Friday is the start of Spurs’ 2016 Euro competition with most of the starting 11 (minus Christian Eriksen who’s got the summer off and Erik Lamela who’s at the Copa America) competing for one of three teams in this European championship. England is featuring no less than 5 Spurs in their starting lineup with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, and Eric Dier seeking to lead the Three Lions to glory from Group B.
Meanwhile, the rest of the starting outfield lineup is featuring with the Red Devils from Belgium with Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele all going to France to compete. Spurs captain, Hugo Lloris, is the starting keeper for the hosts.
Every one of these countries are positioned to compete in the competition and likely all of them will go to the final 16 if not higher, which bodes well for the club moving into the summer and the upcoming season for three reasons.
First of all, it gives Spurs players a new look as they accommodate to different formations, teammates, styles of play and opponents and that can only help a club that managed to lack imagination and a response when they were down key players and when it counted most in the stretch run of last season.
Secondly, it gives Spurs a chance to play in high-pressure situations, something they didn’t do well down the stretch last year. What makes competitions like the Euros or World Cup is that nearly every game is filled with pressure and with the world watching, players must step up and perform. That lack of finish killed Spurs title chances and eventually lost them second place and players need that opportunity to (re)familiarize themselves with that feeling and make amends for what was lost in the heat of the Premier League.
Thirdly, it might whet these players’ appetite for trophies that may have felt a little sour after not getting much real chance at a trophy last season thanks to Leicester City’s large point difference and leaving tournaments like the FA Cup and Capital One Cup early and Europa League before the semi-finals. France is a legitimate title contender and Belgium, while not a clear favourite, is certainly a team that could go deep given the return to form of some of their key players like Eden Hazard at the end of the season. England, while also not a favourite, has a mix of players that could potentially go deep just as they could drop out at the final 16 — depending on the day and Roy Hodgson’s decision-making.
These three opportunities to shape the squad for the coming season provide a balm to the burns sustained in the glare of the final weeks of the Premier League this past year and might just bring sunshine to the rainy plains of France this June for Spurs fans.