Which young stars will make it at Spurs next season?

Posted by Dan Fitch

Ben Stansall/Getty ImagesA Gareth Bale departure from White Hart Lane could lead to ample playing time for Andros Townsend at Tottenham.

For a long time the youth setup at Spurs was a complete waste of time.

After a period in the nineties when Tottenham's youth side churned out the likes of Ian Walker, Sol Campbell, Stephen Carr, Luke Young, Ledley King and Peter Crouch, years passed without anyone coming through the system to make it as a top player.

Every now and again we'd get all excited about a prospect like Lee Barnard, who couldn't stop scoring for the reserves, or Mark Yeates, who was hailed as the 'new Paul Gascoigne'.

They would go on to have careers in football, but not at the top level. For a long time, dear old Ledley King was the last player to have come through the ranks and establish himself in the first-team.

Spurs are still to produce another player like King, but there are at least signs that things are looking up when it comes to growing your own.

Jake Livermore and Steven Caulker have become squad players. Andros Townsend impressed on-loan at QPR last season and could join them, while a host of Tottenham's other young stars gained lower league level experience.

So who will be making an impression at White Hart Lane next season and which players will be off on-loan? Here's my verdict:

Andros Townsend

Before he stupidly got himself embroiled in betting scandal, Townsend's loan spell at QPR couldn't have gone much better. Townsend looked like a dangerous player at Premier League level, despite playing for a relegated team.

- Townsend banned and fined by FA

So what's the next step? Townsend's ban will be finished in time for him to be ready for the new season, so his options are fully open. The club could choose to loan him out to a mid-table side, but with Gareth Bale likely to either be sold or be playing more centrally, then Townsend could get games.

Adam Smith

Alongside Townsend, the other player who most impressed on-loan last season was Adam Smith at Millwall. The right-back has established himself in the England U-21 side, and at 22 years old looks set to test himself in the Premier League next season.

I'm not sure that it will be at Tottenham just yet. Andre Villas-Boas clearly rates Kyle Naughton and he will probably deputise for Kyle Walker, while Smith enjoys a loan to a lower-half side. If Smith continues to impress in the way he has, then he will return to Spurs by 2014-15 to challenge Walker for that right-back spot.

Tom Carroll

Next season is a very important one for Carroll. Last season he was very impressive when given an opportunity, but AVB sometimes seemed reluctant to grant those opportunities. Does he truly rate him?

Perhaps it's the fact that Carroll is such a slight figure and looks like he should be doing a paper round. A loan spell where he would play every week is one option to toughen him up, but I think he's good enough to make a bigger impact at Spurs next season. A switch to 4-3-3 would give him more opportunities.

Harry Kane

Not 20 until July, Kane has been out on loan four times during his short career. It was only at Millwall where he really shone. Last season's loan at Norwich was always a strange choice by Tottenham. Kane was never going to play alongside Grant Holt and an injury cut short his time at Carrow Road.

So what's next? Perhaps a loan spell at a promoted Premier League side like Hull or Crystal Palace would prove more fruitful, or maybe some time with a top Championship team. Kane's got talent, but he's not ready for Spurs yet and would be better off somewhere where he will get games.

Best of the rest

I don't see anyone else making an impact in the Premier League next season, whether at Spurs or elsewhere.

Alex Pritchard is perhaps the brightest of Tottenham's young stars and having had a successful short loan at Peterborough, he should find a spot with a better Championship side.

Zeki Fryers probably needs to get experience at a similar level, while it would be useful for Cristian Ceballos and Souleymane Coulibaly to get their first taste of some senior English football.

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