Sunday 07 July 2013
With a successful first season in the Barclays Premier League under their belts, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris are looking forward to this month’s Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong as they prepare to build on Tottenham Hotspur’s best-ever points total.
"Asia is always lovely to play there, the sport is so enthusiastic and they give so much love and respect"
Vertonghen, who after joining from Ajax last summer was the Barclays Premier League player of the month for March and was named in defence in the 2012/13 PFA Team of the Year, will be in Hong Kong for the first time so as well as the need to prepare for the first Barclays Premier League match of the season, away to Crystal Palace, the learning experience from visiting a new place will be valued, too.
“Asia is always lovely to play there, the sport is so enthusiastic and they give so much love and respect so I’m really looking forward to playing there,” the Belgium defender told the club website. “I don’t know Hong Kong at all so it is nice to go to new countries. Pre-season is always quite tough so we’ll be sleeping a lot and won’t be seeing a lot of the city over there but I’m still looking forward to going there.”
For Lloris, who wrested the No 1 jersey from Brad Friedel after signing from Lyon, it will be his first time in the Far East and he is keen to see the people there and what life is like.
“It will be my first experience of Asia,” the France goalkeeper told tottenhamhotspur.com. “I’m very excited to discover Hong Kong. Maybe it’s a little different from the European mentality and interesting to find out about it. In Asia, they love football and the Premier League, so it’s a good opportunity for us."
As well as the cultural experience, both players acknowledge the importance of the tournament in preparing them for the new season ahead, when they will be looking to improve upon the fifth-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League of the last campaign.
"In Asia, they love football and the Premier League"
Spurs will kick off the Barclays Asia Trophy against Sunderland on 24 July and could face Manchester City, under new manager Manuel Pellgrini, three days later. City play Hong Kong champions South China after the Spurs v Sunderland match and Lloris and Vertonghen believe the prospect of facing fellow Premier League teams pre-season will be a good chance for Spurs to evaluate their progress relative to their rivals.
“To play against Manchester City and Sunderland is good,” Lloris said. “We will all be in the same physical condition and this is an opportunity to play good games.”
"It is good to play teams that are highly rated so we can see where we are in that moment," added Vertonghen.
The Londoners will be looking to regain the trophy they won in Beijing in 2009, when they beat West Ham United 1-0 before winning 3-0 against Hull City in the final, and, for Lloris, to have silverware to aim for acts as extra motivation for the team.
“It’s a trophy, so when you play a competition, you want to win,” he said.