Everton re-enter Premier League combat when they welcome Mauricio Pochettino’s widely-lauded Tottenham Hotspur to Goodison Park on Saturday.
Spurs have had a mixed start to their Premier League campaign after finishing runners-up in each of the past two seasons.
Nevertheless, Pochettino’s team won their only previous away match this term and, late in the summer transfer window, added highly-rated trio Fernando Llorente, Serge Aurier and Davinson Sanchez to their ranks.
Soccer AM’s Adam Smith – best known for his portrayal of ‘Frankie Fryer’ on the Sky Sports show – is a Tottenham supporter.
He gave evertonfc.com the lowdown on what Everton can expect from Spurs – and an insight into how opposing fans view the Blues after a busy few months of recruitment at Goodison Park.
Tottenham kept their powder dry in the transfer market before buying late. Was it ultimately a successful summer's business for the club?
“Yes, it was. I think Serge Aurier is an excellent buy. He is a carbon copy of Kyle Walker – who we lost to Manchester City – and a fantastic player.
“And, at the very last, we brought in Fernando Llorente as well. We did sign some good players – but then Everton signed loads of players in the window!
“Saturday will definitely be an interesting game, with plenty of new faces on show.”
Tottenham appear to have struggled to find quality cover for Harry Kane – is Llorente the man to resolve that problem?
“The issue Spurs have had signing a striker in the past few years was that they needed recruit one who was unlikely to play a great deal.
“Harry Kane will always be first choice, so it has been a case of trying to attract someone who was happy to be a back-up.
“I think Llorente will get plenty of game time, though. We have a lot of fixtures coming up – and he could potentially play as a number 10, behind Kane.
“Certainly, in the Champions League and League Cup, Llorente could play quite a lot.”
Chelsea were credited with an interest in Llorente. Was it nice to steal a march on your London rivals after they signed Willian when he looked Tottenham-bound in 2013?
“It was! We are still haunted by Willian. He seems to score every time he plays against us – and he seems to enjoy it as well!
“So, when we nicked Llorente from under their noses, it was quite sweet. And it is another reason I hope he does well!”
Like Everton, Spurs have won one, drawn one and lost one this season – how is their start being viewed by supporters, in particular the team’s form at temporary-home Wembley?
“Spurs have already dropped more points at home in two games this season than they did in the whole of last season.
“They were unbeaten at White Hart Lane last season – they drew two games and won every other one.
“I don’t think there is a psychological problem at Wembley. I think Spurs are adapting to new surroundings. We need to make it a fortress and our home form needs to improve.
“But I do not envisage us having any long-term problems there. We just need to get that first win and push on from there.”
Everton have brought in nine new players this summer – as a fan of another club do you look on them as a team heading in the right direction?
“I think they have done some great business. A lot of people commented on the money they spent on Gylfi Sigurdsson – but as a Spurs supporter I have seen a lot of him first-hand and he is a fantastic player.
“He is a goalscorer as well. His stats for Swansea – a club towards the bottom end of the table – were phenomenal. He scored and assisted loads of goals.
“I think he will work well with the type of players Everton have. He is a great signing.
“Wayne Rooney will be great as well. I think Everton have done some very good business.
“It will be fascinating to see how Ronald Koeman builds his team now.”
Koeman and Pochettino are both renowned for giving youngsters a chance – is that investment in youth important for Tottenham fans?
“I think Koeman and Pochettino are two of the best managers in the league. It is easy to praise Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola – and they are both fantastic managers, don’t get me wrong. But they also have huge budgets to work with.
“What Everton and Spurs both do very well is give youth a chance. I don’t know if the likes of Harry Winks would have been given the chance to come through at other clubs.
“Is he our greatest player? Probably not. But he is a very good option for us in midfield. Then there is the main one – Harry Kane.
“We have so many players like that – and it is the same with Everton.
“For the sake of our national team as well, these young English players have to be given a chance. It is good to see both clubs doing that and long may it continue!”
Finally, how do you see this weekend’s game panning out?
“Goodison Park is such a tough place to come. I know that is a cliché but it is always a tricky game. There have been some great Everton and Spurs games down the years.
“But I am quietly confident. I expect both teams to score but I will predict a 2-1 win for Spurs.”