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Tottenham XI if they had kept their best players

Wales' Gareth Bale reacts at the end of the game

What would Tottenham's XI look like if the club hadn't sold some of their best players?

We look at how they would fit in to the current Spurs side if they were still playing at the top of their game.

Tottenham Hotspur went into this Premier League season knowing that it's a hugely important campaign, which may define the club's prospects for several years to come.

Tottenham were one of the surprise packages of last season, as they remained serious title challengers until almost last knockings. Ultimately, of course, the club fell away badly and finished a disappointing third. Champions League football, however, is back on the menu with Spurs drawn in the same group with CSKA, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco.

With Tottenham setting out their stall against Europe's heavyweights this season, the club know they will need a strong squad if they are to compete effectively in all competitions. 

With their current side in mind, how many of them would appear beside an all-star Tottenham XI of the players the club have sold, and who are still playing across Europe?

Hugo Lloris

Tottenham's Hugo Lloris warms upTottenham's Hugo Lloris warms up

The French goalkeeper has been one of Tottenham's stand-out players in the last few seasons. His blend of shot-stopping ability and passing range have been a huge part of Spurs tightening up their defence in recent years. The Frenchman has been guilty of mistakes in the past, however, on his day he is one of the Premier League's best goalkeepers.

Danny Rose

Tottenham's Danny Rose in action with Southampton's Shane LongTottenham's Danny Rose in action with Southampton's Shane Long

Danny Rose continues to improve hugely under Mauricio Pochettino. The English left-back's ability to get forward has never been in doubt, with his incisive running and explosive speed, but many have questioned his ability to defend the flanks properly. His defending is something Pochettino has focussed on and improved hugely though. While he is still far from the finished article, he can become a real star for Tottenham if he keeps on improving.

Toby Alderweireld

Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld in action with Southampton's Shane LongTottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld in action with Southampton's Shane Long

Alderweireld is Tottenham's best defender. Since he snubbed a permanent return to Southampton in 2015, he has improved the Spurs defence no end. He is an exceptionally powerful defender, as adept at dealing with an aerial duel as he is at picking a wonderfully weighted ball to set his side on the attack. He is a huge reason why Tottenham have been so defensively sound recently.

Jan Vertonghen

Tottenham's Jan VertonghenTottenham's Jan Vertonghen

Vertonghen is a fantastic defender and a top quality ball-playing centre-half. Like Alderweireld, he is very strong in the air and he is very competent with his feet, meaning he fits in very well to a Tottenham defence that does not like to panic on the ball. What makes him so important is his versatility. Vertonghen plays centre-half very well while he is also proficient when needed at left-back. With his passing range, intelligence and strength, he could also play a role in defensive-midfield if he was really needed there.

Gareth Bale

Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their first goalWales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their first goal

He is the player every Spurs fan would love to see back at White Hart Lane. For Tottenham, Real Madrid and Wales, he was, and still is, one of the most explosive and exciting players on the planet. After a difficult start for Tottenham in which he was supposedly close to being sold, he found top gear. He moved away from his more favoured role at left-back and became one of the World's best players. He is the first name on the team sheet when considering a Tottenham XI.

Luka Modric

Tottenham's Luka Modric (L) and AC Milan's Alexandre PatoTottenham's Luka Modric (L) and AC Milan's Alexandre Pato

Another Tottenham player who made the Madrid switch. The clever Croatian runs the Real Madrid midfield alongside Toni Kroos and is another player Spurs fans would love to see make a return. Superbly gifted with quick feet, an incredible passing range and a footballing brain that is always a step ahead of his opponents, Modric is a player that, on his day, would walk into any team on the planet.

 Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick for Tottenham Hotspur v Charlton AthleticMichael Carrick for Tottenham Hotspur v Charlton Athletic

The current Manchester United midfielder is the perfect man to play in defensive midfield for this Spurs side. While not quite as eye-catching as the other midfielders, he is a consummate professional. His ability to pick a pass and suffocate a dangerous move have been vital to Manchester United in recent years while he adds a very experienced head to this Spurs side.

Rafaeel van der Vaart

Tottenham Hotspur's Rafael van der Vaart during the matchTottenham Hotspur's Rafael van der Vaart during the match

On his day, the Dutchman was incredibly difficult to stop. Not blessed with any searing pace, the midfielder utilised his incredibly quick feet and passing ability to set Tottenham on the attack. Alongside a player like Modric, whom he did play with when at Tottenham, van der Vaart would thrive as he would be able to sit in a central role while the more busy Modric did most of the tracking. His transfer away from Tottenham would have disappointed Spurs fans at the time, with the playmaker just fading out of the team due to younger midfielders being transferred in.

Christian Eriksen

Tottenham's Christian Eriksen applauds fans after the gameTottenham's Christian Eriksen applauds fans after the game

A superbly gifted footballer when he's on form. His eye for a pass and ability to thread the ball through the tightest of spaces make him a vital forward for Tottenham. Last season, he was one of the key factors in Tottenham's title charge with his assists and goals spurring his side on. However, this season he has struggled hugely and has gone missing too often. If he can arrest his early season slump, then he will once again become one of Tottenham's best players.

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane for Tottenham Hotspur v Charlton AthleticRobbie Keane for Tottenham Hotspur v Charlton Athletic

On current form, if it were a toss up between Keane and Jermain Defoe, Defoe would win hands down with his goals for Sunderland almost singlehandedly keeping his side up. Defoe scored 143 goals in 363 games, while Keane scored 122 times in 303 games for Spurs. Keane had a ratio of 0.4 goals per game while Defoe's ratio was 0.39. By the most slender of margins, Keane pips Defoe. The forward was outstanding for Tottenham with his blend of pace, intelligence and clinical finishing making him one of the Premier League's best ever strikers.

Harry Kane

Tottenham's Harry KaneTottenham's Harry Kane

The last name in this team is the first name on Pochettino's team sheet. Harry Kane has been Tottenham's outstanding player over the past two seasons and his goals have spurred his side on in the league. His blend of power and quick feet make him an incredibly difficult player to dispossess, while he is as comfortable scoring tap-ins as he is hammering a long range strike into the top corner. After a rough period for Tottenham without a truly world-class striker, Kane represents a truly incredible striking option for Tottenham.

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