What’s the best development plan for Cameron Carter-Vickers?

It’s one of the older questions in world soccer: What’s the best way to develop a talented young player?

Today, we’re asking it about Tottenham and U.S. international center back Cameron Carter-Vickers.

He’s an 18-year-old who’s been on the books at Spurs since he was 11. He was born in England, the son of an American basketball player and an English woman, and has lived there his whole life.

He checks every box there is for a center half. He’s big, standing about 6-1, strong, yet comfortable playing with the ball at his feet.

He’s also a leader, as a young man who’s worn the captain’s armband for Spurs’ U-21 and the U.S. U-17 World Cup sides.

Carter-Vickers is now on the verge of his first senior appearance with the U.S., after he was named to the roster to face Mexico and Costa Rica in the next week or so.

“Bringing in the likes of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Lynden Gooch and Caleb Stanko proves that the younger players are pushing through,” manager Jurgen Klinsmann said.

Getting the young defender a cap would also slam the door on England’s hopes of fitting him for a Three Lions shirt.

He’s a exciting prospect, but how does he make the jump from promising youngster to the starting lineup for both Spurs and the national team?

Matches. Lots of matches.

He has a pair of first-team appearances for Tottenham this year, both coming in the EFL Cup. He rated well against both Gillingham and Liverpool, and just signed a new contract with the London club through 2019.

He drew praise from Klinsmann after those appearances.

“Absolutely Cameron is in our picture,” he said. “He’s a very exciting young player coming through the ranks, but he also needs to break into things slowly, get into the team and get some minutes, which he did the other day in a cup game.”

It’s natural for fans to want Carter-Vickers’ career arch to match up Christian Pulisic’s, but the Borussia Dortmund starlet’s meteoric rise through the youth ranks to the starting lineup isn’t often duplicated.

The Tottenham center half could go out on loan. He’s the fourth-choice center back at the moment, behind Jan Vertonghen, Toby Aberweireld and Kevin Wimmer (his backline partner in those cup ties).

In a perfect world, he’d spend the second half of this season with a Championship side, make a few starts and try to force his way into a bigger role at Spurs over the summer.

With Tottenham still trying to advance to the knockout round in the Champions League, however, manager Mauricio Pochettino will probably hold off on any loan plans for younger players until he knows what his fixture list is going to look like after the holidays.

Whether it’s at White Hart Lane or on loan somewhere else in England, the best thing for Carter-Vickers, Spurs and the U.S. national team is for him to play as much first-team football as he can manage.

About Randy Capps

South Carolina native, Fulham apologist, writer and sports fanatic.

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