On Tuesday, Tottenham Hotspur will play Juventus in their first publicly watchable friendly match of the season. It’s the first chance we as fans will have to see Spurs in action, and while they left most of their big stars at home like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, and Kyle Walker, it’s still Tottenham football and gives us a good chance to watch some of the fringe players who are trying to make themselves noticed by Mauricio Pochettino and the Spurs coaching staff.
It’s a friendly, so at a certain level it doesn’t really matter who starts the match. It’s about fitness, training, and experimentation. But that’s not going to stop us from guessing, or possibly being hilariously wrong! Here’s my prediction.
Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm
No real surprise here. Michel Vorm is the most senior player on the team and the most seasoned keeper with the team in Oz. If you turn your head and squint you can imagine some jostling for position between reserve keepers Luke McGee and Tom Glover; I’d expect both of them to get a half of action against Juventus and Atletico Madrid.
Fullbacks: Kieran Trippier, Luke Amos
With Kyle Walker home with the rest of the Euro boys, this could be an important battle in a hypothetical war between Kieran Trippier and DeAndre Yedlin for the reserve right back position. Right now we don’t have any real evidence that there actually is such a war -- based on all evidence, Trippier is the solid incumbent and should start the match — but we can dream, right?
Meanwhile, both of Spurs’ left backs are still in London, and the only natural left back is 19-year old Luke Amos. I’m giving him the nod, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if we see Kyle Walker-Peters, who has played some left back before, slot in instead.
Central Defenders: Kevin Wimmer, Cameron Carter-Vickers
Kevin Wimmer is a nailed-on starter against Juventus. The big Austrian didn’t play in the Euros for some reason so this provides Mauricio Pochettino a chance to see, again, what he can do against top caliber European competition.
But who will play beside him? It’s probably between Cameron Carter-Vickers and Dominic Ball. Both are right footed right side central defenders, so positionally either could slot in the Alderweireld role. Ball, 20, is two years older than Carter-Vickers and coming off of a fine loan with Rangers last season. He might be just slightly ahead of CCV who has yet to really play against top level competition. But then again, that’s what friendlies are for, right? Besides, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if we see Ball deputize as a defensive midfielder at some point while Spurs are in Australia.
Central Midfielders: Victor Wanyama, Ryan Mason
The central midfield really picks itself. Say what you want about Ryan Mason, but Mauricio Pochettino apparently does admire his effort and dedication. My guess is Wanyama may start as the more defensive of the two midfielders, or Poche might go for a true double-pivot.
Behind them, Tom Carroll and Harry Winks are the obvious choices, and there have been murmurs of trying out Josh Onomah in the pivot after his solid performances for England in the U19 Euros. Anton Walkes is another defensive midfielder who could feature, or we could see Dominic Ball come in after a great season in the Scottish second division. Could Ball be the new Eric Dier?
Attacking Midfielders: Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min
If Pochettino wants the closest thing he can get to a first-choice attacking band, then these are the three most obvious players to start against Juventus. Two of them are nailed-on starters, and Sonny is in the running for major minutes this year. Nacer Chadli is with the team and could also start on the left or at the #10.
But forget those guys. I wanna see Marcus “Messi with an Afro” Edwards. Edwards is one of those guys who, despite minimal evidence to support it, is making me irrationally excited. Throw him in, let’s see what he can do. YOLO.
Striker: Vincent Janssen
He’s the only recognized senior level striker in Spurs’ Australia roster, so I’m pretty sure he’s going to start and be run through his paces. If he needs a break or if Poche wants a different look, Shayon Harrison is waiting in the wings, or Son Heung-Min could play as well.
The match will be streamed on ESPN3 in the USA and starts Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. Sky Sports 1 will cover it in the UK, with kickoff at 11 a.m.
Who do you think will start against the Old Lady? Put your predictions in the comments.