Ange Postecoglou excited for the future at Tottenham as young squad shows great promise

Ange Postecoglou excited for the future at Tottenham as young squad shows great promise

Ange Postecoglou believes there is still "so much growth" to come from his young Tottenham players, and has spoken in glowing terms about Pedro Porro, Pape Sarr and Micky van de Ven in particular.

On Saturday, Spurs face Newcastle at St. James' Park, where Porro and Sarr were two of the fall-guys from their humiliating 6-1 defeat last season, which brought down the curtain on interim coach Cristian Stellini's strange interregnum.

Under pressure to deviate from Antonio Conte's set-up, Stellini switched to a back four on Tyneside, featuring Porro at right-back, with disastrous consequences.

The game helped to foster a perception that the Spaniard was a specialist wing-back who could not be trusted in a back four.

But Postecoglou, who revealed he has not watched the game back, says he had no concerns about using Porro in his current role.

"No, I didn't," the Spurs manager said Friday. "I really enjoyed working with Pedro right from the start.

"He's got great energy, he's really good technically. He's really eager to learn, he's done a lot of work on his defensive side with Wellsy [coach Matt Wells] and the defensive unit as a group. I think he's benefitted from that and grown into it.

"I still think there's a lot more growth in him because he's tackling the defensive side of his job, which is the area people obviously had some scepticism around.

"When you play as a wing-back, you don't need to defend particularly in a one-on-one situation. But he's been outstanding this year at dealing with some really good wingers in this league and rarely has he been left short.

"So I think there's a lot more in him and I'm really pleased that he's embraced the way we play our football."

Sarr was substituted by Stellini after 23 minutes of the match with Spurs trailing by five goals but has been excellent under Postecoglou this season.

"Pape has a super energy about him," the Australian said. "Every day he trains with a smile on his face but he works damn hard.

"I think he's a really exciting footballer. He's one of these midfielders you need these days, he's very dynamic, he covers the ground really well, defensively and offensively. He gets into the box, he's scored a couple of goals for us this year.

"His technical ability is strong and he's a good ball carrier as well. And he's still young. He's another one who I feel there is so much more growth in, in all aspects. I just really like his general demenour. He feels like he's been blessed to have this opportunity and he's going to do everything to make the most out of it.

"It's great to have him as part of the group. He's very popular within the group because of his nature. But he's a hell of a footballer. I've got a lot of time for Pape and he's another one where there's just a lot of growth there from what I see."

Sarr has been fasting for Ramadan, which concluded on Wednesday, and Postecoglou added: "It's always a challenge for the players but they are beliefs they feel very strongly about and we try to support them in the best way we can.

"He's gone about his football still dilligently and gone through what he needs to go through. Now it's over and I'm sure it'll allow him now to get back to the levels he needs to get to."

Postecoglou is excited about the potential of all his young players in the squad, including van de Ven who has been revelation since joining Spurs in the summer.

"I'm not interested in putting a limit on [his potential]," Postecoglou said, when asked how good the Dutch centre-half could become.

"Four years ago, if somebody had said to him, "One day, your goal should be to play in the Premier League". Well he's done it at 22.

"With all these things, you should never put limits on them. He’s done brilliantly. The growth in him, that’s the exciting thing for me with this group – we’ve got a real core and there’s still so much growth in them.

"Invariably, it’s their first season in the Premier League or they’re young in age, and they’ve adapted so well at a big club where there are expectations. It’s not like they’re going to fly under the radar by doing two or three years before moving to a big club. They’re under the spotlight straightaway.

"Whether that’s Vic [Guglielmo Vicario] in goal or Micky or Brennan [Johnson] or Destiny [Udogie] or Pape. With Micky, the beauty of it is he is just wants more. It’s up to us to make sure that we don’t stunt his growth by putting a limit on how good he can be."

Meanwhile, Postecoglou revealed he has not watched Newcastle's fly-on-the-wall documentary of last season nor Tottenham's own Amazon Prime series from the 2019-20 campaign.

"I think I watched Sunderland ’Til I Die. It was good," he said.

"[I haven't watched any others] because I just think it becomes a bit manufactured. I’d be very surprised if you get a real sort of glance. Look, who am I to say, I’m no movie critic. Maybe people like them. But not for me. I love documentaries, but nah."

Would Postecoglou be interested in starring in his own version one day?

"Nah," he said. "Unless you want a cure for insomnia, mate. Put it on late at night and dream yourself away."