Latest news: Emmanuel Adebayor, Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker, Younis Kaboul, Hugo Lloris have not travelled to the Ukraine. My assessment on the players who could be left out was accurate apart from Lloris who I thought might be in the team, so Brad Friedel will play his first match since the last Europa League game against Anzhi at White Hart Lane in mid-December.
Tim Sherwood will select a team for a European match for the first time this week. Tottenham travel to the Ukraine to face Juande Ramos’ FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. What will his approach be to the competition with Spurs also eager to make it into the top-4 in the Premier League come the end of the season?
Harry Redknapp had no time for the Europa League and sent out weakened teams although it did give some of the younger players an opportunity to display their football skills at a higher level. Tom Carroll, Harry Kane and Ryan Fredericks, then in the charge of Sherwood, benefited greatly from the opportunity afforded to them in the 2011-12 season.
Andre Villas-Boas took a different approach in last season’s competition, sending out a near full strength side throughout the season which was a heavy load for certain players to carry as the season progressed. This year with a larger squad, he rotated the team but it was always a strong team that he selected which saw them with 8 consecutive wins.
Tim Sherwood spoke about the Europa League in an interview reported by Ben Pearce in the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal.
I love it. There are a lot of games coming up but we haven’t got to worry about that. We’re out of the rest of the competitions and we’ve got a big enough squad here to cope.
Tottenham have another 3000 mile round trip to the Ukraine, having already played in Georgia, Russia, Moldova and Norway in this season’s Europa League campaign. They then face Norwich City in the league on Sunday at Carrow Road. Sherwood acknowledges that there will be some changes in the team with some players who haven’t played many games recently getting an opportunity. He is of the view that the squad is big enough and strong enough to cope with the number of games coming up in the next few weeks.
Sherwood has the added incentive of wanting to ensure his team gets the better of former Spurs’ boss Juande Ramos who has great experience as a manager in European competitions.Players who could be playing on Thursday night are Kyle Naughton, Zeki Fryers, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Dawson, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado and Jermain Defoe as he looks to add to his European tally before heading off the FC Toronto at the end of the month.
There are a number of players who play regularly and who need to be used sensibly in this competition to avoid injury and fatigue so some will probably sit this game out – Kyle Walker, Aaron Lennon, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Emmanuel Adebayor. Younes Kaboul and Danny Rose are only returning from injury so need to be used sparingly at the moment while Sandro is unlikely to play having had to go off in the Under-21 game earlier in the week. With the injury to Vlad Chiriches, Jan Vertonghen will probably have to play so as to ensure Kaboul is fit for the game on Sunday and Hugo Lloris could start with Brad Friedel playing in the 2nd leg next Thursday.
I could see the following team starting against FC Dnipro:
Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Vertonghen, Fryers; Townsend, Sigurdsson, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Chadli; Soldado
Tim Sherwood talked with enthusiasm about the Europa League, his team selection for Thursday’s match will indicate whether they were just words or whether he really meant it.