Vincent Janssen showed there may be life after Harry Kane as the stand-in striker scored his first Tottenham goal in a 5-0 romp over Gillingham.
Janssen opened his account from the penalty spot after a Christian Eriksen double, before Joshua Onomah and Erik Lamela completed the rout to seal Spurs’ place in the EFL Cup fourth round.
Gillingham boss Justin Edinburgh was back at White Hart Lane for the first time since spending 10 years at the club as a player from 1990 to 2000, but it was an unhappy return as the League One side were outclassed from start to finish.
Kane’s ankle injury, sustained against Sunderland on Sunday, means Janssen is set for an extended run in the first team and the 22-year-old capped an industrious display with a well-deserved goal.
Mauricio Pochettino changed all 11 of his starting line-up from the team at the weekend but an injection of youth was mixed in with a heavy dose of experience.
Eriksen and Lamela both started, having been rested three days before, but it was the likes of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Harry Winks and Onomah – all products of Spurs’ academy – that were most eager to impress.
Carter-Vickers was assured, although rarely tested, and Onomah scored his first senior goal for the club, but Winks stood out among the youngsters, his strength on the ball and incisive passing impressive throughout.
Marcus Edwards, the 17-year-old compared by Pochettino to a young Lionel Messi on Tuesday, was also handed his debut late on and nearly capped it with a goal, his stinging shot palmed over the bar.
Eriksen was at the heart of everything going forward and his fizzing shot early on forced Jonathan Bond to palm over the crossbar, the goalkeeper’s last involvement before he was taken off injured and replaced by 35-year-old Stuart Nelson.
Eriksen and Lamela both flashed efforts off target when they should have at least tested the keeper but the Dane soon made amends when he drove a dipping shot from 25 yards, which flew over Nelson and into the top of the net.
Janssen had been busy against the physical Deji Oshilaja but for a while his, and the home crowd’s, desperation for a goal went unfulfilled as Nelson denied the Dutchman from close range and then, even after rounding the goalkeeper, Oshilaja was in the right place to clear off the line.
If Gillingham’s plans were to keep things tight for as long as possible, they were scrapped early in the second half as Eriksen and finally Janssen scored twice in three minutes.
First, Eriksen latched on to Lamela’s ball through before poking a finish under Nelson’s body and then the midfielder generously passed up the chance for a hat-trick, handing Janssen the penalty after Oshilaja had brought down Trippier.
Janssen coolly slid the ball into the bottom left-hand corner as the crowd responded with the biggest cheer of the night and the striker was swamped by his celebrating team-mates.
Eriksen was removed before the hour as Georges-Kevin Nkoudou was thrown on for his debut since he joined from Marseille in the summer, but there was no sign of the hosts letting up.
Onomah added a fourth with a composed side-foot finish and in the 68th minute, Lamela’s creativity was rewarded when he hammered a fifth into the top corner.
There was even time for Edwards to come on for the final 15 minutes and only Nelson’s left hand prevented his stinging shot from finding the net in what might have completed Tottenham’s perfect night.
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