Tottenham Academy Not Playing in NI Milk Cup This Summer


The draw  or the Northern Ireland Milk Cup was made yesterday in Belfast but after competing in the competition for the past three summers, Tottenham have decided to give it a miss this year. It is an excellent and very well organised competition and I for one am disappointed that Spurs won’t be playing in it this July.

For the past three years, the last week of July has meant a daily trip to the north Antrim coastal area of Northern Ireland to see the Tottenham junior squad playing in the NI Milk Cup. A very enjoyable experience it was and while Tottenham didn’t win the competition they always endeavoured to play passing football, based on the style of the first team at White Hart Lane. The players were excellent representatives for Tottenham Hotspur football Club.

Tottenham have won the competition on two previous occasions and they finished 5th in 2010-11.

Many top players have played their clubs at the Milk Cup which is in its 31st year, including Nicky Barmby, Ledley King and Peter Crouch with Tottenham.

It has been interesting watching the development of some of the the young Spurs players who have played in the competition over the past three three summers. They are progressing through the Academy and playing regularly in the Under-18 team, in the Next-Gen Series (U-19) and in the Under-21 team. Tottenham, always sent a young team to the Milk Cup so they were up against older, taller and stronger players but the confidence and skills of the Tottenham players were clearly evident.

July, 2010

The stand-out player for Spurs in the tournament in 2010 was Laste Dombaxe who was the fulcrum of the team. Still only 17 years of age he has overcome injury and is now playing regularly for the Under-21 team which has just won the Elite League. He was a central midfield player but has been used in various positions in the Academy teams to further his development.

Another player from that year is Kevin Stewart (19) who played at full-back and he has made good progress and finished the season out on loan with Crewe Alexandra where he made a number of appearances for the League One team.

Kenny McEvoy (18) was in the squad in 2010 and 2011 and he has continued to progress, playing  and scoring goals for teams up to the Under-21 side.

July, 2011

The 2011 squad included central midfield player, Dominic Ball (17) and he has also played for the Under-21 team but appears to have moved back to become a central defender. He continues to play in midfield for the Northern Ireland Under-19 team where he scored four goals against Moldova earlier this season.

Also in that squad was Ruben Lameiras (18), a skilful midfield player, who is also a regular in the Under-18 and Under-19 teams this year. As is, left-back Grant Ward who is capable of playing in a variety of positions as well as having an eye for goal. A player who impressed was Ollie Modeste in central defence and hopefully he will make a full recovery from the serious head injury he had over a year ago.

Tottenham’s 2012 Milk Cup squad [Photo: Logan Holmes]July, 2012

Last year’s squad included defender Conor Ogilvie who was making his second appearance at the Milk Cup. He is a fully committed defender who can play centrally or at left back. He was a regular for the England Under-16 team and has progressed to Under-17 level this year as well as playing for the Under-18 Academy team.

The squad in July, 2012 contained a number of very young players but they showed considerable ability and were not put off when playing against older opponents. A number of those players – including Harry Winks, William Miller, Roman Michael-Percil and Emmanuel Sonupe are in the Under-18 side but some are still at school and will be looking to making an impact in the coming season. Names to look out for in the coming years are goalkeeper Harry Voss and midfielders Luke Amos and Cy Goddard. I had the pleasure of watching Luke make his debut for the England Under-16 against Northern Ireland earlier in the season.

Not every player makes it at Spurs. In the 2010 team Daniel Day looked  a promising young defender but he was released by Tottenham last summer.

So the only question remains – What am I going to do in the last week of July?