Tottenham Hotspur’s squad has changed massively since Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge.
Back in 2014, Tottenham raided Southampton to make Mauricio Pochettino their new manager, replacing Tim Sherwood – and the move has been a huge success so far.
The Argentinian has turned Tottenham into title contenders and one of the best sides in English football, with Spurs currently second in the Premier league table, only behind London rivals Chelsea.
It’s almost three years since Pochettino arrived at White Hart Lane, and his squad has changed massively since his arrival, which is summed up by the squad he used in his first game as Spurs boss.
Pochettino made his Tottenham bow in a friendly against Seattle Sounders on July 19th 2014, as goals from Lewis Holtby, Roberto Soldado and Iago Falque handed Spurs a 3-3 draw at CenturyLink Field.
With that in mind, here is every player who featured for Spurs in that game and where they are now, with Pochettino overseeing mass changes at White Hart Lane since that day…
Brad Friedel: A long-serving Premier League goalkeeper, Friedel racked up more than 450 top-flight appearances during spells with Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and finally Tottenham. The American played 67 games for Spurs, mostly serving as a backup to Hugo Lloris following his 2012 move from Lyon, and Friedel retired from club football in 2015. Now, the 45-year-old serves as a club ambassador for Tottenham in the United States, helping grow the club on the other side of the pond.
Kyle Naughton: Naughton joined Spurs in a double-deal from Sheffield United alongside Kyle Walker, but whilst Walker has become one of the Premier League’s top full backs, Naughton didn’t quite have the same success. Naughton played 74 times for Spurs but made just ten appearances under Pochettino, and was sold on to Swansea City in January 2015. Still with the Swans, Naughton has been a solid contributor at the Liberty Stadium without proving Pochettino wrong for letting him go.
Michael Dawson: A popular player at White Hart Lane, Dawson joined Spurs way back in 2005, and spend nine-and-a-half years with the club following his move from Nottingham Forest. Dawson racked up more than 300 appearances for Spurs whilst also captaining the club, but he lasted just a matter of months under Pochettino. Dawson, now 33, was sold to Hull City where he suffered relegation to the Championship, but he’s no back in the top flight with the Tigers, where he has hit an impressive four goals in 19 games this season, with injuries hampering his season.
Ezekiel Fryers: Once tipped for a bright future with Manchester United, Spurs swooped to land Fryers in January 2013 following a short spell in Belgium with Standard Liege. Fryers only made 16 appearances for Spurs and never played a competitive game under Pochettino, before being sold to Crystal Palace in September 2014. The 24-year-old is a bit-part player at Selhurst Park, and has made just 12 appearances this season as he looks to get his career back on track under Sam Allardyce.
Danny Rose: The first player from Tottenham’s XI against Seattle that remains with the club to this day, left back Rose is arguably the biggest success story of Pochettino’s reign at White Hart Lane. Previously a pacey but positionally naïve full back, Rose has blossomed into England’s top left back, and one of the best in his position in Europe. Now 26, Rose is hitting his prime with Tottenham, and much of their success under Pochettino stems from Rose’s superb attacking play down the left.
Tom Carroll: A product of the Tottenham youth academy, midfielder Carroll was hoping for a first-team spot under Pochettino, but was instead loaned out to Swansea City for the 2014-15 season. Last term, Carroll played 30 times under Pochettino as he became a more important player, but with just three games under his belt this season, he was sold to Swansea in January. The 24-year-old has impressed at the Liberty Stadium since his move, and will hope to prove Pochettino wrong for letting him leave White Hart Lane.
Etienne Capoue: Signed from French side Toulouse in 2013, Capoue was one of the players to arrive with the Gareth Bale money under Andre Villas-Boas. The powerful midfielder failed to live up to expectations, but did play 18 games in Pochettino’s first season as the club, scoring once, but he was frozen out from January 24th 2015 as his days looked numbered. A 2015 move to Watford went through, and Capoue has since impressed at Vicarage Road, notching five goals in 29 games this season. The 28-year-old is a key player with the Hornets, but Pochettino will still feel that he made the right decision on the Frenchman.
Lewis Holtby: Viewed as an exciting signing for Spurs under Villas-Boas, Holtby penned a pre-contract agreement in January 2013 before Tottenham convinced his club Schalke to sell. A German international with a burgeoning reputation, Holtby came with high hopes but struggled to live up to them. After three goals in 39 games in his first 18 months with the club, Holtby played just three times under Pochettino before being sent out on loan to London rivals Fulham. Now back in Germany with Hamburg, Holtby is a regular for the Bundesliga side, but at 26, he looks unlikely to fulfil his potential.
Andros Townsend: Another product of the Spurs academy, Townsend’s time in the Tottenham first team is best described as ‘hot and cold’. The winger had moments of magic, and hit six goals in 35 appearances in Pochettino’s first season at White Hart Lane, but a row with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner in November 2015 saw the winger frozen out under Pochettino. Sold on to Newcastle in January 2016, Townsend couldn’t keep the Magpies in the Premier League, and then joined Crystal Palace last summer. The 25-year-old continues to be an inconsistent wide man, meaning Pochettino will feel he was right to sell.
