Whilst some Tottenham Hotspur fans were rueing the fact they let Andros Townsend leave on loan in the second half of the season, it was the U21 side who had most to complain about in terms of their best players being farmed out to other clubs.
Last night several of them returned to help the team beat Everton 3-2 in their U21 Premier League semi-final. Alex Pritchard, perhaps the most exciting prospect in the Spurs academy, returned from Peterborough to give his team the lead in the 11th minute. Then Jon Obika, who netted a couple of crucial late winners when on loan at Charlton Athletic in the last few months, scored twice to book his side a final place against either Manchester United or Liverpool, who play on Tuesday night.
It has been a fantastic season for Spurs’ youth teams, who have been the dominant force throughout the U21 Premier League season, comfortably topping the Elite Group Stage to qualify for the semi-finals.
With their counterparts in the first team making late goals a feature of their attempts to qualify for next season’s Champions League, it is no doubt pleasing for their coaches that this happy knack has filtered down to the youth levels.
It might just be a coincidence, but Spurs’ new training centre could well have played a role in improving the fitness at all playing levels throughout the club, with that resulting in their teams having the edge in the closing minutes of matches.
Whatever the reason, it is a welcome change for Spurs, who have struggled in recent seasons to come back in matches and finish strongly when their confidence is knocked. The youth team have not won anything yet, and the senior side still do not have a Champions League place in their hands, but both have kept themselves in the running in impressive fashion this season, and might be rewarded for all those late goals in the next week or so.
image: © nextgenphoto