FA Youth Cup preview
CHARLTON VS SPURS, THE VALLEY, KICK-OFF 1900.
David Beckham. Ryan Giggs. Gary Neville. Paul Scholes.
The much talked about Fergie's Fledglings of the early 1990s made their mark in the FA Youth Cup, and our latest crop of young talent will be looking to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition as we face a trip to Charlton in the fifth round on Thursday night.
With victory over Cardiff in the last round thanks to goals from Jack Munns and Souleymane Coulibaly, Under-18 Youth Team Manager Alex Inglethorpe will take his young charges to The Valley with high hopes of victory in a tournament with an illustrious history.
Spurs have won the trophy three times since it began in 1953 (our last victory was in 1990), but regardless of the result against Charlton, Inglethorpe sees nothing but positives from competing for the trophy.
"It's going to be a great challenge for the players, Charlton are a good team. The players are aware of the history of the FA Youth Cup.
"Our motivation for doing well is that you want to see how they handle the next level of pressure. As every round progresses, the attendances go up and there's a bit more attention on the game. That's important for them.
"I think it's good for them to learn how to win, for sure. But we've got examples of players who lost early on in the competition - Jake Livermore for example, got knocked out against Port Vale in the second round a few years ago - and if anything, I think that added another veneer of experience which I think has put him in a good position with the first team.
"Sometimes the unfortunate experiences, although we have to take it on the chin as a team, can benefit the individual."
Those that makes their way to The Valley to watch our young talent should expect to watch a side playing with a style similar to that of the first team, and Inglethorpe believes it is important for his team to learn to play 'the Spurs way'.
"We were proud of our victory over Cardiff in their fourth-round because we want to play and try and emulate the identity of the first team. We want to play in that style; it's pointless in us creating teams that are defensive and closed, and built to play on the counter-attack.
"When you watch the first team play, they own the pitch, they're forward thinking, they have momentum, they're enormously skilful. We have to try to emulate that if we're to try and produce players who can play in the team. Against Cardiff, we tried to do that, we tried to be imaginative and brave, and we'll do exactly that again, whoever we play.
The prize for tonight's winner is a tie against Manchester United in the quarter-finals, so have the management team and players got one eye on a trip to Old Trafford?
"Everyone is aware of it but that would be a huge disrespect to Charlton. Having seen Charlton, they're one of the best teams this year. We've got it all to do."