Tottenham Down Under - The International Champions Cup Melbourne Preview

Spurs are heading back to Australia, for the second year running, for a pre-season tournament against European heavyweights Juventus and Atletico Madrid. Both games will be played in the world famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with a capacity of over 100,000.

Article by Lachlan Peters - @Loque91 or @e_spurs_aus

Spurs neglected to travel down south from Sydney the last time they were here and will be warmly welcomed to one of the sporting capitals of the world. The city hosted the tournament this time last year with Real Madrid beginning their successful Champions League season against Roma in what was widely considered to be a success story for the sport in a country with three other very popular football codes. The 2016 iteration of the tournament should prove to be far more exciting for this particular Spurs fanatic who calls Melbourne home.

Spurs will play Juventus first on the 26th, and then Atletico on the 29th. Tottenham have taken a similar approach to the Italian champions in bringing a mix of stars, new signings and a hefty amount of youth to the tournament while resting the lads who played in the European Championships – notable absentees include Kane, Alli, Walker, Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Dembele and Dier. While some of those players are injured, it is a touch sad for us Aussies to be missing out on the whole hog. But I will be very glad to see the likes of Lamela, Eriksen, Son, Wimmer, Mason and Chadli out there – as well as new signings Wanyama and Janssen.

Here is the full lineup;

And how they could lineup:

Pochettino seems to be using the tournament in Melbourne to introduce many of the youth team into the fold, perhaps as a signal of intent rather than of necessity. Likewise, it could be the last chance for players like Ryan Mason and Nacer Chadli to really show that they are worthy of a place at the club – both of whom have been linked with moves away to Hull and Swansea respectively. We could be seeing a clue to Clinton Njie’s future as well, he was also rumoured to be heading back to France following the signing of Nkoudou. He had however spoken out about trying to fight for a spot in the first team and a wish to stay with Spurs. His lack of inclusion in a pre-season tournament like this raises questions.

Bringing only about half of the first team squad means that we will not be getting too much insight into Poch’s potential plans for when the Premier League starts in August. I had wondered if he would toy with playing both Janssen and Kane at the same time and switching up the formation a bit. Similarly question marks over Nabil Bentaleb’s role at the club have lingered in my mind over the summer and I assumed he would have been included in the squad in Melbourne. He seems like one of a few players that played shadowy roles last season and would be keen to impress once again. Another young absentee that surprised me was Alex Pritchard, I again assumed he would be at the right age and skill level to be playing in pre-season games like this to test his mettle in the squad.

My initial reactions upon seeing the squad making the trip were admittedly a little disappointed. However I do realise how much the boys played last season. All the training and then playing in France would have been another massive toll. I want nothing more than all the lads to be fighting fit for Everton on the first day of the season, but did also kind of assume that at least a few more of the star players would have made the journey if not only to make a few cameo appearances. It is Juventus and Atletico Madrid after all, teams of a calibre we will need to be actively testing ourselves against in preparation for the Champions League.

I will be back later in the week to review both of the upcoming games as a very happy Spurs supporter reporting from down under. So keep regularly checking out e-Spurs on Twitter or Facebook and lookout for the best in Spurs News and opinions.

You can follow me at @Loque91 or at @e_spurs_aus

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  1. Anonymous11:23 am

    What's in a name.

    Whoever turns out it will be THFC and they will give their all.

    Some great players and some future superstars on show.



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