Two senior players axed in Pochettino 4-2-3-1: Tottenham best possible XI to face Gent
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Mauricio Pochettino should hand Harry Winks a second start in as many games when Tottenham take on KAA Gent on Thursday.
The 21-year-old has stepped up to the plate this season and become a real fan-favourite, and Pochettino should reward with him a starting role for their crucial upcoming Europa League tie.
Pochettino should also name Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker in his starting XI, in a total of two changes to his side from the FA Cup victory over Fulham on Sunday – senior duo Kieran Trippier, 26, and Michel Vorm, 33, are the two that should make way.
Eight other players, alongside Winks, should retain their places in the side, to ensure Tottenham present themselves with the best possible chance of overturning their first-leg deficit.
The presence of Winks in the line-up does prevent the return of Mousa Dembele, who has been a mainstay in the Tottenham midfield this season.
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However, the Belgium international only appeared against Fulham as a substitute, and may be restricted to a similar role against Gent on Thursday.
Lloris and Walker, meanwhile, simply must return to the line-up given their importance to Pochettino. Lloris has kept 11 clean sheets this season from 29 appearances, while Walker has been influential in attack with six assists.
Given the magnitude of the fixture, Pochettino should resist the urge to involve too many fringe players in his starting XI, despite the opportunity to hand them some rare action.
This means the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou and Vincent Janssen should be held back until the game is comfortably in Tottenham’s hands.
Pochettino will have no choice but to persist with Ben Davies at left-back in the continued absence of Danny Rose, but Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen will complete the foundations of a strong Tottenham line-up.
Meanwhile, Victor Wanyama, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane have all been among the top performers in their position in the Premier League this season, and must be given the opportunity to fight for Tottenham’s Europa League survival.
If they fail to win, Tottenham will crash out of Europe for the second time this season, having already been eliminated from the Champions League group-stage.Totte
In other Tottenham team news, Rio Ferdinand has highlighted a major problem at Tottenham, and insists they must find a solution fast.