How Cristian Romero, Bryan Gil and Ryan Sessegnon fared for Tottenham vs Pacos de Ferreira

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Though Tottenham fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Pacos de Ferreira, the Europa Conference League loss did give boss Nuno Espirito Santo a chance to take a closer look at his squad in match action.

Cristian Romero

The Argentine centre-half has been billed as the signing to transform Tottenham's error-prone defence, but a difficult debut in Portugal suggests he will need time to adjust to his new surroundings.

Playing in the middle of a back three, the Copa America winner was never entirely convincing and among a number of Spurs players at fault for Lucas Siva's winning goal, when he was caught square on as Pacos counter-attacked.

Regular watchers of the Serie A would not be surprised to see Romero booked in the second half for a robust challenge on the halfway line, and it was his positioning rather than his physicality that needs work.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There is little doubting Romero's quality – he was named Serie A defender of the year last season – and it is hardly a surprise he did not look at home in a youthful and inexperience Spurs side in northern Portugal.

The 23-year-old is still working his way to full fitness after joining Spurs with a minor knee injury and limited pre-season minutes, and he is still learning the language.

There is little point in judging Romero on this performance, although it is hard to imagine Nuno risking him at Wolves on Sunday, which will disappoint supporters who hoped he would immediately slot into the heart of defence.

Bryan Gil

It took Gil just two minutes to get supporters off their seats – or sofas in this case, since there were no away fans in the Stadio da Mata Real – with an explosive dart past his full-back to the byline, where he squared for Ryan Sessegnon.

It was to prove the liveliest moment for Gil and Spurs of the entire night but the Spanish debutant nonetheless showed promise. He was at home in possession and saw plenty of the ball, alternating between quick one-twos with team-mates and quick dribbles with his preferred left-foot before fading in the second half.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

He looks a silky player, likely to be regularly fouled in the Premier League but also capable of giving it back, as he demonstrated with a heavy challenge which earned him a booking.

Like Romero, Gil will surely need time to fully adjust to his new surroundings, although this performance suggested he could immediately make an impact from the bench in more settled Spurs team.

Ryan Sessegnon

While the focus was on Tottenham's five full debutants, Sessegnon must have felt as though he was also making a fresh start in his first Spurs appearance since March 2020.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Sessegnon's time at the club has been disrupted by injury, and he is still working his way back from the latest hamstring complaint he suffered in pre-season.

It showed in the early exchanges when he looked rusty, failing to convert Spurs' best opening of the night when he stumbled over Gil's cutback inside three minutes.

He was to struggle on the ball for the rest of the first half – although he did recover well from wing-back to make an important covering tackle – but after the interval he was Tottenham's liveliest player (which admittedly was not saying much).

In a second 45 minutes almost entirely devoid of life, Sessegnon was at least looking to make things happen, twice driving down the left touchline and once dribbling inside to fire off a wayward right-foot shot.

Clearly he needs minutes to restore his touch and confidence following a reasonably successful loan - but in different circumstances - at Hoffenheim last season.

When Nuno wants to switch to a back three, Sessegnon offers an alternative to Sergio Reguilon - and his versatility is a useful attribute.

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