After spending last season on loan, first with Sheffield United and then with Ipswich Town, Cameron Carter-Vickers was back on the field for Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, playing the full 90 minutes of Spurs’ ICC match against Roma.
Carter-Vickers said he was pleased with the playing time but still has work to do to convince manager manager Mauricio Pochettino that he needs to take on a bigger role this season.
“Obviously it’s encouraging,” he said after Spurs’ 4-1 win. “It’s preseason, so it’s always good to get minutes on your legs. I just need to keep working hard, keep showing what I can do in training every day and then it’s up to the manager.”
An American international, Carter-Vickers said, “it’s definitely good to come out here and play some games in front of American fans.” The 20-year-old is part of a new generation of American players coming through the ranks in Europe. The defender said he and his international teammates already are working to make sure the 2022 cycle doesn’t end in failure.
“It was a massive disappointment for everyone involved when the U.S. didn’t qualify, but that’s behind us now,” he said. “There’s a good core of young players, and we’re all hungry and we all want success.”
“The young players now that have come into the squad, we’re all hungry, we all want to improve individually and want to be in a position where when the next qualifying comes around we can help the team as much as we can and help the team qualify,” he continued.
Despite being with the club that finished third in the Premier League last season, Carter-Vickers may be an example of a player who benefited from seeking out playing time rather than trying to break through where there already are top players at his position.
He said he learned a lot from his time in the Championship in the 2017-18 season, getting more confident on the pitch thanks to seeing game action nearly every weekend.
“Every footballer wants to play,” he said. “I feel like for me last season, the manager let me go out on loan, and it was perfect for me. I managed to get a lot of game time, and I’ve come back and I feel like an improved player.”
Has he improved enough to stay with Spurs this time around? It’s still too early to say. Carter-Vickers was encouraged by playing the full 90 minutes against Roma but was part of ICC campaigns in the past that didn’t lead to regular-season minutes.
Pochettino needs him now, but that’s because he’s without a number of regulars. Jan Vertonghen, who is not on tour after playing in the World Cup semifinals and third-place game, and Davinson Sanchez, who came on as a late substitute Wednesday, both figure to be ahead of him on the depth chart.
“At the moment, I’m at Tottenham,” Carter-Vickers said. “I’m working hard every day at training, trying to impress the manager and trying to get into the Spurs team.”