Tottenham’s Josh Onomah scored his first competitive goal at senior level last night against Gillingham. But he wasn’t the only young player in the squad to get serious game time. We review the performances and take a look at the possibilities for Onomah and the rest of Spurs’ academy graduates in the season to come.
Josh Onomah: What a time to score your first goal! Already featured on the bench amid cameos and a Europa League start last season. Given another start tonight, he grabbed it and proved his value. Tougher tests will follow, but he has done himself no harm with a clever finish to get on the score sheet. Proved adaptable in roaming across the pitch with aplomb, and is always willing to take on opponents to make things happen. His confidence on the ball will hold him in good stead amidst any potential setbacks. Should see more starts in the near future.
Harry Winks: Looked mature and composed beyond his years in a central midfield role. Very similar in style (and looks!) to older co-academy graduate, Tom Carroll. Didn’t influence the game to any great extent, but did not make a single noticeable error either. A bright future awaits Winks, and Premier League opportunities off the bench will be a minimum requirement this season. May have moved ahead of Carroll in the pecking order, not that the latter was poor on the night at all.
Cameron Carter-Vickers: Tottenham fans have scratched their heads in bewilderment at Kevin Wimmer’s absence in favour of the young American Carter-Vickers. Last night however we saw exactly what Mauricio Pochettino has seen behind closed doors. Whilst Wimmer was solid too, Carter-Vickers at just 18 has the air of a veteran defender about him. His body size and shape certainly assists, with a powerful frame that belies his age.
Impressive in patches during pre-season, he took things to a new level against Gillingham. Combining with Wimmer, there was never a ball getting through or in behind. Seemingly the next defender in line, the prospect of seeing him challenged against Premier League level forwards is mouth-watering. His time must surely come at within the next few months.
Marcus Edwards: Pochettino raised many an eyebrow during the week when comparing the diminutive Edwards to a young Lionel Messi. Coming off the bench last night though, we saw glimpses of his obviously extraordinary talent. Typifying the confidence that seems a recurring theme amongst Tottenham’s academy graduates, he moves quickly, passes into space and has incredible ball control for one so young. Clearly his main issue is size. He is tiny and needs to add considerable bulk to his frame before being considered a viable option in the combative Premier League. However, doesn’t take a backwards step and is the proverbial “wonderkid” to keep an eye on for both Tottenham and England.
The Rest: We only saw a brief glimpse of full back Anton Walkes who had little to do in his ten minutes on the pitch. Alfie Whiteman at just 17 was a surprise selection on the bench as reserve ‘keeper, yet neither of these two should expect too much action at senior level this season due to the depth of options across Spurs’ squad. Shayon Harrison missed with a minor injury, and will hope for an opportunity to sub on for Vincent Janssen up front upon his return.