Jermain Defoe will face his former club Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night as his new team Toronto FC get ready for a friendly clash with the Premier League giants.
The reason why the two teams are going head to head in the friendly game is because of Defoe. The striker moved to Toronto FC from Spurs for a reported record MLS fee of around $10 million at the beginning of 2014.
Defoe is conveniently suspended for Toronto's next match in MLS, but that doesn't mean that their manager and former Premier League defender, Ryan Nelsen, will be taking too many chances.
The former Spurs star striker has been a key man in the Canadians charge this season, with Defoe bagging 11 goals in 14 games so far during the 2014 MLS season.
Defoe jokingly mentioned this week that he can't wait to "kick the living daylights" out of the friends and teammates he used to play with, but coach Nelsen admits that he won't be giving Defoe more than 45 minutes to do it in tonight.
“We have to be careful with Jermain,” said Nelsen. “He’s already played half a season at Tottenham and he’s in a full season here. He might play 45 minutes and that’s all.”
Timing not ideal
The game is not exactly ideal for either side, with Spurs halfway through their preseason plans and Toronto fixated on getting MLS success, but the match-up is an example of when business takes over football.
Coach Nelsen himself actually played for Tottenham under Harry Redknapp, and the former Premier League defender likened the timing of the game to playing a Premier League team on Christmas Day - but he did acknowledge the financial benefits of the contest.
“It would be like us playing a game in the Christmas period when you’re third in the league and you’ve got Manchester City to play on Sunday,” added Toronto coach Ryan Nelsen. “Not the greatest time, let’s just say that. But in saying that, [Tottenham] is such a prestigious club and I know the boys are really looking forward to rubbing shoulders with some really world-class players.
“For me, I hope they come out unscathed.”