When young winger Richard Heller arrived at White Hart Lane as a full-time Academy student this summer, he was certainly more than familiar with life at Spurs.
The Suffolk-born winger was a regular in Jimmy Neighbour’s team last term, scoring twice in 14 matches for the Academy side. And that experience will definitely stand him in good stead for the new campaign ahead.
“I played a lot of Under-17 games last season,” Richard confirms. “And, towards the end, we went on a run of matches from the New Year unbeaten and I was involved in a lot of those games.”
However, life in the First Year Academy every day is a slightly different prospect as he points out: “Being here full time is very, very different. You feel yourself improving everyday, your touch, your confidence, your whole gameÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦it is a lot better than school!
“The training is hard work, and was particularly tough during pre-season, with a lot of running, but it is worth it. I’m really enjoying it here.”
Richard came on as substitute in the opening game of the campaign at Sunderland, but was unavailable for the home match against Wolves in the next fixture. He was a member of the successful Under-16 squad that travelled to Parma, Italy, scoring one of the goals in our 3-2 final victory over AC Reginna.
“It was a great experence,” Richard reports. “We won the tournament and got on very well. All the lads really enjoyed it, it was a good trip and the coaches were happy.”
He continues: “It was very different playing against the Italian teams, they always dropped off and let us play from the back. We are used to being closed down, which is what we were doing to them and that gave us quite a lot of success.
“It was quite interesting to see the different style of play, where the full backs didn’t close the wingers down, they let us get the ball, turn and go, which was great for us,” he smiles.