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Jun 27, 2014

Five Spurs-related World Cup talking points

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Jay DeMerit speak about Brad Friedel's one-year extension with Tottenham Hotspur, and how he will serve as an ambassador.

Writing regular columns about my beloved Spurs is a pretty easy job. The club is always in the news and constantly on my mind. All I have to do is to put fingertips to keyboard and the words flow without much effort.

This is not the case during a World Cup. Aside from some tawdry transfer gossip, there's absolutely nothing happening at Tottenham right now.

- Transfer talk: Spurs linked with Depay
- Fitch: Tottenham start season at West Ham

All eyes are firmly trained upon Brazil, as well they should be. Yet for me, all thought processes lead to Tottenham. Here are five World Cup talking points and what they mean for Spurs.

5. Suarez furore is bad news for Liverpool

The big news in the World Cup right now is FIFA's decision to ban Luis Suarez for nine international matches and four months. That will keep Suarez out of action for Liverpool until mid-October. This means that Liverpool will be without Suarez when they play Tottenham at White Hart Lane on August 30th. Considering the damage that the Uruguayan unleashed on Spurs last season, this is something to be welcomed.

It will be interesting to see what this means in terms of his future at Liverpool. Will Liverpool wash their hands of a player who constantly picks up lengthy bans? Or will the fact that he's unavailable for so long put off potential buyers?

Whatever happens, it leaves Liverpool with problems this summer, which is good news for Tottenham. It may seem a moot point considering the disparity between the sides last season, but it shouldn't be forgotten that Spurs finished above Liverpool for four consecutive seasons until the Reds' recent title challenge.

4. Bentaleb's amazing journey continues

Nabil Bentaleb only made his first team debut for Tottenham back in December. Some six months later he finds himself playing in the knockout stages of a World Cup, as his Algeria side have negotiated a tricky group to land a last-16 clash with Germany.

Tottenham's Nabil Bentaleb has helped Algeria reach the second round of the World Cup.
Tottenham's Nabil Bentaleb has helped Algeria reach the second round of the World Cup.

Bentaleb had his critics last season, with many suggesting that he was being picked too often by former boss Tim Sherwood in order to prove a point. My opinion was that he showed a lot of promise and was every bit the equal of the disappointing Mousa Dembele and Paulinho.

This has been borne out at the World Cup where Bentaleb has done a decent job, while his more famous colleagues have struggled amid more illustrious company. Midfield is a crowded area at Spurs, but Bentaleb is proving that he deserves a squad place next season.

3. Mixed fortunes for Tottenham's established stars

As mentioned, Bentaleb's fellow central midfielders aren't doing much to enhance their reputations. Paulinho has been especially poor for Brazil and it would be no surprise if he were dropped for the match against Chile, with Fernandinho and Luis Gustavo both looking like much better options.

Spurs fans would have hoped that Paulinho found his form back home, ready to either bring it back to White Hart Lane, or to entice another club to take him off Tottenham's hands. The same could equally be said of Belgium's Dembele or Nacer Chadli.

Dembele and Chadli's club and country colleague Jan Vertonghen is having a better time of it. Belgium have conceded just one goal and Vertonghen scored the winner against South Korea. The defender has spoken positively about the appointment of new manager Mauricio Pochettino and will hopefully stay at the club, having looked so disenchanted last season. With Hugo Lloris also having a good World Cup and saying the right things, Spurs could have two very important players returning from Brazil a lot happier than when they left London.

2. Bony could be the striker to go for

Tottenham have been linked with a number of Premier League strikers that have featured in the World Cup, but only one has truly shone. Romelu Lukaku has failed to score, Loic Remy has hardly featured, while even Mexico feel that Javier Hernandez is best suited to a super-sub role.

The one that has stood out is Ivory Coast and Swansea striker Wilfried Bony, who scored two World Cup goals to add to his impressive tally in 2014. If Spurs are looking for a lone striker with Premier League experience, who is likely to be available and won't break the bank, Bony ticks every box.

1. Harry Redknapp is a very bitter man

Considering that there wasn't a single Tottenham player in the England squad, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there would be no way that the club could possibly feature in the debate that accompanied the nation's exit from the World Cup.

Enter Harry Redknapp. The semi-professional rent-a-quote claimed that during his time at Spurs there were players who asked him to get them removed from England squads, because they did not want to play for their country.

As with almost everything that comes out of Redknapp's mouth, these comments should be garnished with a pinch of salt. Redknapp has refused to name the players in question, claiming that it would be unfair on them.

Perhaps it would, but how is this stance fair on the Spurs players who considered it an honour to be picked by England and have found themselves caught up in an online 'whodunnit'? Redknapp has once again proved himself to be a very bitter man, who can't get past the fact that he was sacked by Tottenham and overlooked by England.

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