In our weekly Scout feature, we take a deep dive into an emerging player on track to become a footballing superstar before our very eyes.
This week’s edition focuses on Tottenham midfielder Harvey White, a player racking up assists for fun in the Premier League 2.
White, 19, is a central midfielder on the precipice of a breakthrough into Tottenham’s first-team plans.
He currently tops the PL2 assists charts with seven, a figure that puts him two clear of the chasing pack.
That feat is made even more impressive by the fact White’s primary position is at the base of midfield.
His first taste of senior action came in the Europa League versus Ludogorets in November. His rapid rise including being named on the shortlist for the PL2’s player of month for December has not gone unnoticed by Jose Mourinho.
Harvey White has been nominated for the PL2 POTM award for his sensational form in December.
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His first 90 minutes in a Tottenham shirt were completed in the FA Cup victory over Marine. With plaudits pouring over his composed and mature performance on a tricky pitch, further starts are sure to be on the horizon.
Why the hype?
16-year-old Alfie Devine stole the headlines with his goalscoring display versus Marine. But the qualities White showcased are a more immediate match for what Mourinho requires.
An assured and confident performer, White is capable of controlling the tempo of a midfield by himself.
He possesses an excellent first touch and superb vision to know where his options are before receiving possession.
Things are kept simple when required, but labelling him a basic recycler of possession could not be further from the truth. His forwards’ movement will often be rewarded with accurate, defence-splitting service if afforded the opportunity.
His greatest asset, however, comes in the form of his set-piece expertise. Already branded the best dead ball aficionado at the club, White could assume the role of both free-kick and corner taker once assimilated into the first-team.
He is also proficient from the spot, but we suspect Harry Kane may have something to say about that.
Reminds you of a young…?
The ability to dictate a game from the centre circle taken on greater significance over the last 20 years. Figures such as Xavi and Iniesta mastered the art, but it is ex-Tottenham and Man Utd midfielder Michael Carrick that springs to mind.
Carrick quietly drew praise during his career, but it was not until his Autumn years until universal recognition truly arrived.
Like Carrick, White can be trusted to make the right decision 999 times out of 1,000. However, becoming a complete midfielder requires as much work off the ball as on it.
No issues there with White a tough tackler and unafraid to take a booking for the benefit of the team.
He’s beginning to sound like a Mourinho player already.
Those left feeling unimpressed by his set-piece efforts versus Marine need not worry. Not even David Beckham found the target with every effort and nerves are never higher than when on full debut.
The hype is most certainly justified.
The Experts’ View
Upon signing a new three-year deal in early 2020 (which has since been extended further to 2024), FootballLondon’s resident Tottenham expert Alasdair Gold detailed the vast wealth of attributes White will bring.
Really good to see Harvey White getting a three year deal. Shows how much the club rate the teenager. Very versatile midfielder, very good tactically and takes a terrific set piece. He's got a bright future ahead of him. https://t.co/rOpiavpQ3q
— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) February 25, 2020
His initial steps into the first-team appear likely to become giant leaps in the near future.
White has been training with the first-team for the majority of the campaign, and Mourinho recently revealed (via HITC) he now views the youngster as a bona-fide member of the senior set-up.
“Harvey and Jack [Clarke] they are U23s, they play U23s when we feel that they should go there and take minutes but they are professionals.
“They belong with the first team squad, they train with the first team squad since day one in pre-season. They played in the Europa League so let’s look at them as first team players.”
Tell us something we don’t know…
White holds academy graduates Harry Kane and Harry Winks in high regard, but when speaking to the club’s official website, revealed the player he is learning the most from is Mourinho favourite Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The Dane – who White described as a “gladiator” – has become a go-to source of information for the youngster.
Has been linked with?
A loan exit to achieve regular gametime to the Championship has been speculated. However, the FA’s recent decision to mirror their substitutes ruling with the Premier League could see enough senior opportunities arise.
The FA Cup now permits nine players named on the bench as with the Premier League. Additionally, the competition has made five substitutes available to Mourinho and co.
The Portuguese’s main focus is likely to be securing a top four finish as the season rolls on. As such, the Europa League may be another avenue for White to showcase his talents.
A plum draw against Austrian outfit Wolfsberger in February could offer a high-profile chance for White to prove Mourinho’s faith in him is well founded.
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