Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Europa League - Tottenham Hotspur v Hearts

Opportunity for Young Players and Squad Members
With a five goal advantage going into the second leg of their Europa Cup tie at White Hart Lane against Heart of Midlothian, Harry Redknapp should have the opportunity to rest some of his first team squad and replace them with younger players and those members of the squad who haven't played so far this season.  It was his stated intention to use the Europa League for this purpose and this would seem to be the ideal opportunity.  Development Squad manager, Tim Sherwood, also indicated that some of his players would be used in these games.

Following the draw which paired Spurs and Hearts, a journalist based in Edinburgh who covers the Scottish club's matches was speaking on Talksport and he indicated that Hearts aimed to put in a good performance but realistically regarded the tie as an opportunity to make some money as they knew that there was a difference in class between the two clubs.  He couldn't have expected his words to be proved so accurate in the first game where Spurs were so in control for all but the opening minutes of the second half.

Hearts will come into the second game determined to make up for their lacklustre performance at Tynecastle and as they play for their pride they will give Spurs neither the time nor the space they afforded them in the opening match.  Redknapp will look to put out a balanced team with younger players supported by some of the experienced members of the squad.

Possible Team Selection
Having lost out to Brad Friedel at Old Trafford, Heurelho Gomes could return in goal behind a back four which could include Michael Dawson as captain.  Sebastien Bassong who looks set to leave the club before the end of the transfer window will probably partner him.  Danny Rose could replace Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left back and look to build on his promising performances in that position at the end of last season.  At right back, depending on Kyle Walker's recovery from sickness which required him to be substituted at half-time on Monday evening, Vedran Corluka or Alan Hutton could come in to replace him.  Hutton who is likely to leave would have the opportunity to play against his fellow countrymen.  Unfortunately, on the team news on the official THFC site, Rose is listed as injured with an ankle problem.

In midfield Jermaine Jenas and Tom Huddlestone may get some time as well as Jake Livermore who has looked comfortable in the team and may look to add to his experience with another game against Hearts.  Dean Parrett, the England Under-20 player who ended last season on loan at Charlton Athletic may make another European appearance to add to his two games in 2009 against Shakhtar Donetsk.  Andros Townsend who scored on his debut for Spurs in the FA Cup against Charlton Athletic will probably replace either Gareth Bale or Aaron Lennon in the team.  John Bostock and Tom Carroll will hope to get some game time having been on loan during recent seasons.

Bostock, has made three substitute appearances for Spurs in UEFA Cup games and when he made his debut in November, 2008,  against Dinamo Zagreb at White Hart Lane he became the youngest ever First Team player in a competitive match.  At the age of 16 years, 295 days, he beat the previous record held by Ally Dick since 1982.

Harry Kane
Roman Pavlychenko will probably be given his first start of the season and many hope that young Academy player, Harry Kane will get some time in this game.  Kane has just turned eighteen and has been a prolific goal scorer at every level of youth football.  He has had experience on loan with Leyton Orient and has scored regularly for the Development squad and Spurs XI teams this season.

Spurs look sure to progress to the Group stages of the Europa League and the young players will want to take this opportunity to show their ability and to impress so they will want to do it in style by winning the second leg and not limping there on the back of a defeat to their Scottish visitors.  A win would lift morale following the disappointing defeat against Manchester United and prepare everyone for more difficult games in the next few weeks.


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