Tottenham players withdraw from squad for money-spinning Kitchee friendly match in Hong Kong
Three players withdraw from consideration for travelling party due to international commitments, with more involved in World Cup qualifiers in June
Despite club ambassador Ledley King’s claims earlier this week that Tottenham Hotspur’s players were on board for the end-of-season trip to Asia for a big-money exhibition match against Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee, the club has revealed that three players have pulled out of the trip with the potential for more to follow.
Kyle Walker-Peters and Joshua Onomah were withdrawn from consideration for the travelling party due to a clash with the start of England’s under-20 World Cup campaign, which begins on May 20. Cameron Carter-Vickers became the third withdrawal when he was named in the USA squad.
The hastily-arranged Hong Kong tour, just days after the climax of a demanding domestic Premier League season for the London Club, was thought to be an opportunity for Spurs youngsters and players on the periphery of the first-team squad to get some game time.
Reports in British media earlier this week suggested a number of Tottenham players had voiced their displeasure over the post-season trip to Hong Kong, where principal club sponsor AIA is listed on the Hang Seng Index. But King said the players were aware of their responsibilities for the club while appearing to admit there was a degree of consternation over the extra fixture.
“I have been a player; players will complain about anything from time to time ... When the players come here, they will enjoy being here,” said the former Spurs defender. “They know it is part of their responsibilities as players at a big club, which we want to be, and part of that is about fulfilling our obligations and the players are aware of it.
“When the players come here there will be no problems whatsoever, the players will be integrated into the community and will look forward to the game.”
A host of Spurs’ full internationals including Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Harry Kane are all due to be involved in World Cup qualifiers early in June, but despite that Kitchee have revealed that the Premier League runners-up are contractually obliged to bring and field a full-strength side.
The Hong Kong champions are hoping to attract a sell-out 40,000 crowd at Hong Kong Stadium for the match. Tickets priced between HK$180 and HK$680 went on sale on Wednesday.
Last year just 14,000 fans turned out to see Italian champions Juventus beat local side South China in a similar post-season friendly.