'The boy Barcelona can't buy' now a free agent - Tottenham release former Palace starlet

John Bostock was once wanted by the biggest clubs in world football. This Friday he was released by Tottenham Hotspur at 21-years-old.

When I was 15 years and 287 days old lord knows what I was up to. Probably nothing exciting; taking Pau FC into the Champions League on Football Manager or running around the park playing football with the natural fitness only age and alcohol consumption can take away from you.

I know one thing for sure; as much as I wish differently I was not making my professional football debut.

But for John Bostock that was the case.

When he came on for 20 minutes against Watford at Selhurst Park on October 29th 2007 he became Crystal Palace’s youngest ever player; and one of the world’s most sought after young talents.

Captain of his country at youth level, a dynamic midfield player with an abundance of raw talent and a confident young lad to boot; he had the world at his feet.

So to scroll through Fridays Premier League list of released players it is a surprise to spot his name amongst the likes of David Bentley and William Gallas at Tottenham Hotspur.

So what has got him to this point six years later; unfancied and unattached after such early promise?

First of all there was his highly controversial transfer switch to Tottenham in the first place. The Eagles were left crestfallen by the paltry compensation package of just over £1 million for a kid dubbed ‘the boy Barcelona can’t buy’.

Simon Jordan, then Palace chairman, was so incensed he wanted to revoke Bostock and his step-fathers season tickets for the upcoming campaign.

But Bostock never lived up to his reputation and spent the majority of his Spurs career out on loan with Brentford, Hull, Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon and most recently Toronto all benefitting from his services with varying degrees of success.

His last spell at Toronto ended with him on the bench and his deal cut short; which effectively gave you a timely reminder that he has not lived up to the unfortunate expectations laid at his door.

The real touch of irony to this tale comes as Crystal Palace return to the Premier League. For Bostock he left Palace for such a dream; and now he seems set to drop down the divisions as yet another example of a young player pressured whilst young; failing to meet the requisite billing.

And who did Palace beat to earn their place in the Premier League? Watford; the very team Bostock made his debut against as a 15-year-old in 2007.

You can forgive wry smiles from Crystal Palace fans at the news of Bostock’s new employment status.

Where next for Bostock? And where did it all go wrong?

image: © hollidaypics

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