2012 Olympics: Sandro, Giovani Dos Santos Worth Watching

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Sandro of Brazil reacts during the international friendly match between Team GB and Brazil at Riverside Stadium on July 20, 2012 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Open thread: Discuss Sandro and Brazil's match right here.

I like Steven Caulker as much as the next guy. I think he's going to become an important first choice player for Tottenham Hotspur at some point in his career. Tottenham's central defenders are looking fairly comfortable and fit at the moment, however, so I'm writing a post on the Olympics while glossing over him. I thought it was important to point this out at the top of the post so no one jumps down my throat.

You can still watch Caulker and Danny Rose thanks to the scheduling gods, who have put all of Tottenham's participants in the Olympics on in different time slots today, but I'm more focused on Sandro and Giovani dos Santos.

In the case of Johnny Two Saints, I'm interested in how he plays because he might actually have a chance to make Tottenham's 23-man squad. Rumors about a potential transfer have died down, while Niko Kranjcar and Steven Pienaar have been shipped out. I know that I'm higher on Dos Santos than just about any other Tottenham supporter on the planet, but in this case, I think I'm being perfectly reasonable. I don't expect dos Santos to start regularly for Spurs next year, but if Pienaar and Kranjcar are gone, he should get a chance to make the bench occasionally.

He hasn't started in either of Mexico's games even though he is a first choice player for their senior team. He was dangerous off the bench in their 0-0 draw with South Korea, then scored twice off the bench against Gabon. He could finally get a start in Mexico's final group stage game, especially considering how wildly disappointing Marco Fabian and Miguel Ponce have been thus far.

In the case of Sandro, I'll be keeping an eye on him because of how much he's obviously needed for the upcoming season. Scott Parker is recovering from surgery and is probably going to start playing less often than Sandro this season. Tom Huddlestone looks like he still needs a lot more time to get back to the level he was at before his injury, while Jake Livermore has not looked his best in friendlies. Jermaine Jenas is all but done in a Spurs shirt, while Tom Carroll might not be ready to perform at the highest level yet.

Sandro should be one of the first names on the team sheet if he's healthy. Based on his play for Brazil over the summer and the play of Tottenham's central midfielders so far in preseason, he's going to become a key player for Spurs this year. They will need him to stay healthy and maintain the level of play he's shown for Brazil all summer long to achieve their aspirations of a return to the Champions League.

Dos Santos might not be a forgotten about reserve anymore, while Sandro probably isn't going to be a young, up-and-coming bench player anymore. These guys have a chance to take on expanded roles in the team this year, and their performances at the Olympics could give us a good idea of what we can expect from them when they return to Tottenham.


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