A second half goal from Erik Lamela was not enough for Tottenham Hotspur to secure any points in their International Champions Cup opener as Italian giants Juventus secured a 2-1 win.
The North London club fielded a youthful team as only one regular starter for the team from last season featured in the game. Lamela came on as a half time substitute as Heung-Min Son, Nacer Chadli and Tom Carroll sat behind new signing Vincent Janssen. £11million signing Victor Wanyama also started the game alongside Ryan Mason. However the two new signings were not the only players to make their debuts for the team as a hoard of academy players made appearances. Dominic Ball, Cameron Carter-Vickers and William Miller all started in defence, while Anton Walkes, Shayon Harrison and Marcus Edwards were substituted on at the hour mark to make their senior debuts.
Youthfulness showed in defence
Experience is always crucial for youngsters coming up the ranks, however it proved costly for the result. The two goals from Juventus were largely conceded due to mistakes from the young centre backs. In the sixth minute Ball had the ball taken out of his feet by Roberto Pereyra, who passed the ball to Paulo Dybala calmly placed the ball past goalkeeper Michel Vorm. The second goal on the other had saw a weak clearance from Ball, after a Juventus corner. Ball however was the only player to attempt to make a clearance, as everyone else seemed to stand and stare at the ball, which was scrambled around the penalty area. The clearance fell to Miralem Pjanić who found Mehdi Benatia. The new signing’s header curled into the top right-hand corner.
To make matters more difficult for the inexperienced pairing, Tottenham still attempted to play out from the back, which put the centre-backs under pressure that they couldn’t handle. The pressure was doubled at times when the Bianconeri implemented their pressing system on the youngsters causing them to panic and put themselves in difficult situations.
On the other hand there Harrison, Edwards, Joshua Onomah and Harry Winks all made good impressions as in the second half they all helped bring Tottenham’s attack to life. The substitutions meant that whenever Tottenham launched an attack they had a handful of player running towards goal when in the first half the hardly had a chance.
The new signings
Tottenham fans had waited until now to watch their new signings Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen. The Dutch striker was a somewhat disappointment as he was hardly involved in the game and consequently was substituted at the hour mark. Yet this wasn’t his fault as the first half saw him isolated having only 15 touches in the first 45 minutes. When on the ball Janssen looked composed and even played a part in a Lamela chance early in the second half. Fans can only wonder how he would have faired with more service and will have to wait until later in the preseason or even the start of the season to answer this.
Defensive midfielder Wanyama, however, made a great first impression and showed fans exactly what they were expecting. The Kenyan was strong and decisive in the centre of the park as he aided the young defence throughout the game through his reading of situations. Wanyama used his strength in the opposition half of the pitch as well as he won back possession to create Lamela’s goal. However it still looked unlikely that Wanyama will take either Mousa Dembele’s or Eric Dier’s position in the team, but he will challenge and push the two players.