Academy victorious against USA Under-17s
21 December 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
John McDermott praised the performance of our Academy lads as they hit the USA Under-17 national team for six in the IMG Cup in Florida on Friday.
Nathan Oduwa and Roman Michael-Percil netted a brace apiece, with Shayon Harrison and Alexander McQueen also on target in a 6-2 victory, in what was our third of four games in the tournament.
“I was most pleased with the quality of our individual players and the style in which they went about their business,” said John, our Academy Manager, after the match.
“We demonstrated individual and collective excellence for much of the game.”
John once again rotated the starting line-up, ensuring that all 20 players in the travelling party have now started at least one match to date.
We enjoyed a large amount of possession in the first period, but it was the USA who took the lead on 25 minutes with a direct free-kick against the run of play.
However, we claimed an equaliser five minutes before the break through the lively Oduwa, before Shayon Harrison fired us ahead in the 49th minute.
The USA got back on level terms three minutes later with a well-constructed goal, the move for which began in their own half of the pitch.
But we were quickly back on the front foot and eventually found our scoring touch to consistently convert our numerous chances.
Oduwa's relentless wing play drew foul after foul, and an eventual red card for the full-back tasked with marking him.
McQueen headed in for 3-2 in the 73rd minute, before Michael-Percil bagged our fourth with 10 minutes remaining.
Oduwa further extended the lead on 87 minutes, before Michael-Percil wrapped up the scoring in the second minute of stoppage time.
“The first half performance was really pleasing in terms of dominating possession and our opponents, but disappointingly this was not converted into more goals,” John reflected afterwards.
“In terms of the whole game, it would be unfair to single individual players out. Our back players dominated their attackers and circulated the ball with quality, penetration and disguise. Our midfield players demonstrated guile and toughness against talented opponents. Our forwards were relentless in their intent to go past the US backline and each of the substitutes ensured their entry to the field added to, rather than detracted from, the game's momentum.”
John also spoke of his delight at the way the players responded to Thursday’s 2-2 draw against Baltimore Celtic, having beaten Mexican side Queretaro 3-0 in the tournament opener a day previously.
“On Thursday we faced Baltimore Celtic in the midday heat and were unable to hit the form of the previous day,” John explained.
“Credit to our opponents for exploiting our lapses in concentration, unforced errors and generally making the game extremely tough.
“It was in real contrast to our excellent performance the previous day against Queretaro, but a reinforcement of the truism in football; just when you think you've got the game worked out, it kicks you in the stomach!
“Thankfully on Friday against the USA, our boys reacted positively and demonstrated that young English footballers are highly technically gifted.
“Young English players are often negatively stereotyped compared to other countries and what is pleasing is these predominantly 15, 16 and 17-year-old boys, all from London except one, can more than mix it on a world stage, against a variety of high quality opponents in hot tournament conditions.”
The lads play their final game on Sunday (1pm UK time) against Brazilian side Cruzeiro.
Spurs (v USA Under-17s): McGee, Walker-Peters, Carter-Vickers, Ogilvie, Amos (A McQueen 46), Winks (Goddard 80), Onomah (Walkes 84), Miller (Lesniak 68), Sonupe (Michael-Percil 68), Oduwa, Harrison (Akindayini 80).