Tottenham youngsters make mark in friendly win

ORLANDO, FL - JULY 22: Cameron Carter-Vickers
ORLANDO, FL - JULY 22: Cameron Carter-Vickers /

It was a victory earned through the efforts of the club’s veterans, but Tottenham’s younger players proved instrumental throughout the match.

Mauricio Pochettino gifted starts to several up and coming players in a match that he could have very easily justified sticking with his normal Tottenham XI.

To some extent his decisions here were admittedly the result of match fitness. While many of the youngsters or more fringe players in the squad returned to training weeks ago, the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Harry Kane and Dele Alli only just came back from holiday.

Preseason or no, a match against such a massive side as Paris Saint Germain demands to be taken seriously however. That fact was reflected in the inclusion of Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen from the start.

In other areas, though, Pochettino made some intriguing and telling choices.

The right-back position recently vacated by Kyle Walker went to Academy product and recent Under-20 World Cup winner Kyle Walker-Peters. The 20-year-old is widely expected to play a bigger role in the coming season. His chance would very much be conditional on whether or not the club pursues and secures a more experienced right-back to in part fill the vacuum left by Walker.

That Kieran Trippier — who himself came on after the interval for Walker-Peters — just recently signed a new contract suggests that the club will be looking internally to solve the Walker dilemma. Should Trippier get the starting job, Walker-Peters would be the natural successor to the former Burnley man’s place on the bench.

More from Tottenham News

Staying in defense, Cameron Carter-Vickers also earned a start, playing alongside Vertonghen at centre-back. The young American already got a taste of glory last season. He trained with the first team and even made a couple of appearances in domestic cups. He, too, is expected to play a bigger role in 2017/18 — though that again would depend on if Tottenham test the transfer market for more experienced defensive cover.

Carter-Vickers admittedly looked a little overwhelmed against PSG at times. His enthusiastic closing down of Adrien Rabiot allowed the young Frenchman to easily make his way into space and set up Edinson Cavani for the opening goal.

At 19-years-old, Carter-Vickers can still build into Spurs’ game. His attempt at aggressive pressing here might have failed spectacularly, but few can fault him for attempting to live up to Pochettino’s ideals.

Josh Onomah also started the match, playing as part of the attacking band of attacking midfielders behind Vincent Janssen. The 20-year-old is about to enter into his third season of hype with Tottenham, and much like Tom Carroll in 2015/16, one gets the impression here that he needs to dazzle in order to stick around. His performance here was manageable, especially considering PSG’s strong starting XI, but it wasn’t otherwise remarkable.

More notable was the inclusion of Tashan Oakley-Boothe, if only because the youngster is only just coming back from suffering a dramatic head injury with England under-17 side in May. He played the second half with confidence and composure, a situation admittedly made easier by PSG’s red card in the 46th minute.

Last but not least, the player most likely to make the biggest impression this coming season played an important 30 minutes of football. Like Oakley-Boothe, Harry Winks’ season ended early after suffering an ankle injury in April. He’s worked hard to make it back in time for Spurs’ pre-season, so it was especially encouraging to see him to get some football in again.

Next: Match Report: Tottenham 4 - 2 Paris Saint Germain

While it would be a stretch to expect seasons of Dele Alli proportions from these youngsters, they all stand to play bigger roles over the next year and beyond. Pochettino’s willingness to give them meaningful time in a tricky friendly speaks to the Argentine’s commitment to youth and to the sustainable future of the club.