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
The player at #14 in our list of top Tottenham Hotspur prospects may look a little familiar to you... but no, it's not Gareth Bale. It's his younger, Irish doppelgänger. 20-year old winger Kenny McEvoy is next on our list.
Who is he?
Kenneth McEvoy is an Irish attacking midfielder. He has been a part of the Tottenham youth setup since 2013, when he gained attention for his uncanny resemblance to a young Gareth Bale. McEvoy has represented Ireland at the U17, U19, and U21 levels. He has yet to make his Tottenham Hotspur senior debut.
What can he do?
McEvoy, like most of the players on this list, has yet to crack the Spurs first team, though he did make the bench in an Europa League knock-out match against Dnipro last season. McEvoy is a forward known for his pace: he can play in the hole, but is more often utilized on the wing as a right footed, right sided wide forward.
This season McEvoy had two somewhat disastrous loans: to Peterborough in the first half of the season and to Colchester United in January. While at Peterborough it seems he spent most of his time in the development squad, starting only three games (eight total appearances) and scoring one (deflected) goal before being recalled by Spurs. McEvoy's Colchester stint lasted only two months as Spurs recalled him in mid-March after he made only one substitute appearance for the club.
Distressing, no? But don't fret: bad loans happen all the time for players and sometimes the success or failure of a loan has as much to do with circumstance and personnel as it does ability. Remember that Harry Kane had a few of them too. McEvoy is pacy and intelligent with a nose for goal and a lot of potential, even if he didn't quite show it this past season.
Where can he go?
McEvoy may not have the talent of his Welsh doppelganger, but he's not a bad player at all. He's done well enough to impress the coaches that in April Tottenham gave him an 18 month contract extension, which shows a level of faith and promise in his ability. He's fast, tricky, has good vision, and a decent first touch, as evident in the U21 goal below against Victor Valdes and Manchester United last season:
The problem for Kenny is that he's in a position where good players are a dime a dozen, and it will be difficult to break through into a side that is attempting to challenge for the top four. At present he's probably at the League One level, though he has a few years to continue to develop. I think he has the potential to be a solid Championship player, or a useful squad player for a lower-level Premier League club, like a faster Chris Brunt. And maybe that's even giving him the short shrift. After all, just look at Ryan Mason for an example of a marginalized player who came out of nowhere to become a starter. Kenny's got the tools to succeed, but he'll need to continue to push himself, and get a little luck, to make it with Spurs.