Ball or Carter-Vickers: Which young Spurs centre-back impressed most in Juventus loss?

Juventus' Paulo Dybala in action with Tottenham's Cameron Carter Vickers

The two young Tottenham defenders had a tough evening against a Juventus side with many of their attacking talents starting.

Juventus' Paulo Dybala in action with Tottenham's Cameron Carter VickersJuventus' Paulo Dybala in action with Tottenham's Cameron Carter Vickers

Tottenham took on Juventus on Monday, and two of the club's young players, Dominic Ball and Cameron Carter-Vickers, were given vital roles against he Italian giants in defensive positions. But who one impressed most?

Central defence is obviously a position of huge responsibility, arguably the most important to get right in a team. It is rare that two inexperienced players are paired together there, but that is exactly what Mauricio Pochettino did in Melbourne.

It was some surprise when the Argentine announced his starting lineup with both Ball and Carter-Vickers involved, but with players gradually returning from international football earlier in the summer, it represented a chance for the duo.

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham and Tottenham's Cameron Carter Vickers in actionChelsea's Tammy Abraham and Tottenham's Cameron Carter Vickers in action

Carter-Vickers, 18, has long been heralded as the best defensive prospect since Ledley King to come through the academy, while Ball's stock has risen considerably after an outstanding loan with Rangers, where he made 30 appearances and helped them to promotion.

Considering the standard of the opposition, it was a show of confidence in the two youngsters, especially with attacking midfielder Will Miller playing at left back.

And for some, that confidence may have been a little misplaced, as the Londoners struggled hugely in the first 30 minutes, going 2-0 down in part as a result of mistakes from both centre backs.

Rangers' Dominic Ball in action with Kilmarnock's Craig Slater (L) and Greg KiltieDominic Ball in action for Rangers with Kilmarnock's Craig Slater (L) and Greg Kiltie

Ball, who has been linked with a return to Rangers by the Evening Times, seemed to struggle, with a poor touch gifting possession to Juventus in the lead up to the first goal, and a weak clearance doing the same thing for the second goal.

Carter-Vickers made a rash challenge as he tried to win the ball after Ball's mistake for Dybala's strike, and both players looked very shaky for much of the first half.

They were clearly instructed to keep possession rather than launch the ball aimlessly downfield when under pressure, which is the way Pochettino likes his defenders to play, but with the Juventus forward line pressing high and hard when the Spurs back four had the ball, the defence struggled.

It was only when the midfield started to impact the game a little more, at the end of the first half and throughout the second period, did things calm down a bit at the back.

For Ball's 79 minutes on the pitch, he will have been disappointed at failing to rise above his early mistakes. There were precious few moments when the former Rangers loanee made his mark on the game, even if he didn't experience any other major problems. Having played several games in defensive midfield for the Gers last season, that may be a position he is better suited to.

Carter-Vickers however, two years younger than his partner, did manage to push on, making a couple of strong challenges and also bringing the ball forward on one occasion skilfully. Arguably, the US Under-23 international did more to make a case for a squad role next season than Ball.

It is of course a tad harsh to judge the two youngsters on one friendly match, especially a game where both experienced difficult moments, and the pair will likely get some kind of chance in the club's other preseason games. Pochettino refused to criticise either after the match, though it is telling that Carter-Vickers played the full 90 minutes, one of only two outfield players to do so.

But, at the same time, it is during such fixtures that players can really surge up selection list, and a couple of good performances against the likes of Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan could suggest that a young player is ready for the first team. 

But what do you think, who do you think looked the better player against Juve?

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