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+Mills hoping to bloom

Posted on 29 September 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).

Leigh Mills admits it was a bit of an eye opener when he first walked into Spurs Lodge.

"When you arrive at Spurs and you walk around and there's Jermain Defoe and Ledley King and the rest of the lads, all together, having dinner with you - it's very different," smiled the 18-year-old who has made an impressive start to his career here after his switch from Swindon Town.

The youngster arrived at the club in the summer with a big reputation in the game and a host of England youth caps under his belt.

Positive reports have already filtered back from Clive Allen and Pat Holland from his initial displays in both our Under-18 and reserve sides.

"I'd never played an Academy game before I came here," explained Leigh. "I was injured for the last six months of the season at Swindon so I went from playing Swansea away on a muddy pitch for Swindon to playing Fulham Reserves on their training ground. It's a big step but I feel I'm doing alright.

"I just hope to play steadily for the Under-18s, keep my performances goig and then pushing for the reserves. I want to get in and around the reserve squad, hopefully play a couple of games and see what happens from there."

Then he can try to emulate one of the players he mentioned - Ledley King - who came through the Academy ranks and is now recognised as one of the best centre-backs in the country.

Current squad members Mark Yeates, Stephen Kelly, Dean Marney, Johnnie Jackson and most recently Philip Ifil have all progressed through the Academy to feature in the Premiership.

It gives great hope to Leigh and his team-mates. "Looking at the players the club has brougt through with the likes of Ledley King and even more recently Phil Ifil it shows what the club is about," he said.

"Frank Arnesen is big on youth as well and that gives you confidence that if you can do it and push on into the reserves something could develop."

Meanwhile, there was a thank-you for Gwyn Walters, the club's Education and Welfare Officer. "Gwyn has helped me settle in," Leigh added. "I haven't been out and about too much in London but I'm finding my way around Chigwell quite well. It's different for me but I'm coping okay. All the lads have helped me and the staff have been brilliant."