While we sit in the abyss waiting to find out which individual will be announced as the next manager, at least supporters of Tottenham Hotspur have had the EUROs and Copa América to enjoy over the past couple of days. The 2020-21 season was a nightmare for Spurs supporters. From all of the let-down losses where they had been leading to the collapse in Croatia and all of the drama in between, international play has provided a fun and enjoyable tournament that has given Spurs fans something to watch and follow ahead of the start of next season.
A quick note on the manager search: with the news of Norwich City signing Milot Rashica from the Bundesliga, it is getting more and more frustrating by the day that a club the size of Spurs have yet to name a manager. Teams such as Leicester, with the impending additions of Patson Daka and Odsonne Edouard, and even Aston Villa, after signing Emi Buendía, have already made moves to bolster their squad this summer. Meanwhile, Spurs seem to be looking at managerial options who started way down on their initial list.
Regardless of which individual becomes the manager, for what it is worth Graham Potter is my choice, there is so much to take care of this summer. And because of how long this search has gone on for, time is certainly not on Tottenham’s side as pre-season tournaments and even the UEFA Conference League are just around the corner.
But before we endure yet another painful season supporting Spurs, at least we have international play to take a look at and enjoy. Let’s discuss a short recap of Tottenham’s international players and how they have been doing so far for their country since the season ended.
For those that have watched England so far this tournament, it has been the equivalent of watching paint dry. Despite being one of the better sides in the EUROs in terms of talent, Gareth Southgate has taken an approach that is somewhat similar to how Portugal went about the EUROs in 2016. In their games, England has chosen to stay a bit more pragmatic, in large part due to the defensive partnership in Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice.
England has looked to conserve as much energy as possible so far in the group stage. Because of this, their patterns of play offensively have really been lacking and Kane’s impact has not been as felt. However, the same should be said about other attacking threats, such as Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount, as well.
The English media has once again ostracized Kane for England’s lack of threat on goal, but the reality is that Kane has not been given the service needed to be successful. And that falls on the playing style the manager has elected to go with. Against Czech Republic, at least in the first half, Kane and company looked much more at it. England now face an intriguing matchup against Germany in the knockouts.
As Bale is under contract until the last day of June, I have included him in here. Captaining the Welsh side, Bale has been one of the better players in the EUROs so far. While he missed a penalty against Turkey, Bale had two assists in that game and was easily the biggest influence on the pitch.
Bale’s talent has never been questioned. It has been his lingering health issues that have plagued him over the past few seasons. However, as shown in this EUROs campaign, when Bale is healthy, he is still among one of the best forwards in the world. Wales advanced in their group and Bale and another player on this list were main reasons why.
Giovani Lo Celso
Lo Celso’s inability to stay healthy in his time at Spurs has led to him being quite a maligned figure by supporters. On the Argentina team, Lo Celso has put in some decent showings. In their first two Copa matches, against Chile and Uruguay, Lo Celso started in both games and was subbed off roughly 60 minutes into both games.
Against Chile, Lo Celso was exceptional, showcasing an all-around game on both sides of the pitch. Against Uruguay, Lo Celso limped off due to injury which kept him out of their most recent game against Paraguay. For his impact to be felt, it is always going to be about Lo Celso’s health. But as I have mentioned before, with the right coach, Lo Celso can still be a big-time player for Spurs. He simply needs to stay on the pitch.
In their first game against Germany, Sissoko was not in the squad and he was an unused substitute in their most-recent game against Hungary. Sissoko did receive some gametime however in France’s draw against Portugal.
Bringing Sissoko to the EUROs was somewhat of an interesting decision from Didier Deschamps. However, the French squad is simply loaded with talent and Sissoko can bring defensive ability into the squad if they are ahead.
Nevertheless, Sissoko is simply not as talented as Tanguy Ndombele. But for the squad they have, perhaps Deschamps thought Sissoko could have a role in the squad whereas Ndombele would not. However, I would still be quite curious to see Ndombele in this stacked team.
The Danish side has definitely been the biggest storyline in the EUROs. Despite everything that has happened to the team in the span of a few days, Denmark has advanced into the knockout rounds and Højbjerg has been a huge reason why.
Anointed for his work-rate and blue-collar mentality, Højbjerg has not only brought the Danes a structure in the defensive midfield, but he seriously stepped up in their most recent game against Russia, providing some creative passing through the lines. Currently the tournament’s co-leader in assists, Højbjerg and the Danes now face a somewhat favorable matchup against Wales.
Against Switzerland and Turkey, Davies was a relied-upon starter at the left back position. However, against Italy, Wales opted for a back-three and kept Davies on the bench. He came on towards the end of the game to provide more of a defensive structure as Wales were more interested in not conceding any more goals due to their advantage over the Swiss on goal differential.
Overall, it has been a quiet tournament for Davies, but that really is the type of player he is. Not known for his offensive capabilities, the fullbacks who do receive the spotlight are typically those that get forward. Davies has been a reliable option for the Welsh and should come back into the lineup against the Danes.
In four Copa matches, Sánchez has played in each game, starting in the past three. He came off the bench in Colombia’s first game to conserve a narrow victory against Ecuador. Against Venezuela and Peru, Sánchez slotted next to Everton’s Yerry Mina. In the Venezuela match, Sánchez looked quite comfortable, even after the red card late in the match. However, that performance was followed up by a questionable performance against Peru. Against Brazil, Sánchez and Mina were dragged out all over the place against one of the better attacking sides in the tournament.
The inconsistencies Sánchez has had at Spurs have seemed to continue at the international level. At 25 years old, Sánchez is certainly on the younger side of his career, but he is running out of time to realize the huge expectations that were given to him after Spurs signed him from Ajax a few years back.
A center back at the club level, Alderweireld has once again slotted into the right back position for Roberto Martínez in the Belgian side. Finishing with nine out of nine total points in their group, the Belgians are emerging as one of the favorites in this EUROs campaign.
While Alderweireld did not play in the most recent group game against Finland, perhaps due to the game being a bit less meaningful for Belgium, he was spectacular against both Russia and Denmark. If Belgium fail, it will likely be due to their age and their questions at the back, but this was a business-as-usual group stage for the long-time Tottenham center back.
What’s become clear in this EUROs is that Rodon is a player that Spurs can build around. I do not know if he is their best option at center back at this very moment, but he certainly has all of the traits to be an anchor in the next manager’s defense.
Watching Rodon, it is clear that he loves to defend. He is powerful in the box and shows aggression in aerial duels and individual battles. Just 23 years of age, Rodon has won over many fans and has definitely garnered a lot of attention so far in the tournament. A starter in each of Wales’ matches, Rodon has been the best defender on the field on a consistent basis. Against Italy, Rodon was one of the better performers for either side. Tottenham needs to be starting Rodon on a consistent basis in the 2021-22 season. Should Tottenham get him a quality partner next to him, he is only going to get better and better.
France had one of the bigger shockers in the tournament on Saturday when they drew to Hungary. Despite dominating the game in possession, Hungary put together a decent counter-attack before halftime by targeting already-carded Ben Pavard. A few seconds later, Lloris was beaten to his near-side by Attila Fiola. In their third match of the tournament against Portugal, Lloris was unable to stop two Cristiano Ronaldo strikes from the penalty spot.
The captain of the French side, Lloris will continue to be the number one choice in net for Les Bleus. With good defensive structure in place in front of him, Lloris has a much easier task to face in comparison to the teammates he plays with at the club level. France is still one of the betting favorites in this tournament and face an interesting matchup against Switzerland in the first round of the knockout stage.