Spurs stars 'amazed' by Sydney welcome

Tottenham Hotspur arrived in Sydney on Thursday expecting a serious test from grand final runners-up Sydney FC in Saturday night’s friendly in front of an expected 70,000 crowd.


Hundreds of fans greeted the side at the airport before coach Mauricio Pochettino and star players Harry Kane and Ryan Mason fronted the media with the iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour as their backdrop. 

After a superb EPL season which saw the club finish fifth, Spurs’ big-name squad will be expected to beat Sydney FC in their end-of-season clash. 

But they are aware of the improvement of the Hyundai A-League in recent seasons and know they will have to deliver on Saturday if they want to beat Graham Arnold’s side.

“When (Alessandro) Del Piero came over here it was a big thing for Australian football and I’ve got a mate Massimo (Luongo) who I played with (in Tottenham’s Academy),” Mason said. 

“We all know the standard is good. We’re all looking forward to the game and I’m sure it will be a real test. 

“It’s a long way to come from England but it’s exciting, a good opportunity to come out here and see the country and put a show on for the fans.”

Kane has been putting on a show all season, scoring 31 goals in all competitions in a breakout season to confirm himself as a new star on the world stage. 

He scored both goals in the 2-1 win over a Malaysian XI on Wednesday night and admitted he was shocked by the incredible welcome they received on their arrival this morning. 

“Coming through the airport there was God knows how many fans and the reception we got was just amazing,” the England international said. 

“Sometimes when you’re playing in the Premier League in England you don’t realise how much support you have around the world. 

“The reception we got in Malaysia and what we’re seeing here already, that’s why we’re all excited for the game on Saturday night and we know it will be a great experience for all of us.”

Sydney FC boss Graham Arnold said he grew up watching Spurs legends do their thing and was honoured to have their current-day stars in the town. 

But even after a long and arduous season, he said, there was no way the Sky Blues would be treating this as just an exhibition game. 

“It’s our obligation to give a good performance,” Arnold said. “We’re representing Australia and we’re representing the A-League. 

“We’re professionals and every time I send a team on the field it’s about winning.  It will be a competitive match but both sets of players will respect each other and it will be a clean match. 

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to test our skills against an EPL team and it’s a great opportunity to showcase the A-League worldwide against a top-class Premier League team. 

“We’ll give it a good shout.” 

The entire Spurs squad climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Thursday afternoon and will hold an open training session at ANZ Stadium on Friday.

“I’m already getting sweaty palms thinking about it,” Mason said of doing the Bridge climb. 

 Saturday night's clash will be followed three days later by Sydney’s meeting with newly-crowned EPL champions Chelsea.