Mauricio Pochettino has hinted that he'll be looking deep down the Tottenham Hotspur bench as he picks his squad to play against Partizan Belgrade in Spurs' Europa League match on Thursday. Pochettino hinted in quotes given to respected Spurs journalist Ben Pearce that Spurs could field a highly rotated side in part due to injuries.
"It's important for our squad to stay strong," said Pochettino. "Maybe it's impossible to give all of our players the facility to play at the moment, but during the season we have a lot of games ahead and you need all your players.
"In the second half at Hull we were very pleased with Vlad Chiriches, Aaron Lennon and Paulinho because it's not easy to push them to work hard every day in training and then not give them the reward of playing - and this is important to maintain their confidence.
"That's why I said to them after the game ‘congratulations and thank you very much' because these players, who have maybe not been involved a lot in the last few months, gave their best for the team, and this is very important.
"Maybe they will be involved [tomorrow], as well as one or two young players from the academy - Dominic Ball and Harry Winks. It's important for them to be involved with the first team and it's an opportunity to show their skill and to show the reality that we have a strong squad."
Playing the likes of Ball and Winks, both of whom are highly regarded Spurs youth prospects, would be particularly exciting to see and would reinforce Poche's reputation as a manager that gives chances to promising youth players.
In addition, @spursofficial tweeted additional comments from Poche that shed some additional light on tomorrow's lineup:
So based on Poche's comments, we're likely to see a matchday squad that includes Vlad Chiriches, Eric Dier, Aaron Lennon, Paulinho, Kyle Naughton, Nabil Bentaleb, Dominic Ball, Benji Stambouli, and Harry Winks. Eric Dier might play in a not-right-back position. There will, of course, be at least one first-team striker, possibly Kane or Soldado since Adebayor is rumored to have a knock. Michel Vorm will probably start in goal. Early reports suggested Kyle Walker might be ready for Partizan, but it could be that is no longer the case.
It's CRAZY! We have NO IDEA what to expect! THANKSGIVING MADNESS!
It bears mentioning, however, that Spurs haven't yet qualified out of their group. Playing youth and fringe first team players could backfire and a loss could send Spurs out of the tournament. It's likely we'll see some important first-team players on the bench just in case things get ugly.