Friday, December 8

Rangers 1-2 Tottenham: Five things learned as Kulusevski impresses in Richarlison battle | Football | Sport

Tottenham came from behind to beat Rangers 2-1 at Ibrox as Antonio Conte’s side continue their preparations for their Premier League opener against Southampton on August 6. Harry Kane struck a brace against the Scottish Premiership side after Antonio Colak opened the scoring in the first half .

Here are five things ExpressSport .

Dejan Kulusevski vs Richarlison for the third attacking position in Conte dilemma

Conte started with Dejan Kulusevski alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for this game, but now has the option of Richarlison after signing the £50m Brazilian from Everton. Kulusevski was outstanding after securing a long-term loan move from Juventus, and was a big reason for Spurs finishing fourth in the Premier League.

The Sweden international impressed at Ibrox and was often the player bringing the ball forwards on the counter-attack. I have forced a couple of good saves from Allan McGregor.

There will of course be plenty of opportunities for both Kulusevski and Richarlison to play. Competing in the Premier League, Champions League and the domestic cup competitions will mean Conte will likely rotate his team frequently.

But Kulusevski might have played his way into the initial preferred 11 for the start of the campaign.

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Cristian Romero is new Mr Reliable

Cristian Romero initially seemed to struggle after moving from Atalanta but improved under Conte. With a full pre-season under his belt, he could become one of the Premier League’s best defenders next season.

The 24-year-old impressed alongside Eric Dier last term and the pair will need to strike a quick understanding with Clement Lenglet. The Barcelona defender did not start this game, with Conte instead choosing the error-prone Davinson Sanchez.

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Romero is an excellent one-versus-one defender and provided evidence of that ability against Rangers. The back three will be disappointed with Rangers’ opener but generally played well otherwise.

Lucas Moura gets another chance at wing-back

Conte now has several options for the right wing-back role. He recently signed Djed Spence from Middlesbrough and even trialled Lucas Moura in the position during Spurs’ tour of South Korea.

Matt Doherty was a big-money signing from Wolves two years ago but has failed to make the position his own, with Nuno Espirito Santo choosing to acquire Royal from Barcelona last summer. But it seems that Conte is struggling to pick a preferred option.

Royal started against Rangers but was replaced by Moura at half-time. Conte suggested that the 29-year-old could follow in the footsteps of Victor Moses by being retrained as a wing-back, and the former PSG ace could be the man to play in the role most prominently next season.

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Harry Kane to hit the ground running

A draining Euro 2020 and transfer saga-ridden summer last year contributed to a difficult start to the 2021-22 season for Kane. But the England forward is primed to have an excellent start in the upcoming campaign.

In typical fashion, Kane made the most of his only chances in this game. He equalized five minutes into the second half with a wonderful curling effort, and then scored again six minutes later when put one-on-one with McGregor by Son.

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Kane scored just eleven before December last season. You can guarantee he will have far more goals by the end of the year.

A Tottenham team full of goals

This is now a Tottenham team that does not rely solely on the goals of Kane. It is maybe a big reason why the 28-year-old has reneged on his plea to leave.

Son Heung-min finished runner-up to Mohamed Salah in the golden boot race last season. Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison will also both chip in with goals during a season that will at times feel grueling.

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