I think Carroll will get another loan move, & I hope it is to a Premier League club this time, to test himself more. Carroll made 26 appearances and helped QPR reach the Premier League, not managing a goal, but getting 4 assists.

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Championship – QPR. Now 30 years of age, a loan for Benoit is exactly what he would have wanted. I’m sure he’d like to be settled at a club and playing consistent football, but this is the hand he was dealt. His performances with Tottenham were no less than appalling, after injury, he hasn’t recovered and returned to the level he was at during our Champions League years. At QPR, I watched Assou-Ekotto a fair bit, & analysed how the QPR fans saw him, and I have to say I wasn’t impressed. When a player is struggling to handle the Championship at the age of 30, there’s no doubt in my mind that he is not Tottenham level. Long balls, mistakes, a lack of pace and wayward crossing. He’s not better than Danny Rose, and that’s not a compliment to Danny Rose. I don’t think he has a future with Tottenham, & it’s best he moves on. He played 31 times for QPR, not scoring a goal, but getting 2 assists.

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Grant Hall – League 1 – Swindon. Our 22 year old centre back was a regular for Swindon last season, but was struck by injury in early January, and then didn’t feature until late April, before he was injured again and returned to Spurs for treatment. Hall is a very decent player from what I’ve seen, but I don’t know what the future holds for him. I think Hall will get another loan next season, maybe even back to Swindon, & then we can see what happens when he has a solid, injury free season. Hall played 36 times for Swindon last season, with no goals or assists.

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All in all, I think the loan system really helps Tottenham and their young/fringe players. We can utilise other club’s abilities to grow youth and play players that wouldn’t get game time at Tottenham. Next season, I expect another large amount of young players to go out on loan, but hopefully, we can get rid of some deadwood this summer and trim the squad. Let’s see what happens! COYS!!

Follow me on twitter – @AddictedToSpurs

Match Preview, Dinamo Tbilisi vs Tottenham. (First Leg)

Our Europa League campaign starts here. A trip to Georgia in the two legged tie to take us to the Group Stages. On paper, we should cruise into the Group Stages, but away from home, in what is expected to be a hostile environment, it could prove a difficult task. I wasn’t too happy about having to qualify after coming fifth, but it’s another game for the youngsters, and team building, so it has it’s positives, but it has a few negatives, as it is close to our game against Swansea on Sunday. I fully expect a weakened team though. Honestly, and I think this goes for most, I don’t know what Dinamo Tbilisi can offer in this game, but it’ll be interesting to see!

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Expecting a younger, and weaker team to face Tbilisi, but one certainly capable of a win against a supposedly weak team. We’ve got a lot of strength in depth, so I’m confident we can see off the challenge away from home, and finish off the tie at White Hart Lane. Etienne Capoue could get his first start for Spurs, and he’ll give us a lot of stability, and it’ll be great to see him play fully in a Spurs shirt, Sandro has a run for his money in the defensive midfield role, for sure! I wouldn’t expect Soldado to start, so Jermain Defoe should come in, or Harry Kane, who has been impressing for the Under 21’s. Solid Brad Friedel in goal is expected, with Lloris getting a rest on the bench. Younes Kaboul could get a start as he returns from an injury, which is a massive plus. Other youngsters I’d like to see get minutes are the extremely promising Tom Carroll and possibly the improving Shaq Coulthirst. Always nice to win, and it’ll be good for the youngsters to get some minutes with the first team. The game is being shown live on ITV 4, on Thursday, August 22nd, Kick Off at 5:00pm. COYS!

My predicted line up for the game in Georgia:
Friedel
Naughton – Dawson – Kaboul – Fryers
Townsend – Capoue – Carroll – Chadli
Sigurdsson
Defoe.

Choosing a line up is obviously very difficult in a game like this, any team could be picked!

Match Review, FC Basel vs Tottenham (2nd Leg)

FC Basel 2-2 Tottenham. After Extra Time.
Basel win 4-1 on Penalties.

Valiant performance, we put everything into the game and in the end, extremely unfortunate. Basel are an awesome team, and have loads of quality, and probably deserved to go through over the two legs, but it’s hard to take, I hate penalties. I’m proud, proud of the effort we put in, and in the end it just wasn’t enough. Dempsey put us ahead, but we fell 2-1 down and we needed to save the tie, and Dempsey scored his second to make it 2-2. At this point, we had the momentum, but a Vertonghen red card just made it too much of an uphill task. Unfortunate.

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Everyone put in a performance, everyone showed passion, desire and quality, we were just unlucky. Lewis Holtby worked his heart out, put everything into this game, just hoping we could get through, the fact he broke down in tears after we lost on penalties tells you how much he cares, love him. Tom Carroll was top class when he came on, his passing was great, worked hard and made some great tackles, one with a bright future, could be world class. Michael Dawson was a warrior, put his heart and soul into the game, match saving interceptions and tackles. Captain fantastic. A majestic run in a great competition, we’ve done our club proud. Tottenham ’till I die. Our next game is in the Premier League against Manchester City. Big push for Champions League and top four. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Basel:
Friedel – 5
Walker – 8
Dawson – 9
Vertonghen – 6
Naughton – 7
Dempsey – 8
Parker – 6
Holtby – 9 Man of the Match
Sigurdsson – 8
Dembele – 7
Adebayor – 4

Subs:
Tom Carroll – 8
Tom Huddlestone – 8
Assou-Ekotto – 6

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Coventry

This is our first game in the FA cup, a cup that we want to win. On paper we are the outstanding favourites, but anything can happen in the cup. Coventry are in League one, and so we could be putting out the youngsters. We are at home, so if we were to lose it would be disastrous! Coventry are a club in disarray after being relegated from the Championship and now sit eleventh in League One.

