Tottenham Hotspur duo Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Timothy ‘TJ’ Eyoma will stay grounded after under-17 World Cup success
PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 November 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Scott Chickelday full of praise for youngsters and dreaming of seeing them play in the Premier League after helping them develop at Canonbury Primary School
Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Timothy ‘TJ’ Eyoma returned to England as world champions on Monday, but their former mentor has insisted they both know the hard work starts again now.
The Young Lions pair, who are both on the books at Tottenham Hotspur, were part of Steve Cooper’s triumphant under-17 group which won the World Cup on Saturday.
Oakley-Boothe starred in the 5-2 final success against Spain and started six of England’s seven games in India while Hackney-born Eyoma made three appearances – coming off the bench in the semi-final victory over Brazil.
After an amazing few weeks, all the talk now will be about what happens next for this group of players, but former Tottenham academy scout and coach Scott Chickelday has backed the Spurs duo to rise about it all.
He said: “I spoke to Tashan on Monday and he was just so humble. I told him ‘well done’ and he turned around and said he was nowhere near where he wants to be.
“They are both just great kids and I know they will keep working hard and keep doing all the right things.”
Chickelday is better placed than most to offer a judgement on the two 17-year-olds after nurturing their talents from a young age.
The ex-Spurs coach was Eyoma and Oakley-Boothe’s PE Teacher at Canonbury Primary School and together they had plenty of success in various football competitions.
And Chickelday was the man to take them both to Tottenham where they have gone from strength to strength and now the pair are World Cup winners.
Their former mentor is confident sky is the limit for the duo and in Mauricio Pochettino, they have the perfect manager to develop under.
Chickelday said: “Under him, you know if young boys show a willingness to work then they will get chances.
“Tottenham is a great place to be for a young player because if you put in the graft you’ll be rewarded.”
For Oakley-Boothe in particular, it has been a whirlwind few months with the teen making great strides at Spurs since the summer.
After being part of Tottenham’s pre-season tour to America, he featured in the 2-0 friendly win over Juventus at Wembley in August.
Oakley-Boothe then made his competitive debut for Spurs in the final minutes of their 1-0 victory over Barnsley in the League Cup in September.
Despite his recent exploits, Chickleday knows the midfielder has the temperament to stay grounded and focused.
He added: “Tashan was captain of the Canonbury Primary School football team, but never saw himself as above anyone else.
“And he actually got the best out of everyone around him and they both had an old head on young shoulders and it’s so important to have that.
“When he was 11, Tashan was being a role model to other kids the same age as him because everyone knew how good he was and that he was at Spurs, but it never stopped him from helping everyone else.”
The dream for the World Cup winners now is to force their way into Tottenham’s first-team, which won’t happen overnight.
Chickelday admits they may need to leave on loan or drop down a division to get game time, but is confident they’ll make it eventually.
“My dream now is to see them playing regularly in the Premier League whether that’s for Spurs or someone else,” said Oakley-Boothe and Eyoma’s old mentor.
“They might have to drop down to the Championship initially or even League One, but if they can have good careers in the game, it would make me so happy.
“It makes the years I spent with them all worthwhile and to be able to sit down at the weekend and watch them and know I played a very small part in that make me very proud.”