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Tuesday, 8 December 2015


Team selection for the Monaco game on Thursday is not as straightforward as it at first appears. We have already qualified for the last 32, but that doesn't mean the result in unimportant, far from it.

Firstly we need to be seeded in the next round so we avoid group winners and the four best placed UEFA Champions League dropouts. To achieve that we need at least a point. We need to build a European aura and be winning our home games, or at the very least drawing. Several teams have come to the Lane and outplayed us while we play a second team, that can not be allowed to happen. The squad players should all be coming into a system where they know their role and they take their chance.

Players incapable of taking their chance have to be questioned, they potentially have a mental weakness and as we are trying to build a winning squad, their place becomes uncertain. Carrying players is not an option, Mauricio Pochettino agreed with that recently in an interview. Fans have their favourites and are soft when it comes to deciding who to sell and who to keep.  A manager or a head coach can't afford to be.

For a squad player, a game against Monaco represents a chance yo impress, they should motivate themselves for the task ahead so they play at the top of their game. Take a player like Tom Carroll who isn't getting much game time. He did OK last time he came on, against Qarabag for 17 minutes. What his performance needed was a quality through ball, something to open the eyes, something to remember, something that makes him stand out from the crowd. He is only23 (24 nxt May) so there is plenty of time for him but he is up against hungry players, 19-year-old Dele Alli has gone sailing past him. 

Does Pochettino trust Carroll to play or does he stick with the same players he is regularly using? fatigue later in the season has to be an issue, are rests for certain players important when you have the chance to give them one.

Does Harry Kane play? He has scored 29 goals in 2015 and is looking for his 30th, just another milestone to aim for. Should Clinton Njie be given a full game as the lone striker, then there is Heung-min Son who has played and scored there before. Do we drop Eriksen to play Njie? No player whoever they are should be guaranteed a place, competition is vital to keep everyone on their toes. The minute a player thinks he is an automatic choice he loses an edge.

Is it time to give Michel Vorm a game, what happens if Lloris gets injured? I am not the only one who has my doubts about him but if he is our back-up goalkeeper the defence need to be used to playing with him and he needs game time to put his skills into practice.

Should Kevin Wimmer get some game time? Obviously we have been working on his defending, when do we give him the chance of a game, given he is our first choice back up. Fazio doesn't even make the bench these days.

there are plenty of selection dilemmas and everyone will have a different take, what Pochettino's will be we will have to wait and see.
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