Despite the fact that Chris Riley is still in his first year as an Academy player here at White Hart Lane, the young defender has certainly had plenty of match experience in his career so far.
Almost an ever-present for our Under-17s last term, Chris had previously made a single appearance for our Under-19s during the campaign before, having just turned 15-years-old, and remembers the game well.
“I think they were struggling for players and I was called in at right back,” he recollects. “The match was against Norwich City and I remember the pace of the game being so much faster than I had been used to. Danny Foster played alongside me and he helped me out.”
A knee problem this term, originally picked up in a friendly match against Fulham and reoccurred at the turn of the year, has restricted his appearances for the F.A. Academy Under-18 League side.
“I came back from injury during the Christmas break,” Chris reveals. “The knee felt quite strong. However, as I blocked a shot and the ball hit my foot it gave way again. But I am back fit now, so hopefully I can establish myself in the side.”
A member of the England Under-17 international squad, along with fellow Spurs team-mate goalkeeper David Button, that took part in the Algarve Tournament in January, he played in the 0-1 defeat by Portugal and a 1-2 reverse against Norway.
Chris reports: “I think we were the better team, but mistakes cost us dearly in the end. We still finished second overall in the tournament, so that was OK, and it was all good experience.”
Chris was a regular right back for the Under-16s last season, appearing in six out of the seven internationals played at that level. He started all four matches in the Montaigu Tournament in April, as well as the Victory Shield fixture with Scotland at Hampden Park.
The versatile right-footed defender points out: “I can play anywhere across the back, but I think right full-back is my best position.
“Injuries to central defenders this term have meant that I have covered in that position sometimes. And, for the England Under-17s, I haven’t had the chance to play at right back yet, in the Algarve Tournament I played left sided centre-half and left-back.”
Yet to play in the F.A. Youth Cup this term, with Phil Ifil in ahead of him in his position, Chris says: “I have just got to keep playing well and hopefully I will get my chance.”
He concludes: “I have been coming here since I was eight-years-old, when I used to attend the community training sessions, before being offered a trial. I am a Spurs fan and couldn’t imagine playing for any other club.”