Winning matches, titles and philosophy of football; while all these are the features of a true football manager, the one absolutely crucial thing a manager must know how to do is to make his team perform beyond their abilities. Mauricio Pochettino, the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, is a living example of what to do as a manager to take your team to the next level.
Spurs have always been below the elite teams in the modern day Premier League. In came Pochettino in 2014 and roughly about 200 matches later Tottenham have ousted Arsenal and Chelsea in the league to UEFA Champions League football.
In 2014, he was the tenth man to take over the hot seat in twelve years at Spurs. The club chairman Daniel Levy has never been shy of pulling the trigger. However, Pochettino buckled down and got to work.
He quickly involved the players from the youth academy, including braving the induction of a young Harry Kane at the expense of the expensive Roberto Soldado, a move which gained him popularity amongst the local fans. He developed these players and his focus on youth has seen players like Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks into fine first team players for not just Tottenham but also England. His Tottenham team comprises a majority of the England National set-up, a contribution greatly appraised by national team manager Gareth Southgate.
Pochettino has developed the young Tottenham team into pacey, aggressive, determined players with great physical stamina and a love to move the ball fast and into the goal. The team has finished in the top three in the league for last three years running now and Pochettino has converted Tottenham from a decent club with good ambitions to serious title contenders.
His key has been the young players he brought in. Hence, in a surprising turn of events, reports are now claiming that Pochettino is ready to offload 21-year-old defender Anton Walkes. In his entire career at Spurs, the player has made just one appearance, coming off the bench against Gillingham in the League Cup in the 2016/17 season.
He spent a year away on loan at new MLS franchise Atlanta United and was impressive for the USA side. On his return to England, he was immediately loaned out to Portsmouth after signing a contract with Spurs running till 2019.
It can be safe to assume that despite Pochettino’s habit of preferring youngsters, Walkes just did not make the cut. With Portsmouth now interested in a permanent move, the defender might make the switch. He played 12 times scoring once since his January move.
A versatile player like him will be a good addition for Portsmouth. He can play at right back and also as a central defensive midfielder. The player moving out will probably be good for his future as he has very little left to offer at Spurs and might have to rot on the benches if he chooses to stay back.