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Monday 13 May 2013

Barclays U21s: Spurs look to justify favourites' tag

Ahead of their semi-final against Everton, we look at Spurs' Under-21s

Spurs's Nabil Bentaleb scores the winner against Arsenal

Throughout the inaugural Barclays Under-21 Premier League has brought the latest news and results from the competition.

As the competition enters its final stages we look more closely at the teams taking part in the final stage. Everton, who were looked at last week, got through to the final stage after a penalty shoot-out victory against Newcastle United.

As as result they will face Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, who are viewed as the favourites, having won their groups in Phases 1 and 2. The match takes place at 7pm tonight. Tickets are £5 for adults, £3 for One Hotspur Members and season ticket-holders, £1 for seniors and £1 for juniors. More details here.

Paul Miles, of Spurs' website,, tells us more about the Spurs team.

Spurs' season so far

Played 26; Won 16; Drawn 5; Lost 5; Goals for: 77; Goals against: 37.
Phase 1: 1st (Group 2)
Phase 2: 1st (Elite Group)
Final stage: 13 May v Everton (H), White Hart Lane, 7pm (semi-final).

Three players to watch out for

Cristian Ceballos (20) An exciting winger who has played more times (19) than any other squad member throughout the first two phases and scored 12 goals. He loves to cut inside from the right and fire off shots with his left foot. Always looks to take his opponent on.

Nabil Bentaleb (18) Has settled into the team following the loan departures in May and taken his chance. He is great on the ball with an eye for goal, scored the winner in the derby against Arsenal and has seven starts to his name.

Grant Hall (21) Hall captained the team late in the Elite Group phase. He is a tall, commanding centre-half, who is confident on the ball and has played 17 times across the two phases. It shouldn’t be overlooked that despite scoring freely, Spurs conceded just three goals in their last seven matches.

What style of play do the team have?

Spurs have a quick passing style, always looking to go forward. There is a very fluid movement in midfield with goalscoring wingers and full-backs who look to get forward usually in a 4-3-3 system.

What are your team’s strengths?

Quick passing, maintaining possession, recovering the ball after losing possession, pace, creativity in forward areas.

What has been your team’s highlight match of the second stage?

There are so many but I’d go for the 3-1 win at Anfield in April, because the team had lost a number of players on loan. Eighteen players who have played for our Under-21s have been out on loan and at Anfield, we were without 13 of them, but were so good in possession, created a host of chances and deserved to win against a good Liverpool team.

Who is the manager?

Three coaches look after the team: Tim Sherwood (head of football development); Chris Ramsey (senior professional phase coach); Les Ferdinand (professional phase coach). Ramsey has been at the forefront for us in terms of post-match reaction.

Ramsey took on his current role at the start of this season, having previously been our assistant academy manager and head of player development for our Under 9-16 age groups and, more recently, our assistant technical co-ordinator. Started his playing career with Bristol City, moving to Brighton in season 1980-81 and played against Manchester United in the 1983 FA Cup Final.

Helped Swindon to two promotions between 1985-88 and then played for Southend United before switching to Malta as player-manager of Naxxas Lions, steering the side to two promotions and a cup final appearance. He then moved to the USA as player-coach of Cocoa Expo, leading them to the National Final in 1996.

Returned to England as youth development officer with Leyton Orient before becoming FA regional director for London and the South-East. He was also head coach of the England Under-20s and assistant coach to the Under-18, 16 and 15 squads.

Became assistant manager at Luton Town in 2000 before returning to the States as head coach to Charleston Battery in 2001 where they became national champions in 2003. Now in his seventh season at Spurs having joined in the summer of 2005, he is a UEFA Pro Licence holder and has a BEd (Hons) and an MSc.

Leading appearances

Ceballos 19, Hall 17, Parrett 16, Obika, Veljkovic 15.

Leading goalscorers

Obika 15, Ceballos 12.

Senior players to have featured in the Under-21s

Tom Carroll, Steven Caulker, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Younes Kaboul, Jake Livermore.

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

Key Points

  • Ahead of the final stage of the Barclays U21 Premier League we look at the participating teams
  • Paul Miles, of Tottenham Hotspur, tells us more about his club's Under-21s
  • Spurs, who are favourites having won both group stages, face Everton in the semi-final

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