Aaron Lennon: Tottenham capitalised on Leeds’ financial woes back in 2005 to raid them for winger Lennon, who was one of English football’s top young prospects at the time. Lennon, an England international, spent ten years at White Hart Lane, hitting 30 goals in 364 appearances before joining Everton in 2015, initially on loan before Roberto Martinez sanctioned a permanent deal. Now 29, Lennon is something of a forgotten man at Goodison Park, and after playing just 17 times under Pochettino, the Spurs boss has to feel that he sold at the right time.
Harry Kane: Along with Rose, Kane is probably Pochettino’s biggest success. The striker was seen as a solid if unspectacular striker under Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, but Kane has turned him into one of the most dangerous goalscorers in the world. Kane, now 23, hit 31 goals in Pochettino’s first season, 28 last term and 24 this season to become England’s top striker. Pochettino’s reign at White Hart Lane has been defined by Kane’s progress, and it’s hard to see him leaving Spurs any time soon.
Ryan Fredericks: Formerly a winger but now a full back, Fredericks came up through the ranks at Tottenham, but made just four first-team appearances for the club. After loan spells with Brentford, Millwall and Middlesbrough, Fredericks was sold to Bristol City in 2015, and played just five games before moving back to London with Fulham. Now a regular in Slavisa Jokanovic’s play-off chasing side, the 24-year-old is a decent Championship right back who will be hoping to win promotion and show Pochettino what he’s missed.
Younes Kaboul: Whilst Rose and Kane are major successes under Pochettino, Kaboul has to be the strangest case with the Argentinian at the helm. The French defender, signed for his second spell with Spurs in 2010, was named captain by Pochettino following Dawson’s move to Hull, and started the season as a key player for Spurs. However, after the FA Cup tie with Leicester on January 24th 2015, Kaboul never played for Spurs again, and was sold to Sunderland just months later. Now with Watford, Kaboul remains a decent centre back capable of making mistakes, and at 31, he’s another player Pochettino will feel he made the right call on.
Milos Veljkovic: Veljkovic was seen as a future star when Spurs landed him from Basel in 2011, and he was a regular for the Tottenham youth and reserve sides. The Serbian, who could play at centre back or in holding midfield, made just two first-team appearance for Spurs though, and after loan spells with Middlesbrough and Charlton, he decided to leave White Hart Lane for Werder Bremen. The 21-year-old, who won the Under-20 World Cup with Serbia in 2015, has made 16 Bundesliga appearances this season, and may be a player that develops into a solid player in the coming years.
Erik Lamela: Another player still with Tottenham, Lamela’s time at White Hart Lane has been mixed to say the least. The Argentinian was signed as Gareth Bale’s replacement in 2013 having starred with Roma, but his first season in English football saw him scored just once in 17 games. Pochettino’s arrival has seen Lamela improve, hitting 11 goals in 44 games last season, but this season has been frustrating for the winger. The 25-year-old has been bizarrely absent since October 2016, with fans confused about why he has been out for so long. Still an important player at Spurs, Lamela maybe hasn’t lived up to expectations, but is a trusted member of Pochettino’s squad when fit.
Cristian Ceballos: Spanish attacker Ceballos was another exciting addition for Spurs when he joined the club from Barcelona in 2013, having come up through the ranks of the famed La Masia academy. Ceballas failed to make a Premier League appearance though, and whilst he had a loan spell with Portuguese side Arouca in 2013, he was released by Spurs in 2015. London neighbours Charlton snapped him up, but he has made just five league appearances for the Addicks, and is currently on loan in Belgium with Sint-Truidense, where he has scored once in 20 games – all of which means Spurs are unlikely to regret their decision to release him.
Roberto Soldado: With Spurs seeking a big-name striker after Bale’s move to Real Madrid, they splashed the cash on Soldado, who had hit 81 goals in 141 games for Valencia. However, his time in England became a nightmare, scoring just 16 goals in 76 games as he eventually lost his spot to Emmanuel Adebayor and later Harry Kane. After just five goals in Pochettino’s first season at White Hart Lane, Soldado was sold back to Spain with Villarreal, where the 31-year-old scored eight goals last season and just twice in five appearances this term. His lack of goals with Villarreal mirrors his spell with Spurs, and it’s certainly a decision Pochettino got right.
Ryan Mason: Yet another product of the Spurs academy, Mason was one of the early success stories of Pochettino’s reign. Previously a forgotten player after loan spells with Yeovil, Doncaster, Millwall, Lorient and Swindon, Mason was handed a first-team role by Pochettino, and he was a key player in the Tottenham midfield during Pochettino’s first season, even earning an England call-up. Mason struggled to get back into the Spurs side last season though, and he was sold on to Hull City last summer, where he reunited with ex-Tottenham team-mates Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore. Currently, the 25-year-old is currently fighting back from a nasty head injury suffered against Chelsea in January, with all wishing him a speedy and full recovery.
Iago Falque: The final substitute used in that game against Seattle was winger Falque, who has enjoyed great success since leaving Spurs. Signed from Juventus in 2012, the former Barcelona youngster failed to make any sort of impression at White Hart Lane, and after loan spells with Southampton, Almeria and Rayo Vallecano, Falque was snapped up by Genoa. With 13 goals in 32 games for the Italian side, the Spaniard earned a big move to Roma in 15, but has since joined Torino on loan and now permanently, as the 27-year-old continues to be a regular contributor in Italian football after failing to feature under Pochettino.