Troy Deeney: Poch’s Tottenham were one of the best teams I EVER faced… but NOBODY will be scared of Spurs any more

MAURICIO POCHETTINO’s Spurs weren’t just a good football team, they were a big, mean and intimidating bunch to play against.

They may never have won a trophy – despite coming close to both the Premier League and Champions League – but they were one of the best teams I’ve ever played against.

Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham will no longer be afraid


Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham will no longer be afraidCredit: Alamy

Harry Kane was one of the last remaining links to the Pochettino era, but the strong identity this team possessed was gone long before his departure.

From Jose Mourinho to Nuno Espirito Santo to Antonio Conte, Tottenham lost their positivity, energy and aggression.

It was then that you faced Mousa Dembele, a wonderfully gifted but also formidable player who wasn’t afraid to use his physical strength.

Moussa Sissoko planted one on you many times, centre-backs Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were big and mean.

Kyle Walker loved a tackle and Danny Rose took pleasure in knocking his opponents off their feet and dropping them in the stands.

Faced with them in the tunnel, they looked like a side not to be messed with – most were over 6 feet tall, including Kane. They also knew they were a team that would never be overtaken.

I just can’t imagine opponents being so scared of them anymore.

With Kane’s move to Bayern Munich, Spurs no longer have a true centre-forward – and they need to sort that out before deadline.


Harry Kane scored one goal and one assist on his Bayern Munich Bundesliga debut


Harry Kane scored one goal and one assist on his Bayern Munich Bundesliga debutPhoto credit: Reuters

That won’t be easy with just two weeks left in that window and the selling clubs know they have £100m burning in their pockets.

I find it extremely surprising that Spurs haven’t already bought a forward this summer as Kane would always likely leave this year or next at the latest.

But Spurs never seem to have a long-term plan or strategy anymore – which is why they were overtaken last season by a small, well-managed club like Brighton.

Newcastle replaced her in the Big Six and it could be a long way back for Ange Postecoglou.

The obvious replacement for Kane would be Ivan Toney if only the Brentford forward wasn’t suspended until the New Year for breaching betting regulations.

Harry Kane was one of the last remaining links to the Pochettino era, but the strong identity this team possessed was gone long before his departure.

Troy Deeney

Toney is outstanding but would Spurs be willing to strike a deal now for someone unable to play half of this season?

My old Watford team-mate Richarlison led Tottenham’s opener at Brentford and the team showed some good signs in the 2-2 draw.

But Richarlison isn’t a centre-forward, it’s just not his natural position. He’s a left winger who can cut inside and score goals.

I don’t recall him ever playing through center during his season at Watford.

And although he represented some success for Everton there, you will never see the best of Richar in this role.

This visit to Brentford was Postecoglou’s first competitive game as manager.

There have been some encouraging signs that he wants Spurs to come out on top and dominate games like they used to do under Pochettino, but seldom since.

New captain Son Heung-min was far from at his best against Brentford


New captain Son Heung-min was far from at his best against BrentfordPhoto credit: Getty
Richarlison has to be right about Spurs too


Richarlison has to be right about Spurs tooPhoto credit: Getty

But all too often, Richarlison and Son Heung-min, who both prefer to play as far-left attackers, have occupied the same positions.

They led to a superior number, but when the ball went into the penalty area, either nobody was there or the ball fell to the ‘wrong’ players.

And yes, I know Emerson Royal equalized for Tottenham, but the full-back is unlikely to score in double figures this season.

I was surprised that Richar only scored one Premier League goal in his debut season for Spurs last season.

But they have a real player there as long as he’s able to play at his best position.

He came to Watford from Brazil six years ago as a 20-year-old and spoke very little English – but we taught him the right swear words and he really enjoyed learning.

Richar is a great character in the dressing room. His only flaw is that sometimes he’s too keen and gets too upset on the pitch.

I just can’t imagine opponents being more scared of Spurs.

Troy Deeney

But I don’t want to see him play as a center forward for much longer.

Spurs meet Manchester United on Saturday and watching Erik ten Hag’s men battle for their season-opening win over Wolves was almost like watching Postecoglou’s team at Brentford.

Marcus Rashford is – like Richarlison – a left winger who fills in as a centre-forward and it was a frustrating evening for him on Monday.

While Spurs are missing Kane, United were the club most people expected would sign the England captain.

Instead, Ten Hag brought in the striker he wanted – untried Danish youngster Rasmus Hojlund, 20, who is currently out injured.

One woman's 10-minute hack to curl hair on a flight - but some are left very confused
Pink-loving gypsy reveals unusual reason she wore black for a whole year

At least United have found a sense of identity under Ten Hag and perhaps we’ll soon be saying the same about Postecoglou’s Tottenham.

But if either club wants to progress this season, they need a high-scoring centre-forward.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

Related Articles

Back to top button