Knees up at White Hart Lane 001-110” (CC BY 2.0) by  Martin Hesketh 

When Gary Neville, regardless of his problems in Spain, highlights your managerial skills as something to aspire towards, you surely know you are doing something right.

Current Valencia boss Neville has not been shy in his admiration of Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino in the past and it is easy to understand why.

It is remarkable now to think of the uproar in some parts which met Pochettino when he first arrived in England as a replacement for the sacked Nigel Adkins at Southampton.

The only thing Pochettino had apparently achieved in his football career in the eyes of the doubters was bringing down Michael Owen in the 2002 World Cup match between England and Argentina (watch below from 5.00mins).

However, Pochettino has since gone on to prove his managerial talent in spades. He transformed Southampton and, ever since moving to Spurs in 2014, is now performing to exceptional standards at White Hart Lane.

Pochettino’s principles are the simple yet effective brand which are always on the wish-list of fans. Energy, dedication, the entertaining balance between defence and attack, and the belief in youth.

The Argentine, aged just 43, has rebuilt Spurs from a flaky bunch of also-rans to representing genuine title challengers. Spurs are around 8/1 in the betting odds to win the Premier League as February arrives while they are 4/11 to finish in the top four.

If they are not at least in the Champions League next season and competing among the UEFA competitions betting, it would be a major disappointment for a squad which has been carefully and precisely built to function as an almost perfect end product.

It has been the patient rebuilding job at Spurs which has led to Pochettino being linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Chelsea. And the key to that success has been his dedication to young players.

At just 32 years old, back-up goalkeeper Michel Vorm is the oldest player in Spurs’ squad. Instead, players such as Eric Dier (22), Tom Carroll (23), Dele Alli (19), Christian Eriksen (23) and Harry Kane (22) have become the foundations of Pochettino’s plans to name just a few.


England striker Harry Kane” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ben Sutherland 

Goalscorer Kane and teenage sensation Alli have been making the biggest headlines as Englishmen but it is impossible to ignore Pochettino’s shrewd decision in opting for young players who he can mould into his own tactical and philosophical image.

Even centre-backs Toby Alderweireld (26) and Jan Vertonghen (28) are at ages which mean they still have plenty of time to develop, although the loss of the latter to injury is a major blow.

Pochettino has stayed true to his beliefs. He does not speak in clichés and is not one to talk up his own ability in front of the cameras. It would seem to be the reason why this current Spurs setup is proving such a success.

With time on their side for years to come and momentum behind them, there is seemingly no reason why Spurs and Pochettino cannot continue to reshape the club’s future.