Back on the 14 June, Newcastle fans found out they were once again playing Tottenham first game.
The first of a tough set of opening fixtures that also sees Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea facing NUFC in the first five games.
With a host of Tottenham players not back in first team training until Monday (6 August), five days before the Newcastle game, it had given NUFC fans some encouragement.
However, pre-season doesn’t appear to be going too badly for Spurs…
Last night they beat AC Milan 1-0 to round off their games in America, having already beaten Roma 4-1 and drawn 2-2 with Barcelona (lost on penalties).
Whilst the other three clubs will also have had players missing, you still can’t take much away from the North London club’s pre-season results and displays.
Tottenham might not have bought anybody so far but their situation is a world away from that of Newcastle and their transfer farce under Mike Ashley.
For example, four of the players to star in these pre-season matches for Spurs were brought in for around £100m only last season – Sanchez (£36m), Moura (£26m), Aurier (£22m), and Llorente (£14m).
When you add in Son, Davies, and N’Koudou, who have also played in America, that brings it up to £150m worth of buys that have been involved.
Mauricio Pochettino has been hit by injuries to the likes of Wanyama and (cough, cough) Sissoko amongst others -but in typical spirit he has made light of this and looked for the positives.
Inexperienced 21 year old Luke Amos has played all three friendlies in midfield and against AC Milan was joined by 17 year old Oliver Skipp.
The Tottenham boss indicating he would have no fears about playing Amos against Newcastle.
No doubt Pochettino will hope that the likes of Kane, Alli and the rest will return on Monday with some able to play at St James Park. However, with the great young talent at Tottenham that appears to be a conveyor belt, plus the likes of Sanches, Son, Eriksen, Moura, Aurier, Llorente and the rest doing well in their absence, you struggle to hear any alarm bells ringing for them.
As for Newcastle United, a Tottenham side weakened in at least some ways does present an opportunity, but as yet not even a single new striker confirmed or involved in pre-season, and Joselu having led the line in all three friendlies so far, I think I know which set of supporters will be worrying ahead of the new season, and it isn’t those who follow Tottenham.
Mauricio Pochettino at his press conference after beating AC Milan 1-0, as reported by Football.London:
When can you expect the World Cup players to rejoin training?
‘Monday, this Monday morning they will start their job on the training ground.
Can you say if you expect them to play against Newcastle?
‘First we need to assess them on Monday and see what happens. Maybe some players look after themselves and they’ve been training, maybe others rest, we need to see and of course we are not going to take risks if some players are not ready to compete, to play, they are not going to be involved at the weekend. That is so, so clear.
‘But I don’t want you to start asking me why one is and why one is not. I make clear today the statement that if someone is not ready, he’s not going to be involved because we are not going to take risks.
‘Of course it’s not our fault. It’s the reality that happens and pushes us to take some decisions that sure maybe doesn’t help the team from the beginning but we need to help some players because after the World Cup, minimum 20 days they need to rest and stop thinking about football. That is the reality that is for us is a massive challenge, because for us it never happened before and we need to be careful.
‘We are going to look after them in the best way, try to help them and start to play when they will be ready, not before.’
Has this tour been as much about the young players showing what they can do as the injuries?
‘My feeling now is on one side disappointed that some players got injured and I’m sad about that, but of course happy for many young players who stepped up and behaved very well on and off the pitch That’s most important. The quality of time that we spent together, training and competing with big sides like Roma, Barcelona and Milan and the way they behaved made us very happy.
‘They showed they have the potential to one day be consistent in the first team. I’m so happy with them and the whole squad because they behaved so well.
‘I want to congratulate all the academy coaches because they’re working for a long time to produce these players for the first team. John McDermott, Dean Rastrick and all the staff there that try to provide players for the first team.
‘Be sure they feel very proud after this tour. On and off the pitch — that is so important. In San Diego, Los Angeles and here, the people that are around the team only have good words and respect for the players involved in this tour. We finish in a good way, back to London tomorrow for the start pre-season in a good way.’
If the injuries don’t clear up, would you be worried about playing Luke Amos against Newcastle or putting him on the bench?
‘After four years, in my fifth year, you think I’m going to be scared to play him?’
Is he ready then?
‘That’s different. The young players that maybe still don’t have experience in high competition, the compensation is about desire and energy. Players like Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, when they were young, showed desire and energy like the young players on the tour. After 4 years, you know that we’re people, who if we believe in a young player, I don’t care about experience or not.
‘Football is about energy, about desire, about respect for yourself and your teammates, being professional. Of course, Luke Amos is a good example. He played three games of 90 minutes. He’s not so young – 21 – but maybe he doesn’t have Premier League experience but his performances in the three games showed it’s not a problem to put him to play. Maybe he’s going to play ahead of some senior players. I’m more than brave and if I believe in some players I go with all the consequences.’