Tottenham Hotspur held their first friendly match of the preseason today, traveling across London to League 2 side Leyton Orient in a match that was basically a charity fundraiser for the Justin Edinburgh Foundation. It was very much a friendly match — with a Tottenham’s first team internationals at the Euros still getting a much needed rest, and a couple of other first teamers omitted for reasons unknown (Serge Aurier, Tanguy Ndombele, Erik Lamela, Ryan Sessegnon, and Matt Doherty were nowhere to be seen), Spurs rolled out with what was mostly a U23 side with a handful of first team regulars.
17-year old starlet Dane Scarlett scored a first half goal for Spurs, but Ruel Sotiriou equalized in the second half with a cracker of a goal after Tottenham made 10 second half subs. Tottenham ended up sharing the inaugural JE3 Trophy, with the final score ending 1-1.
Thoughts on the match
- It’s a preseason friendly. It’s not about winning, it’s not even really about tactics. This was a runabout, and a chance for some of the younger players to really get a chance to impress Nuno Espirito Santo. Anyone who is melting down over this is being ridiculous. Enjoy the football.
- Out of all the young players who we got to see today, Nile John was clearly the most impressive. He’s very composed with the ball at his feet, smooth going forward, and has a nice long ball on him. Had a couple of good shots and set up another chance. I know it’s preseason, but based on evidence I think he’s better than Harry Winks, right now.
- Dane Scarlett struggled early but got on the end of a couple of chances and his goal was a really nice effort on his weaker foot. I am not driving the Scarlett 2021-22 Hype Train quite yet, but he proved why so many people are so high on his potential.
- Dele was playing in a significantly deeper role than we’re used to seeing; it reminded me a bit of where he was in Pochettino’s last year. I’m not sold on that as his position, but he was... fine? Got fouled a lot. Hope we don’t see him at CM too often based on this evidence.
- On balance, I thought the youngsters impressed more than the veterans in the first half. Lucas looked lively, and Dier was... okay, but Bergwijn came out a little flat and unfit, and Winks had a couple of good forward passes (!!) but got dispossessed a ton in midfield and really didn’t impress much at all against pretty sub-par opposition.
- Orient were playing their third friendly today and you could tell they looked fitter and more together, which makes sense. They put a very young defense under a lot of pressure (Eyoma-Emole), and took advantage of some mistakes by Malachi Fagan-Walcott.
- The second half subs struggled to make an impact, but Clarke showed some glimpses of good play. Jamie Bowden looked pretty alert. Troy Parrott didn’t do much but also didn’t get much service. Wanted to see more from Alfie Devine.
- If this were a European Conference League try-out, I’d say Scarlett, John, Clarke, Devine, and Paskotsi (playing out of position) probably did themselves the most favors today.
Spurs’ next friendly is this coming Wednesday at Colchester United, kick-off 2:45 pm ET / 7:45 p.m. UK.