Tottenham sneaked into 5th last season after a final day win at Everton and rounded off a season that at one point hadn’t looked overly promising. But Mauricio Pochettino grew into his new role and the emergence of Harry Kane soon fired Spurs back up the table. Whilst they don’t have the financial strength of those above them, fans will be yearning for a return to the Champions League.
Last Season: Premier League (5th)
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
GKs: Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm
DFs: Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, DeAndre Yedlin, Eric Dier, Kieran Tripper, Federico Fazio, Kevin Wimmer, Ben Davies
MFs: Aaron Lennon, Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend, Mousa Dembele, Dele Alli, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Tom Carroll, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Alex Pritchard
FWs: Roberto Soldado, Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane
In: Kevin Wimmer (FC Koln), Kieran Trippier (Burnley), Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid)
Out: Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Daniel Akindiyini (Brighton & Hove Albion), Jordan Archer (Millwall), Cristian Ceballos (Charlton Athletic), Brad Friedel (Retired), Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport United), Alexander McQueen (Carlisle United), Jonathan Miles (Ebbsfleet United), Lewis Holtby (Hamburg), Etienne Capoue (Watford), Tomislav Gomelt (Bari), Younes Kaboul (Sunderland), Benjamin Stambouli (PSG), Vlad Chiriches (Napoli)
First Six: Manchester United (A), Stoke City (H), Leicester City (A), Everton (H), Sunderland (A), Crystal Palace (H)
Likely Lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lloris – Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose – Dier, Bentaleb – Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli – Kane
Ledley King picks his best XI
GK: Heurelho Gomes – The best shot stopper I ever played with. We bought him after he played so well against us in the UEFA Cup as he was the difference between the two sides. Tremendous worker, very demanding and, after a sticky, start loved by the fans. Delighted he’s back in the Premier League this season
LB: Ashley Cole – From my England and childhood days in East London, he started as a striker. Started as a more attacking full back but learned the defensive side. A top class player on the ball and lightening quick.
CB: Rio Ferdinand – Played the game as I like it being played. Comfortable on the ball, not afraid to bring it out. Wanted to impact the team going forward but always stood out as a top defender in tournaments. Always dedicated and a classy and elegant defender who looked after himself
CB: Jonathan Woodgate – Always aware of him before we played together. Injuries robbed him of a lot but you just have to look at the clubs he played for like Real Madrid. Liked his mental strength in dealing with those injuries, which I can relate to. Carling Cup final was our first game together and we just clicked straight away
RB: Gary Neville – He knew that position inside out as he’s showing now on TV. His awareness was incredible and such a strong character (the ‘Shop Steward’!). Underrated going forward, amazing understanding with David (Beckham) and created plenty himself.
LM: Gareth Bale – Come to the club as a left back. He had a wand of a left foot and, when he came to the club, we could see he had all the attributes. Now he can play anywhere across the front and I was proud to be part of his development after a tough start. Now he’s one of the world’s best. A down to earth, grounded guy with bags of confidence and ability.
RM: David Ginola – Someone I watched in my early days at Spurs and then, later, played with. The young lads (me included) would all come across and watch him train. Some of the things he could do on the ball was unreal and he was so classy and strong. He had two good, quick feet and he could spin on the ball and leave defenders stranded. You could give him the ball and he could keep it for a minute if the team needed it. Top player
CM: Luka Modric – Just a little magician. Little known when he arrived at Tottenham but I’ve seen him run games. We played up at Anfield and Luca ran the show against Stevie G. Huge technical ability and vision. He could dribble and pick a pass. Huge at Real Madrid, they miss him when he’s not playing
CM: Steven Gerrard – Could play holding midfield, number 10 role anything. Could play any position literally, just a natural footballer. Even when he was near the end of his Liverpool career he was still absolutely essential to that team. The FA Cup game against Wimbledon demonstrated his desire with the two goals and his drive and desire helped them win many a game. A great leader
FW: Robbie Keane – Spent a lot of time with him. He was so passionate about whatever club he played for. He turned up to training ready and loved to train almost as much as the games. A great finisher who could play in the 10 role or as an out and out number 9. Not the quickest but his movement and intelligence made him so difficult to handle.
FW: Teddy Sheringham – Again such an intelligent player who could hold up the ball so well. Teddy helped me a lot as a young player and his goals record speaks for itself. His control was incredible and allowed others to play off him. He even scored two great goals in my testimonial! A superb understanding with Shearer and he was a big-game player..able to handle any occasion.
GK: David James
DF: Stephen Carr
DF: Michael Dawson
MF: David Beckham
MF: Edgar Davids
FW: Jermaine Defoe
FW: Sir Les Ferdinand
Manager: Glenn Hoddle – He would get the best out of this line up and was very influential on me and my career.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: It’s difficult to imagine Spurs anywhere else but where they’ve been for a few years now. Liverpool have strengthened sufficiently to go back above them so it might be 6th at best.
Key Player: Harry Kane – Nobody would have said that one year ago but with a lack of strikers at the club, Kane will be the man people look to for goals. Tottenham haven’t looked overly creative in pre-season but will need to find a way of providing the chances for the new superstar.
One to Watch: Nabil Bentaleb – Whilst already established in the team, the Algerian went from strength to strength last season and is now a key part of Tottenham’s lineup. He struggled at Old Trafford last year and fans won’t want a repeat of that on Saturday, but he’s certainly got another big season ahead of him overall.