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Tottenham Hotspur prospect rankings: where are they now?

Last year we rated our prospects, let's see how we did.

Ian Walton

Back in June 2013, we ranked the top twenty prospects at Tottenham Hotspur with varying degrees of successful insight. Since then many of those players have washed out, and some are still developing into promising players. Meanwhile, our near-universally chosen number one pick, Tom Carroll, is still waiting until the world is ready for his greatness to prove how good he is. But in between, four of those players have become regulars in the first team: Andros Townsend, Nabil Bentaleb, Harry Kane, and Ryan Mason.

Today we take a look back at the guys who made it and see what we thought then and how they're faring now. In between you can see the varying levels of success our other prospects have had since.

1. Tom Carroll - hiding Jonjo Shelvey's body under Swansea's stadium so he can take his rightful place as king.

2. Andros Townsend

Coming in at number two on the prospect ranking is left-winger/right forward/shot machine Andros Townsend.

What we said then:

What can't Townsend do? Townsend is a fearless dribbler, who makes his runs through great control of the ball. The most intriguing thing about Townsend is the comfort Townsend shows playing an inside forward position. Townsend has shown a more proficient shot in front of goal, which could develop into something more dangerous as he gets older.

Townsend showed an ability to score from the wing, he showed a remarkable dribbling ability, and he showed that he isn't wasteful with the ball at the top level. Most of all, he proved that he's dangerous, and that is the best trait for a winger to have to ensure they find the field.

At his best, I can see Townsend as a regular fixture in the England team in five years, in the first XI at Tottenham (or somewhere bigger, hard as that is to say) and considered one of the most technically gifted players England has to offer.

What we say now:

Well Townsend certainly is fearless. His dribbling skills continue to impress. But we may have overstated that much-vaunted shooting ability. And the idea that "he isn't wasteful with the ball" looks more than a little silly. But he's gradually improving every game he plays, and he appears to be learning to be a team-first instead of shoot-first player.

While he may not ever be considered one of the most technically gifted players in England, he's doing pretty well.

3. Alex Pritchard - currently lighting up the Championship for Brentford. He's super fun.

4. Milos Veljkovic - another loan for Milos! just started a Championship loan at high-flying Boro.

5. Adam Smith (whoops!) - sold to Bournemouth, barely features.

6. Nabil Bentaleb

In at number six is 19 year-old World Cup sensation Nabil Bentaleb.

What we said then:

Bentaleb is, first and foremost, a playmaker. He's a good dribbler and is comfortable with both feet, though he is left footed. He's not particularly pacy, and as mentioned above, he's not very big or strong. Bentaleb does, however, possess a good deal of creativity and flair in the middle of the park and his passing and dribbling are both quite good.

To me, Bentaleb calls to mind a younger, more raw Lewis Holtby. Both are good in close spaces and good passers of the ball. Both work hard to involve their teammates in the game, but sometimes their work rate moves them out of position. Bentaleb definitely needs to improve his tactical awareness as well as continue to get stronger if he's going to be successful in the Premier League.

I really don't see any reason why Bentaleb should go on loan in England. Playing in League One or the Championship isn't going to help his development any. He's just going to get the stuffing kicked out of him. That sort of thing is probably going to retard his development more than "help him adjust to the English style of play".

What we say now:

Looks like Bryan pretty much nailed this one. While we haven't seen as much flair from Bentaleb as we might like, he's definitely proven adept at pulling the strings in midfield. And while he might have been a raw Lewis Holtby a year ago, he's already proven way more for Tottenham than Holtby ever managed. He's excelled beyond his small frame, but some strengthening certainly wouldn't go amiss.

Bentaleb still has plenty of room to grow, but there's no reason he can't continue to be a key member of this squad for years to come.

7. Harry Kane

Lucky number seven is hat-trick hero and greatest footballer of all time, Harry Kane.

