Mauricio Pochettino against loaning out young Tottenham talent
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino has explained that he does not believe in sending Tottenham's young players on loan, instead preferring to keep them around the first-team squad to learn from Harry Kane and the rest.
Spurs host Millwall in Sunday's FA Cup quarterfinal and under Pochettino's predecessors the club's best young players were sent to places like The New Den to toughen up and gain experience.
Kane had four different loan spells in the Football League and he has said a four-month stint at Millwall "turned me into a man," while Andros Townsend had no fewer than nine spells away, including at Millwall, before finally breaking into the first-team at Tottenham.
Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are among the other senior Spurs players to say a loan was beneficial but Pochettino has abandoned the policy for the club's brightest talents, rejecting several loan bids for Harry Winks and Joshua Onomah in the last 12 months.
"In different periods, something like that can work. When there was a different profile of coaching staff, for example," Pochettino said.
"In that moment, it was good for young players to go on loan and move. Nowadays, it is not so important for young players to move -- but you need to respect every single opinion. I prefer to have our young players here and offer them the potential to be first-team players, rather than send them out on loan."
Spurs do have seven young players currently on loan and, in almost every case, Pochettino has chosen the club carefully and insisted that the players be allowed to return to Tottenham to train and play for the under-23s as part of the deal.
However, loan spells are generally not good news for Tottenham's players under Pochettino, and he highlighted 18-year-old forward Kazaiah Sterling as a player who would learn more from training with Kane than he would at another club.
"But if you don't get the opportunities -- like Harry Kane and those other players -- to be involved with the first team, it is best to move and go to another club," Pochettino continued.
"But when you give those players the opportunity to train with the senior squad, that is an even better experience.
"One example is Kazaiah Sterling. Next season he will be here and it means every day there is an under-18 striker training with Harry Kane. There is no better teacher to learn from. Where would we send him? It would be a completely different philosophy.
"But if you don't have the opportunity to train every day with the first team, it is true that it is good to grow up in another place and come back. But here we try to provide the facility to train with the first team for any player who can cope with the pressure," added Pochettino, who was speaking with an ornate carving of a wooden elephant on his desk, named Karina.
"The elephant keeps moving around the training ground," he explained. "It was a present from the manager of Kenya, who was here last week. It was a nice gift and it has started a bit of a joke. Because everybody on the staff wanted it, it started moving around the rooms. And lo and behold, I arrive for my press conference and it is here under the table. I wonder where it will pop up next?"
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.