Garry Monk released some interesting information about Tottenham midfielder, Tom Carroll, to the press ahead of Sunday's draw against Spurs. Carroll, who featured with Monk at Swansea last campaign on loan, made eighteen appearances and scored one goal. For the most part, it was a nondescript stint at the Liberty Stadium for the twenty-three year old. Useful, but not overly impressive, Carroll put in some quality shifts in Swansea's midfield without becoming a stalwart selection for the Swans. This is what Monk had to say about Carroll's time in Wales,
"Tom did great, I really enjoyed working with him and he's a really good prospect," said Monk. "I spoke to him at the end of the season about coming here and of course we were interested. But I think it was a case that he really wanted to go back there and see if he could work his way into the first team. If it wasn't working there he wanted to go out and get regular football. That was something I couldn't guarantee him. He's a young developing player that is doing exceptionally well. You've seen already this season that he's been involved in the first-team set-up and that's credit to him."
A weird string of quotes there from Monk. Complimentary yet not so reassuring, the quotes suggest that Monk rated Carroll but certainly did not covet him. Swansea certainly have options in midfield; Shelvey, Cork, Siggurdson, and Ki are all solid players, but it is not a group that should be impossible to break into. Injuries surely played their part, and Carroll had some nice shifts for Swansea, but that he wasn't on their shortlist of summer transfer target speaks volumes in Monk's belief in Carroll. It also might mean, shockingly, that Daniel Levy has put a exorbitant price tag on the young midfielder.
"There will be other players like Tom playing in other leagues of similar ability that would cost a third of the money.
But it wasn't about that with Tom. It was more from a footballing side of things that that decision was made."
No surprise in Levy's stinginess, but the stinging part of these comments are twofold. Firstly, there is the notion that Carroll is quite pedestrian in Monk's eyes – a player who can be found significantly cheaper in multiple tiers of European football – and secondly, that it wasn't actually about the inflated fee. Monk chose to stay away from Carroll because of his ability rather than than his cost.
Which leads directly into the question of where Tom "English Xavi" Carroll fits in at Spurs. Even the most ardent of Carroll supporters would admit that the early season has been an opportunity lost for the youngster. With Nabil Bentaleb, Christian Eriksen, Ryan Mason, and Mousa Dembélé all injured at different times, the moment has been ripe for Carroll to shine. Instead, Poch has favored Chadli, Lamela, or Mason at the #10 and Mason and Alli in the double pivot. Alli in particular has been the bane of Carroll's 2015-16 existence, eating up any chances that one might have foreseen for him. Even in Europa League fixtures he has been iced out of the starting eleven. His Premier League campaign, relegated to the doldrums of 85th minute substitute appearances. It is only a matter of time before Spurs' sidelined midfielders return, but is it a matter of time for Carroll's shot with the first eleven — in any of our competitions? While Tom has qualities that others don't possess, it doesn't seem like he has convinced Pochettino of this. The trust simply doesn't seem to be there. But it needs to be and soon. Reaching the age of twenty-four by the end of the season, Carroll's narrative of a young and talented up and comer is dying a slow death, dissipating with every Tottenham match he doesn't play in.
What say you commentariat? Does Tom Carroll still have a bright future with Spurs?