With the World Cup nearly down to its final eight teams, a good chunk of the Tottenham Hotspur players participating in the tournament are either home or will be returning shortly. Alasdair Gold writes in Football.London today that Spurs boss Antonio Conte is planning a couple of friendly matches to get his squad back up to fighting trim after several weeks without competitive club matches.
Spurs will invite Scottish Premier League side Motherwell to its Hotspur Way training center for a behind-closed-doors friendly this Friday, and will host another friendly open to fans against Ligue 1 side OGC Nice at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday, December 21. Spurs’ first match post-World Cup is at Brentford on Boxing Day.
Gold goes on to say that the players returning from Qatar will be given a week’s rest before returning to training. That means that this Friday’s friendly vs. Motherwell will be all about the players left behind from the World Cup including Dejan Kulusevski, Yves Bissouma, Ryan Sessegnon, Emerson Royal, and Lucas Moura. I’d be surprised if any of the players called up for World Cup squads feature, as there hasn’t been enough time for any of them to return from their rest, even those whose international teams were eliminated in the group stages.
It’s a good idea to schedule a couple of friendlies, as even under the best of circumstances players’ match fitness will drop off when they aren’t playing competitive matches for a month and a half. It’ll also give some of the players like Kulusevski who were just coming back from injury before the World Cup a chance to get some match minutes before the trip to Brentford.
Spurs still have six players in Qatar — Cuti Romero, Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Hugo Lloris, Richarlison, and Ivan Perisic. Son Heung-Min and Pape Matar Sarr were eliminated in the Round of 16 and will be returning to London after their allotted rest and recovery time.