Youth Profile - Andrew Hodges
Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).
Andrew Hodges was anticipating another quiet evening recently, only for his plans to change dramatically for the better with a surprise call up to our reserve team squad.
The 17-year-old has been a near ever-present for our Under-17s this season but has yet to be selected for the Under-19s, so a place on the bench for the reserve fixture against Coventry City was the last thing on his mind.
But Andy was delighted to take his place in the squad alongside the likes of Neil Sullivan, Matt Etherington, Ben Thatcher, Milenko Acimovic, Alton Thelwell and Kazu Toda and although he never featured in the match itself, he was pleased to be there.
"It certainly came as a surprise to me, I never expected it for a minute," says Andy, a right-sided centre half. "I never made it off the bench but the experience has been fantastic and I'll learn from the night. Hopefully there will be more to follow."
Andy is the most recent signing of the 10 first year boys currently in our Academy. While most joined us as young as 10 or 11, Andy was 16 when he was spotted playing for Brentwood School.
He was vice-captain of the school team which won the Independent Schools Football Association shield - an Under-19s competition - at Filbert Street, winning on penalties against Bolton School.
"I was playing a few years above my age group and it was a great occasion, playing in front of a crowd at a proper stadium, it was certainly the peak of my career at the time," Andy explains. "But then Spurs came in for me soon after and I actually joined the club just over a year ago.
"I hadn't given up hope of being spotted, it is every boy's dream to play for a Premiership club, so I just kept playing as well as I could and hoped my chance would come."
Andy's dream was kept alive when we enrolled him into our Academy last summer and he has enjoyed his first taste of full-time football so far.
"It started off quite tough, but the coaches have really helped me and I feel I'm improving with every game I play. It's been good with the Under-17s, we've had some patchy results but we all put in 100 per cent all the time and I think we've been improving week by week.
"We are now coming into the last few months of the season, so it's important all of us in the team pull together and keep progressing, we've got the play-offs coming up so maybe we can get some good results in those."
With his first Reserve call-up now under his belt, Andy will be looking for more of the same but he knows he has a long way to go before these become a regular event.
"My aims are to keep listening, keep improving and to make the next step," he says. "As long as I continue to progress and take it all on board, hopefully that will take me to where I want to go and that is playing Premiership football."
Coach's comments - Jimmy Neighbour
Andy is a centre-half who can head the ball well, but needs to work more on certain aspects of his game, which I'm sure he will. He hadn't played a lot of football at this standard before he arrived, but he's adapted quite well and he is certainly working hard at his game.
He's a nice kid with a good attitude and he does want to learn. Andy has played most games for the Under-17s this season and hopefully over the next few months he'll be looking for a chance in the Under-19s with a view to getting himself ready for next season.