The eponymous Matt Doy will be familiar with this feeling – that of having “one of your own” make it into your youth team.
So yes some of Liverpool’s 1990s youth stars were Evertonians and I personally think that the abuse Wayne Rooney received (and probably continues to receive) from Everton fans is a disgrace, but having a youth team player make it as a first team regular is a rare delight.
However the situation at Spurs this season has been rather positive – the return of Ryan Mason from an extensive loan period, most notably to Swindon Town, has seen the starting 11 contain a number of homegrown and improved players. Despite a promising start last season, Nabil Bentaleb looked like he had lost confidence when he was continuing to start. This season, with the experience of a World Cup behind him, he looks a much more complete player and rightly keeping the likes of Paulinho out of the starting 11.
Also plenty has been written about Harry Kane, but it seems that Spurs finally have a goalscorer to be proud of. The lack of depth behind him in for squad is a concern, perhaps Coulthirst or Pritchard, currently on loan but showing plenty of potential, could offer that option from next season.
There is a real delight in “one of your own” making it into the first team because it shows that the club is making the right decisions. If the club choose a youth team player over a multi million pound signing, at first the fans may not be happy, but when that homegrown player starts scoring and/or performing, the complaining stops.
It also shows good nouse from the coach – if they are able to spot a rough talent that will not cost the club millions and is already trained and developed to the level that the management desires, then that player is already a step ahead of someone who needs to “bed in” to the club’s style.
Finally it shows that the club is using its academy properly, keeping the board onside and showing that youth is the best tactic. See that successful youth team? That’s your next first team. It made Manchester United excited in the early 1990s, and look what that team achieved.