Thursday, 3 July 2014

Players must earn their Spurs under Poch

Pre-season training begins tomorrow, and at Hotspur Way the new man in charge Mauricio Pochettino will get his first look at the players, albeit the one's not included in the World Cup.

On the basis of last season's performances and the final league position which was flattering to say the least, I would think that only three players should be certain of their place in the starting line up.  Hugo Lloris who was for me Spurs player of the season, Kyle Walker who performed consistently, and was hugely missed when he was unavailable for the last few months of the season.  Finally Jan Vertongen as well, who has proved in this World Cup that he is a top quality player, when he has mind on the job.

You then have the next bracket of players, who just need to add more consistency to their game, and they should fit into Pochettino's high pressing playing style.
They are Christian Eriksen, who should be given the opportunity to play behind the front man.  Eriksen has the ability and after a season in the Premier League adapting to the pace, we should see his creativity and dead ball skills shine this season.
Moussa Dembele when he left Fulham, fans felt he was an outstanding signing, but he hasn't really pushed on, and last season he appeared a shadow of his Fulham self, when he used to effortlessly glide past players.  Was he carrying an injury, was he saving himself for the World Cup, or was he carrying out tactical instructions, either way this is a big season for Moussa, as he will need to prove to Pochettino that he is still the player Spurs signed in 2012.
Andros Townsend has the opportunity under Pochettino, to really kickstart his career.  Andros who has played better for England than he has ever done for Spurs, has the pace, the direct style of play, and deep down the shooting ability to be a real star for Spurs.  However he needs to learn some game management, as to when to pass, and when to shoot.  Again consistency is the key for Andros.

We then move onto the unknowns, and these players should be desperate to prove to Pochettino that they have a role at Spurs in the future.
Erik Lamela was signed as the next bright young thing, and apart from a good performance against FC Sheriff, his appearances were limited.  You sensed under Tim Sherwood, that he wasn't "one of Tim's lads" and he was never going to get a look in, and mysteriously missed the last 6months of the season through injury.  When Lamela was at Roma, he used to cut in from the right, and tantalise defenders, and fire in shots at will on his left foot.  He has real star quality, but can he cut it in the Premier League, time will tell.
Paulinho was a highly sought after player when he joined from Corinthians in the Summer of 2013, but what does he actually bring to the side.  Can he pass? no. Can he shoot? not really. Can he tackle? Lazily. He seems to be in a rut, which can be seen by his performances or lack of performance for Brazil in the World Cup.  He needs to return from Brazil in late July, with a point to prove to all Spurs fans, or his time at Spurs could well be over.
Emanuel Adebayor, oh Ade Ade Ade...what are you going to be like next season.  Are you going to be the unplayable centre forward of December/January last season, when you carried the team on your shoulders.  Or are you going to be the Adebayor who switched off at the end of the season once he knew his mate Sherwood was going to be sacked.  Adebayor is the biggest conundrum for managers.  Wenger has tried, Hughes/Mancini have tried.  Harry Redknapp probably got the best out of him.  I can see Pochettino giving him the chance to lead the line, but this chance could all be over by the end of August, and we may see Levy scuttling around Europe trying to land another targetman on deadline day.

Interesting times are ahead at Spurs, and we will await the shaping of Pochettino's side with baited breath.

Chris Clark © 2014    @Chrisclark1975

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