Senior quartet axed: Tottenham best possible XI to face Middlesbrough
By Tony Hughes
Harry Kane will be one notable absentee for Tottenham’s Premier League trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Mauricio Pochettino has little alternative but to hand summer signing Vincent Janssen an extended run in the team and hope he can thrive on the responsibility of leading the line and providing some of the goals that were a virtual guarantee from Kane.
Behind Janssen, the Spurs manager has the luxury of choosing three players from six possible senior options, namely Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Heung-min Son and new signings Moussa Sissoko and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou.
The latter pair were purchased at a cost of over £40million this summer but Pochettino should resist the opportunity to start them at the Riverside.
He should instead select the three players who provide the most consistent goal threat and that would currently be Alli, Eriksen and the in-form Son.
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Eriksen has begun the season slowly but showed a welcome return to form when he scored Spurs’ opening two goals in their comfortable 5-0 victory against Gillingham in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
The Dane showed enough to give him the nod over Lamela and Sissoko against Aitor Karanka’s team.
Pochettino also has a tricky decision to make in central midfield, as he weighs up the credential of Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama.
Midfield pairing Dembele and Dier did suffer hamstring injuries in the 1-0 win against Sunderland last weekend but are expected to be fit, which means summer signing Wanyama should miss out.
The Kenya international provides a solid shield in front of the defence and has settled in well since joining from Southampton, but the Dier-Dembele combination was arguably the best in the Premier League last season and provides the perfect balance of steel, resilience and quality on the ball.
Danny Rose signed a new Spurs contract on Thursday morning and he is in contention to return to the side following his injury.
If the 26-year-old is passed fit, Pochettino should reunite the team’s first-choice back five, with Kyle Walker, Tony Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris recalled after being rested in midweek.
In other Tottenham team news, Graham Roberts has claimed that this emerging star looks a real player.