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto could be involved, and Scott Parker should have his first start after returning from injury. Players such as Tom Carroll, Iago Falque and Andros Townsend could all play a part as we try to get to the next round of the FA cup. Brad Friedel should start in goal to give Hugo Lloris a rest as he is now our only other ‘keeper after Carlo Cudicini left and Gomes looks to be on the way out. Gylfi Sigurdsson should start after some quality performances in the Premier League. I hope that we can get a big win and secure our place in the next round of the FA cup, the worst result would be a draw as we have had a lot of games and another one would not be appreciated. The game is at 3pm on Saturday at the Lane. The game unfortunately is not televised. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Coventry in the FA cup:
Friedel
Naughton – Gallas – Caulker – Assou-Ekotto
Falque – Parker – Carroll – Townsend
Sigurdsson
Adebayor

Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Ham

It’s derby day once again, and in many ways this is a bigger game than against Arsenal. We need to win this, and win it well, we’re the better side and at home we need to be winning these games. If we don’t get all three points there will be serious pressure on AVB and Tottenham as a club, a pressure that we don’t need. West Ham are flying high at the moment, and their style of play could hurt us, it will be a physical battle and the tally of yellow cards will be significant, so we need to be sharp and good on the ball as well as off it. Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan are West Ham’s biggest threat so if we limit the service to them, we should be quite comfortable. If we concede early, the game could be all over as they will stick ten men behind the ball and make in horrendously difficult for us to break them down, so scoring first in this game is crucial.

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Sandro will be our most important player in this game, he can take Mark Noble out of this game and stop West Ham ticking. The physical side will be handled perfectly well with him in our midfield, and the creative side of our game will come through Dembele. Dembele as I’ve said before is a massive boost for the team, and could be the difference in a game like this as he can break the game up and keep possession when the team needs him to. Hugo Lloris should play after his heroic performance against Lazio, he will have high confidence after all the praise he has got in the media. Defoe needs to have a big game and start to really get back to the way he was playing at the very start of the season, goals goals goals please. This is massive for our season, we need to win, nothing less than that will do. COYS!!

My preferred team to face West Ham:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Sandro – Carroll – Bale
Dembele
Defoe

Match Review, Lazio vs Tottenham

We started very brightly, and got what should have been a goal through a superb pass from Tom Carroll, we looked like we were in the mood to win this game well. The pace of the game then dropped quite significantly. Both teams found it hard to put passes together, and it turned into a muscular battle in midfield. Lazio had chance after chance, but they squandered them, they deserved to be ahead at half time. We lacked creativity, and played very narrow, which never works with us. We tried to up the tempo with very attack minded substitutions, but the bobbly pitch made it almost impossible for us to play the Tottenham way. The support from the fans was absolutely amazing, all you could hear was Spurs chants.

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Hugo Lloris saved us on many occasions, he had a point to prove and he proved that he is up there with the best goalkeepers in the world. The save that he had to make through a dipping shot from Ledesma was simply stunning. Tom Carroll was impressive, but when the game became physical it drowned out Carroll’s hard work. This is when Sandro became one of our most important players, never frightened of a challenge, always involved in the thick of the action, brilliant performance from him as ever. Adebayor didn’t bring anything to the game, and looked like he didn’t really care which was disappointing after his antics at the Emirates. I thought that Sigurdsson had his best game in a Spurs shirt, he put in some very good crosses from corners and from the wing, always works hard which is a very good sign. It was a pleasure to see Mousa Dembele back playing, so important for us that he’s back and he looked good when he came on for the last 10-15 minutes. This was in the end a good point, and it sees us into the last game nicely against Panathinaikos, get a win and we are into the knockout stages. Our next game is a London derby against West Ham on Sunday. COYS!!

My player ratings vs Lazio
Lloris – 10 man of the match
Walker – 8
Caulker – 7
Vertonghen – 6
Naughton – 7
Sigurdsson – 8
Sandro – 9
Carroll – 7
Bale – 6
Dempsey – 5
Adebayor – 5

Match Preview, Lazio vs Tottenham

I really want to do well in the Europa League, I think it’s good for the club to have something away from the Premier League. If we do well in a competition like this it boosts morale and can help our form in the League as well. This game against Lazio is of the same quality as the Champions League and this means that we need to be on top form to get a result, especially as we are away from home. In the reverse fixture at the Lane we should have won, but due to very poor refereeing decisions we only got a draw. Lazio are not at their best at the moment so we should be able to nick something from the game, but it will be tight as they have the quality to hurt us when they attack.

