Tottenham youngster Grant Ward buoyed by MLS loan spell

The midfielder believes his recent stint with the Chicago Fire has been a big help in his development.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Grant Ward has told the club’s official website how he believes his recent loan spell with the Chicago Fire has prepared him to contend for a first-team spot.

Ward, 20, joined the Fire last March on a six-month loan deal, but missed the start of the 2014 MLS season after being forced to remain in England while recovering from a broken foot.

The winger would go on to make 12 starts in 23 regular-season appearances after arriving in May and seeing his deal extended until the end of the campaign, with his lively performances leaving a lasting impression on both fans and the coaching staff.

Head coach Frank Yallop revealed to Chicago Fire Confidential before the start of preseason that the club were working to bring him back for 2015, but believed Spurs were keen to keep hold of him.

“I haven't really had an answer back but I expect him not to be back next season,” he said. “I like Grant and I'd love to have him back but I think Tottenham are exercising their right to keep the player on their books and obviously have a real good look at him under their radar, and see if he's somebody who is going to do well for them or loan him out somewhere else.”

Ward has since made three starts for Tottenham’s Under-21s, with all coming in a defensive midfield role, and netted two superb free-kicks in a 3-1 win over their West Ham United counterparts in his first match back.

Also capable of filling in at full-back, the versatile prospect admits that he’s taken some time to readjust to the English game after his spell in the States, but believes his season with the Fire has been a huge help in his development.

“It took a little while to get readjusted, even to the time difference, but now I feel back at home,” he said. “It’s a different style of play here, with a few more long balls, while over there it was a bit more tiki-taka.

“I think it was really great for experience,” he continued. “Playing proper men’s football. You’ve got to look after yourself and make sure you prepare for the game. There’s no one phoning you and giving you instructions.”

Ward, who first joined Spurs as a trainee in 2011, faces a tough task in breaking into the club’s star-studded squad moving forward, but their recent track record of developing homegrown talent suggests he has as good a chance at White Hart Lane as most other places.

He might need another loan spell in the meantime to prove his first-team credentials, but if a spell in the Championship, for example, works out then there could well be a spot for him in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans in the future.

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