Tottenham Hotspur’s preseason preparations are now complete, as Spurs have wrapped up their tour to USA for the International Champions Cup, and rounded out the trip with a loss to a full-strength Girona in Spain.
Naturally, the preseason didn’t tell us TOO much about what Spurs will really look like when the Premier League gets underway this season. With so many players either missing or injured, Spurs’ lineups were... well, I don’t think “rotated” is quite a strong enough word.
That said, we can certainly glean a few facts and impressions based on the players that did turn out. Let’s take a look at which players did themselves the most good in these four preseason games.
One caveat — I was not able to watch the Girona match, so these are based almost entirely on the International Champions Cup performances.
Spurs fans were a bit disappointed that they didn’t see much of the Brazilian in the spring after his January 2018 signing. That’s apparently because it’s taken eight months for Lucas to bed in, get used to England, and learn Pochettino’s system. We thankfully got a good look at Lucas the past couple of weeks, and all of the signs are encouraging. Moura scored three goals in preseason — two against Roma in the ICC and an absolute belter in Spurs’ only goal against Girona — and he has looked impressive during most of his minutes. We’ve seen him employed on the wing, centrally, and even up top, and he’s looked tricky, direct, and fast as hell. It’s not a stretch at all to think that he could be a key contributor for Spurs this season, and is ready for a lot more minutes.
Luke Amos/Oliver Skipp/George Marsh
Nobody took better advantage of their preseason minutes than this young trio of midfielders. 21-year old Luke Amos, 17-year old Oliver Skipp, and 19-year old George Marsh all got probably more minutes than anyone expected due to the absence of Spurs’ World Cup stars and a few key midfield injuries. Amos started all three matches and might have played his way into Mauricio Pochettino’s bench, if not the starting lineup against Newcastle. Skipp and Marsh are both probably a couple of years away yet, but both comported themselves well — Skipp looks to be an especially exciting prospect, showing a neat touch and a good passing range, while Marsh wasn’t afraid to pressure defenders and make a good tackle.
I understand none of them played especially well against Girona, and it would be silly to expect any of these three to contribute anything close to serious minutes this season, but there’s reason to be optimistic that any of them could develop into a homegrown contributor like Harry Winks.
He’s back! ...Aaaaaaand then he got injured. Against Roma, Erik Lamela looked like the marauding, offensively-minded attacking midfielder that we all remember from before he injured his hips and missed a year of action. It was super encouraging to watch him deployed in the attacking midfield line. Then we never saw him again, which is bad. Even so, I’m giving him a “stock up” rating because that glimpse of his potential was exciting enough to remain hopeful, so long as whatever knock he picked up isn’t too bad.
Eyoma has been mostly a right back for Spurs’ development squad, but against Milan and Girona he slotted into the back line as a central defender and for the most part did himself little harm. He’s 18 and at times looked like a teenage center back, but you can see that he has good defensive instincts and is pretty good with the ball at his feet. I’d be interested to see what he can do with a good loan at the League 1 level or above.
Gazzaniga — or “GAZINGA,” as he will hereafter be known on this website thanks to poor pronunciation from ESPN’s announcing team — split time evenly with Michel Vorm in the preseason. Based on these early matches, he looks like a player who could actually challenge Vorm to be Hugo Lloris’ primary understudy this season. He came up with a number of decent stops over the stretch of the preseason, and though he let in a coupleo f easy goals as well overall looked comfortable playing in front of an extremely piecemeal and inexperienced back line. I don’t know if he will jump ahead of Vorm in the league this season, but with Michel probably set to depart next summer I don’t feel dread at the idea of GAZINGA between the sticks. That’s a good sign.
Did anyone else impress you this preseason? Have your say in the comments.