Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has told the young first-teamers at the club to follow the example of “reliable” Ryan Sessegnon.
Sessegnon could earn a recall for Saturday’s visit of his former club Fulham having been an unused substitute for the midweek draw with West Ham.
It was the first time this season Conte has not used the wing-back, who started the opening matches of the campaign with Southampton and Chelsea before he had cameo roles against Wolves and Nottingham Forest.
The 22-year-old has made big strides during the past 12 months and is now viewed by his manager as a trusted option on the left, which is in contrast to Djed Spence, Pape Matar Sarr and Bryan Gil who are of a similar age to Sessegnon.
“You know very well I try in every game to make the right decision but in that role I am OK because I have (Ivan) Perisic and Sessegnon, two important players.
“He improved a lot and I remember very well since I arrived Sessegnon was another player. Now he is a reliable player and he has great confidence. He is strong physically and improved in his quality and technically.
“We are talking about a really good player, a young player that can become stronger but this is the difference between the other young players. We are talking about a player who played many games and is reliable for every game, not only for tomorrow or FA Cup, for every game he is ready.”
A quiet transfer deadline day saw Sarr and Gil, who both joined last summer, remain at the club and fail to secure loan moves away which could have aided their development.
Spurs manager Conte was clear on Friday the duo – alongside July arrival Spence – are not ready to compete for a starting berth in the Premier League or Champions League.
Changes could be made for this weekend’s match with Fulham but Harry Kane is expected to lead the line and has two more records in his sights.
“The records underline that you are doing something special,” Conte added.
“I think Harry in his career is doing something special in personal achievement because it’s really a pity with so many goals, so many big personal achievements until now he didn’t win (trophies).
“Usually when you score a lot of goals for your national team or your club, you deserve to have a good (trophy) win, but we are trying to work and help him to get this target.
“You know very well for us that Harry is important and we are talking about a world-class striker but I see also the desire in him… the desire to do something special.
“When you win it means you lift a trophy, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup or Champions League. With the national team the Euros, the World Cup and these are trophies you have to lift and we are talking about a top player. I think he deserves this.”
“Now in England we are talking about the best tournament in the world, the best and most difficult tournament and now Eric is an important level of defenders,” the Italian insisted.
“For sure, what I can tell you is that Eric improved a lot since I arrived. For sure we are talking about a reliable player.
“If he deserves to go or not, it depends on what the coach of the national team, Southgate, thinks. I have too much respect for him to tell something wrong or to try to convince him.”