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Meet the identical twins in our first team squad at Paços de Ferreira

Thu 19 August 2021, 18:31|Tottenham Hotspur

Michael and Matthew Craig are making history tonight (Thursday 19 August) as the first ever identical twins to appear in a men’s first team matchday squad for us.

The brothers have both been named on a youthful substitutes’ bench for our UEFA Europa Conference League play-off, first leg against at Paços de Ferreira in Portugal.

Born two minutes apart at Barnet Hospital on 16 April, 2003, the 18-year-olds have shone in our Academy set-up over the last few years and signed their first professional contracts with us towards the end of last season.

Stepping up to the Development Squad this year having played for our Under-18s in 2020/21, they operate as central midfielders, although Matthew – born second and therefore slightly younger – can also play at centre-half.

The siblings haven’t always been together at Spurs, though – in fact, they actually spent a year on opposite sides of the north London divide, with Matthew joining us at Under-12 level while Michael played for Arsenal’s Under-12s, with both having previously been at Watford. Michael joined his brother in our colours in the Under-13s and they’ve been team-mates ever since, apart from when Michael spent a year out with a back injury in 2019/20.

Former pupils at Dame Alice Owen’s School in Potters Bar, they studied A-Level French and maths while playing for our Under-18s and each recently attained A grades in both, Matthew picking up an A* in the latter.

Both talented footballers in their own right, they represent Scotland at youth level – both of their grandfathers are Scottish, one of whom is former Notts County forward Ron Still. Their father David played non-league football for Cockfosters and Broxbourne.

Away from football, they follow the NFL and are fans of the Atlanta Falcons, who will be taking on the New York Jets at our stadium in October. When they were younger, before pursuing careers in the game, the pair appeared in catalogues and marketing material for a number of well-known department store chains to advertise various kids’ wear ranges.

Matthew once spoke in our official matchday programme about what it’s like to be an identical twin: “I quite enjoy it,” he said. “I’m lucky because I get on with my brother really well so you always have someone to speak to if you need to and if you want to go out and do something you’ve always got someone to do it with. If he doesn’t want to do something I’ll pester him into it!”

Similarly, Michael explained in the programme about how the pair like to link up on the pitch: “I think we’re lucky,” he said. “Everyone has players who they have a natural chemistry with and when you spend a lot of your lives together, you just end up knowing what the other person wants from you on and off the pitch. That gives you a deeper understanding of how you can work with them to try to dominate games with the team.”

This evening represents the first time either player has been part of our first team squad, although they’re in good company – Ryan Sessegnon knows all about life as a footballing twin, having played alongside his brother Steven at Fulham prior to joining us.