Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards would be regarded as one of the world’s best football prospects if he was from Brazil or Argentina as opposed to England.
The Spurs coach gave 17-year-old Edwards his first-team debut in the 5-0 hammering of Gillingham in the EFL Cup on September 21 and in the build-up compared the midfielder to Lionel Messi.
A talented left-footed attack-minded midfielder, Edwards is well regarded at Spurs and Pochettino believes that his nationality is impacting negatively on his reputation.
“It is cultural,” Pochettino told reporters. “Maybe if Marcus Edwards were born in Brazil or Argentina, today he would be one of the most interesting prospects in football in the world.
“Maybe all the big teams would be fighting to buy him. But he is at Tottenham, he is in England and, at 17, he is still a kid.
“We cannot appreciate he is a man, nearly a man, and he deserves to play. That is the cultural difference. “
Spurs head to Liverpool for their next EFL Cup tie on Tuesday, with Edwards potentially in line for another appearance, and Pochettino believes more clubs should be making a bigger effort to bring youngsters through to the first team.
“The Premier League is one of the stronger financial leagues, and Tottenham – like Liverpool and all the clubs – prefer to buy experience and quality, bring a player who is 24, 23 or 26 that performs quickly, rather than give time to the younger players and wait to build a prospect like Marcus Edwards.
“That is the balance. Tottenham is in a different project. Of course, we bring in players but we try to give the opportunity to the younger players who have potential one day to be in the first team.
“It is for the clubs to sell the players as they need the money to survive. In Argentina if you are 19 or 20 and you haven’t made your debut people think you are not a good player. It is a completely different vision of football.”
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