Tottenham Hotspur are currently in Orlando preparing for their first preseason match in the International Champions Cup against PSG on Saturday. Ahead of the match, Pochettino took some time in the sweltering Florida heat to give a very interesting interview with ESPN’s Dan Thomas, Gabriel Marcotti, and Shaka Hislop.
One of the biggest storylines this summer for Tottenham has been their lack of activity in the transfer window. Pochettino was asked about Spurs’ quiet window, and he did his best to dispel the idea that Spurs are rudderless in the market.
I think the [transfer] philosophy is coming from the board, from Daniel Levy, with whom I have a very good relationship. We have a good idea of what we need to do in the future. I think it’s amazing the facilities that we have — the training ground and the new stadium which will be one of the best in England and in Europe. It’s an exciting moment for Tottenham.
It’s not that we cannot invest, but Tottenham now are building a different [transfer] philosophy to the big sides. I think money can help you to build a good squad and bring in players with talent. But it’s not always about money — you need to be creative, you need to be clever. Next season will be tough for us, but we believe in the way that we play and work.
Spurs have shipped off Federico Fazio and Clinton N’Jie, who were both on loan last season, and sold Kyle Walker to Manchester City in a blockbuster £50m deal. However they have yet to sign any incoming players, which makes a sizable percentage of Spurs’ fanbase extremely nervous. Pochettino noted that the Spurs coaching staff have a great deal of confidence in the young players coming up through the academy, but hinted that he still expects some incoming players before the window closes.
I think next season is a big challenge for us. One, because we’re moving to Wembley. It’s a different environment, different pitch, different stadium, and we’ll need to change our idea because we were very comfortable playing at White Hart Lane. And then you can see that the big sides are investing a lot of money trying to sign new players and improve their squad.
But for us we are so calm and so quiet because we believe in our squad and our younger players that are pushing up from the academy. We will add maybe a few players, but we are so calm because we have a good team, and the most important thing for us is the team.
Spurs brought a number of reserve and academy players along with them to USA for their preseason tour, including U20 World Cup winners Josh Onomah and Kyle Walker-Peters, and youngsters Jaden Brown, Jon Dinzeyi, Anthony Georgiou, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Brandon Austin, Alfie Whiteman. That’s not including the crown jewel of Spurs’ academy, Marcus Edwards, who was left home to rest after winning the U19 Euros with England a couple of weeks ago.
Poch hinted that these preseason matches could be auditions for a few of these young players, and that the Spurs staff are willing to give first team opportunities to young players who impress.
I think every player is different, and they mature at different ages and different moments. The most important thing is that they need to believe and feel that they are so close to the first team and the coaching staff are caring for them. And if they are good and show their quality they will have a chance to play. I think after three seasons at Tottenham the young players feel this — if they do everything and they improve then the first team coaching staff will give them the possibility to play. Maybe before [I arrived] it was different when they were playing under a different [coaching] philosophy, but now under our philosophy if you are young — 17, 16, 15, 19, if you are good enough you will have the possibility to play.
The full interview is over 10 minutes long and features a Mauricio Pochettino that is more open and direct than what we’re used to hearing from him. The full podcast also features an extended interview with Hugo Lloris. It’s worth a listen.