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FA Youth Cup countdown

Posted on 7 December 2004  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Our FA Youth Cup tie against Forest is now hours away and we talked to two of our key players - Jamie O'Hara and Charlie Lee - before their big night at the Lane.


For many of the Academy lads it's a first match at the main stadium - kick-off 7pm tonight - so that's where we started...


What do you think about the prospect of playing at White Hart Lane?
O'Hara: I can't wait to be honest. I've never played at White Hart Lane since I joined Spurs a year and a half ago now and I'm relishing the thought of playing there.
Lee: It will be great. I think we've a tough draw for our first match in the competition but I think we can go out there and win.


It's an important part of your development to play at the Lane?
O'Hara: I can't wait. I've played in a couple of Youth Cup games now at Middlesbrough and West Brom but never got the home draw. It's great to be playing at home. Forest will be tough but I think we'ere good enough to go through.


Do you prefer the thought of playing at the Lane or do you enjoy going to the likes fo Middlesbrough and West Brom?
Lee: It's a good experience to travel away with the lads but you always want to play at your home ground. It's a great stadium and I can't wait.


There is always a buzz about the competition - is it the same as always?
Lee: Definitely. Everyone is looking forward to the competition and that's all we've talked about since the draw. That's all we wanted - a home draw.


What are the hopes of the boys this season?
O'Hara: Personally I think we can go a long way. We're a good side, we've had days when we've not been as good. I haven't played as much (Jamie's been with the reserve group this season) but from what I've seen and when I've played we do look like at good side, we pass the ball, we've got goalscorers in the likes of Andy Barcham and we've got a great result as well.


Talking to Pat Holland, it's been harder this season to get a consistent side because with the league down to just U18s, he has to see more of the lads play.
Lee: That's right. There have been very few games this season when we've started with the same starting line-up but we've a lot fo good players and it will be tough to nail down a place in the team. I'm hoping I'll be in there!


Jamie, you'll be seen as one of the more experienced players - what will you tell the younger lads about the FA Youth Cup?
O'Hara: What I was told before my game against Middlesbrough was to relax, enjoy it, go out there and play your game, keep it simple for the first 20 minutes and see how it goes from there. You have to play your game and relex.


This is the game to perform in though.
Lee: It will probably be the most important game of my short career so far. I'm hoping to have a great game, to prove myself at White Hart Lane and most importantly, that we win.


Looking at you individually, how have your own seasons gone?
O'Hara: It's been up and down. I thought pre-season went well, I went to Sweden with the first team in pre-season, ca,e back and played in the friendly at Celtic and that was all great experience. I'm back in the reserve group now and hopefully when I get a chance, I'll take it. The reserves is a very difficult side to get into at the moment. Frank Arnesen has brought some great young players in but when youy get in, you have to take your chance.
Lee: It's all about progressing and for me, that's by getting in the reserve squad. I don't know how many chances I'll get this season, hopefully a few more, so when I get a chance I have to play well. My first couple of games back after my broken wrist weren't great but I've played well since then and I've got to keep it going."