Back by popular demand, Cartilage Free Captain is again reviewing and ranking the top 10 youth prospects at Tottenham Hotspur to see which players have the best potential to follow current players like Harry Kane and Harry Winks, and former Spurs players like Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, and Andros Townsend into the Tottenham first team. The rules for inclusion are as follows:
- The player had to be 21 or under on January 1, 2017
- The player cannot have seen significant match time with Tottenham's first team
Today, the list moves on to the baby-faced assassin, Samuel Shashoua.
Who is he?
Samuel Shashoua is a promising attacking midfielder who just turned 18 in May. He spent last year mostly playing with the U18s, but earned a handful of appearances for the U-23s.
The Chelsea-born prospect made the bench for the late-season trip to Leicester last year along with fellow academy product Filip Lesniak.
What can he do?
Shashoua usually starts on the left of a front three, on the opposite flank from Marcus “Mini-Messi” Edwards. Like Edwards, he likes to cut inside and get into the box — and he chips in his fair share of goals.
He scored 13 times in 23 appearances for the U18s, making him the team’s second top scorer behind another gifted attacking midfielder (and No. 9 on our list), Jack Roles.
He first hit Spurs fans’ radar after releasing this mixtape showing off his silky footwork, then really made a name for himself with this impressive hit against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League.
Samuel Shashoua's goal against Monaco. pic.twitter.com/j9PdEjElNZ— Tottenham Academy (@thfcacademy) September 16, 2016
He’s not the fastest winger, but his skill and control of the ball make him a tricky dribbler. He’s also very, very small. I couldn’t find an exact height, but from photos he appears to be maybe 5-foot-5 and pretty slender.
Shashoua told superhotspur that he, like I’m sure almost every talented teenager does, models his game on Lionel Messi. While that’s obviously a laughably premature comparison, his tight dribbling is reminiscent of the Argentine.
Perhaps a more apt comparison is a little closer to home — Shashoua’s ability to cover vast huge amounts of ground and his ferocity in the press bring to mind Christian Eriksen. Like the Dane, he is a creative force for the U18s, notching double-digit assists last season.
Here’s a highlight tape (with some dodgy techno) for more of his play this year.
Where can he go?
He is clearly at least on Mauricio Pochettino’s radar if he made the bench for a Premier League match. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in the manager’s plans for the first team next season (just ask Lesniak, who was released a few weeks after his cameo at the King Power), but it’s something.
Shashoua was a surprising omission from the team’s pre-season trip to the U.S., which was a disappointment. Instead, he turned out for the U21s as they won the European U21 Tournament in France.
While his teammate Edwards is on the fast track for the first team, Shashoua might need a few more years to develop. He’s still just 18 and is clearly a late bloomer physically — just look at this amazing baby face when he signed his scholarship papers at 16.
THFC pic.twitter.com/EPuBLjhDRk— Samuel Shashoua (@Sam_shash) June 4, 2015
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play regularly in the Premier League 2 with the U23s next year, which would be a fairly significant step up in competition, so we’ll get to see how well he handles that.
It’s possible he has another growth spurt in him and in time he could add the muscle necessary to step up to the Premier League. If he doesn’t though, his size and lack of elite, top-end speed might limit his ceiling.
Being short obviously isn’t a deal breaker (Messi, Diego Maradona and Pele, for a few pretty extreme examples, are all 5-foot-7 or under), but it is very hard to make it in the very physical Premier League, especially as an attacker, when you’re that small.
For some more reading, check out this profile by superhotspur.