Dan Kilpatrick, Tottenham Hotspur beat writer for the Evening Standard noticed it first — Christian Eriksen was training by himself apart from his Spurs teammates at the National Stadium in Singapore. Tottenham were preparing for their International Champions Cup preseason friendly match against Juventus this coming Sunday.
Christian Eriksen training alone. pic.twitter.com/wR5lJuXs5S— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) July 19, 2019
Considering Eriksen has been vocal this offseason about wanting “a new challenge” and departing Tottenham for another, bigger club, this prompted some questions directed at Mauricio Pochettino concerning Eriksen’s mindset during Spurs’ preseason tour. However, Pochettino said that his Danish playmaker trained by himself after heretofore unrevealed minor surgery in the offseason, and that he’s in Singapore with Spurs because he wants to play.
“Christian had minor surgery after the final, similar to Ben Davies, and that is why today rather than training with the group, [he was] training alone.
”We gave him the option to stay in London but he wanted to come because the medical staff decided that he can be available to play maybe, so he is here. It was his decision with the club and medical staff. It was a small procedure but now he’s ok.”
This is the third player, after Harry Winks and Ben Davies, to have minor surgery after or around the end of the season, confirming how exhausted Pochettino’s players were after a World Cup last summer, the grind of a full Premier League season, and a run to the Champions League final. It does bring up the possibility of whether Eriksen will actually play in Singapore, or if he’ll have a reduced role. Pochettino also noted that his starting keeper, Hugo Lloris, may miss the match against Juventus due to tonsillitis.
Pochettino didn’t give away any insights about Eriksen’s future, but did talk about his own future. Specifically, Pochettino confirmed that he would indeed have strongly considered walking away from Tottenham had they been able to lift the Champions League trophy over Liverpool in June.
“Of course it’s always in your head. You never know. With the way I am, I am always going to prioritise the club over myself. Maybe if it was a different result after the final you can think, ‘OK, maybe this is a moment to leave the club and give them the possibility of a real new chapter with a new coaching staff.’
But Spurs didn’t win the title, Pochettino is still here, and he implied that he’s ready to take Spurs into this new chapter of their development as a football club.
”But after the final I felt this was not great to finish like this. I’m not a person that avoids facing problems or a difficult situation. I am more on the [other] side: I love a massive challenge and of course now [we must] rebuild that mentality to make it possible to repeat a similar season. That is exciting and motivates me a lot.
“When you touch the glory, you behave and feel differently, the players feel different and the challenge becomes different.”
Spurs’ preseason match against Juventus on Sunday will give their first team stars an opportunity to shake off the rust of the offseason, but will also be a showcase for some younger players to see what they can do. Spurs’ touring squad includes a number of academy and developmental team players such as young striker Troy Parrott who will hope to use the limited minutes from the matches against Juventus and Manchester United to impress the boss and maybe earn a first team shirt number this year.
The Juventus match kicks off at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday morning, 12:30 p.m. UK time.