What next for Alex Pritchard..?

One of the few positives of this season has been the graduation of a number or our youth prospects into fully-fledged first teamers.

There’s no narrative more rewarding than that of a ‘local lad come good’, and the fact that Kane is the first genuine star to come out of the academy since Ledley is an indictment of the paucity of talent to come off the conveyer belt in recent years.

But there are signs that things are starting to change and, perhaps inspired by the success of the academy structure at Southampton, this is one area in which the club is starting to get things right.

One player attracting generous plaudits is the diminutive Alex Pritchard, whose performances for Brentford this season have driven them to the cusp of promotion to the Premier League.

Pritchard starred again yesterday as the Bees rolled over already-relegated Wigan. A beautiful, albeit deflected, 30 yard free kick typified his class and the unhurried, silky way in which he moves the ball is a joy to behold.

So what do we do with him next year?

He’s clearly proven himself at Championship level, with 12 goals and 7 assists from midfield.

There’s little, therefore, to gain from loaning him out at that level again.

Whilst he undoubtedly has class, but there are obvious concerns about his size at the top level.

His manager at Brentford, though, thinks that his technical ability is so good that his lack of stature won’t hold him back.

“I think the fact that he can dominate a football, that’s the key for me, it doesn’t matter if you’re five foot or six foot six, you’ve got to look after the football – Alex, he excels in those areas, he’s comfortable and he wants the ball – he takes it under pressure and he’s got a very quick half turn,” said Warburton.

It’s optimistic, at this stage, to draw parallels with Modric, but was he not proof that technique can overcome physical limitations – the same criticism also applied to Tom Carroll?

I was at the Brentford game on Saturday and I lost count of the number of people I spoke to who are desperate for Pritchard to stay, but for me that’s entirely contingent upon their defying the odds and getting through the playoffs.

If Brentford do go up, I’d be minded to let him get another season of regular football under his belt there.

Another school of thought, however, is that with the dubious pleasure of UEFA Cup football next season it could be worth keeping Pritchard on at Spurs until at least the January transfer window, integrating him into the first team squad that way.

It’s clear that he’s a huge talent, and the club has been fairly sensible in making use of tactical loans in the past, but as Ryan Mason has proven there does come a point when it’s worth taking a punt on the players we already have.

The club face similar dilemmas with the likes of Yedlin and Delle Ali over the summer, not to mention Carroll who’s also done reasonably well on loan at Swansea, and Lewis Holtby.

We’ve got a guest piece on the Express from Acton_Yid tomorrow, in which he calls on Daniel Levy to re-think the club’s transfer policy and back Pochettino.

For me, there first needs to be a clearing out of the deadwood first because, as Kane has proven this season, sometimes the answer is closer to home.

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