Cartilage Free Captain is again reviewing and ranking the top 15 youth prospects at Tottenham Hotspur to see which players have the best potential to follow players like Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, and Nabil Bentaleb into the Tottenham first team. The rules for inclusion are as follows:
- The player had to be 21 or under on January 1, 2015
- The player cannot have seen significant match time with Tottenham's first team
Young goalkeepers have come and go over the decades at Tottenham Hotspur, but very few of them have ended up starting league matches or even featuring in the first team. That might change with the acquisition and development of exciting young Australian keeper Thomas Glover, who kicks off our rankings at #15.
Who is he?
Born in Sydney, Tom Glover is one of the few Tottenham academy goalkeepers to survive this summer's free transfer keeper purge (fare thee well Jordan Archer and Jonathan Miles), and there's a reason for that. Considered one of the best goalkeeping prospects to come out of Australia since Mark Schwarzer, Glover was recruited heavily by Tottenham as a 15-year old after impressing for his first club, Sutherland Sharks and was signed in 2014. Former Spurs keeper Pat Jennings was advised about Glover by a friend at Sutherland, who passed the information on to Tottenham's scouting team.
What can he do?
Glover is a big guy – the last reports I could find of his height showed him at 6'4" and still growing – and he also possesses a very strong technical ability in goal as well. This combination of size and agility makes him an extremely attractive goalkeeping prospect and a very good "get" for Tottenham. The starting keeper in Spurs' U18 squad, he's already impressed the coaching staff by being named Goalkeeper of the Tournament in last summer's Eurofoot U19 competition in Belgium, and helped take the U18s to the semifinals of the FA Youth Cup earlier this season. He also plays with Spurs' U21 team and has been compared to a young Thibaut Courtois by former Spurs GK coach Perry Suckling.
Video clips of Glover are few and difficult to find, but you can see him make a number of nice saves in this video of highlights from FA Youth Cup against Chelsea.
Where can he go?
With the usual caveats about how hard it is to predict youth development and especially with regards to goalkeepers, Glover looks to be one of the most promising keeper prospects Spurs have had in years and could eventually see him eclipse U21 keeper Luke McGee in the Tottenham pecking order. The kid is still developing physically, and trained last season alongside Spurs' first team keepers Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm, and Brad Friedel. He's undeclared in his international allegiance and could play either for Australia or England (through his English father), and if he keeps developing the way he has over the past few years he could very well turn into an international-caliber goalkeeper.
The sky's clearly the limit for Glover, but the realities of his age and his position mean that it might be a bit before we start seeing him included on Europa or Cup rosters. Youth goalkeeper development is a long game and a lot could happen over the years: Glover could plateau, or end up transferring to another club if he's behind in the pecking order and doesn't get enough opportunities. He's good enough right now that he could certainly play for a decent non-league football club, or maybe even a League 2 club as a 16 year old, but it wouldn't surprise me if he sticks around in Spurs' development team for a while yet before being loaned out. But with time, development and a little luck, could he end up playing for Tottenham's first team some day? I don't see why not.