JOHN SUTTON WAS always going to find it difficult to avoid being bitten by the football bug - it's a family gene he is happy to have inherited.
John's father Mike was a professional footballer, while brother Chris was a Premiership title winner with Blackburn and currently spearheads the Celtic attack. The youngest Sutton boy signed professional forms at Spurs last year and leads the line for our under-19 side.
"I have two brothers who are football mad," explained John. "Also my Dad played professionally at Norwich, Carlisle and Chester, so I couldn't really escape it.
"So, from an early age, I was kicking about in the back garden and it went from there really."
Despite the ten-year age gap, the 18-year-old does recall kickabouts with brother Chris, who left his hometown club Norwich for Blackburn for a then record transfer fee before a spell with Chelsea. John says his big bruv is a model for him, but he tends to watch a cross-section of strikers to improve his own game.
"I actually can remember kicking about with him. He was actually, I don't know if wild child is right, but a bit of a nutter when he was younger and used to kickabout anywhere. In the kitchen, in the lounge - he used to drive mum and dad crazy.
"I think I can take things out of my brother's game, but if you look at how many good strikers are around you've got to try and take a little bit out of all of them and apply it to your own game."
It often seems to be the case that following in a celebrated family member's footsteps can be a daunting prospect, bringing pressures all of it's own. John refutes this theory.
"I think people think that it does, but it doesn't at all really," said John. "I'm a totally different person. Even when I speak to him, I do speak to him about football obviously, but he is like any brother is to any other person really.
"I haven't seen him play for Celtic yet because I've been down here training and playing matches. We do keep in contact on the phone though and I see him in the summer, which is really nice."
Norwich supporting John 'I hope they get promotion this year, but it's going to be a tight one though!', who has also played cricket for Norfolk and the midlands, joined Tottenham at under-14 level after a successful trial and has represented England twice at under-16 level.
"I got scouted by someone called John Ray. He got me a trial here and I played against Leyton Orient for the under-14s. I managed to score a few goals in that game and then came down week after week following that. It just went on from there.
"I travelled down every Sunday and used to stay up during half-terms and Easter holidays for a week or so. It was really good as I got to train with the youth team at quite a young age so I really enjoyed that.
"I was at Norwich at quite a young age, probably until I was about 11. I left when my brother left, I didn't have any plans as such, I just wanted to enjoy my football and see where it went from there."
The strapping striker headed south on a permanent basis last year to play full-time for our Academy, leaving behing his East Anglia roots as he seeks a successful career in the game.
"I moved down and stay in digs. It was very difficult at first, but it's probably got a bit easier.
"There is a lot of difference living down here to living at home. I haven't got too bothered about it though. Also all the other boys are coming in every day now as well, so we're quite a close-knit group and know each other quite well."
John top-scored for out under-17 side last year, netting 25 times in 26 games. He has not found the goals so easy to come by in the under-19s, but has impressed enough to feature in Colin Calderwood's reserve side in recent games.
"I certainly haven't scored as many this year but, on the other hand, I've been getting on the end of chances and if things had gone differently I probably could have had a few more than I've got.
"Last year we played a lot of fairly weak teams where it was slightly easier to get on the scoresheet. The under-19s is a lot tighter and the results are a lot closer than the under-17 games were."
The striker adds that the transition to reserve team football also takes a fair bit of adjustment.
"There is a difference in the style of play and I think it does take a little bit of time to adjust to. It's certainly a lot tighter in the reserves. Youth teams are very physical, very hurly burly.
"I think I've done alright when I've been playing for them and hopefully I can do even better in the future. Bang in a few goals.
John says that the award of a professional contract is a boost to any young player, but the release from that particular pressure must not detract from the ultimate aim - first team football.
"I think it gives you a lot of confidence because someone has decided to offer it to you and give it to you. It does take a weight off your shoulders but, in a way, it doesn't fool me because my goal is to play for the first team and that is what I'm motivated to do."
By Richard Hubbard
The latest in our series placing the spotlight on the youngsters seeking to make the big breakthrough at the Lane - this time featuring under-19 striker John Sutton.