The Daily Mirror suggested yesterday that Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino first noticed the potential of midfielder Ryan Mason during pre-season last summer.
Mason has thrived since he came into the Spurs first team and has turned himself into one of the club’s best players.
He’s an example to all other youngsters at the club of what can be achieved if they are willing to work hard enough to get a first team chance at White Hart Lane.
Another youngster who will be desperate for a first team chance at Spurs looking ahead to next season is Alex Pritchard.
Pritchard has been in superb form for loan side Brentford in the Championship and definitely would have grabbed Pochettino’s attention with some of his performances.
His loan agreement expires at the end of this season and his challenge looking ahead to the summer is going to be how he can show enough to get a chance for next season.
If he’s not automatically loaned back out, which seems very unlikely, then Pritchard will be part of Tottenham’s pre-season plans and that will be his opportunity to show the boss something, which suggests he can move into the first team setup.
If and when that chance comes, he’ll then face a big challenge to be effective in the same way as Mason, and the same way Nabil Bentaleb and Harry Kane have also been in the Tottenham senior ranks.
He’ll get chances in pre-season because it’s the perfect time for managers to experiment and take a look at younger players, as well as new signings before the competitive action kicks in.
Pochettino appears to be a big admirer of hard work and genuine effort. If players show him enough, he’ll work as hard as possible to make sure they, and Tottenham, cash in on their potential.
Whether Pritchard becomes the next youngster to graduate to the senior side remains to be seen, but everything he does is vital the very second he returns for pre-season training.