Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has said that the “biggest talents” in his side’s academy are in fact the youngest, as opposed to more experienced players.
Mourinho made the claim in Friday’s press conference while discussing Spurs‘ troubles over foreign player rules.
The north London club have felt the effects of the differences in approach between the Premier League and UEFA over who classes as a ‘homegrown’ player.
Crucially, UEFA rules state that players must have played for 36 months or three full seasons before the age of 21 in the association in which their current league operates to qualify.
Therefore, Eric Dier – who spent his early years in Portugal – does not qualify through that route, but his status in the squad guarantees him a place anyway.
Nevertheless, the situation has affected Spurs’ ability to do transfer business.
“I’m not even thinking of repercussions in relation to the transfer window, but the reality is that it was not easy to leave [Paulo] Gazzaniga out, but no other option,” Mourinho said (via football.london).
“[It] would be great for Joe Rodon’s development to play in the Europa League.
“We’ve played already nine matches in the Europa League and if Joe was available to play these nine matches he would have for sure have played in three, four, five or six of them and would help of course in his development and adaptation.
“So it’s not an easy situation. Then how can you have more English players? English players from the academy.
“Then you have to basically try to help the academy, but at the same time you depend on their work, you depend on generation, you depend on talent.”
Mourinho then made the boast about the younger players that are shining in Spurs’ academy, shaking off some uncertainty before doing so.
Mourinho makes Spurs academy claim
“And, honestly, I don’t know if I should say it or not, the players that I feel are more talented in the academy are not the eldest ones. They are very young,” the Portuguese manager said.
“We are speaking about kids of 16-year-old, we are not speaking about 18 or 19, let’s say men that just need the last push. I feel that the biggest talents are very, very young.
“Of course we have to help in their development in collaboration with the academy but we have to wait a little bit more.
English players from other clubs, they want to keep them, because normally all of them they have the same kind of problems or potentially they have the same kind of problems.
“So it’s not easy, it’s not an easy situation and clearly it’s not a situation that you can resolve in one season. It’s not possible.”
Elsewhere in his press conference, Mourinho responded to reports of Spurs interest in striker Danny Ings.