The Tottenham Hotspur players took to the pitch to train ahead of their friendly against Leicester City and after a very unusual press conference in Thailand.
Half an hour before the session, Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou had been involved in a strange moment during his press conference inside the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok when a German reporter pulled a new Bayern shirt out of his bag, bearing the name Kane and the number nine on the back. He asked the Australian: “How does it look? It looks pretty good, doesn’t it?”
The 57-year-old reacted exactly as you’d expect with a look like thunder before saying: “I don’t know what you’re talking about….Did you get a good laugh for that? Did you get what you came for? Maybe? Very well. You came a long way for that, thank you.”
After the odd moment, the Tottenham players and their manager took to the pitch at the national stadium to get down to the serious business of training ahead of Sunday’s game.
Here are five things we noticed from the session in Thailand:
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It’s hard not to notice the weather in Bangkok right now, because one minute it’s sunny and the next it’s pouring down. It is monsoon season in Thailand at the moment and rain fell throughout the session on Saturday night.
The players were drenched with Postecoglou and his coaches drenched by the hot rain that fell amid humid temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius.
There have also been thunderstorms, with Tottenham flying through one to land in Bangkok late on Friday night after flying from Perth.
The weather in Thailand has played its part in the pre-season friendlies previously held there and Postecoglou will hope that it will not be farcical if it is too heavy during Sunday’s game and that no one will be injured.
Celsus laughed on fire
One player who couldn’t stop scoring during the practice match and drills during Saturday’s session was Giovani Lo Celso.
The Argentina international, who scored against West Ham on Tuesday night, fired efforts into the net from everywhere during the session.
It remains to be seen whether the 27-year-old will be part of Postecoglou’s plans for the coming season, but there is no doubting that he has quality in his technique and he sent some beautiful volleys and half-volleys past the helpless goalkeepers throughout the session.
A clue to Spurs’ line-up?
Postecoglou didn’t seem concerned that people were training his team to face West Ham in the open training session the night before that game in Australia, and perhaps that was the case again on Saturday ahead of the Leicester game because one side of the training squad seemed strong.
The Australian has said he will give some players an hour during this match in Thailand and he set up an 11v11 game on the main court, while those players who were not in the two XIs or were coming back from injury played their own small game.
The team in orange in the main training match was a 4-3-3 containing Vicario; Porro, Romero, Davies, Udogie; Bissouma, Højbjerg, Maddison; Kulusevski, Kane, son.
They took on a team in bibs that included Whiteman; Royal, Tanganga, Dier, Reguilon; Sarr, Skipp, Lo Celso; Solomon, Richarlison, Perisic.
Every other player, apart from the injured Dane Scarlett, took part in the small-sided game, including full-back Tanguy Ndombele, impressively still wearing his trademark snood on his head in the high, humid temperatures and pouring rain.
The team in orange were strong and look to have a good chance of being the team that could start against Leicester on Sunday.
Yves Bissouma is clearly a popular member of the Tottenham squad and he always seems to have teammates rallying around him. In training it is clear that he is becoming a bit of a leader and that is something James Maddison pointed out. soccer.london at the press conference in advance.
“Bissouma is a very very good player. I played against him when he was at Brighton and he probably didn’t play as much as he would have liked last season, but there is a top player in there and he has surprised me a bit. He is a leader, he speaks,” said the England international.
“For someone who’s only been at the club for a year and maybe didn’t have the best first season that he’d hoped, he’s very demanding and very vocal and there’s a brilliant player in there so I’m looking forward to seeing how that partnership can go.”
Bissouma loves to take penalties after training and he stayed out there after the training match with a couple of players shooting at the goalkeepers.
Postecoglou told soccer.london that you always know when the Mali international is nearby.
“Biss has been good and I think he’s a midfielder who can play in a number of areas for us. I don’t see him purely as a number six but he’s been really good since I got here, he was one of those who came in the early days so he’s had a bit longer with us than the internationals from day one,” said the Spurs boss.
“He’s got bags of energy, you know, when he’s around and it’s great. He’s got a great personality. He’s a very, very good footballer. I’m looking forward to working with him. I think he can play a big role for us.”
He added: “I like what we’ve seen from him. He goes all the fundamentals and he’s a willing learner. He works hard in training, he wants to understand what we ask of him and that’s all you can ask for. Other than that, I’m sure he’ll be a big contributor for us.”
A new boot deal for Harry Kane
All eyes were on Harry Kane as usual during the training session. As always, he gave it his all in the training session in the rain, finishing off plenty of opportunities set in the box by the wingers. There was a real effort to put low crosses from the flanks across the six yard box, which looks set to be a big aspect of Postecoglou’s attacking football this coming season.
Kane left after the practice match and at first looked like he was going to leave on his own to sit down in the dugout and change to his trainers, only for others to follow him while Bissouma, Lo Celso and others took part in the shooting practice.
The England captain, who then went out to sign shirts for some of those in the 6,000-strong crowd watching the open session, will have been told of the shirt stunt in his name at the press conference. He was probably as confused as everyone else.
What people may not have noticed is that Kane has been wearing all-black boots during Spurs’ tour instead of his usual lighter Nikes. soccer.london understands that the England captain’s deal with Nike has expired and he is now wearing his new pair, featuring black logos, ahead of a mega boot deal with a new company being announced in the near future.