Tottenham’s Under-21 team have made an impressive start to the new season, carrying on from where they finished off last year. Three matches and three wins has the young Spurs players sitting at the top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.v Chelsea (a) Won 4 – 2
The Spurs Under-21 team had an early start to the season with their opening League game against Chelsea on Friday, 9th August. The away fixture was played at Aldershot and Spurs recovered from an early set-back, going a goal down after 18 minutes, to score three times before the interval. Yago Falque, now on loan with La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, scored twice and Harry Kane added the third. Early in the second half Shaq Coulthirst made it 4 – 1 scoring from a rebound after Kane’s shot had hit the post in the 56th minute. Chelsea pulled a goal back late on but Tottenham thoroughly deserved their success.
Team: Archer; Fredericks, Ball, Stewart (Lameiras), A McQueen (Ward); Bentaleb, Carroll, Gallifuoco; Falque, Kane, Coulthirst (D McQueen) Subs: (unused) Miles, McEneff
The following Tuesday three of the Tottenham Under-21 players were involved in the England vs Scotland U-21 international against Scotland at Sheffield. It was a memorable evening for Tom Carroll as he scored his first goal for England in his second appearance, having come on as a second half substitute and for Harry Kane who also made his first appearance for the Under-21 team as a substitute. A less enjoyable evening was had by goalkeeper Jordan Archer who conceded six in the Scotland goal.
v Manchester City (h) Won 6 – 3
The following Monday Spurs played Manchester City at the Hotspur Way training ground. The main features of the match were a hat-trick by Harry Kane and an appearance by Sandro who played for over an hour as he works his way back to fitness. It was a strong Spurs side with Tom Carroll, Harry Kane and Andros Townsend in the team ahead of travelling to Georgia for the Europa League match against Dinamo Tbilisi. Zeki Fryers and Shaq Coulthirst also travelled with the senior squad.
The game was only 3 minutes old when Carroll put Spurs in front. The young midfielder controlled the game and after almost constant Tottenham pressure, set up Kane for his first after 35 minutes. City scored a goal a minute before the break but Falque scored Spurs’ third from Townsend’s cross after 53 minutes. Carroll created the fourth two minutes later for Kane and then another Townsend cross provided Kane with the opportunity to complete his hat-trick in the 64th minute. City pulled two back but substitute Coulthirst made it 6 – 3 in added time scoring after Bentaleb’s header came off the bar.
Team: Archer; A McQueen (Coulthirst), Ball, Stewart, Fryers; Bentaleb, Carroll, Sandro (Dombaxe); Falque, Kane, Townsend. Subs: (unused) Miles, Gallifuoco
v West Ham United (a) Won 3 – 2
On Friday evening, 23rd August, the team were two down at half-time but staged a second half comeback to maintain their unbeaten record with a 3 – 2 win. This match provided Lewis Holtby with his first opportunity of a game having missed preseason due to an injury while playing for Germany in the European Under-21 championships in the summer.
Tottenham didn’t make their usual fast start at Upton Park and were a goal down midway through the half, conceding from a corner. Another goal from a corner in added time at the end of the first half put West Ham in the ascendancy. Spurs improved after the interval and scored through Simon Dawkins with just under an hour played. Holtby took control in the second half and equalised with a shot from 30 yards after 66 minutes. With four minutes to play Spurs completed their comeback with the winner from Coulthirst, set up by Reuben Lameiras.
It was a remarkable recovery by the team who are top of the League on goal difference from the only other teams, Sunderland and Fulham, on maximum points after the opening three matches.
Team: Vigouroux; A McQueen, Ball, Fryers (Lameiras), Stewart; Dombaxe, Veljkovic; Dawkins, Holtby (McEvoy), Coulthirst; Lancaster (D McQueen) Subs: (unused) Miles
Barclays Under-21 League
This year’s Under-21 team are carrying on from where last year’s finished off. They finished top of both stages of last year’s League competition which was played under a different system. They then reached the final of the knock-out stage but lost to Manchester United at Old Trafford, having been two goals up at half-time.
The Barclays Under-21 League has 22 teams this season and they will play each other once, home or away, before the top-4 play off in a knock-out stage for semi-final and final, to determine the winner. Clubs are allowed to field three outfield players over the age of 21, which enabled Sandro and Holtby to play as part of their recovery from injury. The goalkeeper is also permitted to be over 21. Spurs must play at least three matches at White Hart Lane during the season.
Tom Carroll, Harry Kane and Zeki Fryers have been included in the England Under-21 squad for games during the early September international break. Jordan Archer is a member of the Scotland squad for their match against the Netherlands.
Andros Townsend has been called into Roy Hodgson’s full England squad for the two World Cup qualifying games next week. It is a reward for his hard work and impressive opening to the season.
Next Under-21 Matches
The Under-21 team have only two matches in September. Their next game is next Monday – 2nd September – against Norwich City at White Hart Lane with a 7pm kick-off.
They follow this with an away game against Aston Villa a fortnight later (16th September).
It’s good that the Tottenham club website are giving more information about the Under-21 and Under-18 matches this season with reports and follow-up articles.