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Nabil Bentaleb played his first match since his World Cup experience with Algeria.
Without a relationship with Pochettino or one of his inner circle, you would have to be psychic to predict his midfield for next week's game with West Ham.
Etienne Capoue and Ryan Mason—two of the best performers of the summer so far for the Spurs—were both absent altogether from the matchday squad for Schalke. There was no sign of Paulinho either, while Mousa Dembele seems still to be carrying a knock.
Handed the chance to impress were Bentaleb and Holtby.
The German—playing against his former club—had been a fixture in the side this summer and again staked a claim to be a starter for the Spurs this season.
Not everything Holtby tried came off, because on a few occasions, his passing was sloppy. But he was mostly efficient and importantly was an aggressive presence in the best sense of the word.
His Schalke counterparts were not allowed to rest with him snapping at their heels, and on a couple of occasions, he stole the ball in mid-air. There were a few fouls, but his tenacity with and without possession helped to inject some vital urgency into the Spurs' play at times when they became a little too slow.
Besides Holtby, Bentaleb played a more restrained game, but a good one all the same.
The Algerian appears to be even more confident after his World Cup experience. It did not manifest in anything spectacular. But he was decisive in his work and seemed even more assured of himself in the company he was keeping than earlier in this year even.
Off the bench, Tom Carroll and Sandro were somewhat victims of the lack of time granted them (less than a half-hour each). The Brazilian played his typical defensive midfield game but looked a little rusty. Carroll passed well, like we know he can, but was the one to let Boateng go unmarked for his goal.
So perhaps Pochettino did not learn he has plenty of options to choose between in midfield. However, it was certainly reiterated to him. Deciding who to select next week and beyond will not be easy.