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Steve impressed by Academy

Legendary former skipper Steve Perryman has given our current Academy squad his seal of approval.

Legendary former skipper Steve Perryman has given our current Academy squad his seal of approval.

A player who came through the youth ranks himself before going on to make a record 854 appearances in all competitions between 1969-86, Steve was at last week's FA Youth Cup tie at Plymouth and witnessed first-hand the lads' fine performance and 3-0 win.

His comments are all the more pertinent as eight of that team have travelled out to the Ukraine and are in the squad for the first leg of our UEFA Cup, last 32 tie against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Steve, who lifted the UEFA Cup in 1972 and 1984 as well as the League Cup twice and FA Cup twice, made the trip from his home in Exeter, where he is currently Director of Football at Exeter City.

He was impressed with what he saw in the muddy conditions at Home Park.

"I haven't seen the youth team play for a number of years but I was interested firstly because obviously Tottenham is my club and then I have the added interest in Alex Inglethorpe (coach), who played for me at Watford and I then helped appoint him as manager of Exeter, where he did well for us. We speak regularly.

"It was a great chance to see the team because Plymouth is not far away from where I live in Exeter and I have to say I was hugely impressed.

"Conditions were awful and I'd heard from Alex that they'd gone out in the competition in similar circumstances in the last couple of years.

"I hoped that they were going to stay faithful to their footballing traditions and that's exactly what I witnessed.

"The lads were confident, absolutely nailed on with their jobs within that team and the most impressive thing for me was within this group of individually talented players, they all worked together as a team.

"They showed huge talent in how they controlled and passed the ball, the served the ball to each other, not passed it, but served it on a real mudheap of a pitch. They looked confident not just in their own ability but in each other's ability to handle the ball on a difficult pitch with the opponents in close attendance.

"They were very, very able to play the so-called easy ball but also showed the talent and technique to get themselves out of trouble.

"From a young team, it was a very mature performance sprinkled with pace, great decisions on and off the ball and a unity to defend together and attack together.

"I was so happy that the people of the South-West saw this team, built up on the traditions of all sorts of good football people that Alex and John McDermott (Academy director) are carrying on. It was great."