Did Tottenham's bench against Everton give reason for optimism or concern?

Everton manager Ronald Koeman (R) and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino selected a number of teenagers on the bench against the Toffees, with several notable absentees.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman (R) and Tottenham manager Mauricio PochettinoTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino (L) with Everton's Ronald Koeman

A look at Tottenham Hotspur's bench for the opening day draw against Everton indicated that Mauricio Pochettino is either committed to giving youth a chance this season, or the club is in need of reinforcements before the end of the transfer window.

Much has been made of Tottenham's impressive development of young players in recent years, and with Pochettino at the helm, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about several academy stars pushing into the senior side both this season and moving forward.

But with Champions League football arriving this season, and the club hopeful of securing another top four spot this season, the North Londoners have to be careful they don't rely too heavily on talented but untested prospects.

Tottenham's Joshua OnomahTottenham's Joshua Onomah could be set for a major role this season

Spurs had Josh Onomah, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Harry Winks on the bench against Everton, alongside Ryan Mason, Ben Davies, Michel Vorm and Vincent Janssen. Those first three players have precious little experience in the Premier League and would be a risk to involve if a senior member of the squad suffers a serious injury.

The likes of Nacer Chadli, Clinton Njie, Tom Carroll, Nabil Bentaleb, DeAndre Yedlin and Kieran Trippier were absent from the bench for the 1-1 draw - indicating that all except perhaps for Trippier are not in the first team plans of Pochettino this year and may be set for departure. Mousa Dembele, Kevin Wimmer and Heung-Min Son are expected to play an active role in the squad once they're available, while Pochettino has already admitted one or two signings might come in - which may include the resolution of the long running transfer saga surrounding winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou - but it is important Spurs have a squad that can compete competitively on several fronts, and even with new additions the club may be stretched in certain positions given just a single injury or suspension.

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou at MarseilleGeorges-Kevin Nkoudou at Marseille

Unlike when the Europa League offered the opportunity to rotate the squad, involvement in the Champions League will probably lead to the first choice eleven playing more matches of a higher intensity, which will inevitably heighten the chance of mounting injury or fitness issues. 

To look at some of the injury situations other English clubs have had to contend with while competing in the Champions League and remaining competitive on the domestic front, it is clear that in a worst case scenario, Tottenham's resources will quickly move past the major academy talents and pull on players not ready to feature for a top four and Champions League side. 

At present Spurs already have a number of younger players who may be direct back up to the first team despite little or no experience of senior football. The club have been lucky in recent seasons to avoid large scale injury crises, but Tottenham have cut back on their squad size while looking to promote from within - a risky approach this season.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrates with Joshua Onomah after the gameTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrates with Joshua Onomah after the game

Spurs were accused by some last season of lacking leadership and experience in the last few weeks of the Premier League season. Though that is too easy a criticism to level at a side after lauding the club for developing youth, Pochettino should be conscious that his side will only be tested more as they return to the Champions League this year.

It's true that the entire Spurs first team from last year would have learned from their experiences attempting to chase down Leicester City, but if Pochettino opts to sell or loan any of Chadli, Yedlin, Carroll or Njie, he will be losing players with international or Premier League experience and replacing them with promising talents yet to prove themselves.

To approach this from another, more optimistic angle, Pochettino and the club in general might be knowingly sitting on a group of young players so talented and inevitably set to impress for the senior side that the above concerns can be easily batted away.

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

Equally, keeping the number of senior players down to a minimum could be argued to give more game time to that versatile number, therefore keeping them happy and match fit, rather than having fourth choice centre backs and third or fourth choice strikers who seldom make it on the pitch.

There is no denying the positive aura surrounding the Tottenham academy at present, and Pochettino's confidence was displayed by naming ten homegrown players on the squad list who are yet to make their Spurs debut.

Other clubs have produced groups of starlets that all breakthrough within one or two years of each other, with Manchester United and Fergie's Fledgelings being the classic example, but it has been a rare occurrence rather than a regular one.

Tottenham supporters will be hoping that whatever this season throws at the club they will be in a position to respond, whether that is through their first team squad, their talented youngsters, or a combination of both.

Tottenham manager Mauricio PochettinoTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

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