A Spurs-Southampton preview: 5-a-side mixer
Spurs play Southampton next week, so what better excuse to throw together a talented, all-action 5-a-side team made up of players who’ve appeared for both clubs in the Premier League. Let’s start by confessing that we’re going to break the rules almost instantly in this dynamic ensemble; the price one must pay to make sure Gareth Bale makes the cut. Any complaints, be sure to keep them to yourself.
Without further ado, let us begin.
From a long list of stateside Premier League goalkeepers with a less-than-abundant follicle count, Kasey Keller made nearly 100 appearances for Spurs. Featuring in that sweet spot period between the early and mid-2000s when the North London club wasn’t quite terrible (see late-90s) but neither were they particularly good either.
A perfectly serviceable stopper who was sent out on loan to Southampton in 2004, where he featured on four occasions and provided some reliable backup for Antti Nemi.
After a late-cameo in the 2014 Champions League final for Atletico Madrid, the Belgian centre-back was treated to a year-long down on the South Coast of England with Ronald Koeman’s Southampton. Such was the former-Ajax man’s influence on the Saint’s back line, their defensive record was only bettered in the 14/15 season by eventual champions Chelsea.
Rascals Atletico then decided to cancel Southampton’s option-to-buy clause in Alderweireld’s loan agreement and sell to the highest bidder that summer. At which stage Tottenham threw down £11.5m to bring him to White Hart Lane where he’d spend 6 years and become one of the North London club’s finest ever defenders. Pretty, pretty good.
The spaghetti-loving midfield colossus will be best remembered by Spurs fans for the absolute demolition strike he thundered past Loris Karius at Anfield in 2018. A hit so pure it could’ve taken a lesser-anchored net into the next county in a ball of fire and scorched nylon. A glorious effort that would’ve made visitors to casino online giddy with excitement.
A somewhat underrated player at Spurs—for all his physical prowess there was some genuine silk in those boots. An opposition midfield was just as likely to be pirouetted through as it was reduced to rubble. The Kenyan spent three seasons at Southampton, after arriving from Celtic in 2013. He was a crucial part of the Pochettino/Koeman era which saw the south coast side average a 7th place finish over three season.
As mentioned, Gareth Bale never actually made a Premier League appearance for Southampton, but did arrive at Spurs in 2007 after some dazzling displays for the Saints in the Championship.
After a difficult start for Bale in North London—a Benoit Assou-Ekotto injury away from being sold to Nottingham Forest if rumors are to be believed—it’s fair to say the Welshman went on to be something of a success.
A late-stage, but ultimately unfruitful
blitz of Inter Milan at the San Siro lit the fires of Bale’s Spurs career. A coming-of-age season in 2012/13, in which he scored 26 goals in all competitions, was enough to convince Real Madrid to throw down £80m to bring him to the Bernabeu. Not sure what happened to him after that?
Whatever you think of Peter Crouch as a footballer, his knack of scoring vital goals for Spurs in their first quest for Champions League football was undeniable. The header at the Etihad to get the ball rolling, plus a hat-trick against Young Boys Bern to rescue the qualifier in the following season. Throw in a winner at the San Siro against Milan in the last-16 and Crouch will forever hold a place in Spurs fans’ hearts.
Crouch’s time at Southampton was short-lived, just a single season in the mid-2000s. But 16 goals in 33 games in all competitions for Harry Redknapp’s side ensured it was a successful one for the England striker personally. Not so much for Southampton as they were relegated in last place.