An impressive start (and middle, surprisingly) last season saw Kane silence his ‘second season syndrome critics’ finishing as the leagues top scorer, while Walker and Rose both excelled not only going forward but defensively as well, firming themselves as one of the leagues finest fullback pairings. Dier established himself as a formidable wall in front of the back four after flirting with centre half and right back, and Dele Alli truly emerged as a star, often the catalyst in big moments. The fine form of Tottenham’s overachieving young side was, in typical ‘Spursy’ fashion, capped ultimately by a lacklustre run in which saw them slip to 3rd behind rivals Arsenal.
Tottenham’s quintet of english talent will be hoping to bounce back from their European disaster, in the hope of building on last season’s achievements and challenging for the Premier League once more.
Kyle Walker and Eric Dier are perhaps the only Spurs players that could return home from France proud of their performances, while Danny Rose was solid at left-back. Dele Alli and Harry Kane meanwhile, albeit carrying the expectations of a nation on their combined shoulders, were decidedly disappointing.
The five Englishmen made their return to pre-season in Oslo, Norway, for Tottenham’s final game of pre-season against Inter Milan in which Spurs ran riot over a disappointing Mancini side playing most of, if not all of their stars, in a 6-1 rout.
While Lamela was arguably the Man of the Match, picking up where he left off last season scoring a fine goal and assisting two more, fans will be particularly pleased with the performances of Kane and Alli, managing 3 goals and 2 assists between them and hopefully shrugging off any worries of a European hangover.
Pending such a hangover, however, which is a very real possibility; minus the still-suspended Dembele, Spurs will look to the likes of new signings Wanyama and Janssen as well as first team regulars, Eriksen, Lamela and defensive stalwarts Lloris and Alderweireld to take over responsibility and grind out results should the English core struggle.
Fans will remember (however much they may want to forget), Spurs’ last few games of the season where it all went disastrously wrong as the title slipped away and the focus turned to the battle for 2nd place.
In an interview with Tottenham Hotspur, Dier said it was the Chelsea game when things really changed. “When you know it’s gone, that’s when it really sinks in. After the game the lads were saying ‘we need to remember this feeling’ and that’s the feeling we will carry into next season.” Reassuringly, it seems Dier’s own sentiments were echoed by his equally ambitious teammates.
It’s strange to see a team so relatively inexperienced play with such maturity and while many were all too eager to point out the team ‘lost their heads’ against Chelsea, it acted as a coming of age for the youngsters. The players made a statement that night at The Bridge. It was made abundantly clear that Spurs were no longer ‘soft’ and they were here to stay. These enthusiastic, combative and technically gifted players would be back to fight again next season.
In another interview with the club, it seems the only way is up according to Harry Kane. “We have a great thing going on here. We want to keep improving, keep getting better and now we’ve had a taste of a Premier League title race we want to do it all over again.”
On that very game, Pochettino declared himself proud of his team. “I felt very proud. To change history sometimes you need games like this to happen. Maybe we crossed the line a little bit. But for us, it was good. A lot of players showed big character and personality.”
With Mauricio’s assurances the club intend to challenge in both the Champions League and Premier League, fingers crossed these young stars can replicate the form that propelled them so close to glory last season.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Steve Mcmetha.