Tottenham Hotspur won a Premier League match on Saturday, dispatching Brighton & Hove Albion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 2-1 thanks to goals from Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane. It was also probably a match they had no business winning, as Brighton dominated possession, had a Kaoru Mitoma goal called back for a handball, and a stone-cold penalty shout waved away by VAR. But whatever. A win’s a win, however they come, and Spurs desperately needed that one.
I’ve been sitting on this theme since the international break, and as a throwaway theme it’s pretty appropriate for what feels like something of a throwaway win. Back in March, England released its U18 squad for international fixtures against Belgium, Croatia, and Switzerland. The cool bit is that Spurs academy forward Jamie Donley got a call-up, which is awesome for him as he looks like a talent to watch for the future. The funny bit is that there were some pretty epic names in that squad.
Sure, light teasing about the names of literal children feels a little like low-hanging fruit, but some of these kids have names that sound like Football Manager regens, and also a few of them are likely going to end up established Premier League players and even potential stars. This is done out of love and respect. Remember, we had a kid named Dele Alli once.
So why not? Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of names from the latest England U18 squad. Ratings are not indicative of overall name quality, just ones we noticed in our chat.
5 stars: Jahmai Simpson-Pusey
No Tottenham players were this good.
4 stars: True Grant
The one True Grant in the England squad. There are no others, and if there were they are imposters and charlatans.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): Took his goal smartly and was finally dropping deep to play in his teammates for chances. Spurs weren’t great on Saturday but Kane was pretty good.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.0): Sonny’s 100th Premier League goal was fantastic, the kind of goal we all remember him for — a curled banger from distance that left the keeper no chance. He was a lot brighter in possession and set up Hojbjerg for Kane’s winner.
Arnaut Danjuma (Community — 3.0): Normally he wouldn’t get a rating having only played 13 minutes, but Kane’s goal was set up in part due to his direct running at goal and press, even if he didn’t touch the ball much.
3.5 stars: Sonny Finch
An indisputable banger of a name, both as a professional footballer and as a jazz drummer in a 1950s small combo. I saw the Sonny Finch Five open for Miles Davis at Birdland in the mid ‘90s, great set.
Cuti Romero (Community — 3.5): No idea where he was for Brighton’s goal — certainly not covering Lewis Dunk. But he did a good job dealing with Kaoru Mitoma for much of the game and was Spurs’ best defender.
Pedro Porro (Community — 3.5): Starting to look like the guy we thought we signed. Dangerous in attack although his final ball still needs a little touching up. Came close to a goal with a first half header. It’s good we have him, since we really have no other options!
Ryan Mason (Community — 3.5): Gets this rating for having the forethought and brilliant tactical acumen to bring on Danjuma as a substitute. However, later reporting suggested that Stellini was sitting in the press box and communicating to the coaching staff so I don’t know what to think.
3 stars: Max Allayne
Like most people named Max, when read in full “Max Allayne” sounds almost like an MI5 agent or a movie star. Of all the Allaynes, he probably is the maximum.
Ivan Perisic (Community — 3.0): Ivan still got torched a few times defensively but his crossing into the box was much more efficacious than it has been in the past. Got the Tom Carroll assist for Son and forced a save of his own but still a defensive liability.
Clement Lenglent (Community — 3.0): Kind of a bog-standard defensive performance from Lenglet. Not a poor performance, but equally nothing especially stood out to me either.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.0): Made the final pass that set up Kane’s goal but looked outmatched in midfield for the majority of the game. Probably doesn’t help that he was again outnumbered and has already played over 3300 minutes this season.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.0): Deki had a few positive moments, but looked mostly out of sorts in this match. Continues to be stuck in a bit of a malaise. Tactics? Unclear.
Cristian Stellini (Community — 3.0): Probably the best thing Stellini did was nothing, which was also hilariously what got him sent off. IDK, we won and maybe he’ll be sidelined for a game or so. Yay?
2.5 star: Leo Castledine
An unquestionably good name in any context, and just needs a hyphenated surname like “Adams” or “Corbyn” to become the most unquestionably British name of all time.
Eric Dier (Community — 2.5): A decent defensive performance pretty much undone by his giveaway that led to the (called back) Mitoma goal. This guy.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.0): Another rather inauspicious match for Hugo. A couple of good stops but equally scary passing out of the back. Flapped at a few crosses and was wrong-footed for Dunk’s goal.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 3.0): I want to be careful here. I don’t think Skipp had a particularly good match, and like Hojbjerg, the deck was stacked against him. That said, I think his ceiling is higher than what he’s displaying over the past few weeks and these minutes will pay benefits down the road.
1 star: Nico O’Reilly
ALL THE GLOTTAL STOPS. He really should go by “Nicholas” because pronouncing his name as above is diabolical.
No Tottenham players were as “bad” as naming your kid Nico O’Reilly.
Jobe Bellingham Memorial Non-Rating
Pape Sarr, Japhet Tanganga