As Tottenham Hotspur prepares to bring a rotated side into their third-round FA Cup tie with Morecambe, it may be the last chance for some Spurs.
Heung-min Son is out with an injury and coach Antonio Conte said he planned on resting Harry Kane during his pre-match press conference. This means at least two – and likely many more – of the starting XI and accompanying substitutes will represent a rotated team.
Some players, like Dane Scarlett, hope to have a chance to catch the coach’s eye for the future. For some other players, Sunday’s match-up against League One Morecambe may represent one of their final chances to impress Conte and represent Tottenham.
Which Tottenham players are in the shop window?
Fans all want reinforcements coming to aid Spurs in their pursuit of a top-four place and Champions League football. However, unless something drastic has changed, before Spurs do many signings they are going to need to move some players on. Often the best way to get a player sold is for him to be playing and playing well.
Playing against a huge underdog, from several divisions below their level, without their coach – who is out after testing positive for Covid-19 – might be the last best opportunity a couple of these players get to show their stuff.
Two Spurs are definitely on display for others
We should expect to see Tanguy Ndombele and Joe Rodon against Morecambe and both are likely playing to impress others. Neither Ndombele nor Rodon have seemingly done enough to get an opportunity to play in the league and both have ambitions to be something more than a cup replacement.
For the sake of both their careers, it seems more likely than not that both Ndombele and Rodon are gone before the end of summer at the latest, and more than likely in January. While an injury to themselves or another play could complicate things, Sunday is an audition for both men.
Three players whose Spurs future is to be determined
Unlike Ndombele and Rodon who both seem destined to move on – by sale or loan – Steven Bergwijn, Dele Alli, and Giovani Lo Celso may still have futures at N17. Whatever people may feel about Bergwijn and Dele at this point both are the kind of creative players who each offer something different than almost anyone else on the team.
We should expect Bergwijn on Sunday to show he is the best left-sided forward not named Son. Before picking up yet another injury, Bergwijn was injecting something into the team that no one else was, with his pace, power, and aggression.
Likewise, while not as effective Dele offers something with his movement that no other midfielder or attacker in the team does. Unless Kane drops deep to be the playmaker, Dele is the only other player on the team who has shown the anticipation to make the kind of runs to tear defenses open without the ball. Unless Spurs get a true second striker, Dele is kind of needed.
Whereas Bergwijn has the pace and power, and Dele brings his runs into the box, it is more difficult to classify what Lo Celso definitively brings. That said, Lo Celso has been injured and seems like the kind of player that can fit well as a more forward-thinking central midfielder in a five-man Conte midfield.
It could be that several of these players are shipped out over the next few weeks. If that is the case, their staying or going may have been finalized by what they did against Morecambe.