In many ways, Tottenham Hotspur fielded a largely unfamiliar team during the club's friendly with Espanyol at White Hart Lane on August 10. The pre-season match finished in a 1-1 stalemate, however manager Andre Villas-Boas witnessed a number of reasons to be cheerful…
Not only did the game see imported winger Nacer Chadli make his home debut, but £26m star Spanish striker Roberto Soldado and Paulinho wore the Lilywhite shirt for the first time while the former even grabbed Spurs' only goal.
Notably, there were a couple of players back from serious long-term injuries as midfielder Sandro and towering defender Younes Kaboul continued their return to first-team duty.
'To see Sandro and Younes back, players who have been so important for the club, is amazing, bearing in mind their absence,' exclaimed Villas-Boas, who went on to laud late developer Kaboul, 27, who almost converted a header but saw his effort foiled by Kiko Casilla.
'Particularly Younes, almost 12 months since he last played, he showed great strength of character to come back at this level and it means we can count on him in one or two weeks - we’re extremely happy with that,' concluded the boss when speaking with the club's official website.
Kaboul could prove to be an unlikely rock at the heart of Spurs' rearguard as the Frenchman has come a long way since his last competitive Tottenham appearance one year ago.
Tottenham's next game is on Sunday, when their Premier League campaign gets underway at Crystal Palace. With Jan Vertonghen nursing an injury, Kaboul's return appears to have added importance.
How crucial is Kaboul's return? Can he stay fit?
image: © wonker