Cameron Carter-Vickers’ Tottenham debut was a long time coming. For the past several weeks, the 18-year-old defender has sat patiently on the Spurs bench, waiting for his chance. It finally came on Wednesday, and it went better than most could have imagined.
The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team centerback made his competitive debut on Wednesday afternoon, starting in central defense in Tottenham’s 5-0 League Cup win over Gillingham. Partnered with Kevin Wimmer at centerback, Carter-Vickers was steady throughout the match, marking his debut as a positive one after seven years in the Tottenham system.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve been working all these years to get to this stage,” Carter-Vickers told Spurs TV, “so to play and win 5-0, it’s a dream… I got a little bit nervous, but I think that helped me. It keeps me on my toes. It was good for me.
“Hopefully (it’s the first of many),” he added. “I just have to keep my head down, keep working on the training ground and push on.”
It was Carter-Vickers’ work on the training ground that nearly got him a goal in his first competitive match. The young defender got a head to an early corner, only to see it roll just wide. The 18-year-old stressed that he has been working on set pieces in recent weeks, and that it was nice to see it nearly pay off with what would have been a memorable goal.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has seen those improvements first hand. After starting the defender against the likes of Atletico Madrid and Juventus in preseason, Pochetttino knew that the 18-year-old was ready to take the next step
“We spent a lot of time working with him. We know very well that quality Cameron shows, or Marcus (Edwards) or Harry Winks, all of the players that were involved in the preseason in Australia,” Pochettino said. “The only thing is to wait, be patient, and when they have the opportunity, show their quality, because in the future, they will be big players for us.”
“Cameron played very well, but the whole team played very well,” he added. “It was fantastic to play with confidence to see him play the way that we play.”
As the manager alluded to, Carter-Vickers is just one of several talented youngsters coming up through the Tottenham system. 19-year-old Josh Onomah scored a goal on Wednesday afternoon. Winks earned his first ever start after previously joining the team off the bench, while Edwards made his competitive debut as well with a substitute appearance.
Carter-Vickers feels privileged to be a part of that group, one that appears set to push towards the first team. Wednesday, in theory, should be the first of many for a player that now seems firmly entrenched in Tottenham’s first team.
“It’s fantastic. You can see when Josh scored, me and Harry Winks were the first to run over and congratulate him,” Carter-Vickers said. “It was good for him, and for us, to see someone you’ve grown up with for all these years score at White Hart Lane. I’ve been with them for awhile now, since I was like 10 or 11. Everyone gets on. We know each other really well. We all want each other to do well.
“You can look all through the academy, right through the younger ages. There’s a lot of talent there,” he added. “What’s special about this manager is, if you train well, train hard, you’ll get your opportunity.”