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On Etienne Capoue and Lewis Holtby being 'banished to the reserves'

Let's read way too much into a story that could mean lots of things!

Clive Rose

On Monday, the Daily Mail ran a story about Etienne Capoue and Lewis Holtby showing up for a reserve game. The Mail's implication was that they were sent to the developmental squad for bad reasons, either due to some undesirable trait that the two possessed or some manner in which they behaved that Tim Sherwood didn't like. They said Sherwood was "obviously sending a message".

Their evidence? That the pair were substituted off at halftime. Ha ha! They're not even good enough to play a full developmental squad friendly! Bums! And obviously if Nabil Bentaleb is playing and they aren't it means Sherwood knows they're bums!

Except we don't know that. We have absolutely no idea why Capoue and Holtby were in the Spurs XI team, and even if someone asked Sherwood, it's unlikely he'd tell them. Here's a list of entirely plausible reasons for Capoue and Holtby being in the reserves on Monday.

  • He does not rate them at all and genuinely thinks they're crap.
  • They were the players who turned up late for training and this is their one punishment.
  • He doesn't feel he's seen enough of them to know what they're best at and needed to play them in a game that didn't matter so that he could evaluate their style of play and what they might bring to the team if they played in the center of midfield in his preferred formation.
  • He sees them as a potentially great midfield pair, but wanted to test them out in a Spurs XI friendly, not a real game.
  • Because they were not first choice on Sunday, he thought 45 minutes in a reserve game was a good way to keep their fitness up, and it means nothing for their future or lack thereof at all.

But sure, draw a conclusion. Say Sherwood was "obviously" sending a message. Whatever.