Spurs looking to give Walsall gem a crack at the big time
It’s fast becoming cliché to say that Mauricio Pochettino has a youth-first managerial policy. The Argentine made stellar use of Southampton’s academy in his first job in the Premier League and is currently working wonders with Spurs, using the youngest squad in the division.
With the Lilywhites unbeaten in a club-record 14 top-flight games, a streak which leaves them 23/20 to finish in the top four, there’s little reason for the north Londoners to change tack.
So it comes as no surprise that the morning gossip pages have Spurs as the front runners to hand one of League One’s leading young lights the chance to vault the footballing pyramid.
Walsall left-back Rico Henry is just 18, but has already emerged as the Saddlers’ best player this season.
Having had his first taste of league football with the club last season, the Birmingham native has started 15 of Walsall’s 20 games during the current campaign, exciting fans with his pace and attacking prowess along the left flank.
Henry flits between spots at full back and left wing and is a real attacking threat with the ball at his feet, looking to take opponents on at every opportunity.
His pace often gets him out of trouble in defence, allowing him to recover from positional mistakes, but is a huge asset in attack and his game has been compared to that of Ashley Cole’s.
Spurs fans may prefer links to Gareth Bale’s game over the former Arsenal and Chelsea international, and Henry’s ability to play on the wing is certainly more reminiscent of the Welsh superstar.
Although Walsall certainly hope to keep the 18-year-old for the remainder of the season, they are reportedly resigned to losing the youngster to a top club sooner rather than later.
They could benefit from selling the player in January and negotiating his immediate return on loan, similar to the deal that Spurs struck with MK Dons for Dele Alli last winter.
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