After a flat start in the the Europa League and declining league fortunes, is it time to turn over the Europa League to the kids?
Well, Saturday sucked. Hosting a lower table Wigan side, Tottenham came out completely flat and lost a crucial game. The turnaround will be quick, with another Europa League game on tap for Spurs at home on Thursday, hosting NK Maribor. The game will kick off the second half of the group stage. With just three draws through the first games of the group, the emphasis will be on Spurs going out aggressively to earn wins that can advance them to the knockout stage.
Discontent seems rooted in the first team squad at the moment, with new dramas coming out over the happiness of Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor, and more. But at the same time, we're seeing top-drawer performances in the Tottenham youth. The Spurs U-21 side is topping their group in the U-21 Premier League. As we highlighted yesterday, a combination of young first-team players and former academy products are driving this team forward.
Players like Andros Townsend and Ryan Mason fall into the former camp as the dynamic winger and attacking midfielder have helped lead the youth team. However, rising players like Dean Parrett and Alex Pritchard have impressed as well, with Parrett showing some ability to drive the midfield, while Pritchard has shown some strong wing play (and a great free kick).
So what does this mean? There seems to be a real opportunity to turn over the Europa League to a side that is gelling in the U-21 Premier League while injecting them with some Premier League talent. Players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Kyle Naughton, and Jake Livermore need to be given opportunities to prove themselves. If the current first-team is tiring out at this point in the season, then it seems imperative to give a chance to the younger, hungrier players.
In the end, players demanding playing time and squad rules may limit Spurs efforts to shake up the squad. But take note of what's going on in the youth, Tottenham senior players. They might be coming for your jobs.