Tottenham will now have their eyes firmly on 2023, with a big year ahead for the club. But we wanted to take a look back over the past two months of 2022 and decided who the big winners and losers were from the World Cup break.
The young centre-back is clearly Tottenham’s most obvious winner from the Qatar 2022 World Cup as Romero will be the only player returning to Tottenham with a winners medal around his neck, despite how close his club teammate, Hugo Lloris, came to back-to-back glory as Argentina were victorious on penalties
Romero managed two clean sheets over his World Cup campaign, his performances at the tournament were made even more impressive when it’s considered that Cristian joined up with the Argentinian national team with a hamstring injury (Football.London) and he hadn’t played a match since the injury back in late October.
Romero started the World Cup with only eighty minutes across Argentina’s first two opening games but after his start against Poland, a game in which Argentina secured their ticket to the knockouts, Romero stayed in the starting eleven all the way to the final.
The 24-year-old has now helped Argentina end their 36-year wait for World Cup glory and has forever immersed himself in a moment of history as Messi and Argentina eclipse the achievements of Maradona for ‘La Albiceleste’.
The winners of this World Cup for Tottenham aren’t necessarily the players who have been there, it’s some of the ones that didn’t.
A perfect example of this is 21-year-old Tottenham academy graduate Harvey White who has had an extended period of attention and time with the first team due the absence of many first-team regulars. White has subsequently undertaken an unusually prominent role in the Tottenham starting eleven in both of the publicised ‘mid-season’ friendlies against Motherwell and Nice.
The Tottenham youngster has become a constant in the Spurs youth teams but has appeared to have struggled to make the leap from the youth squads to the first team, but perhaps this World Cup has worked in his favour and allowed for the first team coaches to inspect White more closely and therefore hand him two starts, in a slightly unusual, forward role.
White is more of a recognised midfielder, but his versatility and age means that Conte clearly feels he can deploy him in various areas of the pitch as the Italian told SPURSPLAY ‘Harvey White played like a number nine, he is a young player that I think is really, really intelligent, he can play in any role’.
Harvey is also known to be a real danger from set-pieces and seeming as Tottenham haven’t scored a direct freekick since Son’s effort against Watford at the start of the 2021/2022 season, White could offer something a little different to Tottenham over the upcoming seasons.
Matt Doherty’s time at Tottenham has been an incredibly unusual one as the Irish international joined Spurs in the summer of 2020, when Jose Mourinho was in charge.
The fee seemed as if Tottenham had picked up a bargain at about £13.4 million (Football.London) as the Wolves wing-back had contributed 7 Premier League goals and assists over the 2019/20 season for the West Midlands side (FotMob).
Despite the deal being impressive, Doherty failed to fit into Mourinho’s plans as Doherty only featured 17 times in the league (FotMob) and failed to adapt to a less attacking, full-back role.
Therefore, when Antonio Conte arrived it seemed destined for Matt Doherty to be the Italians’ chosen right-wing back, which he was for several months after he finally seemed to rise above Emerson Royal in the pecking order.
Doherty scored twice and assisted four times under Antonio Conte in the 2021/2022 season and helped Tottenham push towards the top four until he was then injured by Matty Cash on the 9th of April (Sky Sports).
The thirty-year-old finally returned to fitness just for the start of the new season, but it had got to October and Doherty had still not managed to work his way back into the starting eleven, even when Emerson Royal wasn’t impressing.
When Antonio Conte was questioned about Doherty ahead of the game away to Eintracht Frankfurt the Italian manager claimed ‘I’m not seeing him in the right way to start the game. I’m not stupid, I don’t want to lose.’ (Football.London)
This quote seemed harsh and in stark contrast to the opinion Conte had of Doherty before his injury. It appeared as if Tottenham’s right wing back position was starting to become a messy situation with Emerson not performing well and fans not impressed, Doherty apparently not being ‘in the right way to start a game’ and Spence seemingly out of favour.
However, when it reached the World Cup none of Emerson, Doherty or Spence had been selected for their national teams, giving Antonio Conte time to inspect and work with each of the different right-sided wing backs.
It seems as though Matt Doherty has been the player who has excelled and impressed the manager the most. Something that would have undoubtedly helped is the fact that the Irishman scored three goals across Tottenham’s ‘mid-season friendly games’ against Motherwell and Nice.
Doherty was subsequently picked for Tottenham’s return to action on Boxing Day against Brentford and despite the game being frustrating Doherty seemed to be one of the more impressive players on the pitch and looked threatening going forward as he created two big chances and made six passes into the final third (FotMob).
