English Barclays Premiership
Alton Thelwell is desperate for his big break.
The young defender has been in a number of first-team squads recently and on the bench against Leeds United last time out.
Now he wants to take the next step — onto the hallowed turf at White Hart Lane or any other ground wearing that famous white shirt.
“I just want to get my debut out of the way now,” he admitted at Spurs Lodge. “It’s nice to be in the squad but there have been a few injuries so hopefully even when those players come back I’ll be able to stay in the squad and push for a place.
“It’s been a good experience though. I’ve played a few reserve games and I thought they’ve gone quite well and now I’ve been in the squad a few times and nice to be on the bench.
“Hopefully I can stay in the first team squad. That’s my main aim now, to stay in there and push for a place.
“There are a lot of quality players here and a lot of great defenders which makes it hard but you have to keep going.”
The 20-year-old has certainly made an impression where it matters — manager George Graham recently heaped praise on Thelwell’s defensive qualities. “He’s a defender who likes defending and that’s a rarity nowadays,” said the boss.
Thelwell agreed: “The best part of my game is defending. There are other aspects I still have to work on but defending will be my strong point.”
At least Thelwell — who was first named as a substitute when Luke Young made his debut at West Ham in November 1998 — knows that he is at a club that will give youth a chance.
Luke Young, Ledley King, John Piercy and Mark Gower all represent youngsters who have pushed through in recent seasons and Matthew Etherington and Simon Davies marked their arrival at the club with first-team debuts within three months.
Thewell added: “When you look at Luke Young, Ledley King - they’ve come from the youth team and done well. John Piercy also made his debut last season so it looks good here for young players.”
Thelwell could just be the next new kid on the block.