By Sanal Mulackal
Name: Samuel Shashoua
Current Club: CD Tenerife
Position: Left Winger
Samuel Shashoua is an exciting young prospect of Venezuelan descent, born in Chelsea, London. In 2015, he was snapped up by the Tottenham Hotspur academy who were impressed with his athleticism, talent and drive. Shashoua’s abilities were not limited to football as he was the U12’s County squash champion and played hockey for the South of England’s Under 16’s team. This early sporting success instilled a determined and driven attitude within the young Shashoua who would quickly find his feet within academy level football.
It was not long before Shashoua tasted success with Spurs, as he was a key member of various international youth tournaments (including those in Latvia and South Korea) that Spurs won throughout this period. Playing in an advanced position with older players, Shashoua looked very much part of the set-up, registering five goals in twenty appearances.
However, it was the 2015-2016 season that propelled Shashoua to greater heights, as he dazzled in the U-19 UEFA Youth League, netting an impressive thirteen times in just twenty three appearances, making him the second highest scorer in the squad. Further promotion to the U-23 squad did not go unnoticed as Mauricio Pochettino, the then Tottenham Hotspur manager, included Shashoua in the Tottenham Hotspur first team clash against Leicester City in 2017.
Things were looking rosy for Shashoua as he was regularly making appearances for the U-23 squad and giving Pochettino plenty to think about, but the extreme competition to play for a rapidly developing Spurs squad limited Shashoua’s chances of first team football, causing a rethink as to how he should shape his career.
It was around this time that CD Atlético Baleares came calling and Shashoua accepted the challenge of delving into the unknown, in a foreign and unfamiliar country. This would be followed by a switch to CD Tenerife, who play in a slightly higher league (Segunda División). Still aged only 21, Shashoua is adding a wealth of experience and racking up minutes playing in a new environment whilst also adapting to a different style of football.
A naturally talented two footed player with excellent close control and trickery, is how Shashoua’s coaches at Spurs described him and what prompted them to include him as part of the first team squad at one point. However, it is in Spain that Shashoua really started setting the field alight. His directness, mesmerising weaving forward runs and strength on the ball regularly stun opposition defenders.
Since moving to Spain, Shashoua has had to acclimatise to a new culture which has been somewhat helped due to his strong command of the Spanish language, owing to his Venezuelan heritage. More importantly, he has had to get used to a new aggressive playing style, against men much older than he is. When one thinks of Spanish football, you would be forgiven for thinking it consists off beautiful one touch tiki-taka style football, the sort that helped Spain become World Champions. However, the reality is that the lower echelons of Spanish football often deploys a combative style of play, think of a Tony Pulis managed Stoke City side or Sam Allardyce managed West Ham team. At times, Shashoua has been kneed continually in the back as he attempts to get to the ball, and tripped and kicked on a weekly basis.
Despite this, Shashoua remains a very technical player who honed his abilities to a high quality, at a category one academy, enabling him to understand the intricacies of the game and play with guile to avoid being taken down illegally. As a winger he is unpredictable and with his weaving forward runs, two footedness and ability to penetrate defences he is a very dangerous player who loves to try his luck on goal on the edge of the oppositions penalty area. Shashoua carries the ball really well out on the flanks and it is his unpredictably, flair and good reading of the game which allows him to work defenders so hard and turn them inside out. He sees things that other players don’t see, and he does things with a ball which very few can do.
Having plied his trade in the England U-18 team with current Chelsea and England regular Mason Mount, the ex-spurs wonderkid is used to playing football at the highest levels. Shashoua is blessed with natural talent and has shown a steely determination to carve out a successful football career. This is unlikely to be the last time you’ll hear of Samuel Shashoua as he makes his way up the football pyramid. For now, he continues his development at CD Tenerife and on the trajectory that he is on, there is no doubt that larger teams will be keeping tabs on this exciting young prospect.