It certainly seems Doherty has made the most of his time off and he now should have a crucial few games coming up where he could reclaim his position in the starting team for good.
It feels strange to claim that a player who has won goal of the tournament (FIFA) and had overall an impressive World Cup a ‘loser’ of the tournament. However, when you look at Richarlison’s time at the World Cup from a Tottenham perspective, it can be hard to not feel a little frustrated.
Richarlison has had a rather stuttering start since joining Spurs, with his match-winning brace against Marseille being his most memorable moment so far, but it seems as though whenever the Brazilian gets going, he’s hit by an injury, and this World Cup appears to have handed the former Everton forward another setback.
Richarlison had a battle for his fitness ahead of the World Cup after he picked up a calf injury against his former club, Everton, back in the middle of October (Eurosport). However, Richarlison did get some Premier League minutes before he joined up with the Brazil national team, even though he didn’t look like he was fully fit and firing when he featured.
Richarlison started his tournament with a bang as he kicked off Brazil’s campaign with a brace against Serbia. Brazil progressed into the round of 16 where Richarlison started and scored in a 4-1 win against his Tottenham teammate, Heung Min Son of South Korea, a clash against Croatia awaited Brazil and as one of the favourites for the tournament, the ‘Selecao’ were fancying their chances to win it.
However, there started to be injury concerns raised about Richarlison’s fitness ahead of their game against Croatia, Richarlison did start the match, but he looked slow and played as if he was carrying a slight knock, he was subbed off after 84 minutes with extra time looming.
Therefore, the ultimate reason why this World Cup hasn’t particularly helped Richarlison at club level is that he is expected to be sidelined for another month as a result of his ‘hamstring injury’ (Evening Standard), Richarlison is likely to miss some crunch games for Tottenham as a result with games against Arsenal and Man City (twice) upcoming.
The whole of the Tottenham fanbase will be feeling for Harry Kane after his agonising penalty miss against France in the quarterfinals which basically ended England’s World Cup hopes. It’s a painful moment for Kane who is notoriously clinical from the penalty spot, he did miss one recently against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League but before that his misses from the spot were very rare.
As the England captain he has taken his responsibility in the exit as he posted stating ‘it’s come down to a small detail which I take responsibility for. There’s no hiding from it, it hurts and it’ll take some time to get over it but that’s part of sport’ (@HKane – Twitter)
It seems unfair for Kane to be the man who has put England out after the countless goals he’s scored and the perhaps understated impressive performance that Kane put on throughout the World Cup as he ended the tournament with two goals and three assists across the five appearances he made (FotMob).
As expected, it appears that Kane has picked himself back up and is focussed on Tottenham again as he scored on his return to club football against Brentford.
Tottenham’s pursuit of Sofyan Amrabat
Back in January of 2022 the Tottenham squad was significantly weaker and appeared in a phase of transition under Antonio Conte. Spurs had chased Adama Traore and Luiz Diaz for the majority of the winter window (Express), only for both to make eventual moves to Barcelona and Liverpool respectively.
However, as well as a winger/wing back Paratici and Conte clearly had a central midfielder on their January wish list, especially as 2019 summer signings: Giovanni Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele were set to depart on six-month-long loans (Sky Sports).
A player who was a target for Tottenham, therefore, was Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat. Amrabat was highly rated by people within the game as Rino Foschi, a former sporting director, claimed that ‘Whoever takes Amrabat makes a bargain: he will make up for it.’ (Football.London)
Tottenham looked set to sign the Morrocan midfielder as one report stated that ‘Tottenham agreement for Amrabat: only the ‘yes’ of the player is missing’ (Viola News).
However, Tottenham decided to complete the moves for Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur in the final days of the window, leaving Amrabat at Fiorentina.
But now that the Qatar World Cup has been and gone, Sofyan Amrabat’s name is one that isn’t only being mentioned in the same breath as Tottenham but now various top clubs around the world, most notably Liverpool (Mail Online). Tottenham appear to still be interested in the Moroccan after his very impressive World Cup campaign with the semi-finalists (Mail Online).
However, now Fiorentina have reportedly ramped up their asking price to match the midfielders’ impressive World Cup display as ‘Viola’ are now demanding around 40 million euros for the player (Relevo).
Tottenham are clearly big appreciators of Amrabat and it’s likely after his impressive World Cup display that their expectations of the player have been met, but with interest from other big clubs and a high price tag, Amrabat may go on to be a top player at another club meaning Tottenham will be kicking themselves about not making the transfer happen back in January 2022.
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