Mauricio Pochettino has been rebuilding the Tottenham squad to suit both his style of play and to restore the club’s image from their former glory years. A group of home-grown talent has been aided by foreign stars to fulfil the aims of Pochettino, and all the players in his squad have responded to his training techniques. A high-pressing game has worked wonders with a youthful squad, and due to the local-born youngsters, even the international players have become adopted Londoners to the Spurs faithful.
Three of the players to benefit most from Pochettino’s arrival have been academy graduates, with Nabil Bentaleb, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason all establishing themselves as key first-team players under the Argentine coach. Mason and Kane especially have impressed, and the duo - born in Enfield and Chingford respectively - have carried their adoration of the Lilywhites into their game. Both have shown an incessant desire to keep improving as they star for their boyhood team, and it is something that Algerian midfielder Bentaleb also shows - despite only being brought to North London in 2012.
It is this sense of familiarity that has led to high praise for Spurs this term, and has played a key part in the squad being as successful as they have been. The players are showing a tremendous sprit, and Mason believes this will help the Lilywhites overcome London rivals Chelsea at Wembley.
Speaking to the Standard, the 23-year-old said: “To walk out at Wembley is the pinnacle and to do it for the team I have always supported is massive. There are a number of us in the squad who have come through the system and we are quite close knit. Some of us have known each other for seven or eight years, even more in some cases, so we have a fantastic relationship as a team.
“That friendship just gives you that extra desire to run for your mate. It’s that extra five or 10 per cent.”
With both teams entering the game in stuttering form, it may be that this extra 10 per cent is the difference between victory and defeat, and it is the one advantage that Spurs possess over the Blues.