Welcome to the Evening Standard LIVE questions and answers with Tottenham correspondent Dan Kilpatrick.
Spurs are back in action this weekend after the winter break, with a few weeks defining the season.
A win against Aston Villa this weekend will close Chelsea’s fourth place gap to just one point before Manchester United visits Stamford Bridge on Monday and Spurs will travel there next weekend.
Before the London derby, there is the first leg of the Tottenham Champions League of the last 16 draw with RB Leipzig to navigate. On paper, the best draw that Spurs could have achieved, but also one to fear firmly against a team in the Bundesliga title race despite no victory in the last three games.
There is no rest for Jose Mourinho and Spurs as the Chelsea derby is followed by Wolves arriving in town and then by the fifth FA Cup round against Norwich in early March.
Tottenham correspondent Dan is available to answer any questions related to Spurs. Send them via Twitter.
Follow our LIVE Questions and Answers below from 14:00 …
Now I will conclude the questions and answers, thank you very much for all your questions.
I apologize if I haven’t been able to answer yours – next time!
Q: Do you expect a summer reconstruction? If so, in which positions? (@ Xxcoleguy1xx)
A: Mourinho has discussed the need for a major overhaul since Pochettino succeeded (which of course was very much in favor of a rebuild) but I’m sure Spurs will be active in the transfer market over the summer. They will try to find buyers for Rose, Walker-Peters, Wanyama and perhaps the likes of Dier (if he doesn’t sign a new contract) and Mourinho will want to start shaping the team in his image. He would like three new defenders, including a right back and a center forward to replace Kane. Personally I would have targeted a real midfield in possession, perhaps even Hojbjerg.
Q: What are the latest news on Dier’s contract? (Reddit user u / whereisthais)
A: Dier’s contract expired in 2021 (although the club is likely to have an option, as with most players), and the Spurs want to prevent another player from losing their hand after Eriksen. There has been some discussion about a new deal for Dier but, in my opinion, the main reason why the club would have given him an extension right now is to protect his worth rather than as a reward for his form.
Q: How are the facilities on the training ground? (Reddit user u / frin268)
A: I am currently in the Hotspur Way auditorium (in the chair, once attended by Jesus Perez, no less) and I can confirm that the structures are fantastic. I take it for granted now, because I usually cover the Spurs, but you really notice the difference when I go to the training camps of other clubs in London. West Ham, Palace and even Arsenal have much older and more tired structures.
Q: How close is Troy Parrott to getting a few minutes from the first team? (User Reddit u / aigletunisien)
A: Mourinho has made it clear that Parrott isn’t ready to replace Kane and, with the FA Cup getting serious, I think the best the teenager can hope for is some late cameo from the bench. The spurs were willing to leave Parrott on loan in January, but have decided to keep him on to make sure he will count as “locally trained” if they reach the Champions League next season. This suggests that Mourinho is planning a future with the young man, but the team has just turned 18, so fans should be patient.
Q: Wanyama is not good enough to play for Tottenham now? (@JV_WhyNot)
A: Unfortunately, I think Wanyama has no future in Spurs. Injuries – especially his long-term knee problem – had an impact and he no longer looks like the same player who dominated the midfield in 2016-17.
Q: Why do Spurs have so many problems moving players they don’t want? (@FreddyJBear)
A: This has obviously been a problem that has hampered reconstruction efforts in recent years. Rightly or wrongly, Daniel Levy does not let the players come out cheaply and the president’s determination to get good value for money was a factor that prevented some players from standing still. Even the likes of Rose and Wanyama have good contracts – the latter, for example, earn around £ 60,000 a week – and are understandably reluctant to take pay cuts or drop. In addition, the market has been rather stale for 18 months.
Q: Are there any players on the team who are currently underutilized and could they solve our problems? (User Reddit u / hotsietrotsky)
A: Foyth, maybe. He only played against Bayern and Norwich with Mourinho, so he hardly ever had a good chance of showing what he can do. Several people in Spurs believe it is still very raw – and needs a loan – but obviously it has enormous potential to be a modern tech center that could fill Vertonghen’s boots in the long run. He should go back to the gym next week, so it would be nice to see him have some opportunities as games pile up.
