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|Taken from Eurosport|
As a fan there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing young players come through the ranks of your club and challenge for first team places. No team in the world does this better than Barcelona.
Their highly regarded La Masia is a conveyor belt constantly pumping out brilliant footballers who more often than not challenge the first team and become mainstays. Everyone knows about Messi, Iniesta and Xavi having coming through the club, they now have Thiago, Tello and Cuenca challenging the more experienced stars.
In the white side of North London things are bit different. The last player to have come through the ranks and nail down his spot in the starting 11 was Ledley King. The central defender became a legend at the club after spending 11 years there and captaining the side. Things are changing, though.
Tottenham now have a plethora of talented youngsters hoping to one day challenge the first team players. This has been an ongoing project by chairman Daniel Levy who wanted to change the whole set-up of Tottenham from grassroots up. This footballing ‘venture’ is now reaping the benefits. Among the Harry Kanes, Andros Townsends and Dean Parretts of the club is one, Tom Carroll.
Now football is a ruthless sport. It can cast youngsters out if they fail to live up to their potential by a certain age. As the longevity of a footballer’s career is relatively short (except if you’re Brad Friedel!) then the whole time frame of succeeding in football is drastically reduced.
Wayne Rooney, who’s balls must have dropped when he was seven years old, burst onto the scene as a precocious 16 year old. Still considered a kid, he was technically and mentally good enough to compete with the older players. Of course, his main attribute was his sheer strength and phyicallity. He was, with the greatest respect to him, a beast.
Players develop and mature at different rates and this is the case with 20 year old, Tom Carroll. The diminutive central midfielder really slipped under the radar. From being worried that his contact wouldn’t be renewed to earning himself two loans (Leyton Orient and Derby, respectively) and a feature in the Abu Dhabi paper, The National, he has progressed quite rapidly in a short space of time.
A lot of fans wouldn’t have heard of him until he earned himself a few starts in last seasons Europa League; many fans were left impressed and quietly optimistic over this young schemer. His willingness to accept the ball and find space for himself left fans salivating, his low centre of gravity and quick feet drew, from the optimists, comparisons with Luka Modric.
This, however, isn’t as far from the truth as it may seem. Similar builds and similar styles of play somewhat vindicates this comparison. Carroll’s technical skills were obvious for everyone to see and his ability to spot a killer pass and play it was equally apparent – his through-ball to Harry Kane against Hearts to win a penalty was a thing of beauty.
Now of course, it’s a very English thing to completely hype players beyond recognition and then watch then fail. It’s often been said that Carroll lacks the physical presence to succeed in the Premier League; he’d just be completely bullied by the Stokes of the league. While true to some extent, certain players have disproved this theory.
Most recently Luka Modric who Arsene Wenger once notoriously labeled as not strong enough for the league. Standing at 5″7″ I’m sure, if they played over here, Xavi and Iniesta would also have something to say about that ‘theory’. It comes down to: if you’re good enough then you’re strong enough, and players with a deep understanding of the game will always find themselves space to have time on the ball.
Highly thought of within the club, especially with Tim Sherwood, this season could be big for Carroll. A loan to another Premier League club would be beneficial but I’m sure many Spurs fans would like to see him don the shirt and be more involved with the first team.
Andre Villas-Boas will no doubt be impressed with him and he would fit easily into the 4-3-3 formation Villas-Boas favours.
Whatever happens, there’s every reason for Tottenham fans to be optimistic about this boy. If he continues progressing as he has done then he could become a very important part of Tottenham’s future.
As Tom Carroll himself would say, “#tekkers #baller”.
Written by William Hold
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