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TAKING THE NEXT STEP

Posted on 2 August 2006  - 12:00

Clive Allen believes a number of his Reserve Team squad from last term have what it takes to force themselves into Martin Jol's thoughts for the new season.

Clive Allen believes a number of his Reserve Team squad from last term have what it takes to force themselves into Martin Jol's thoughts for the new season.

The likes of Lee Barnard - who introduced himself at First Team level at the tail end of last season - Kieran McKenna, Jamie O'Hara and Charlie Lee were included on the pre-season trip to France and got their chance to impress over the three warm-up games.

With a hopefully greatly increased fixture list next season - depending on progress in the UEFA, Carling and FA cups - Clive suspects continued improvement in the young professionals could well see them receive a call-up at some stage in the campaign.

"Martin took them away with the squad to prepare for the new season and I've no doubt they enjoyed that," reflected Clive. "Now they've had a taste of it they will want more of it.

"It is fantastic for the lads and I've already said to them that, with a UEFA Cup run and a run in the other cups, Martin going to need a big squad.

"The boys are getting the chance because of what they did last season and it is a great incentive for the younger group that are now playing the pre-season Spurs XI games.

"Kieran McKenna and Barney were exceptional last season and have forced their way into the first team squad reckoning. I don't think there can be a better incentive for young players at Tottenham than to see that happening.

"They see that Martin will give them opportunities if they perform. We've set our benchmark, we've set standards and the young ones who come into the reserves know what is expected of them."

Clive added that a key objective is to bring players through the system and Martin consistently monitors development in training.

"Martin has watched the games and is talking to me regularly about the ones who are doing well. He is looking at them in training as well and there is a policy whereby they go across and work in the first team group.

"He gives them that opportunity to show what they are capable of with the seniors. We want a continuity from the Academy through to the Development Squad, through to the First Team.

"We are starting to see it happen with the young players involved in with the First Team at the moment hopefully there will be many more in the future."