International Champions Cup: Roma vs Tottenham – Lineups, Preview & Prediction
A depleted Tottenham squad get their pre-season underway against Italians Roma in San Diego.
03:00 BST, Thursday 26th July, Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego, USA)
Tottenham begin their International Champions Cup pre-season campaign against Roma, who finished third in Serie A, some 14 points behind runners up Napoli. The Lilywhites, similarly, finished third in the Premier League for a third consecutive season, but have thus far failed to strengthen their squad over the summer, so pre-season begins with hints of both caution and pessimism.
Mauricio Pochettino will be constrained by the nature of his depleted squad, with key World Cup names Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris all given extended breaks. Roma, though, welcome new additions Justin Kluivert, Javier Pastore and Ante Coric.
Caught in a transfer tug of war with Barcelona for Bordeaux winger Malcom – with the Catalans making an eleventh-hour bid despite Roma agreeing a fee – Eusebio Di Francesco’s attentions might be diverted elsewhere unless this is resolved before kick-off on Thursday.
This will Roma’s first fixture without new Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker, but there have been plenty of new faces in the Italian capital this summer.
Javier Pastore could be set for another appearance after debuting in a 9-0 friendly win against Latina on July 14th, whilst Justin Kluivert could add to his appearance in the following friendly against Avellino.
There have been few changes amongst the back four as Eusebio Di Francesco opts for continuity, and Davide Santon could appear again instead of Luca Pellegrini. Daniele De Rossi could start his third consecutive friendly – or Maxime Gonalons will replace him – whilst the front three are expected to change again.
Given Tottenham’s participation in the World Cup – with nine semi-finalists – their squad for the ICC is weakened. The likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen have been given extended breaks, whilst captain and World Cup winner Hugo Lloris is absent, too.
Davinson Sanchez, Heung-min Son and Christian Eriksen have made the trip alongside other first teamers Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Victor Wanyama, whilst there are call-ups for youngsters Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Oliver Skipp and George Marsh.
Vincent Janssen – who returned from a loan at Fenerbahce – was left at home as the club look to sell, whilst Harry Winks is still recovering from injury.
NOTE: Foyth has since been confirmed as injured and will not be taking part on the tour. Cameron Carter-Vickers is likely to start in his absence.
Key Battle: Justin Kluivert (Roma) vs Lucas Moura (Tottenham)
Having joined Roma over summer from Ajax, Patrick Kluivert’s son – Justin – will be hoping for more appearances during pre-season as he looks to impress his new employers and earn a start come the first game of Serie A.
The same goes for Lucas Moura, who is effectively a new signing having made only a handful of appearances since joining from Paris Saint-Germain in January.
Both wingers will be hoping to increase their influence throughout pre-season and convince their managers that they have important roles to play during the season.
New faces vs old faces
It’s been quite contrasting summers for Roma and Tottenham, with the former bringing in 12 new faces thus far, whilst the latter are yet to sign a player, despite the Premier League transfer window closing on August 9th.
It makes for frustrating times for Tottenham fans, knowing that their club are on the cusp of success, but are a key signing or two short of winning their first Premier League title and their first trophy since 2008.
A new signing – depending on who’s acquired – doesn’t just add quality to the squad, but provides a general boost in mood and increased competition for places. It keeps players on their toes and denies the onset of comfort. Spurs, though, are growing increasingly content with their consistent standing in the top four, but this can all change having watched all their rivals strengthen.
Roma are here to stay
Kluivert (19), Patrik Schick (22), Ante Coric (21), Bryan Cristante (23), Nicolo Zaniolo (18) and William Bianda (18). When you look at the age profile of Roma’s new signings, it’s clear what the club are trying to do.
Knowing that the likes of De Rossi, Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov are all over 30, it’s important to ensure the longevity of success by building for the future, which Roma seem to have done remarkably well over the summer.
With a core of young players looking to establish themselves as first teamers over the season, their journey begins here against high class opposition in Tottenham.
Prediction: Roma 2-1 Tottenham
Although Tottenham have a relatively strong squad on paper, Roma boast an edge given that a majority of their Champions League semi-finalists are available. They played out a topsy-turvy five-goal thriller in last season’s International Champions Cup and the Italians could run out victorious again.
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