Mauricio Pochettino intends to rotate his Tottenham Hotspur squad for a Carabao Cup third-round meeting with Barnsley, although Marcus Edwards is not one of the academy graduates that will look to prove their worth against Championship opposition at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night (19 September) despite his recent good form.
Previously compared favourably by his manager to a young Lionel Messi, attacking midfielder Edwards, subsequently nicknamed 'Mini Messi', made his senior debut as a substitute in last season's early EFL Cup rout of Gillingham. However, a lingering ankle injury prevented him from making further progress.
The 18-year-old later helped England to European Under-19 Championship glory in Georgia and was subsequently handed a new three-year contract that is set to keep him at Tottenham until at least 2020.
Those fresh terms will have given rise to hope that Edwards may make a sustained breakthrough sooner rather than later, although Pochettino believes that his development will be better served by further regular exposure to youth football rather than just brief glimpses of first-team action.
"No, Marcus no, will not be involved tomorrow in the first team," the manager said during his pre-Barnsley press conference on Monday afternoon.
Asked what has happened with Edwards after he previously appeared to be rated so highly, he added: "Last season was difficult for him. Remember he was injured and then he had an operation and I think it was a tough season for him. He dropped a little bit but it's normal after nearly one season that he didn't play. Now he's building his confidence again. We're so happy because he played very well against Manchester United and then in the Youth Cup he was very good.
"But I think we need to wait a little bit for him to build more his physical condition and his confidence. He's better playing in the Under-23s or the Youth Cup than staying with us, maybe on the bench. I think it's a situation we have under control and we are looking after him to try to again have the facility to be involved with the first team. But it's step by step."
While Edwards will play no part against Paul Heckingbottom's Barnsley, Pochettino confirmed that 17-year-old Tashan Oakley-Boothe will make his matchday squad. Likewise winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, who returned to training last week following a foot problem.
Harry Winks "maybe has the facility to play in the starting XI", while Fernando Llorente could make his first start for Tottenham since joining from Swansea City on transfer deadline day. The experienced Spanish striker made a late cameo in a frustrating stalemate against his former club on Saturday and also came off the bench during last week's 3-1 Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund.
Pochettino remains without the services of injured trio Erik Lamela (hip), Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama (both knee), however. Left-back Ben Davies missed the match against Swansea with a slight ankle issue.