Son and Trippier moment, the player who didn't play - 5 things spotted in Tottenham vs Newcastle

Son Heung-min and Kieran Trippier shared a funny moment on the turf at the MCG in Tottenham's post-season friendly against Newcastle United
Son Heung-min and Kieran Trippier shared a funny moment on the turf at the MCG in Tottenham's post-season friendly against Newcastle United -Credit:Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

Tottenham rounded off their 2023/24 campaign with a 5-4 penalty shootout defeat against Newcastle United following a 1-1 draw in Melbourne, Australia. Taking part in a post-season friendly at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, Ange Postecoglou's team unfortunately lost in the shootout with Newcastle scoring all of their attempts after Bryan Gil missed Spurs' first kick.

Resisting the temptation to completely changing his Tottenham XI to take on the Magpies, Postecoglou made just the two alterations to the team that won at Sheffield United as Brandon Austin and Emerson Royal came in. Spurs started brightly and wanted a penalty early on with Son Heung-min's shot striking the arm of Emil Krafth in the penalty box.

The breakthrough finally arrived on 32 minutes as James Maddison seized upon a poor pass from Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope to find the top corner after displaying some good footwork in the penalty box. The ball did appear to bounce up and hit Maddison's hand when controlling the ball from Pope's pass but the goal stood.

Despite a lack of chances on the Tottenham goal, Eddie Howe's side equalised on the stroke of half-time as Alexander Isak tapped the ball home from point-blank range after some positive work from Jacob Murphy. With no side able to net a second goal in the remaining 45 minutes following multiple changes, it was Harrison Ashby who scored the winning penalty for Newcastle as they claimed victory.

Here are five things we spotted in the game at the MCG:

Ange's team selection

Tottenham's trip to Australia presented a number of the club's talented youngsters with a golden opportunity to sample the first-team environment. With Tyrese Hall in the matchday squad for only the second time after coming into Postecoglou's thinking against Man City, fellow midfielders Rio Kyerematen and Leo Black were called up to the first team for the very first time.

Given the nice blend of youth and experience in the 24-man travelling party, nobody knew how exactly Postecoglou would approach the game in regards to his starting XI. The 58-year-old, in the end, opted for a very strong side as he made only two changes to the team that won 3-0 at Sheffield United last Sunday.

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Austin deservedly came in for a start after not playing a single minute for the first team this season, with Emerson taking his place at left-back after taking the place of the absent Cristian Romero. For Austin, he had very little to do in the opening 45 minutes with the Tyneside club just not forcing him into real action.

However, he was to concede on the stroke of half-time as he could only palm substitute Murphy's low cross into the path of the onrushing Isak. The Spurs academy graduate will feel that he really should have done better there as the Magpies equalised.

Austin was replaced by Alfie Whiteman in the closing stages of the match as his fellow academy graduate also got some much-needed minutes in the tank. It meant that Guglielmo Vicario was the only player out of the 24-man squad not to play on the day with Postecoglou deciding against giving all of his goalkeepers time on the pitch.

Full-backs combine

Postecoglou's full-backs have a pivotal role to play in Tottenham's attacking play. Not only do they invert at times to get the team moving forward, they also look to make things happen in the final third by helping out with goals and assists.

Also key players in Antonio Conte's Tottenham system, the former Spurs boss wanted one of his wing-backs to be attacking the back post when the other was in possession. Spurs' full-backs of Pedro Porro and Emerson almost combined to perfection in the 21st minute but Krafth was on hand to deny the Brazilian in the penalty box.

Brennan Johnson had set Porro free down the right side and the Spaniard then pulled the ball back for Emerson who had made a very good run into the box. If it wasn't for Krafth's crucial intervention, Spurs would have netted a rather impressive goal.

Emerson's attacking intent was once again clear for all to see five minutes into the second half as he was the furthest player forward following a swift Spurs break with Son in possession of the ball.

Friends reunited

The game in Melbourne saw Son reunited with former Tottenham teammate Kieran Trippier. Both captaining their respective teams on the day, the pair shared a big hug before the game when they were in the centre circle with the referee and his officials.

Giving Trippier a tough time of it in the meeting between the teams at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in December, Son was looking to do likewise this time around in Australia. Midway inside the first half he did win a free-kick up against the England international and they shared a laugh and joke when they were laid on the ground, with Son giving his opponent a playful slap in the face and the Newcastle player then doing likewise when helping him back to his feet.

From the resulting free-kick, Son wanted a penalty after going down under Trippier's challenge but his claims were waved away. The South Korean did have a smile on his face when appealing to the referee but the Newcastle man wasn't have any of it and made his point perfectly clear to the 31-year-old.

The duo may have been laughing and joking in the friendly game seconds earlier but the competitive nature was quite clearly on show there.

No risks with international players

The biggest worry for all players taking part in the post-season friendly was obtaining an injury following the conclusion of the league campaign. With Euro 2024 and the Copa America on the horizon this summer, the players set to be involved in those tournaments wanted to avoid picking up any sort of issue that would ultimately rule them out of representing their respective nation.

At a time when you would perhaps expect some to take it easy in the friendly in order to avoid a potential injury, Radu Dragusin and Micky van de Ven certainly weren't pulling out of any challenges when Newcastle were in possession. Rather than risk his first-team stars for the full 90 minutes, Postecoglou substituted Rodrigo Bentancur, Porro, Van de Ven and Maddison at the break, potentially with their summer plans in mind.

Van de Ven and Maddison have already been named in Netherlands and England's provisional squads respectively and Porro and Bentancur will likely get the nod for Spain and Uruguay. Radu Dragusin is another player who has a big summer with Romania taking part in Euro 2024 but it wasn't until the 71st minute when he was replaced by Hall.

Skipp's new position

As expected, both sides made a host of changes throughout the second half as they handed some of their young talents some valuable pitch time. For Tottenham, exciting players such as Ashley Phillips, George Abbott, Alfie Devine, Jamie Donley, Yago Santiago, Dane Scarlett and Hall were just some of the starlets to enter the fray late on.

Tottenham had a rather attacking team following the vast majority of the substitutions and it resulted in a key change at the back following Dragusin's exit. Due to having a lack of centre-backs available with Cristian Romero absent, Oliver Skipp took his place in the back four for the remainder of the game having previously come on in the holding role in midfield.

Utilised at left-back recently with Destiny Udogie out injured, the Tottenham midfielder, who wore the captain's armband in the closing minutes, is getting quite a bit of game time at present except for in his natural role. He will be hoping that changes at Tottenham next term after a lack of regular minutes across the 2023/24 season.

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