Match review: lessons learned from Juventus friendly

After three friendlies behind closed doors we were finally able to get a look at Tottenham in action this pre-season as we took on Italian champions Juventus. 
The high-profile friendly took place down-under at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and saw both sides blood new-signings and academy products alike.

With both squads heavily depleted, there were few star names on show. Juve however were still able to call upon new signings Miralem Pjanic and Mehdi Benatia, as well as young Argentine superstar Paulo Dybala. 

Tottenham meanwhile introduced new arrivals Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen to the side.

The game started under difficult circumstances, with the only two senior defenders available being Kieran Trippier and DeAndre Yedlin, Pochettino was forced to assemble a makeshift defence out of the youth prospects available. Trippier started on the right whilst 18-year old American Cameron Carter-Vickers partnered Dominic Ball at centre half. 

On the left, somewhat shockingly, Poch picked 20-year old right-footed attacking-midfielder William Miller.

With such an inexperienced back-line it was no surprise that the early going was shaky to say the least. On the five-minute-mark Miller played a sloppy ball to Ryan Mason who could only stab the ball back towards Dominic Ball. 

The ex-Rangers man failed to get the ball under control and was pounced upon by Roberto Pereyra. Riding a tackle from Carter-Vickers, Pereyra slipped in Dybala who finished with aplomb past Michel Vorm.

Things went from bad to worse ten minutes later for the nervy Dominic Ball, as he only managed to half clear a Juve corner before seeing it sail back into the box for a towered Benatia to loop a header home into the far corner. 

A baptism of fire for a number of the young players, but vital experience none the less.

It wasn’t until half an hour in that Tottenham finally got some purchase in the game. Good combination from Carroll and Miller saw a cross cleared behind for a corner, that resulted in Heung-Min Son heading wide. 

Quick feet from the impressive Miller also saw the former child actor dance between two Juventus defenders before going down in the box prompting half-hearted appeals for a penalty.

The most impressive player of the first half however was new boy Victor Wanyama. The Kenyan was an intimidating presence in the middle of the park who played with a calmness and authority that encouraged the young players around him. 

Stark contrast to his midfield partner Ryan Mason who once again disappointed in a Tottenham shirt.

With the momentum shifting in the second-half, Pochettino introduced a number of substitutes. Harry Winks, DeAndre Yedlin, Josh Onomah and Erik Lamela were all introduced. 

The injection of energy and positivity introduced was noticeable almost immediately. Winks nearly found Onomah with a clever ball over the top, whilst Lamela and Yedlin pushed us forward into more positive areas. 

It was a final few substitutions however that led to our goal. Anton Walkes, Shayon Harrison and Marcus Edwards were introduced. Edwards has been much talked about as the jewel of our academy for the past twelve months. 

It didn’t take long for the 17-year-old to show us some glimpses of the immense talent locked in his tiny frame. Willing to collect the ball in tight spaces and run at defenders, the youngster showed a level of ability beyond his years.

It was another of the substitutes involved in the scoring of the goal though. 

The imposing Wanyama stole the ball off of a sluggish Juve midfield before finding Shayon Harrison with a neat through ball. Harrison quickly moved the ball into the path of Lamela who made no mistake on his left foot.

There was a chance for Edwards also as Yedlin found him with a clipped through ball that he just failed to get under control. Lamela and Harrison both forced saves out of Brazilian keeper Neto before the final whistle.

After a nervous start this was a game that could have easily got away from Spurs, but due to impressive performances from the likes of Wanyama, Yedlin, Lamela and a number of youth players, what could have been a rout turned into an enjoyable and competitive game. 

Valuable experience for our young boys and valuable preparation for our more senior players. Tottenham now look toward Atletico Madrid on Friday as we look to but in another positive performance.

Written by Josh Smith

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