Athletic journalist Charlie Eccleshare delivers exciting claim about talented Tottenham youngster ahead of next season.  > Football >  Athletic journalist Charlie Eccleshare delivers exciting claim about talented Tottenham youngster ahead of next season.

Athletic Journalist Charlie Eccleshare has expressed his excitement over the potential of record-breaking Tottenham teenager Alfie Devine ahead of next season.

Tottenham record-breaking Alfie Devine celebrates  after scoring England second goal against Austria. (Getty Images)

Aged 16 years and 163 days, Devine became both Tottenham’s youngest-ever player and youngest-ever goalscorer, hinting that he would develop into the special talent that many had predicted when he was coming through the ranks at Wigan Athletic.

“He’s a kid with good potential,” then-Spurs boss Jose Mourinho said of the youngster. “He’s basically a midfield player, but with an instinct to appear in finishing zones and to score goals.” A few weeks later Mourinho selected Devine in his squad for the Premier League trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.

Already this summer, the 17-year-old has caught the eye having scored a ‘stunning goal’ for England’s U19s in their recent 2-0 Euros win over Austria.

It was the kind of goal he makes a habit of scoring, drifting into space unchecked and then finishing clinically. For Tottenham Under-23s last season, he scored nine goals in 17 Premier League 2 games (as well as making three assists).

Tottenham record-breaking Alfie Devine.

While talking on The Fighting Cock podcast, Charlie Eccleshare explained that Antonio Conte is a big fan of Devine, which is why he was so involved with the first team towards the end of last season — both in training and being on the bench for matches like May’s north London derby. It wasn’t just about filling gaps — Conte and his staff really see something in the youngster.

Tottenham record-breaking Alfie Devine

The shirts of Lucas Moura, Harry Winks and Alfie Devine inside the dressing room prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Photo: Getty Images)

” Devine has impressed so much in first-team training he wasn’t included in Premier League match day squads last season just to make up the numbers, but because he was already trusted to make an impact if needed.”

“I just think there is something about him. And that’s, you know, come from conversations with people who know a lot about this space.”

“You know, [people] who’ve worked in youth development football for a long time who have seen him up close.”

“He’s come into the first team, hasn’t been overawed by it. Had slotted right in you know, that’s the impression they’ve overseen in training.”

“So he’s been training with first team, and he was on the bench for quite a few games at the end of last season – including the North London derby. And what I’ve been told is that that wasn’t in a kind of ‘making up the numbers’ kind of way. That was because; ‘We trust this guy’.”

Devine has been widely referred to as a central midfielder, but it is clear he does his best work in the attacking third of the pitch. His dribbling and close control are among his best attributes, and he combines that with excellent timing, good game intelligence and a natural off-the-cuff creativity.

Spurs had considered keeping Devine at the club for another season so that he would have completed three full seasons and could then be registered as a club-trained player. The fact Devine had joined from Wigan Athletic in 2020 meant he couldn’t be registered on Spurs’ B list for European competition last season and explains why we didn’t see him in Europa Conference League squads.

But his development has been such that a loan is seen as the best course of action — Devine himself is keen for regular men’s football — and his reputation is growing all the time. He’s caught the eye of some of Europe’s top clubs as well.

Spurs will give careful consideration to where to loan Devine, hopeful of recreating the successes of Oliver Skipp at Norwich in the 2020-21 campaign, and Troy Parrott at MK Dons in the season just gone.

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