May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Lawrence Vigouroux is set to face Barca’s next generation at White Hart Lane after being spotted during a Tottenham Hotspur Foundation scheme at St Thomas More School.
Second chances are often hard to come by for young, aspiring footballers – and Lawrence Vigouroux thought his dreams of Premier League glory and international stardom had been shattered when he was just 15 years old.
Having spent two years in Brentford’s youth set-up, the goalkeeper was told that he would not be getting a contract with the Bees.
The prospect of playing at White Hart Lane seemed like an impossible fantasy – but that dream will come true tomorrow night as Vigouroux takes to the field for Spurs’ Under-19s to face Barcelona in the NextGen Series.
That transformation has come because of a partnership between the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and St Thomas More School in Wood Green.
They offer a college course which combines academy-standard football coaching from Spurs with an education programme – and it was there that Vigouroux’s talents were spotted.
Now a member of Tottenham’s academy, the prodigious 18-year-old, who grew up in Kentish Town, has just made the move to the Lilywhites’ new training complex at Bulls Cross – and he is still pinching himself.
“When things didn’t work out for me at Brentford I thought that was it, I definitely thought it was all over,” said Vigouroux. “I just thought I’d try to make it through non-league, so it’s a dream come true to come to a Premier League club.
“I’d already been to school at St Thomas More – I was there from Year 7 to Year 11 – and then this course came up.
“It was the first year that they were running it and they asked me if I’d be interested. I said ‘yes of course, because there’s football involved as well’.
“It was good, we played games every Wednesday afternoon against other colleges, and then about three months into the second year I found out that Tottenham were watching me. I kept doing well and I got a contract in May – they’ve given me a one-year professional contract.
“When we were at the college we couldn’t play until we had done our school work, so it gives you that motivation to work hard.
“Some of the others who have left now have gone on to university – they’ve got into good places like Buckinghamshire and St Mary’s in Twickenham, so they’ve done well. It’s a very good course.”
Meanwhile, Vigouroux has been to Germany twice with Spurs’ Under-19s, coming second in the Volksbank Cup in May and recently playing throughout the first group game in the Champions League-style NextGen Series, as the young Lilywhites triumphed 3-2 away at Wolfsburg.
“That tournament in Germany was quite hard, I’d only just signed so I was nervous about playing,” said the young keeper.
“Coming into this season I didn’t think I’d be in the squad so I was just looking to keep playing well – and then I got the text saying I was in the squad. From there I went over to Wolfsburg and we did well.”
Now Vigouroux is preparing for tomorrow’s match against Barcelona at White Hart Lane, and a high-profile opportunity to display his ability.
“I haven’t played at the Lane before so this will be my first experience of it, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
“It’s the kind of thing that dreams are made of – I never would have expected it a few years ago. It’s unbelievable to be given the opportunity to play at White Hart Lane in front of the fans.
“It will definitely be a tough game, but we’re not worrying about whether they’re going to unleash this player or that player.
“We’ve just got to worry about what we’ve got to do, and that’s to get three points and make it six out of six in the NextGen.
“It’s a fantastic tournament. It’s great going around Europe and playing against different styles of football, and getting good experience.
“My ambition is to play in the Premier League, to play for my country and all of that, but for now I’m just going to take each day as it comes.”
Anyone who is interested in joining the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Education & Football Development Centre should visit tottenhamhotspur.com/foundation
Tickets for tomorrow’s NextGen clash with Barcelona at White Hart Lane are available by calling 0844 844 0102 (option 2) or by visiting the ticket office in Park Lane, which is open from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Adults will be priced at £5 and adult members can buy tickets at £3, while junior and senior citizen tickets are priced at just £1. The match kicks off at 7pm.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs