Positive year for on-loan goalkeeper McGee
Fri 30 December 2016, 13:03|Tottenham Hotspur
He started 2016 training with Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm and ended it as number one goalkeeper for Peterborough United – all amounting to a valuable 12 months of experience for young goalkeeper Luke McGee.
A product of our academy, the 21-year-old served as third choice stopper for us last season while honing his craft under the tutelage of goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez.
Often seen warming up with Hugo and Michel on the pitch before games, he also made a handful of appearances for us on the bench over the course of the calendar year, including two in the Premier League at the start of the current campaign.
But when League One side Peterborough United offered him the opportunity to play senior competitive football for the first time in his career, Luke headed to the ABAX Stadium on loan at the end of August – and he hasn’t looked back.
Swiftly installed as Posh number one, he’s played 21 times in all competitions to date, saving three penalties and keeping five clean sheets with his side pushing for a spot in the play-offs and looking forward to an FA Cup third round showdown with top flight leaders Chelsea on January 8.
Checking in with us this week, the Edgware-born custodian says he can look back on 2016 with a sense of satisfaction and pride, but with the ongoing realisation that the hard work is only just beginning.
“I’m more than happy with how the year has gone and it all started with working every day with Hugo, Michel and Toni – you can’t put a price on how much that helps you improve,” reflected Luke.
“They were all very good for me and thankfully now I’m putting things into practice in real, competitive games at Peterborough. It’s very enjoyable but it’s still important for me to be focused, work hard day in, day out and continue to develop.”
With his loan spell now extended until the end of the season, the enthusiastic youngster says he’s highly optimistic for what 2017 will bring.
“I’ve really enjoyed it so far,” he continued. “Obviously I didn’t really know what I was going into when I first arrived because I hadn’t played any first team games in the league. I was looking forward to it but also a little bit apprehensive, but the lads were great with me as soon as I arrived, the gaffer told me exactly what he wanted us to do and what the goals were and from there it’s all gone well. We’re seventh at the moment but we’ve got a game in hand where we could go up to fourth if things go to plan so we’re definitely on track and I’m enjoying it.
“I’m staying until the end of the season now but it’s important that I stay focused, keep up the form I’ve been in, get as many games under my belt as possible and hopefully get promotion with Peterborough. I’ve been in close contact with a lot of people at Spurs and we sat down, spoke about it and we all thought it was the best thing for me to stay on for the time being. I’m playing games on a weekly basis, enjoying it, everyone is happy so it was an easy decision overall.”
Luke has remained ever-present between the sticks for the Posh in recent weeks, playing in a 1-0 win at Northampton, 2-0 home loss against Scunthorpe, 5-2 home triumph over Chesterfield, 2-0 victory at Charlton Athletic and – most recently – a 1-1 home draw with Gillingham on Boxing Day in League One, while also featuring in the FA Cup second round tie (2-2 away draw) and subsequent replay (2-0 home win) against Notts County to set up next month’s showpiece trip to Stamford Bridge.
Young Spurs colleague Nathan Oduwa, also on loan at Peterborough and named on the bench for the original tie with Notts County, featured as a 74th-minute substitute in the replay and also saw action in the second half against Chesterfield and Gillingham.
Elsewhere, midfielder Will Miller has regularly appeared off the bench for Championship side Burton Albion, coming on as a substitute midway through the second half in a 3-0 loss at Reading last month and then playing in all of December's fixtures prior to the Boxing Day loss at Aston Villa – a 2-1 home win over Rotherham, a loss at Brentford by the same scoreline and home defeats to Huddersfield Town (1-0) and Newcastle United (2-1).
Over in France, Clinton Njie (pictured, above) grabbed a stoppage-time winner for Marseille just moments after coming on to secure a 2-1 Ligue 1 victory at Bastia in their final match before the winter break last week. He was also on target in a 3-0 home win over Nancy on December 4 and started in victories over Dijon (2-1) and Lille (2-0) in the intervening time. Back in November he featured off the bench in a goalless draw at Saint-Etienne and a 4-0 loss at Monaco.
Defender Federico Fazio, meanwhile, continues to enjoy a sustained run in the side for Italian giants Roma. After a 2-1 Serie A loss at Atalanta and 4-1 triumph over Viktoria Plzen in the Europa League, he was involved in a run of four league wins out of five prior to the winter break. Sides put to the sword included Pescara (3-2), Lazio (2-0), AC Milan (1-0) and, most recently, Chievo (3-1), with only league leaders Juventus (1-0 defeat) getting the better of his team on December 17.
Elsewhere, Nabil Bentaleb’s Schalke have endured a tough month in Germany, failing to win a game in December. Midfielder Nabil has been in and out of the side, starting the most recent matches against Freiburg (1-1 draw) and Hamburg (2-1 defeat) on December 17 and December 20 respectively. Prior to that, he was a late substitute against Bayer Leverkusen (1-0 loss), started against RB Leipzig (2-1 defeat) and – back in November – Darmstadt 98 (3-1 win), featured briefly against Nice (2-0 win) and completed 86 minutes against Wolfsburg (1-0 win).