Tonight sees the next game in the NextGen series getting under way and it is with English interest as Tottenham travel to Germany to take on the young guns at VfL Wolfsburg.
Last year’s campaign was a tumultuous occasion for Alex Inglethorpe’s men as despite being one of the most impressive sides on offer they withdrew from the competition under a cloud after it emerged they had mistakenly played ineligible players. However with that now behind them and not forgetting the 7-1 drubbing they handed eventual winners Internazionale last season Spurs go in to the competition with real hopes, and expectations of victory.
Here is last year’s batch handing Internazionale, the eventual winners, a footballing lesson...
So who will shine for Spurs in the NextGen campaign this time around?
Hotly tipped on many a Spurs forum last campaign saw the Hackney born and raised starlet score 7 goals in 15 games for the Under 18’s, not to mention 2 in the NextGen series against Basel and Liverpool and all this as a 1st year; he will look to improve on that in his sophomore season.
Tipped by Tim Sherwood as a real prospect in the playmaker role, Pritchard scored 4 goals in last season edition as Spur’s standout performer. His involvement this year may be a doubt, as, one of the older out of the bunch; he may be expected to make the step up/go out on loan this term but he has travelled with the team to Germany ahead of the opening game.
The former West Ham trainee travelled with the first team in the Europa League last September and Spurs rejected a bid from QPR this summer for one of their hottest prospects.
Made his Serbia youth team debut against Scotland in February and shows his tremendous progression since joining the Spurs ranks in July of last year from Swiss side FC Basel.
He went on to score against his former team in a 1-0 win in November, following on from a goal against PSV earlier in the NextGen campaign. An aerially dominant player he could again feature regularly in this season’s campaign.
After storming into under-18 action in 2010, scoring on his debut as a 14 year old against Portsmouth, Darren has continued his progression. He featured 8 times for the Under-18s as a 15 year old last season and will hope to figure more after advancing a year in age.
The pacy left winger is the cousin of fellow academy hopeful Alexander McQueen and has been capped at Under-16 level for England.
No post on Spurs youngsters would be complete without a mention on the ‘next Didier Drogba’. I don’t personally like these tags young footballers get but this one is apt in terms of Coulibaly’s talent. He has made steps up in the Tottenham ranks but has still represented the Under-18s recently and will surely play a part in this campaign, hoping to add to his 3 goals of last term.
The talents of Zapata-Caicedo, McEvoy, Bentaleb, Vigouroux, Dombaxe, Smith and Colovic cannot be understated either as Spurs go into the competition as one of the favourites.
They will have to navigate their way through a tough group containing Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Anderlecht, who they drew with at the Eurofoot campaign earlier this month.
Tonight will be tricky as Wolfsburg have recently developed a reputation for developing technically outstanding football players, and play a fast and slick tempo that Spurs will have to disrupt if they are to come out on top but Spurs come into the game off the back of a 4-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday.
And here are a few tweets from the lads ahead of their big game this evening; we will bring you a match report tomorrow as Spurs look to get off to a flying start.
image: © Shiraz Chakera