Q: Which Academy players are on Mourinho’s radar? Who can we expect to see the team for the first time soon? (User Reddit u / nivnart)
A: I expect Dennis Cirkin will be the next Academy player to make his first team debut, although it may take some time until next season. Young midfielder Malachi Walcott has also been involved in the first team’s training on several occasions, so Mourinho has clearly seen something in him.
Q: Are Spurs interested in Ebere Eze? (@Swenty_)
A: Spurs admired Eze for a while, so I expect he’s still on their radar, given his QPR form this season.
Q: Is Grealish or Maddison a target in the summer? (@ThatOneJuicer)
A: Grealish and Maddison were targets of the Spurs in several places in the past, but I think the club has lost the boat with both. Both would command huge commissions now and I doubt Spurs could compete in a bidding war with the likes of Manchester United. If I had to choose, I would choose Grealish. It feels very Spurs for me.
Q: Do Amos and Skipp have a future at Tottenham? (Reddit user u / yorsk)
A: Skipp, yes. Mourinho checked him out today and suggested that Skipp and Tanganga were in similar situations, but Skipp’s great opportunity had not yet come. As for Amos, I doubt it very much. Spurs has so many options in his position now – Gedson’s latest – that it’s very difficult for him to see a path for the first team.
Q: Poch was famous for his hugs, what is Jose’s style? (@Icarustumbling)
A: He looks like a handshake guy but I’ll keep you updated.
Q: Who would be your player of the year so far? (@ TimmyRyan3)
A: It says a lot about Tottenham’s strange season that this is such a difficult question to answer! At the moment, I would probably plump for Alderweireld, which has been a solid and consistent presence in a shaky defense. By the end of the campaign, I expect Lo Celso, Tanganga and perhaps Son to be stronger contenders. And only a fool would have completely canceled Aurier!
Q: What is the club’s long-term vision for Foyth? Could it be lent next season or will it be sold? (Reddit’s u / fridgesonfire ‘)
A: Mourinho was initially affected by Foyth, but his performance against Norwich on December 28 really set him back – and is now sidelined with a groin injury. Pochettino thought that Foyth’s potential was enormous and I’m sure the club would love it to be successful. Mourinho, however, is clearly unconvinced and has now slipped under Tanganga in the peck order. At this stage, a loan or permanent release next summer seems the most likely outcome, but much can change between today and the end of the season, of course.
Q: Will Jan Vertonghen sign a new contract? (@ Tottenham_68)
A: Late last year Mourinho said he wanted to sign a new agreement from Vertonghen and suggested to his agent that he feel an unpleasant obstacle in the negotiations. Since then, Tanganga has broken through and Vertonghen’s performances have worsened, culminating in his unfortunate replacement against the saints. This is only my opinion, but it is becoming more difficult to see Spurs and Vertonghen reach an agreement and it could be the best thing for all parties if he leaves free at the end of the season.
Q: Now Davies is back, what does this mean for Tanganga? (@ N17yids1)
A: Mourinho says Davies is still not fit enough to play two or three games in a row, so I expect Tanganga to start one of Villa or Leipzig as the “inverted left back”. But he has yet to start for the first team in his natural midfield position, despite impressing as a full back. Mourinho appreciates his pace and his aggression a lot, so I expect it will be the first backhand in all three positions on the back four once Davies is fully in step.
Jose Mourinho has just left the Hotspur Way auditorium following a typically compelling press conference before Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa.
I will answer your questions for the next 45 minutes or so.
Here is a summary of what Mourinho said in his conversation with Dele Alli on the Snapchat video of the midfielder mocking the Coronavirus epidemic.
Mourinho during the winter break
“We spent a good week with three very good training sessions.
“Of course, if we hadn’t played Southampton we would have come back earlier, so we would have had less time to train, but we spent three very good days, dealing with different aspects of our game, trying to improve them.”
Mourinho is a big, big fan of Lo Celso
“He can play anywhere – 10, 8, midfielder with Harry Winks.
“Right, left, everywhere. I am so, so happy with him. I like him very much.”
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