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Is Tom Carroll being recalled?

A recent tweet from QPR's official Twitter account suggests that the diminutive midfielder could be returning from his Rangers loan earlier than anticipated. Is Carroll the missing piece that this Spurs side needs to push on to the top four?

Michael Steele

Tom Carroll. He's everyone's favorite youth player (or least favorite if you're a crank or named Skipjack). A gifted midfielder who has come through the Tottenham youth ranks, Carroll has spent the first half of the season on loan at Queen's Park Rangers under Harry Redknapp. Now, after a rather curious tweet from @OfficialQPR, it appears as though Tom Carroll might – just might! – be returning to Spurs earlier than anticipated.

Did you catch that? Left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who is also on loan at QPR, has been cleared to start QPR's FA Cup match this weekend, but Spurs have NOT given permission for Carroll to play. Carroll has had a decent season for Rangers despite suffering an early injury while on international duty that set back his progress a bit, so it seems curious to say the least that Spurs would allow him to continue his loan spell without approving his participation -- which would cup-tie him for QPR, by the way. It's a decent – if cryptic –  indication that Carroll might be recalled from his QPR loan.

Now, before anyone starts the .GIF party, we don't REALLY know that this indicates that Tom Carroll is coming home. It could simply mean that Spurs don't want him playing in the FA Cup this weekend – fitness, injury concerns, whatever. It's a curious tweet though – why send a young player out on loan to be developed and then not let him play in a huge cup game against an EPL opponent unless you have plans to use him in the cup yourself?

Harry Redknapp has admitted that Spurs could recall both Carroll and Assou-Ekotto now that AVB has moved on, and Tim Sherwood is on record as being a massive admirer of Tom Carroll's ability. In 2011, Sherwood even suggested that Carroll has the potential to play for Barcelona:

He could play for [Barcelona], no question... He's got the lot. He's technically good enough, sees a pass, can pop it round the corner and only Jake Livermore runs more than him in a game.

He's one of those who has needed a bit more time to develop physically, he could have got released and I'm sure there are lots of Tom Carrolls who have been released. He's never going to be a giant but he will grow and hopefully not look like the mascot anymore.

Sherwood has already displayed a willingness to give a chance to some of Tottenham's upcoming youth players, reportedly a point of emphasis by Daniel Levy. Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Fredericks, and most recently Harry Kane have featured in the first team in recent matches and have played well. Sherwood clearly likes Tom Carroll and he's been identified on this site already as the stable, young metronomic passer that the team desperately needs to get back to the top four. He could slot instantly into Spurs' first team midfield, and indeed, probably should. There's no visible fire here indicating a loan recall, but there's an awful lot of smoke.  Bentaleb-Carroll midfield against Arsenal, anyone?