Tottenham fans would have been forgiven for wondering who Tashan Oakley-Boothe is after seeing his name included in the squad for their pre-season tour of the U.S in the summer. However, impressive cameos against the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and Manchester City showed that the 17-year-old could be the next academy star to break into the senior squad.
Oakley-Boothe is the first player who was born in the new millennium to represent Spurs. Having only been with the Spurs academy a little over a year, joining on the 1st July 2016, he completed an impressive first season in the youth set-up, earning a call-up to the full squad for their pre-season tour of America.
Before that, the midfielder made 13 appearances in the under-18 Premier League, scoring twice in the process. He has also racked up five appearances in the FA Youth Cup and was integral in helping his club reach the semi-finals in 2017. Beyond this, he also made three appearances for the U23s and started five of the six games in the U19 UEFA Youth League. Oakley-Boothe made his competitive debut for Spurs last month, coming on as a late substitute in the 1-0 Carabao Cup win at home to Barnsley.
His form for Spurs proved good enough to get him recognised at international level and, after making his debut in 2015, he has now represented England both at U16 and U17 level. Oakley-Booth was one of the many players who impressed in the outstanding 4-0 win against Chile for the England under-17 squad in their first group stage game in the World Cup squad.
Mousa Dembele’s long-term successor?
Tashan Oakley-Boothe is a versatile midfielder who can play in central midfield as a four, eight or even a ten. He is extremely comfortable on the ball, as he showed in his short cameo appearances against Roma, PSG and Manchester City in pre-season. Despite his relative inexperience, he isn’t afraid to take people on and try a trick or two.
In addition, Oakley-Booth is technically good on the ball, a fact which makes him extremely press resistant. In fact, Oakley-Boothe’s specialty is twisting and turning his way around an opponent’s press, before surging forward himself or laying the ball off to a teammate in a better position. Press-resistant midfielders are hot property in today’s game and Oakley-Boothe has the potential to be an extremely good one. With great close control and a good level of intelligence, he knows exactly when to release the ball and when to keep it.
Mousa Dembele has been integral to Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side for a couple of years now. However, the Belgian is aging and has had a history of injury problems, recently admitting that he’s unlikely to be fully fit for Tottenham again and regularly playing through pain. Spurs need to look for his successor. Although this season may come a tad too soon for Oakley-Boothe, he certainly has the potential to fulfil that role long term.
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