Atlanta United FC is the newest expansion side to join Major League Soccer in the United States, and a Tottenham Hotspur academy product will help get them off the ground. Spurs announced this morning that young defensive utility player Anton Walkes will be joining Atlanta United on a six month loan.
Anton Walkes has joined @MLS side @ATLUTD on a six-month loan deal. Good luck, Anton! pic.twitter.com/jkWwsLvBsj— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 26, 2017
BREAKING: #ATLUTD acquire @AntonWalkes on loan from @SpursOfficial— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) January 26, 2017
: https://t.co/jubUKmqXw2 pic.twitter.com/DArp7sxEYH
Walkes, 19, was one of the pleasant surprises coming out of Spurs’ preseason. He played a significant role in Spurs’ matches in the International Challenge Cup in Australia, and made his first team debut for Tottenham in Spurs’ EFL Cup win over Gillingham in September. Walkes is listed as a defensive midfielder but can also drop back to play in the back line as a central defender. Mauricio Pochettino apparently really likes him, but he’s got very little chance of making any sort of impact on Tottenham’s first team this season, so in this way, a loan makes sense.
Walkes isn’t the only Tottenham connection at Atlanta. President Darren Eales is a former executive at Spurs, serving as Director of Football Administration from 2010-2014. He reportedly still has close ties to the club, which may be where this deal came from. Eales is reportedly very excited to bring Walkes States-side:
“Anton has a bright future and we’re thrilled to have him continue his development at our club. He’s a young player who’s already been part of the first team squad at Spurs, featuring often throughout the summer until his official debut in the League Cup in September. He’ll be a welcome addition to our club.”
This loan should be a really good experience for Anton. Atlanta will be playing their first season in existence when the MLS season kicks off on March 3, and Walkes joins a club that includes former Premier League striker Kenwyne Jones, and USA internationals Michael Parkhurst, Greg Garza, and Jeff Larentowicz.
Hopefully Walkes will be able to make an impact in Atlanta! You can keep track of how Anton’s doing when the MLS season kicks off at our SB Nation sister site Dirty South Soccer.