We all knew that Andre Villas-Boas, who won the UEFA Europa League with FC Porto, was going to take Europe's second continental competition more seriously than Harry Redknapp when he was hired. Today, he confirmed what we all suspected and said that Spurs should look to do "something special" in Europa League.
This means we shouldn't expect a complete B team on Thursday against Lazio. However, we do need to use Europa League to get some games for less than fit and inexperienced players. Spurs will field a relatively strong team on Thursday, but it shouldn't be more than half the team that played against Reading at the weekend.
We know that Spurs need to get games for some of their lesser-utilized players, but since AVB won't run out a full B team, I'm curious to see who you guys think gets the nod.
Here are some of the obvious candidates to get some time on Thursday that they wouldn't get otherwise, or that they simply haven't gotten yet.
Hugo Lloris - This one is obvious. He might not start on Thursday if Villas-Boas is planning to use him this weekend.
Tom Huddlestone - I think Huddlestone has to start more than anyone else. He's never going to be his old self unless he gets game time. He needs a lot of it to get back to his previous level. I've used the Sebastian Kehl example multiple times, but it bares repeating. Kehl played poorly in the first half of last season for Dortmund, but has since established himself as a lock for the starting XI again. It took him half a season to find his form again. It will take Huddlestone just as long.
Thomas Carroll - This site's members have varying opinions on his potential, but I think that everyone can agree that he at least has the potential to make a Premier League 25-man squad, and needs some playing time to reach his potential.
Andros Townsend - Though I think Huddlestone is the most important player to get playing time for in Europa League, I'm most excited to see a potential start or six for Townsend. Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale have had flashes of brilliance, but have also looked shaky at times. Neither Clint Dempsey or Moussa Dembele is a true winger. He could become an important impact sub in the future.
Emmanuel Adebayor - Apparently, he's not fit enough to make an impact in the Premier League yet. If Jermain Defoe is going to start again this weekend, Adebayor should start against Lazio.
Steven Caulker - So far down the list because if he doesn't start, I have no explanation for it.
Michael Dawson - Keeping him fit would be nice.
Adam Smith - If only to give Kyle Walker a rest.
Iago Falque - I remain unconvinced that he's good enough to ever crack the first team, but maybe AVB disagrees.
Who do you think needs a game the most?
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