Tottenham supporters of Atlanta rejoice: One of your own will be playing for your new Major League Soccer side
Every matchday the ATL Spurs meet at Meehan’s Atlantic Station in Atlanta to watch their favorite London side, Tottenham Hotspur. It is a tradition for those who love their Spurs and love watching the beautiful game. Although there will be plenty to cheer about on Saturday when Spurs take on Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup those at Meehans may have a little extra to cheer for. On Thursday, Tottenham announced that center-back Anton Walkes had been placed on a six month loan with MLS expansion side Atlanta United.
Walkes is considered to be a Discovery Signing for Atlanta which means that he was not subject ti any of the league’s allocation processes or the SuperDraft. Beyond the length of the loan exact terms of the deal were not released.
In a press release Atlanta United president Darren Eales said, “Anton has a bright future and we’re thrilled to have him continue his development at our club. He’s a young player who’s already been part of the first team squad at Spurs, featuring often throughout the summer until his official debut in the League Cup in September. He’ll be a welcome addition to our club.”
Walkes, 19, is a product of the Tottenham Hotspur youth academy having featured primarily for the under-21’s during the 2015-2016 season. During his time with the under-21 side Walkes made 21 appearances and scored four goals. He also played alongside of United States youth center-back Cameron Carter-Vickers.
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In addition to his time in Spurs youth development system Walkes has also more recently cracked the senior roster. He appeared in two of the club’s International Champions Cup matches last summer against Juventus and Atletico Madrid and more recently was subbed on late in Spurs 5-0 win over Gillingham in the EFL Cup.
Now the question is what does he bring to Atlanta United. Walkes can play both at center-back and in the defensive midfield and has shown a willingness to go on the attack when necessary. With the under-21s he found his greatest success coming in late past defenders crashing the box on crosses and set pieces. In terms of his defending he possesses great speed and tactical awareness. The real question is now if he can build plays from the back and create chances for others on the counter-attack.
Atlanta will not be throwing him to the wolves either which is often the case when a youth academy player comes to an MLS expansion side. United have made several good pickups in recent weeks on the defense, adding Michael Parkhurst, Zach Loyd, and more recently Tyrone Mears and Greg Garza.
Those moves, coupled with the Walkes loan and adding Miles Robinson as a Generation Adidas player,give the club a unique blend of veterans and rookies to build around. What will be interesting to see is if Brad Guzan does indeed make the move to Atlanta to in theory give them a quite formidable defense.
In the meantime Spurs supporters can rejoice to being able to see one of their own every matchday in Atlanta.