I wondered in a recent article if Mauricio Pochettino was fast tracking the youngster to prepare him for 2 seasons time when he may become a first choice. You can read that article via the link above.
He was on the bench in the away tie to Benfica when we started with Fryers and Sandro as our centre-back airing, I was hoping Veljković would make his debut in that game. He had earlier in the Europa League sat on the bench in both legs against Dnipro.
In the Premier League he was on the bench against WBA, Stoke City and Cardiff City before getting 2 minutes as a defensive midfielder in the 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland at White Hart Lane. Another game on the bench WBA was followed by 20 minutes this time, in the final game of the season against Aston Villa.
Sherwood ended that game with Bentaleb (19), Pritchard (21), Veljković (18) and Harry Kane (21, but then 20) on the field. Now Spurs fans have seen players on the North American tour they are starting to say they should be given a chance, but conveniently turn a blind eye to Tim Sherwood's role in opening the eyes of the club to the possibilities within the Development Squad.
Miloš Veljković, Ryan Mason and Cristian Ceballos arguably made the most of their time in North America. Serbian Veljković looked assured, yes of course he made mistakes as you would expect, but overall his post tour assessment would have been a very positive one.
He has taken the step from being in and around the squad, getting used to the feel and atmosphere, to playing in the team in front of large crowds and having the responsibility to perform in a crucial area, centre-back. He and experienced club captain Michael Dawson kept a clean sheet against Chicago Fire.
“I haven’t played in that position for six or seven months but the gaffer knows I can play both in midfield and at the back so I was happy to adapt to what he wanted.
“I think I did well and I’m pleased with how it went. I played half a game alongside Younes Kaboul in Seattle and Toronto and then played with Daws for the last match against Chicago. They both helped me. I train with them every day as well so it’s good to have their guidance.
“In the third game I played 80 minutes and although I didn’t expect I would play that long, I felt it went well and that additional experience will help me going forward.”
He has a bright future, it won't involve regular starts in the Premier League yet but he should certainly be getting his share of game time. With the imminent signing of 20-year-old Eric Dier Spurs may well have a young centre-back pairing for many years to come.
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Like Veljković, Eric Dier can play centre-back or defensive midfield, but as 1.88m (6' 2") you'd expect him to play at the heart of the defence. He has been in Portugal since he was a young child so has learned to play with an ability on the ball.
He aim has been to become good enough to play in the Premier League and when clubs including Tottenham started watching him he started refusing new contracts. Sporting wanted to insert a huge buyout clause as Portuguese clubs generally do with players to maximise transfer fees but for the last 2 years Dier has simply refused new contracts.
We have made enquiries for him before but have not been able to agree a fee. Now as his contract gets shorter agreement seems to have been reached and Dier will get his move that I suspect he has known about for a long time.
The England U21 centre-back has now made 32 appearances for Sporting, scoring 1 goal with 5 assists. Like Veljković he is not the finished article but a very promising one indeed who will again get his share of game time, assuming all the formalities are completed and he signs.
While we may be experiencing problems now the future of the centre of defence looks rosy.