World Cup 2018: 5 Tottenham players expected to perform in Russia

With 12 players at the Russian World Cup, there's plenty of Tottenham talent on display this summer.

REUTERS/Carl Recine

Only Barcelona (14), Real Madrid (15) and Manchester City (16) have more players than Tottenham (12) at this summer’s World Cup, with the bulk of these stars all featuring in Group G, namely at Belgium and England.

Spurs have three players representing Belgium and five with the Three Lions. It makes for interesting watching from a Tottenham perspective, therefore, when England play the Red Devils on June 28th.

RealSport pick out the five Tottenham players set to make the biggest impact at the World Cup.

  1. 1 Christian Eriksen [Denmark]

    REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

    Christian Eriksen had a wonderful season for Tottenham, achieving double figures for Premier League goals (10) and assists (10), whilst his influence at  his club has grown considerably.

    His position is gradually changing, too, shifting from an outright number ten behind the striker to a slightly deeper midfielder, exerting greater control over proceedings.

    In fact, he rivals Harry Kane for the position of Spurs' most important player and the effects of his absences are arguably the most pronounced, with the team looking extremely flat offensively without him.

    KEY STAT: Only Robert Lewandowski (16) and Cristiano Ronaldo (15) scored more goals than Eriksen (11) in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

    This doesn't compare, however, to how reliant Denmark are on the playmaker.

    The Dane scored eight goals in the qualifying campaign, playing an instrumental role in Denmark's success, before adding a hat-trick in the second leg of their qualifying playoff to take his tally to 11.

    If Denmark stand a chance of progressing out of Group C, Eriksen's performances will be vital.

  2. 2 Harry Kane [England]

    REUTERS/David Klein

    The holder of the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a calendar year (39) and two-time Golden Boot winner, there's not much else that needs to be said about the importance of Harry Kane.

    The 24-year-old is the second-fastest player to score 100 Premier League goals -doing so in 141 appearances- and has bagged over 25 goals in each of the last three campaigns.

    KEY STAT: Harry Kane, 24, is youngest-ever player to captain England at a major tournament.

    Kane scored on his England debut in 2015, and again on his debut as national team captain, an added-time equaliser against Scotland.

    One of the most determined, committed and passionate players to ever play the game, it's this attitude that saw him named England captain for the World Cup, a testament to how crucial both his presence and goals will be to the Three Lions' hopes of a successful tournament.

  3. 3 Jan Vertonghen & Toby Alderweireld [Belgium]

    REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

    Having played together at Ajax, Tottenham and for Belgium, the impact of this partnership cannot be understated for the Red Devils' hopes of reaching the tournament's latter stages.

    Much has been made of Belgium's firepower in the final third -with the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku- and their consequent 'all guns blazing' style of play, but reaching the semi-finals requires a strong element of defensive nous and organisation.

    This is where Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen become so important, made all the more relevant by the likely absence of recent captain Vincent Kompany.

    KEY STAT: Jan Vertonghen was the first player ever to reach 100 Belgium caps, 11 years to the day of his debut, against the same opponents. 

    Since the Belgian duo were reunited in north London, it's no surprise that Tottenham boasted the Premier League's best defensive record for two out of the past three seasons.

    Furthermore, the one time they were pipped, Alderweireld spent a majority of the season either injured or frozen out.

  4. 4 Heung-min Son [South Korea]

    REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

    Perhaps a slightly left-field selection given South Korea don't remotely resemble a contender for this summer's World Cup, but there's a real possibility to qualify from a Group F containing Germany, Mexico and Sweden.

    For South Korea to progress to the knockout rounds though, Heung-min Son will be absolutely essential.

    KEY STAT: Son was South Korea's fourth-youngest debutant at 18 years 175 days.

    So crucial, in fact, that boss Shin Tae-yong declared the necessity of using the same system Tottenham use solely for Son's benefit.

    With 21 goals in 66 games, Son demonstrated his international importance with a stunning strike against Honduras in May.

    Two-time AFC International Footballer of the Year winner and three-time KFA Footballer of the Year winner, Son's influence in South Korea isn't understated and his versatility, energy and goals will be vital in Russia.

  5. 5 Dele Alli [England]

    REUTERS/Carl Recine

    Despite finishing the season with 14 goals and 14 assists in all competitions -the most assists of any Englishman- there are still some sections of the media that criticise Alli's performances.

    Yes, he gets under opposition skin and seems to rile up every fanbase in the country, but this sort of mischievous character will serve England well in the World Cup, as long as it's kept under some semblance of control.

    Every highly successful team has one polarising personality.

    KEY STAT: Alli was involved in more goals (40) before turning 21 than Frank Lampard (15), Steven Gerrard (13) and David Beckham (12) combined.

    After a brilliant brace against Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage, Alli announced himself on the European stage, but the World Cup is an opportunity to declare himself to the entire globe.

    With a desire to prove his critics wrong, Southgate must channel this fire to England's benefit and get the best out of one of the world's best young talents.

    Behind Kane, he's arguably England's next most important player, irrespective of some outlandish claims that his place in the starting XI is insecure.

Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group B in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast

  1. POLL: Which Tottenham player will have the biggest impact in Russia this summer?

    1. Heung-min Son
    2. Harry Kane
    3. Toby Alderweireld & Jan Vertonghen
    4. Christian Eriksen
    5. Dele Alli
    31 votes
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Oli Stein

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016.

Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent.

Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_