Why Tanner is not Tottenham Hotspur-bound - it's nothing to do with money nor old tweets about Harry Kane

Ollie Tanner has earned high praise from his manager at Lewes FC for his ‘level-headed’ decision to turn down a move from Lewes to Spurs.

Ollie Tanner, centre, is congratulated after a Lewes goal - he has scored 15 this season / Picture: James Boyes
Ollie Tanner, centre, is congratulated after a Lewes goal - he has scored 15 this season / Picture: James Boyes

And Rooks boss Tony Russell has promised the 19-year-old hot prospect that the club will look after him all the time he stays at the Dripping Pan.

Tanner looked set for a move to the Premier League giants last weekend after the two clubs agreed a transfer fee – though Lewes said it was not near the £100,000 that some national media outlets claimed.

But on Saturday night Lewes revealed Tanner had been unable to agree personal terms – and was staying put.

Ollie Tanner has been in top form for the Rooks / Picture: James Boyes

It is likely that Tanner’s chance of a move to a pro club will come – possibly in the summer. Brighton are among those watching him.

But Russell said the player deserved praise for the decision not to go to a club where he felt he might be playing under-23 football for several more seasons and never reach the first team.

The Lewes boss insisted Tanner’s decision was nothing to do with money – nor with years-old tweets mentioning Harry Kane that had been dredged up once Spurs’ interest was known about.

Russell revealed that since Tanner decided against moving to White Hart Lane, he had received ‘horrible’ abuse on social media.

Tanner has had scouts from numerous Premier League and Football League clubs watching him in recent weeks, and Russell admitted all the attention had affected his form.

He missed last Saturday’s game at Hornchurch – where the Rooks lost 3-1 on a bad-tempered afternoon that ended with them reporting the referee – but may return to the Rooks’ side at home to East Thurrock on Saturday.

Russell told the Sussex Express: “Ollie is a great lad and a great player. He is also very level-headed and that’s really why he has decided against this move.

“Brighton and Spurs both made bids for Ollie and while Brighton’s was silly, one from Spurs was accepted by the club. They therefore had permission to speak to him.

“I went with him to watch a Spurs under-23 game and I think it made him think about what his career path would be if he went there.

“What he’s ended up deciding is that going straight from step three of non-league to a Premier League club would be a step too far.

“In some ways it could be seen as a dream move but think about it: What would be his chances of getting in their first team?

“Ollie wants to play first-team professional football and he probably has more chance of that by going to a smaller club. If he does that and does well and a bigger club then comes calling, great.”

Russell said it had been a time of great pressure for the teenage forward – who has scored 15 goals for Lewes so far this season – and he had told his squad they’d all need to play their part looking after him.

“We love Ollie and will look after that. We’d never stand in his way – as was shown by the bid being accepted,” Russell said.

“He’s had a lot of attention on him but for now I just want to see an in-form Ollie Tanner back in our team and scoring and assisting for us.”

Lewes chairman Stuart Fuller reiterated the support the Rooks would continue to give Tanner, who is on a contract at the Dripping Pan until the end of next season.

Fuller said: “He’s a fantastic talent who will have a bright future in the game. We are very lucky to have him at Lewes and he is a big part of our push to finish as high as possible in the table.”

Tanner’s importance short-term is not least because Russell is without several players after a stormy 3-1 loss at Hornchurch last weekend.

They lost Tom Carlse and Razz Coleman De-Graf to nasty injuries in the first half then had Mitchell Nelson sent off early in the second half.

Russell said Hornchurch should have had two men sent off for tackles that left his players with stud marks –and Nelson was the innocent party in a flare-up after he was fouled.

“The three officials were all very young and Hornchurch are a very streetwise side – you do see it at this level,” Russell said. “But we’ve ended up reporting the referee because we feel he was out of his depth.

“It also leaves us short of players for a game against East Thurrock that we need to win.”