NEW JERSEY -- Three conclusions from Tottenham's 3-2 defeat to AS Roma in the International Champions Cup in New Jersey.
1. Young trio struggles
Their Premier League rivals may be spending lavishly but Tottenham have made it clear they will do things differently.
On Monday, Daniel Levy described the Premier League's profligacy as "totally unsustainable," and boasted: "We can produce our own players. We don't have to go and spend £20 million, £30m, £40m on a player, and obviously that homegrown player has an affinity with the club that a player we buy doesn't."
The chairman's confidence was again reflected in his manager's starting XI, which included homegrown Under-20 World Cup stars Cameron Carter-Vickers, Kyle Walker-Peters and Joshua Onomah. The trio want to establish themselves in the first-team this season but their performances in the 4-2 win against Paris Saint-Germain in Orlando on Saturday did little to suggest they are ready. Carter-Vickers, a United States youth international, was at fault for both PSG goals, while Walker-Peters was caught too high up the pitch for the second. Onomah was supposed to be playing wide but kept drifting inside, where he feels more comfortable.
Against Roma, they were all given different roles as Spurs lined-up in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Walker-Peters moved to the left -- where he played for England's U20 World Cup winners -- as a wing-back, while Carter-Vickers was one of three centre-backs alongside Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Onomah was given a central attacking role behind Harry Kane.
All three were brighter than in Orlando, particularly Walker-Peters, who recovered from some hairy moments early on to make a vital sliding tackle on Gregoire Defrel, but all three were hooked at half-time with Spurs trailing 1-0.
Carter-Vickers, however, made another mistake leading to a goal -- although he was a little unlucky that Radja Nainggolan's cross hit his hand -- leading to Diego Perotti's opener from the penalty spot. The 19-year-old looked a little sluggish, particularly when Roma's players ran at him. Onomah was more at home centrally, showing good use of his body to win a dangerous free kick, but he gave the ball away too much and finished the half with only 13 completed passes and the lowest pass accuracy of any Spurs player.
On the plus side, half-time substitute Anthony Georgiou, a positive left-winger who forced a fine save from Alisson, and Harry Winks, who scored Spurs first goal with a tap-in, were more impressive.
It would be unfair to judge three young players on two halves of friendly football but, in this tournament last summer, Winks wowed Mauricio Pochettino with his assured and daring displays against Juventus and Atletico Madrid, and forced his way into the manager's thinking. This year's hopefuls simply have not done that so far and, on the scant evidence of this week, Levy's confidence that Spurs can compete with Manchester City and Co. without spending looks a little misplaced.
2. Kane coming to life
The only obvious way that Harry Kane can score even more goals this season is to start quickly. After the U21 European Championship, Kane found the net just once in his first 13 games of the 2015-16 season, which he finished with 25 league goals, and it was a similar story last season following Euro 2016.
Kane's slow starts have only added to his legend and they have clearly been overhyped because there is so little else to fault with the England forward. Nonetheless, he will be under added scrutiny at the beginning of this season, particularly because how Tottenham start at Wembley could determine how they adapt to their temporary home -- Chelsea are the first visitors, by the way.
In Orlando, Kane told ESPN FC that he had never had an extended summer break in his career until this year, when he went to the Bahamas with his family before returning to preseason training the week before Spurs' left for the U.S. On the evidence of this week, the rest has done him good. It took him 10 seconds to make an impact against PSG, forcing Kevin Trapp into a red-card error, before he walloped in a penalty for Spurs' fourth goal.
Against Roma, he was at the heart of everything good Tottenham did, before he was replaced by Vincent Janssen, who scored the 90th-minute equaliser before Roma's sucker-punch. Kane forced a fine save from Alisson with a fierce drive, saw another shot blocked and he was unlucky not to earn a second half penalty. Every time he got the ball, the noise inside the Red Bull Arena rose several decibels and the enthusiasm was not without justification. He has set himself a target of 30 league goals next season and, if he hits the ground running and stays injury-free, that is a very achievable target.
3. ICC proves worth
Both Tottenham matches in the International Champions Cup have been genuinely entertaining and fiercely competitive.
On Saturday in Orlando, there were six goals (three of them absolute beauties), a red card, several tussles and a comical goalkeeping error. What more could you want?
Here, there were five goals, including two in stoppage time and plenty of spikiness. There was certainly an American flavour to the occasion, marked by a stirring rendition of the U.S. national anthem before kick-off, but once the game was underway, it was almost like a Tottenham home match, as a partisan crowd roared on Pochettino's side with all the usual chants. There was again a feisty edge on the pitch too, which peaked when Spurs' coach Miguel D'Agostino refused to be sent-off in the second half following a heated exchange with the referee.
It would be easy to scorn these matches as commercially driven, glorified training exercises, which betray loyal fans back at home.
For Spurs, they have been anything but, however. This week, the club captain Hugo Lloris spoke of his frustration at Spurs' poor showing in Europe since he joined and facing PSG, AS Roma and Manchester City, who they play in Nashville on Saturday, in competitive friendlies can only help prepare Spurs for the Champions League.