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Mauricio Pochettino - The Foreigner Upstaging English Football's Home-Grown Gaffers

13/11/2015 17:16 GMT | Updated 13/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Data by the CIES Football Observatory this week revealed nothing we didn't really know already: It found that the Premier League is home to more overseas players than anywhere in Europe, bar Cyprus, and that the amount of club-trained academy graduates in our clubs' squads is down by more than two per cent on last year's figures. Squad average ages are also up, suggesting that youth in general is being neglected in England's top flight.

There is one club, though, whose willingness to rely on their own is defying those findings. The percentage of overseas players in Tottenham's squad that drew 1-1 against Arsenal was a mere 44.4 - which is over 15% below the Premier League average - while 27 per cent of Sunday's 18 can be classed as 'club-trained', with it's average age almost three years below the divisional mean, at 24.1.

Although they are currently fifth in the standings, the momentum brought by an 11-league-game unbeaten run, along with the timely return to form of key players - notably last season's 31-goal top scorer Harry Kane, suggests that Spurs and their Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino could be onto something.

During an interview with Radio 5 Live recently, his predecessor-but-two Harry Redknapp was critical of foreign appointments like him for being handed opportunities that British coaches are finding increasingly hard to come by. What Redknapp seemed to have forgotten - or is too ignorant to realise - however, is that often they are far more qualified - and prevalent - than those whose positions they are perceived to be taking.

Pochettino, indeed, is doing far more for young British footballers - who unlike many British coaches do possess the ability to succeed at the highest level - not to mention the English national team, than any of his home-grown counterparts.

To prove my point, there are more of Pochettino's players in the latest England squad - Kyle Walker, Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Kane - than there are players from clubs with British managers combined - Tom Heaton, Jack Butland and Jonjo Shelvey. This is a man whose only World Cup campaign as a player was pretty much curtailed by the dive of Englishman Michael Owen. It's a good thing he doesn't bear grudges!

Some - perhaps Redknapp - will argue that it was Pochettino's predecessor who started the ball rolling at Spurs. To be fair to Tim Sherwood, who was elevated to the role amid little fuss despite not possessing the required Pro Licence, players like Kane and Algerian midfielder Nabil Bentaleb were handed extended runs in the first team while he was in charge.

Kane's first start didn't arrive until April, however, when Spurs had six games to make up an eight-point gap on Arsenal in the last of the top four places. The season, as far as Champions league qualification was concerned, was already over by that point.

It wasn't until a few months after Pochettino arrived that Kane started to lead the line on a regular basis - and pretty soon he was leading the team. In the meantime, the 43-year-old found a starting place for Ryan Mason, who was banished to Swindon Town by Sherwood's predecessor Andre Villas Boas and like Kane, made his England debut in March this year. Spurs may have missed out on the top four once more, but a late resurgence left them a place better off than in the previous campaign.

18-year-old Josh Onomah made his senior debut last week, with another academy graduate, Alex Pritchard, bound to have featured more prominently had it not been for injuries. But Pochettino is also prepared to look elsewhere for young British talents.

Dier and ​Alli, at a combined transfer fee of £9million from Sporting CP and MK Dons respectively, are debunking the myth of overpriced Englishmen. Of course it's an overpayment if you don't plan to play them. But how do you know for sure if you haven't them a fair chance?

How the likes of Connor Wickham, Jack Rodwell and Wilfried Zaha must wish someone like Pochettino had been in charge when they first moved to a bigger club - although Alan Pardew appears to have the latter back on track at Crystal Palace.

Of course, not all managers can afford to show Pochettino levels of patience, when some are constantly peering over their own shoulders and praying they don't lose three matches in a row. But Spurs aren't the most patient club in history, and the strong position they find themselves in is testament to their manager's bravery.

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