Sherwood challenges Fryers to break into Tottenham first team

The former Spurs star has urged the defender to stake a claim for a place among Andre Villas-Boas' squad at White Hart Lane, and has defended the transfer from Standard Liege
Tottenham's head of football development Tim Sherwood has called on Ezekiel Fryers to break into the first team set-up after the defender made his debut for the reserves on Tuesday.

Fryers, who joined from Belgian outfit Standard Liege earlier in the month, was the subject of controversy with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson calling for a Premier League enquiry into the former Old Trafford defender's move to north London.

However, despite the disapproval surrounding the deal, Sherwood believes the 19-year-old should set his sights on making a name for himself at the club.

"Zeki is fully aware that he's a long way away from being ready for Tottenham Hotspur's first team," he told the club's official website.

"The plan is for him to come in and work hard with the development squad to get to a level - no guarantees - where he could perhaps play for our first team."

The 19-year-old had been on trial with Spurs last summer, but Fryers opted to move to Liege after the Lilywhites failed to reach an agreement with United.

However, the England Under-19 international struggled to adapt to life on the continent and agreed to move to White Hart Lane after making just seven appearances for the Belgians.

Sir Alex stated his belief that Tottenham had "manipulated the situation" to secure a deal for Fryers, but Sherwood insisted the transfer was somewhat of a shock to the club.

He added: "Our scouts watched him on a couple of occasions. Standard Liege changed their manager in November and the new manager by all accounts didn't fancy him and he then became a little disillusioned and homesick.

"The next thing we knew his representatives called us, along with, as I understand, a number of other clubs, to see if there was any interest in bringing him back."