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Give that man a mug: Mauricio Pochettino belongs in World's Best Manager debate

Wednesday 18th October 2017
Mauricio Pochettino's name would have meant nothing to most Premier League viewers four years ago. Now, the Argentine tactician rates among the league's best.

He has become one of the world's most sought-after managers. His rapid ascent can especially be attributed to his skill with player development.
During his time at Southampton, Pochettino groomed average players to become top transfer targets for top clubs in the Premier League. He had done much the same at Espanyol.

His success trailed him down to Tottenham, where he worked with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Eric Dier, helping them become among the most exciting players in their generation. Twelve of England's last 30 debutants have passed under the former Espanyol manager's tutelage with either Southampton or the Lilywhites. Harry Winks is the latest, joining Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez, Ryan Mason, Fraser Forster, Luke Shaw, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Danny Rose, Adam Lallana and Harry Kane.

After he bagged his 15th goal for club and country in an England win over Lithuania, scoring in his fifth successive game to do so, Harry Kane gushed over his club manager.

Mauricio's one of the best managers in the world, if not the best. He brings players through, gives them chances on the big stage, and they deliver for him. We can't thank him enough for that. He deserves all the credit. He helped us get to where we are now, and Harry [Winks] is another player under his management.
Winks became Tottenham's sixth player called up to England duty while under Pochettino's management. His first appearance came in the clinching victory for the Three Lions World Cup qualifying campaign. He, too, had praise for Poch.

(Mauricio) is a fantastic manager and he has a lot of belief in us. Not only does he give us the opportunity but he gives us advice when we need it. I can't thank him enough for everything he's done for me. I suppose it's about me paying it back, and fortunately, it went well tonight.

That leaves Kyle Walker-Peters as the only uncapped English player in Tottenham's first team. KWP has debuted on the national stage with Aidy Boothroyd's England U21s this season. He could be bound for the senior team as Gareth Southgate tinkers in friendlies before the World Cup.

Favouring youth has an added benefit. Keeping a squad content on wages established stars at competing clubs would consider insignificant is an achievement worth applauding. That Pochettino has a Winks, Walker-Peters, or even a late bloomer such as Kieran Trippier in reserve when one of his hatchlings spreads its wings, as Kyle Walker did this summer, is even more noteworthy.

Spurs' decision to call Wembley home while its new stadium is constructed may well have been influenced by the Argentinean's exceptional way of bringing players through. While young players with other clubs struggle to hold down a spot in starting line-ups--Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard at Manchester United, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain first at Arsenal, now at Liverpool--Pochettino lends his young players voice. Playing in the national stadium, surrounded by so much history, allows Spurs prospects to dream.

His squad brimming with homegrown domestic talent, Pochettino is not only keeping his cost-conscious boss, Daniel Levy, happy with a low-cost squad, he is also girding for the future. Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, and Moussa Dembele lend their experience to Pochettino's mission, their experience leading a finely-tuned squad on the pitch.

With Kyle Walker-Peters, Marcus Edwards, and the likes coming through the ranks, Spurs are fully prepared for years to come. Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham's success not only brings good tidings for its own supporters but English fans, as well.
Adebayo Temitope

Temitope, an ardent soccer fan. I may be based in Lagos but I watch as much European football as I can. I've been writing about football for several years, before I joined IRIAW you may have seen my work on The Football Weeks. I'm also a keen music fan

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