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Youth Profile - Nicky Eyre

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).

Nicky Eyre certainly has the attitude and character to become a professional footballer, but he stumbled on becoming a goalkeeper almost by accident.

The 17-year-old first year Academy trainee admits the game nearly passed him by when he was younger and it was only chance appearance for a kids team that changed the course of his life.

"I wasn't really interested in football until I was about eight or nine, which sounds young but these days they start even earlier," he says. "My Dad asked me if I wanted to train with one of his mates' teams one day so I went along. When I got there they said to me 'Stand between those two posts and don't let the ball past.'

"That was my introduction to goalkeeping! A couple of weeks later they put me in goal for a proper game and that was it," adds Nicky.

"We used to lose heavily and I'd let in loads of goals but I still made plenty of saves and it was good, I enjoyed it. I never was a fan of running, so it suited me down to the ground."

Born in Braintree in September, 1985, Nicky went to Notley High School. He almost joined Ipswich Town until he was offered a trial with us as a 10-year-old. That went well and he was taken into our youth set-up.

Last June, he joined the club full-time as one of 11 first-year trainees. After a strenuous pre-season, he donned the goalkeeping gloves for the Under-17s and enjoyed the new experience.

"It was very different to what we had all been used," says Nicky. "It was a lot more physical but we started quite well. We had two tough games against Sheffield United and Liverpool, but won the first and drew the second and that gave us a lot of hope."

"But our results have been a bit indifferent since then. We had a dip midway through the first half of the campaign, although we picked up a bit in late November, December time.

"I'll admit myself that I went through a loss of form as well, it might have been fitness, might have been getting used to playing at that level, but I worked hard, stuck at it and feel I've done well in our last six games or so.

"The team is improving as well, hopefully we've got over our sticky patch and can enjoy the second half of the campaign.

Nicky knows there's a lot of hard work ahead, but there's one area of his game he's keen to improve.

"It's definitely my left swinger," he says. "These days it's so important for a keeper to be good with both feet so I'm practicing all the time with my left. It's noticeable when a goalie isn't comfortable with both feet and you can never guarantee that the ball will always come onto your stronger foot. But the fewer weaknesses you have the better goalkeeper you'll become."

Like all players, particularly of his age and level, Nicky has plenty of hopes and ambitions but he's keeping them close to his chest for now.

"I've just got to keep doing what I've been doing, working hard at parts of my game which need improving," he explains. "I can only do my best, then it's up to others to decide which teams to play me in, but as long as I continue to enjoy my football, I'll be happy."

Coach's comments

Nicky's got a lot going for him, he's one of the better goalkeepers youth football has developed over the last two or three years. But there are always pitfalls, so he needs to keep working hard.

He finished the first half of the season quite well. There's good competition for goalkeepers at the club so he knows he has to keep plugging away. He's got his foot on the first step of the ladder but there's a long way to go for him.

Goalkeepers aren't judged on how many saves they produce but how few mistakes they make, so he needs to keep those at a minimum and then maybe the club will have another top quality keeper in years to come.

Perry Suckling
Academy goalkeeping coach.

Interview by Jon Rayner, programme editor