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This is the sort of game that Tom Carroll should be playing in, he has been extremely impressive in the games he has played for us. In the short time he has played he has already been labelled ‘The New Modric’, he has deserved this title though in my opinion. Mousa Dembele has travelled with the squad, hopefully he can get 10-20 minutes on the pitch to get back to match fitness and then play a major role in the game against West Ham. Adebayor should start up front as he needs to keep sharp during his suspension, and Defoe will need a rest after having to run around a lot against Arsenal. I hope we can get the win to help us get to the knockout stages of this competition. COYS!!

My preferred team to face Lazio:
Friedel
Walker – Dawson – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Huddlestone – Carroll – Bale
Dempsey
Adebayor

Match Preview, Manchester City vs Tottenham

This is going to be a massive test for the team, Manchester City are a world class team, and even though they aren’t on top form they will test us to our limit. They haven’t been scoring goals like they did last season but they are still a massive threat going forward, their striking options are phenomenal, the likes of Aguero, Tevez and Balotelli will hurt any team. I expect it to be an open game, and if we get the likes of Bale and Lennon on the ball we can definitely score goals. To beat both the Manchester teams will be something the fans will remember for a long time,and I’m quietly confident we can do it.

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I’m sure that Adebayor will be fired up and ready to put in a a good performance, that is if we play 4-4-2, I’m not sure we will but I do want us to as we played brilliantly like that against Maribor. Bale will have to be on top form and so will Lennon, this is when we play at our best. Dembele is still out, this will be a big miss for us as ever, but I think Carroll could come into the side because he had a fantastic game against Maribor, maybe it’s time that he got his opportunity in the Premier League. But yet Sandro and Huddlestone are a good partnership, and I think it’s probable this will be the partnership to play. It’s a big game, and I’m sure all the players will be right up for it. COYS!!

My preferred team vs Manchester City:
Lloris
Walker – Gallas – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Huddlestone – Sandro – Bale
Adebayor – Defoe

Match Review, Tottenham vs Maribor

A good performance and a good win, all that you can ask for. Maribor may have been poor, but we took advantage and played a very good game. We played the ball around well, and created a lot of chances; we also looked like we cared for the first time in this competition, this could be down to AVB’s desire to win this trophy again in his career, and this is getting passed on to the players now. You could see the passion that AVB has in his goal celebrations, every goal was a delight for him. We were ahead for the first half until a sloppy goal was given away, the back pass shouldn’t have been played by Naughton and at that point it was a forgone conclusion, an equaliser. We came back tremendously with a very good goal early on, this was very pleasing as it could of turned into a messy game if we didn’t score early after the equaliser.

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We played 4-4-2 for the first time, with Adebayor and Defoe, this worked extremely well for me, Adebayor was brilliant on the ball and linked up the play well and then Defoe did what he does best, finishing opportunities. Our central midfield partnership of Huddlestone and Carroll was superb, especially Carroll; he played as well as Modric at some points during the game, and he also created our second goal with a phenomenally well weighted pass for Defoe. Obviously Defoe was the hat-trick hero, but his goals were all made by brilliant work from his team mates. Gareth Bale was astonishing, he made some fantastic runs and made two of Defoe’s three goals, he is one of the best talents in the world at the moment, and we’re glad to have him! We have a comfortable position in the group now and will be looking to push on and get into the knockout stages, our next Europa League game is against Lazio, away. Our next game is on Sunday against Manchester City in the Premier League. COYS!!

My player ratings vs Maribor:
Lloris – 7
Walker – 7
Dawson – 8
Vertonghen – 7
Naughton – 7
Lennon – 8
Huddlestone – 8
Carroll – 9 man of the match
Bale – 9
Defoe – 9
Adebayor – 8

Match Review, Norwich vs Tottenham

Not a good result, or a good performance against an average Norwich City side. We lacked motivation in a game where we had a good incentive, to get to the quarter finals of a Cup that we have won, and got to the final of quite recently. We weren’t clinical enough with the chances we got, and this can’t be blamed on the fact we didn’t play a striker, because most of our chances come from midfielders anyway. Norwich had a poor home crowd, and all the noise was coming from the Spurs end, so we should have been able to capitalise on that. It’s disappointing that we’re out of a competition that we could have won, but it could be good for us, because it takes some games out of our schedule, and with a lack of cover in some areas of our squad this is a very positive thing to happen.

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The quality that we had came through Yago Falque, and Gareth Bale, they were the attacking spark that we had in the game, but even that wasn’t enough to see us through to a win. Tom Carroll looked like he has the quality to become a very good player for us in the future, he was comfortable on the ball and can pick a pass. Impressive performance from him. There were some really disappointing performances, Dempsey and Sigurdsson are off form and Falque should play ahead of them at the moment. An awful result for us, but we need to concentrate on our league form and push for a good victory at the Lane against Wigan. COYS!!

My player ratings vs Norwich:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 7
Caulker – 7
Dawson – 7
Naughton – 7
Falque – 9 man of the match
Carroll – 8
Livermore – 6
Bale – 8
Sigurdsson – 5
Dempsey – 5