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Introducing our new Under-18s players

Thu 12 July 2018, 16:45|Tottenham Hotspur

With preparations underway for the new season, 10 young players have joined our Under-18s squad as full-time, first-year scholars.

Since reporting in at Hotspur Way on the first day of pre-season, the group has had the chance to adapt to their new environment, meet their new colleagues and start working hard on the training pitches and in the gym.

This year’s intake is made up of one goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders, one winger and two strikers.

Polish youth international keeper Kacper Kurylowicz comes through the doors with centre-backs Malachi Walcott and Luis Binks, plus full-back Dennis Cirkin, all of whom have represented England at youth level. Luis has also been capped by Scotland while Dennis has made one appearance for Latvia.

Harvey White made his debut in the Under-18 Premier League towards the end of last season and he is joined by fellow midfielders Chay Cooper, a Harlow-born attack-minded player who enjoyed success at short- and long-distance running as a schoolboy, and Rafferty Pedder, who operates in the centre of the park.

Fast-paced winger J’Neil Bennett stepped up to make 14 appearances for our Under-18s last season, including three starts in the FA Youth Cup, and will hope to offer support to strikers Troy Parrott, a Republic of Ireland Under-17 international, and Enock Asante, who was a 400m and 800m champion in school.

These 10 players join our 16 second-year scholars to form this year’s Under-18s squad under coach Matt Wells.

We’re looking at the individuals and seeing how we can stretch and improve them.

Under-18s Coach Matt Wells

In addition to working with Matt, our Under-18s will benefit from the tutelage of our wider Academy coaching and player development team including former England international Paul Bracewell, who won the title and European Cup Winners' Cup at Everton during a 20-year playing career before a spell as manager of Fulham and coach at Sunderland, and popular Academy graduate and ex-first team star Ryan Mason, who continues to gain experience of practical coaching at Hotspur Way as he intends to work through his coaching badges.

With the lads set to travel out to their annual training camp in Belgium next week, Matt has been pleased with what he’s seen from his young charges so far in pre-season.

“The boys have been good,” he said. “Everyone has done their off-season programmes, the technical levels have been good and now we’re trying to build and improve every day.

“The standards we’ve set have been high and now it’s about building up to our week in Belgium. Over the last few days we’ve started to do more decision-making practices, more possession drills, more games and started to emphasise the style of play.

“Our new first-years had a very good season last year in the Under-16s, so they’ve got a good base in that regard. Now we’re looking at the individuals and seeing how we can stretch and improve them.”

Grandson of our legendary 1961 Double winner Cliff Jones, Matt has taken over as Under-18s Coach after working as assistant coach to Scott Parker last term.

“It’s an exciting challenge for me but really, the job doesn’t change,” he said.

“It’s about the players and improving them and that’s exactly what we’ll look to do this season.”