Rounding out our series on academy stars from the “big six” Premier League clubs is a group of Spurs youngsters who could excel in 2023.
Tottenham have a squad that is actually led by an academy graduate. Harry Kane progressed through the Spurs ranks before becoming one of their best-ever players. In recent years, the likes of Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga have also fought their way into the first team.
The Lilywhites have had a mixed season so far. While they have reached the Champions League knockout stage, their domestic form has been inconsistent. Maybe, with an injection of youth, Antonio Conte’s side could see an upturn in form.
And these five youngsters may just be able to provide the spark that Spurs need.
Alfie Devine, 18
Midfielder Alfie Devine actually holds the record of being Spurs’ youngest-ever appearance maker. However, this came all the way back in January 2021 during an FA Cup third-round win over Marine. Since then, he has been one of numerous Spurs youngsters on the fringes of the first team.
The 18-year-old recovered from an early hamstring injury to divide time between the firsts, U21s, and U19s in 2022/23. Sadly, though, his sole first-team run-out was a brief cameo at the end of Tottenham’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Portsmouth in January.
So, the midfielder has featured for the U21s on nine occasions instead. Additionally, he was an important player in Spurs’ UEFA Youth League campaign. Devine has three goals from four appearances, including a brace against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Devine is a technically gifted attacking midfielder who demonstrates a knack for scoring goals. Hopefully, Antonio Conte can afford him some chances to show what he is made of in 2023.
Nile John, 19
Next up on our list of Spurs youngsters is a very highly rated midfielder. Nile John has become a regular in Tottenham’s U21 side, filling in at a variety of spots in the midfield. He is most confident in the middle of the park, though.
Last season, John registered seven goals and three assists in Premier League 2. He then spent three months on loan at Charlton before returning back to the North London club.
Many who watch Nile John can see the talent that Spurs have at their disposal. The 19-year-old is adept at keeping possession and controlling the game, thanks to his great decision-making and passing. John also shows good vision with which to find space for both him and his teammates.
Although he is a member of Spurs’ Premier League squad, the teenager is yet to make an appearance under Antonio Conte. Maybe 2023 will be his year after all.
Jamie Donley, 18
Jamie Donley is a young forward who is very well thought of within the Spurs setup. In 2021/22, he was fantastic in the U18 Premier League, scoring 16 times from 18 appearances and producing six assists.
As a result, the striker has earned call-ups to the next step in the ladder – the U21s. Although still adapting, Donley has registered a goal and assist. He also got a goal and two assists for the U19s in this season’s UEFA Youth League.
The England youngster is a number 9 that holds the ball well to include others in the attack. Donley is also unafraid of dropping a little deeper to get on the ball, after which he can use his passing range. And, of course, he has quality when in front of goal.
With Harry Kane and Richarlison in the first team, it may be a little while before Jamie Donley gets a first team shot. But that does not mean it will be impossible this year…
Dane Scarlett, 18
In contrast to the other Spurs youngsters on this list, Dane Scarlett is currently out on loan. The forward has been testing himself in League One with Portsmouth, scoring five goals so far.
Scarlett had experienced first-team football at Spurs in the seasons before, though, thanks to numerous substitute appearances. Nevertheless, he is now experiencing games at the professional level thanks to his spell with Pompey.
The England U20 forward has all the right tools for a top-level striker. He is dynamic, with great balance and power to get past defenders. Additionally, Scarlett is a clinical finisher, particularly with his right foot or in the air.
He exemplified this perfectly with a prolific 2020/21 season for Tottenham’s U18s. Scarlett finished that campaign with 17 goals from 16 league matches, plus four assists.
With some game time in a physical league such as League One, surely Antonio Conte will give Scarlett an opportunity in his team in the near future.
Pape Matar Sarr, 20
Finally, rounding out our list of Spurs youngsters to look out for in 2023 is a midfielder whom many Spurs fans want to see more of in the first XI. Spurs signed Pape Matar Sarr in 2021, but they loaned him back to his former club, Metz, last season.
Therefore, the 20-year-old is almost like a fresh signing for 2022/23 – and is already earning fans for his performances. The Senegal international has only made four appearances under Antonio Conte this campaign, though.
Sarr fully grabbed the opportunity during Tottenham’s FA Cup tie with Portsmouth in January. The defensive midfielder played the full 90 minutes, showing off all his best attributes. He won the ball back relentlessly, then showed off his technical ability by passing beautifully.
From here, Conte has used Sarr twice as a substitute in the Premier League. He then made his first league start in the North London Derby, but this finished in a disappointing 2-0 loss.
Pape Matar Sarr will likely see more and more minutes as the season progresses. Fans are beginning to build hype around him; the youngster looks set to live up to it.
Featured image credit: Getty