On paper Tottenham Hotspur will be looking at their Norwegian opponents tonight and thinking … routine win. Indeed, Tromso IL were in fact beaten by Besiktas in the qualifying, only for the Turkish side to be disqualified from the Europa League for match fixing charges.
So here they are, one of the most northern teams in European football travelling down to London to take on Spurs at White Hart Lane.
But for one Tromso player London will not be unfamiliar territory.
Former Manchester United starlet Josh Pritchard is currently on loan at Tromso from Fulham until the end of the season. After initially struggling he is now a regular in the side, playing in various positions, with the central midfield role becoming his new stomping ground.
Because of his technical ability and stamina he was adapted into this role at Craven Cottage, and one central midfielder who has made the switch from Fulham to Spurs in recent years is reportedly a fan of Pritchard - according to the youngster.
When speaking to Norwegian source VG Nett yesterday, he made it clear that the Belgian was one fan of his in South West London. When asked about who he looked forward to facing tonight, Pritchard stated:
‘’Of course Mousa Dembele, because he thinks I'm underrated. It's because I know him from Fulham. It would be a big task, but I do not think he plays. The fight is huge for me. It gives me a chance to prove to the coaches in Fulham that I can play in the Premier League. I hope Tottenham have their best team on the pitch, but they probably play with the bench. Uses the players Jermain Defoe, Erik Lamela, Lewis Holtby, but is doesn’t matter who we meet.’’
Pritchard is ready to prove something that Dembele reportedly sees - that he has not reached his limit at Fulham. It is fantastic to see a young English talent decide to move to another country in order to adapt their game, in Pritchard’s case following a former coach at United in the form of Jon Hil.
It shows ambition, and his ambition knows no bounds - tonight he is not ready to simply lay down and accept defeat…
‘’Why can we not beat them? It's only football we are talking about.’’
But while the result might be important, his performance could be of more significance if he is to break through the ceiling at Fulham Football Club.
Fulham fans … are you looking forward to watching Pritchard this evening?
image: © Erik Daniel Drost