Ex Spurs director Damien Comolli criticises club's development of young players

Townsend, Costa, Walker

The former director of football says loaning out a young player too many times is not positive for their development.

Former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli has criticised the club's recent loan policy of sending young players out on several loan spells to develop before returning to challenge the first team, in a report on BBC Sport.

The 43-year-old believes that any success the North London side have had in developing youngsters in recent years has happened in spite of the loan arrangements Spurs have made, pointing to the fact Andros Townsend had nine loans before establishing himself in the first-team squad.

"That was the opposite of what loans should be for," Comolli told BBC Sport when discussing the development of Townsend, Ryan Mason and Harry Kane. "Can you imagine a business telling its employees to change company nine or 10 times before you are ready to come back to us? I think making that many loan moves is wrong."

Troy Townsend, father of the England winger, disagreed, saying it helped the 24-year-old get to grips with senior football, and Kane has previously mentioned how his lower league loans helped his game.

"Being educated in the game in the lower leagues helped Andros in his journey," he told BBC Sport. "Tottenham always showed an interest even when he was down at Yeovil as it can be quite difficult for a player if they feel detached from the parent club.

Why Comolli's point is difficult to agree with

Though of course it may be unsettling for players on one hand to take in many short loans at various clubs as they seek to fulfil their potential, just a quick look at the number of impressive youngsters that Spurs have produced in recent years seems to indicate that it is a system that has worked well in helping players grow.

Though it is true that Kane (four loans), Mason (five) and Townsend have played for more clubs than many players would do in their entire career, all before the age of 22, the fact they have gone on to become England internationals makes it hard to argue against the ascent up the divisions they made as they sought first-team football over reserve matches.

Additionally, Townsend's journey of nine clubs is unique, with most other young players going on loan to between three and five sides.

Elsewhere in the Spurs squad, there are others who have taken in several loans as they edge towards Premier League football with their parent club. Alex Pritchard and Tom Carroll are now knocking on Mauricio Pochettino's door to get first team chances, while Danny Rose and Kyle Walker were established in the starting eleven after several spells at a variety of clubs.

There are some players that have moved on having not made the step up, such as Grant Hall and Ryan Fredericks this summer, but that is natural, and when also considering success stories that earned Tottenham big money after being sold such as Steven Caulker and Jake Livermore, it is hard to say Spurs' existing process doesn't work.

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