Wednesday, 1 August 2012

What have we learnt from our American tour?

Well a lot, I think it's fair to say.

Let's start with the new boys Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson. In Vertonghen there has been clear signs of quality, although it is clear to see he still needs time to adapt to the squad. His mistake against New York Red Bulls, giving away a clear penalty showed rustiness but better the mistakes are ironed out early in pre-season than during the domestic campaign.

Sigurdsson on the other hand seems to have bedded in like a duck to water, hitting the ground running. Looking assured and composed his performances have filled this Spurs fan with confidence going into the new season. The goal he scored against the Red Bulls last night took exquisite skill and that flair will definitely improve the squad. Players can disappear from games, but even when Gylfi does he always seems capable of producing a moment of class as he did with his cross for Gareth Bale's goal against LA Galaxy in the first game.

Another noticeable thing is that AVB is doing what Redknapp seemed scared to do and is offering the young players a chance to stake a claim for the first team squad. Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Tom Carroll in particular have all been afforded valuable playing time and Carroll in particular has impressed with his passing range. Whether these players will continue to get their chance to stake a claim when the season begins, it remains to be seen. However for the first time in a long while it seems our academy is finally producing players capable of competing at the very least.

One thing that has been evident from the three match tour is that we have missed the midfield trio of Scott Parker, Sandro and Luka Modric. With Parker out for the beginning of the season it would have been nice to see Sandro in action but the Olympics have put that ideal to bed. With the absence of the forceful ball winner in the midfield we have looked a bit lightweight at times, none more so than against LA Galaxy. This means more pressure on the defence something that probably isn't helping with them only just getting used to the new high line system.

Love him or loathe him, Modric was a key cog in the free-flowing machine that produced such silky attacking football over the last three years, and his influence has been missed out in the States. If we are able to replace him with Moutinho or Sahin, players able to take control of a game, then it's happy days for all concerned. Should he go and we don't replace, don't be surprised if we become a less cohesive passing unit.

Nevertheless I trust AVB to be working on any faults we currently have in our team. Early indications are that he has learnt to deviate from the specific tactics he would follow so rigorously at Chelsea, seemingly without a Plan cB. There has been a gradual improvement in the performances of the team as the tour's gone on, looking like a much better side against the Red Bulls than we did against the Galaxy where we were lucky to come out with a draw realistically.

Finally the absence of a top class striker is worrying. Harry Kane has shown in glimpses the talent he possesses but it is far too soon to throw him in at the deep end. With a free scoring hit an up top, with supply from Sigurdsson, Van Der Vaart and Bale, the team can only thrive in the attacking third.

Lessons most definitely have been learned from my point of view. Now it's time for AVB to prove all the critics wrong and improve on the little mistakes to take us to the level the players we currently have are capable of playing at.

On a side note I must say a fond farewell to the departing Steven Pienaar. The South African struggled to recreate his Everton form in a Lilywhite shirt but remained a consummate pro until the end. I'm sure you'll agree after the comments made on Twitter last night regarding the end of his Spurs journey:

"All the best to AVB and the team for the new season

Just a shame didn't workout for me at the club but will cherish every second I spend at Spurs was a great experience thank you guys"

Best of luck for the future Steven and make sure to get one over on the thuggish Charlie Adam in the Merseyside derby!

Follow me on Twitter: @Cjipps

1 comment:

  1. Couple of things that haven't been mentioned that I thought were worth highlighting:

    He's given a few of the 'deadwood' players a go (Bentley, Jenas, Bassong, Gomes). I personally thought Bentley put in a decent shift when he was on, and Bassong seemed to as well. Wasn't so sure about Jenas as he seemed a bit invisible on the pitch, while Gomes only played the one game. Could either be useful squad players or useful funds from selling.

    Think it was good to see Naughton getting a go as well. Given the sales of Corluka this summer and Hutton last, I think he'll be good back up to Walker as he's still young and improving.

    Last, I'm glad THudd is back. His fitness seems to have improved and his passing is still as good as ever.

    Very promising indeed for the upcoming season! Just needs a couple of additions to make our squad stronger (mainly that problematic striker position!) and we'll be good to go! COYS