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Tottenham Hotspur Prospect Rankings: #7 Shayon Harrison

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Harrison is a big, strong player, but it’s a weird time to be an academy striker in the era of Harry Kane.

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea: Premier League 2 Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

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, we take a look at promising striker Shayon Harrison.


Who is he?

Shayon Harrison is a 20 year-old forward (birthday was 13 July!) for Tottenham Hotspur’s U23 side. He has been with the Spurs academy since 2013.

The Hornsey-born Harrison has played for Tottenham at all levels, and even tasted senior football last year, making his senior level debut as a substitute in our 2-1 defeat against Liverpool in the League Cup. The Football League experience did not stop there as he finished the year on loan at Yeovil Town in League Two, appearing 14 times and scoring once in a thrilling 3-3 draw to Exeter City.

In addition to that memorable tally, Harrison scored seven times in 13 Premier League 2 matches. Spurs academy was also able to take part in the U-19 UEFA Youth League last year, and the young striker netted twice in those matches, which mirrored our Champions League fixtures.

That leaves Harrison’s totals at 10 goals in 33 appearances, many as a substitute, across widely different competitions. Not too shabby.

According to Transfermarkt, the young left-footer qualifies for the Jamaican national team as well as the English. Apparently, he has no transfer value, however, which is sad. His contract ends in June of next year.

What can he do?

By all accounts Harrison is a well rounded forward. At just over six feet tall, he provides a decent target and is not afraid to drop deep to pick up the ball. In fact, if you do a deep internet dive on him, you will see him do good work in various parts of the final third, and finding comfort around the edges of the penalty area.

He has a strong left foot, but seems to score many of his goals in the box from relatively high xG spots, which can be read in varying ways: either he is a poacher who benefits from shaky youth defending, or he is a movement specialist who earns his goals by popping up in the right spaces at the right times.

Whatever the case may be, his play resulted in a large number of goals for the youth teams. In 2013-14, he scored 12 times across 24 matches for the U-18s and in the FA Youth Cup.

Where can he go?

This is where doing prospect ranking gets weird. With Harry Kane entrenched as a world class first option, Vincent Janssen determined to show his Eredivisie form, and Spurs lofty ambitions in the Premier and Champions Leagues, it makes it difficult to see a route to the first team for Shayon Harrison. He was not included in the group of players that travelled to the United States these past couple weeks for preseason despite not partaking in any international duty.

Of course, during that time, he has gone on a goal scoring tear in England, scoring at will from open play and the spot. This will probably get supporters more excited than they should be, however. Once again, Harrison is blocked by a lack of minutes available in the first team as well as heavy competition at the youth level. It would take an insane jump in production at a senior club to change his prospect status.

And on that note, we know that Mauricio Pochettino has instituted a policy of keeping his prized academy members around to train under Tottenham’s watch — and at our first class facilities — instead of sending them out on loan [Editor’s note: Josh Onomah excluded!]. Bearing that in mind, his loan last year seems more the kiss of death than a belief in his ability to break into our squad.

None of this is meant to disparage our young forward. It’s likely he will find his way to another club where he can put his skills on display. And, if we’re being totally honest, we aren’t always sure how to rank strikers who score loads of goals, get sent on loan to mixed reviews, and don’t seem to have any one defining characteristic aside from goal returns.

Basically, we think Shayon Harrison is a good young footballer, but he’s not currently in the top tier. If he’s the next Harry Kane instead of the next Shaq Coulthirst, only time can tell.