RANGERS travel south this week to play Tottenham Hotspur in a closed-door friendly match as their preparations for the Scottish Cup Final on May 21 step up a gear.
It’s unclear yet just how strong the Spurs XI the Light Blues take on will be, but regardless, Dominic Ball, who is on-loan from the London club, expects a thorough examination of his current side’s credentials.
Speaking to RangersTV.tv, the 20 year-old defender explained: “We definitely expect a tough game. They are sitting second in the league and the manager has been bringing a lot of players through from their academy teams, so it’s going to be a really tough test.
“You can see the intensity and mentality the manager wants there, and that goes right through. This year, it’s finally paying off and all of the players are buying into the style of play, and their top team have been very unlucky not to win the league this year.
“I think the team we face will be a mixture of reserve and first-team players, and they will provide us with a good test.
“They play a similar sort of style to what we play, and I think that is perfect for us before the Hibernian Cup Final.
“It’s great to get a game during this three week ‘break’ and this will be a good test that will benefit us massively.
“The training ground has everything we need, and the pitches are excellent which will suit our game.”
Ball has kept a close eye on all things Tottenham while here in Glasgow, and he has been mightily impressed with their form and play this season. They need only a point from their final match with Newcastle on Sunday to guarantee they finish second in the Premier League as well as finish above old foes Arsenal for the first time in 21 years.
And, while recognising the immense challenge they face from more familiar title-winning names come the new campaign, Ball sees no reason as to why his parent club cannot go on to enjoy an even more impressive and successful campaign next year.
He added: “If you look at the players they have brought in, and the mentality the manager promotes, then definitely.
“The players have really bought into it, and they have a really, really good squad there. With the players they have there, they are going to go on and do really well next year too.I don’t know if Leicester can do what they did again, but you have Man City, Man United and Chelsea, and I can see them having much better seasons next season with the managers that are coming in.
“But the mentality at Spurs is something I feel will stand out next year.”
Ball returns to Tottenham following the end of the Scottish season, and he knows he has a real battle on his hands if he is to force his way into their starting XI.
He did however point to the role Eric Dier has played in the Lilywhites’ team this season, and Ball sees similarities between him and his compatriot.
Ball concluded: “The manager wants young and hungry players who play at a good intensity, and watching the players there in my position, I have to learn from them, and aim to go back there and try and get a place.
“I watch a lot of football and learn from a lot of players, but certainly [Jan] Vertonghen, [Eric] Dier and [Toby] Alderweireld – they have played so many games and consistently played well.
“I have to go down there now and push for a start. Whether or not I’m ready, I don’t know, but I look forward to the challenge.
“If you look at Eric Dier – he would be playing centre-half in a lot of teams, but the manager put him in there to play in a defensive midfield role.
“I have done similar here at Rangers.”