Tottenham academy director advises patience and “calm” with talented 16-year old Mikey Moore

Every so often Tottenham Hotspur’s academy spits out a youth prospect that gets fans in an absolute froth thinking about future possibilities. Even on this blog! You don’t have to go too far back in the archives to see us salivating over players like Troy Parrott, Marcus Edwards, Harry Kane, or even Tom Carroll (RIP). It’s fun to look at a talented youngster and think about what he could do for the first team if that player develops in the right way.

Spurs’ current academy is chock full of talented players at the moment so there are plenty to choose from, but the kid who’s getting the most attention right now is 16-year old forward Mikey Moore, who has been an absolute revelation for Spurs’ U18s. Moore is one of the brightest stars in his class in England and is currently cooking at the U17 European Championships, with four group stage goals heading into the quarterfinals, joint top in the competition.

Moore signed a professional contract with Spurs last summer, and spent some time training with the first team towards the end of the season. He even made two appearances in the Premier League in spot minutes, becoming Spurs’ youngest ever Premier League player in the process. He’s a super talent despite his years and if he develops well could turn into a legit superstar.

But he might not! On this blog we’re fond of saying that youth development is a crap-shoot, and English football is littered with talented young players who for whatever reason never fully realized their potential or who plateaued at a certain level below the very top.

That’s also the feeling of Tottenham’s academy director Simon Davies, who is the person best able to evaluate Moore’s current ability and where he could go from here. In quotes given to the Evening Standard, Davies says that first-team head coach Ange Postecoglou is eager to blood in Tottenham’s quality youngsters into the first team, provided that they’re at the right level to contribute. Considering Moore’s age, it’d be best for everyone if fans have a little patience and, if you’ll pardon the phrase, trust the process.

“I speak to the manager regularly and he’s got a real thirst for youth development. He understands the fans’ and the club’s ambitions to have several – not just one – but several of our own in the first-team.

“But it’s my job to make sure those players are at the level of Ange. It’s not a given. We’re Tottenham, we want to be a Champions League club that’s fighting at the top end. So we have to make sure the players are at the right level.

“It’s not fair to ask a manager at any club to give young players a go when they’re not at the level. I know Ange is ready for young players to go in the first team.”

Yeah. Totally. Look, there’s a lot to be excited about in Spurs’ current crop of youngsters — not just Moore, but Jamie Donley, Tyrese Hall, Alfie Dorrington, Alfie Devine, Ash Phillips — pick any one you want plus more I’m sure I’ve forgotten off the top of my head. It’s possible some of them could become, like Oliver Skipp before them, regular contributors to the first team. Some might even become stars!

But it’s also very likely that the club will need to make decisions to sell several of them to other clubs, not because they’re bad players but because they’re simply not at the level we need them to be and they’re better served elsewhere. We won’t know that about Mikey Moore for a while — he turns 17 in August. But his age is exactly why Spurs need to handle his development with extreme care.

Mikey Moore is probably too young to send off on loan next season — it’s pretty rare to see a kid shipped out to get kicked by grown men in a lower league before they hit 18. There’s a chance that he could force his way into the first team conversation, maybe pick up a few hundred spot minutes in Europa League or early cup round matches. He also might “simply” be promoted to U21 or U23 football at age 17 and gradually developed to make sure he doesn’t burn out or plateau too soon. That’s also okay.

Davies said it best — Moore has all the potential in the world, but right now he’s literally a child. The Premier League is very different from when Wayne Rooney broke through at Everton when he was 16, and we shouldn’t expect anything from Mikey that he’s not ready for.

“It’s encouraging that the manager sees something in Mikey but it is just potential at the moment. He’s a 16-year-old boy. He’s not 17 until August, so he’s a young boy with high potential. We have several of them in the academy. It’s exciting for the academy to have a player so young on the bench. But we have to stay calm and consistent. Because at the moment, it is just [potential].

“I spoke to him this morning while he was having his breakfast about staying calm and consistent and keep working hard every day, do the small things right [because] the small things get noticed.

“He’s super mature for a young boy so let’s hope his potential is fulfilled but unfortunately we haven’t got a crystal ball. So we just have to do all the things right every day and stay consistent and calm.”

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