Congratulations to the Academy players who have been awarded new contracts by Tottenham Hotspur – Daniel Akindayini, Filip Lesniak, Aaron McEneff, Luke McGee, William Miller, Nathan Oduwa, Connor Ogilvie, Emmanuel Sonupe and Harry Winks.
I saw 6 of the young players who have been awarded new contracts by Tottenham when they played for Spurs at the Northern Ireland Milk Cup in 2011 and 2012. It’s good to see the young players taking another step in their career and we wish them well in the coming season.
The players impressed in the Milk Cup competition which is played in the towns around Coleraine on the north Antrim coast. At the tournament they were faced with opponents who were olde, taller and stronger than them but they coped well displaying a talent and composure far beyond their age. They played with a style expected of all Tottenham teams, quick passing, movement and constant inter-changing of positions.
Here are my thoughts back in 2012 on the players who played in the Milk Cup that year.
Connor Ogilvie (D): Played on the left side of central defence for the first four games and was a late substitute in the final match in that position. He played last year and has developed well as a defender, strong in the tackle and the air, who also likes to get forward for a strike on goal. It was his cross that led to the winning goal against Co. Londonderry. He has played for the England Under-16 team and is in the present Under-17 squad.
Harry Winks (M): Very capable and hard working player with a good touch in midfield. Worked tirelessly throughout and combined with other midfielders looking to find a pass to get someone free and looking for a shot on goal. He is in the England Under-17 squad.
William Miller (M): Played well in midfield making an important contribution to the team. Worked hard and interchanged well with other midfield players. Got forward on goal to score against Otago.
Nathan Oduwa (F/M): Started as a lone striker and scored in the opening minutes of the first match. Loves to get the ball and run at defenders, drawing them to him – was later asked to drop deeper into midfield to look for the ball and then had matches on both wings. He was a handful for defenders and good work late on against Co. Londonderry was rewarded with the winning goal. Played in last year’s tournament. He is in the England Under-17 squad.
Emmanuel Sonupe (F): Has pace caused problems from the right side of midfield. Also moved forward as a striker and played on the left. Was at last year’s tournament and has played for England Under-16s.
In conclusion I wrote,
- All of the players brought credit to the club for the sporting and disciplined way in which they played but also for the exemplary way they conducted themselves throughout their time in Northern Ireland.
Daniel Akindayini (S): He played in the Milk Cup in 2011 and was used sparingly off the bench, starting only one match. He usually managed to do something to influence the game when he was brought on and was a threat with his height and pace. He scored in the semi-final and also took one of the penalties in the shoot-out as Spurs won the Vase Final to finish 5th overall.
2012 Milk Cup Experience: Read more
All of the players have made good progress since I wrote those comments and were involved with the Under-18 team which won the Southern section of the Barclay’s U-18 Premier League and lost narrowly at Everton in the semi-finals. Connor Ogilvie and Harry Winks travelled to Portugal last March and were among the substitutes for Spurs Europa League match against Benfica.
Best Wishes for the Future
Some of the players released by Tottenham at the end of their contracts also enjoyed the Milk Cup experience that year or previously – including Laste Dombaxe (2010) Kevin Stewart, Liam Priestly (2011/2012), Roman Michael-Percil (2012) and Kane Vincent-Young (2012). We wish them well in the future and know that the training they undertook at Tottenham will stand them in good stead in the future wherever they play.
Kevin Stewart who was in the 2010 Milk Cup squad has signed for Liverpool and Kodi Lyons-Foster (2011/2012) joined Aston Villa last summer.
Three members of the Development squad also received new contracts – Alex McQueen, Grant Hall and Reuben Lameiras. Hall, a central defender is currently on a season long loan with Birmingham City. Best wishes to them for the coming season.