After a rather comfortable 0-5 win over Marine in the FA Cup, Tottenham Hotspur can leave knowing a bit more about the team, both young and old.
With 161 places separating the two squads in the table there were a lot of ways the matchup between Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League and Marine FC, from the Northwest Division of the Northern Premier League. However, thanks to the commitment of both teams and a healthy respect for the game, things went amazingly all around. Tottenham Hotspur did what they could to make it a special evening for Marine FC in the FA Cup, including beating them soundly, so what can we take away.
Tottenham Kids Are Okay
Just a few months ago Dane Scarlett became the youngest Tottenham Hotspur first teamer to play in a match when he got a few minutes in Europa League against Ludogorets Razgrad. Scarlett even had in his eight-minute cameo. Well young Alfie Devine has now done Scarlett one better. Devine was younger – by four months – and bettered Scarlett’s shot by scoring a goal.
Devine, who just joined as a first-year scholar this past summer, did well to use his energy to get in position and then his skill to finish the job. Combine the play of Devine with a full 90 minutes for Harvey White at the base of the midfield and you see that Spurs have some youth to look forward too. Jack Clarke and Japhet Tanganga got some quality minutes as well.
For a coach who has a reputation for not promoting youth, José Mourinho seems to do just that. None of the kids are stars and it might be that none will be but at least they are getting a taste. It is up to the player with what he does after he gets that taste.
Squad Players Have a Part to Play
Spurs have a difficult schedule moving forward in terms of games and time, as the games are many and the time is short. With the idea of fixture congestion just reality for Tottenham moving forward, Spurs are going to need a full squad. Clearly some players are going to struggle consistently with injuries, which further limits the overall numbers.
What we saw against Marine is that several of the rarely see squad players can do a job for Spurs. Joe Rodon played well and hard defensively. I could watch the block he made defensively at 35 minutes again and again. The play started with Dele losing the ball and then Rodon losing in a tackle not far from midfield.
After missing out on the tackle many players would have jogged back watching what happened next. Instead, the young Welsh defender recognized the trouble and busted hump to get over in front of the ball and make a terrific block. That kind of awareness coupled with the effort to make the play is something the defense can always use.
Of course, Dele Alli and Carlos Vinicius were both terrific as Dele orchestrated much of the first half offensively for Spurs and Vinicius finished the job with his three goals. Even seldom seen Gedson Fernandes showed he can play a part of the need arises. How much we see of Gedson or any of these players moving forward remains to be seen. However, fans should feel confident if José Mourinho and Tottenham must play any of them.
Could Gazzaniga Make a Comeback?
One last observation comes from the bench, which had Paulo Gazzaniga on it backing up Joe Hart. Most of the season either Alfie Whiteman or Brandon Austin have been the back-up for Hart, with Whiteman getting a couple minutes earlier in the year. Seeing Gazzaniga on the bench was a bit of a surprise given he really has not been seen all season.
If we add in Hart continuing to struggle a bit with distance shots, maybe, just maybe we have not seen the last of Paulo Gazzaniga in action. Then again, it could have just been so his name was on the team sheet to improve his transfer value, but most of the time if Mourinho has a player there he is ready to plan them.
While we do not know what will happen next with the Argentine shot stopper, we at least know he is not completely out of the picture and like some of his teammates, may still have a role to play yet as well.