The big Tottenham Hotspur news this morning is the impending signing of Djed Spence, but Spurs are still preparing for their second preseason match in South Korea on Saturday against Sevilla. Head Coach Antonio Conte gave a press conference today ahead of that match and shared some additional positive news — both Dejan Kulusevski and Ben Davies, who missed the opening fixture against the K-League All-Stars with small injuries, have been cleared to play tomorrow.
“Deki Kulusevski and Ben Davies, they are available for tomorrow’s game. [Ivan] Perisic started to work with us, but with Ivan we have to go step by step because the injury was a serious injury but it’s good that he started to work with us. I think that when we get back to London with us he can be involved with us in regular training sessions.
“About the team for the game against Sevilla, I think that I’m going to change something. The aim especially at the start of the season is to give many rotations and to give the possibility to all the players to play the game.”
Wednesday’s match was, as we wrote, bonkers, with Team K-League coming back to level the score twice before Spurs ultimately pulled away for a 6-3 victory. Wins aren’t important in preseason friendlies, but it will be exciting to see both Davies and Kulusevski for the first time this season and how they might fit into this rejiggered Tottenham team.
Hometown hero Son Heung-Min was the featured star during the match in Seoul, though Conte specifically held him and Harry Kane until the second half since they only just joined training. Sonny, however, got a special substitution a few minutes into the second half so the 64k Korean fans in the crowd could cheer his entrance. Conte spoke about Sonny and confirmed that he’s planning on doing things a little bit differently on Saturday, and that Son would start the match against Sevilla.
“I explained in the press conference that our line-up was dictated by the training session because apart from our international players we started one week ago. Then with the international players they have just started this week to work with us. In the next game we have for sure to change. I want to change something. I repeat I want to make many rotations because in pre-season you have the possibility to try to give the opportunity to all the players to play the game and show that they deserve to play every game. Sonny, for tomorrow’s game, is going to start.”
Conte also spoke about young midfielder Pape Matar Sarr, who made his Spurs debut on Wednesday. Sarr is one of a small group of younger Tottenham players that includes Troy Parrott, Bryan Gil, and Alfie Devine who Conte is evaluating during this preseason tour before deciding whether they can feature in his first team plans this season or if they’ll instead be loaned out for additional playing time at another club. When asked specifically about Sarr, who looked fairly bright in his debut, Conte spoke well of him and his ability but didn’t publicly commit to his immediate future either way.
“About Sarr, he’s a young player. A good prospect. He will be the future for Tottenham. Together, with Sarr we also have other young players and we will try with the club to take the best decision for them. It can be very important to take the best decision about whether to stay in the squad, to stay at Tottenham or go out on loan and play with regularity every game and continue to improve.”
The match kicks off Saturday at 8 p.m. in Seoul, 12:00 p.m. in London, and 7:00 a.m. ET in the United States. It will again be televised on CBS Sports Network in the USA, and streamed globally on Tottenham’s new subscription streaming service SpursPLAY.