What we said then:

Despite his size, Kane is not a line-leading striker. Kane is much more comfortable in the role of second striker or attacking midfielder. Kane possesses a good first touch and some decent finishing ability. In tight spaces the youngster seems to hold the ball quite well. He's not going to beat many defenders with his quickness and he's not going to just overpower them, so he's going to have to be smart about his positioning and technique.

Kane still needs some time to work out the mental side of the game, but I think all of that really comes from experience at the top level. He needs to develop his movement and positioning when away from the ball to really bring his game to the next level. When I've seen Kane he seems to work hard, so that's not a problem, he just needs to channel that effort into making useful run into the right spaces.

His ceiling is probably "capable Premier League striker". Basically, he's Steven Fletcher who has had seven consecutive seasons with at least 11 goals. I know that doesn't wow you, but not every player gets to be Dimitar Berbatov or Francesco Totti, which if I was going to wax eloquent would be who I would compare Kane to.

What we say now:

The debate over Harry Kane's best position continues to rage on. Can he lead the line on his own, or is he better paired with a partner? As for his positioning, that's one of Kane's greatest strengths, so either we were drunk or he's developed immensely over the past 18 months. Probably drunk.

Comparisons to Steven Fletcher look insulting at this point, and Berbatov and Totti better watch their backs. When they're old and retired they'll tell friends, "Back when I played football, I was an early version of Harry Kane, the greatest player of all time."

8. Shaq Coulthirst - still just 19, doing ok on loan with League Two side Southend.

9. Massimo Luongo - sold to Swindon where he's doing very well. Made Australia's World Cup squad.

10. Cristian Ceballos - still at Spurs and playing U-21 matches. Featured in presason this summer. Time is not on his side.

11. Kenneth McEvoy - has made two appearances on loan to League One side Peterborough. Plenty of time to make it.

12. Ryan Mason

Finally down at number twelve is midfield maestro Ryan Mason, who jumped more than a half dozen "better" prospects to make it in the team.

What we said then:

Mason is perhaps the most technically proficient of Spurs youth players, and had been the crown jewel of the academy for years. From his preferred position behind the striker, he shows excellent control, passing and vision, along with an eye for goal. He's adept at playing from wide areas as well, and in recent years has had success playing deeper in central midfield. By all accounts, he should be fighting for a first team place by now.

If his coaches are to be believed, Mason has the talent and dedication to be playing regularly at a high level in any league in the world. But his injury history and lack of playing time during crucial development years appear to have set him back to a worrying degree. At 22 he's one of the wise old heads of the Spurs youth setup, and he isn't getting any younger. If he can get his career back on track, Mason's got the tools to succeed at Spurs.

Aside from the injuries that have slowed his development, concerns have always been raised over Mason's physique. He's a slender 5'9 and the typical concerns about not being able to handle the rugged and manly world of EPL football have swirled around him for years. Whether this is an actual problem remains to be seen.

What we say now:

Free from injury for the first time in a long time, Mason has taken his chance with both hands. He's made the transition full-time from a second striker to deep-lying playmaker, and he looks well-suited to the role. Although he's been a late bloomer, he looks to be in full bloom. Please stay healthy.

13. Souleymane Coulibaly - sold to Serie B side Bari. Currently on loan at some team nobody has ever heard of.

14. Grant Hall - featuring for Championship side Birmingham City.

15. Giancarlo Gallifuoco - sold to Swansea. Has yet to feature. Doesn't even have a wikipedia page.

16. Zeki Fryers - sold to Crystal Palace. Has only one appearance.

17. Cameron Lancaster - sold to League Two side Stevenage.

18. Jordan Archer - on loan to League Two Northampton Town. Will probably never play for Spurs.

19. Laste Dombaxe - still at Spurs U-21s and has a possible future with the club.

20. Tomislav Gomelt - on loan at Serie B side Bari.

So, which of these four bright young(ish) prospects will have the biggest impact on Spurs going forward? Who did we massively overrate or underrate? Just how dumb was it to suggest Adam Smith could start for any club in the top flight? Let us know!