Nuno Espirito Santo will take charge of his first Tottenham game this weekend when the team travel across the capital to face Leyton Orient.
Named as Jose Mourinho’s successor just under a fortnight ago, the 47-year-old took his first week of pre-season training last Monday and preparations will now go up a notch ahead of their first friendly.
Espirito Santo may still be without a number of his first-team squad due to Euro 2020 and the Copa America taking place this summer but he certainly wasn’t short of players.
Joe Hart, Alfie Whiteman, Matt Doherty, Eric Dier, Harry Winks, Sergio Reguilon, Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele, Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela were all back at Hotspur Way on the first day, with returning loanees Ryan Sessegnon, Jack Clarke and Cameron Carter-Vickers also involved.
The numbers were then further boosted by Spurs academy players Dane Scarlett, Nile John, Harvey White, TJ Eyoma, Jubril Okedina and Tobi Omole joining in with the rest of the squad.
As it will be a staggered return for the players involved in international football this summer, Son Heung-min, Serge Aurier and Troy Parrott are expected to be in the next batch of players due back at their Enfield base to get down to work ahead of the new season.
In a summer where strengthening at centre-back is going to be key given their issues in defence over the past two seasons, Espirito Santo is going to be rather light in that area of the pitch at The Breyer Group Stadium on Saturday with a number of his backline away on their summer breaks.
Joe Rodon and Toby Alderweireld still have time off before they return after playing in the knockout phase of Euro 2020, with Davinson Sanchez’s Copa America campaign only coming to an end at the weekend after his involvement in their third-place play-off match against Peru.
That means Dier is the only recognised first-team centre-back from last season who will be available for selection providing of course that he doesn’t pick up a problem during the week, with question marks still over Japhet Tanganga’s fitness after only returning to the training pitch at the end of last week following the ankle injury he sustained against Aston Villa in May.
The absence of a number of players will more than likely hand Carter-Vickers a rare chance in the Spurs side after spending time away on loan for the fourth successive campaign.
It then also opens the door for the likes of Eyoma, Okedina and Omole to get some valuable first-team minutes under their belts against the League Two opposition.
A time in the calendar when young players are given a chance in the team to show what they can do, the aforementioned trio, if played, will be looking to follow in footsteps of Tanganga after he impressed under Mauricio Pochettino two years ago.
An excellent showing on the pre-season tour of Asia saw him handed his senior bow against Colchester United in the Carabao Cup, before Mourinho then gave him his chance in the Premier League a few months down the line.
Both Eyoma and Okedina spent time away on loan at Lincoln City and Cambridge United respectively last season and there’s a very good chance they may move up a division from August onwards to help their development if they do indeed go out on loan again.
Omole didn’t depart on loan in 2020/21 but Spurs need to decide if the time is right for him to make the step up from regular Premier League 2 action to playing in a first-team environment week in, week out.
While of course loan moves may be more beneficial for the trio in 2021/22 so they can feature regularly, standout displays in pre-season could see them come into Espirito Santo’s thinking for the future as he looks to fix his backline for good.
Clearly highly thought of at Tottenham after coming over to train with the first team in pre-season, a loan exit could just be what they need to progress this campaign before then coming back and really making a case to Espirito Santo that they should be in his plans over the coming years.
Time will ultimately tell what happens with the trio but Tanganga’s rise two years ago only highlights what can happen on the back of an eye-catching pre-season campaign.
The absence of Tottenham’s regular centre-backs could just be what they need to show that they can be a big part of the club’s future.
Source by Football London