The international breaks are invariably a boring waste of time and space. This one’s a tad more interesting due to our (England’s) opponents in the weekend’s meaningless friendlies but the placing of it (the break) between the better than earned draw against the Smuggers and a game against the surprisingly good Hamsters makes it all the more tedious.
Last Sunday’s match left you wanting more. It was previewed by many as the chance to place a gauge on our young, fit and eager side, an opportunity to assess their ability to challenge the top teams. We more than matched Woolwich of course but games against them aren’t always the best way to judge us; even in the recent seasons where the Riyals and Roubles and even the Scousers were seeing us off good and proper we were still getting good results against this mob of fragile legged, flatter to deceive, fraudsters.
Given this, a cruel pragmatist might burst the bubble of those getting excited by pointing out that the inability of Kane, Eriksen or Alderweireld to kill the game by taking the half chances that fell their way or the fact that the defence combined to allow Kieran Gibbs his first goal in three years means that we haven’t progressed as much as we’d like to believe. This ignores much other less tangible evidence, if three points can be considered tangible, of the steps we are making. One of Pochettino’s big achievements last season, whether he meant it or not, was to rebuild a connection between the players and the fans. The youngsters on the field appeared to be expressing the same desire to wear the shirt as those in the stands. The introduction of Dele Alli and Eric Dier mark II and the blossoming Josh Onomah has only increased that love. Pochettino has been turning boys into men and into players in front of our eyes.
These aren’t just the ones currently bringing a smile to the face. Dembélé, Walker, Rose, the Belgian centre backs, Eriksen and of course the great Lloris. Chuck in the potential of new boys Son and Njie and it’s hard not to feel disappointed that we have to wait so long for the next fixture. This is what Pochettino’s done; he’s made us excited about the future.
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