Tottenham fans put north London allegiances to one side in a stand of solidarity with Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka as he returned to domestic football for the first time since Euro 2020.
Saka was subjected to racist abuse on social media after he missed the crucial final penalty in England’s shootout defeat to Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley on July 11.
The nation rallied around Saka in the aftermath and, on his first assignment with Arsenal – a pre-season friendly at Tottenham – since the Euro 2020 final, supporters of his club’s fiercest rivals showed their support.
A banner erected at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium read: “North London stands with Bukayo Saka and all players against racism and discrimination.”
Saka replaced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a 63rd-minute substitute and received a heartfelt round of applause from the Spurs faithful.
Saka, who returned from an extended break after Euro 2020, responded in kind to the Tottenham fans by applauding them.
Spurs won the pre-season friendly 1-0 after a late goal by Heung-Min Son, although 19-year-old Saka did have a chance to snatch a draw five minutes from time, only to be denied by new Spurs goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.
Pre-season north London derby ends in friendly fashion for Saka
Nuno hopeful of first conversation with Kane
Spurs head coach Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed he would aim to conduct socially-distanced talks with striker Harry Kane on Monday.
Kane is quarantining at Tottenham’s north London training complex having returned to the club for the first time on Saturday after facing criticism for not showing up for Spurs’ pre-season training over the past week.
Kane, who was expected to return to training on Monday but did not show up, will train alone until Thursday and, speaking after Spurs’ pre-season victory over Arsenal on Sunday, Nuno said: “Harry is with us. He has to quarantine; he is at Spurs Lodge. He’s training, he already had his first day with the sports scientists. He’s with us, it’s good.
“We expect to integrate Harry when he follows all the protocols we have to apply. We have to be very strict with the process of quarantine and not take any chances because everyone has learned the pandemic is still there, so we have to be very careful.
“I will speak with Harry as soon as possible. He is already at Spurs Lodge, we have a training session tomorrow [on Monday], hopefully I can speak with Harry socially distanced.”
Nuno silent on Martinez links
Nuno refused be drawn on Tottenham‘s reported pursuit of Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.
Spurs are reportedly willing to pay around £60m for Martinez and have held talks with Inter over the signing of the Argentina striker.
Martinez scored 17 goals in 38 league games last season to help fire Inter to the Serie A title. The 23-year-old has scored 37 goals in 100 league games since joining Inter from Racing Club in his homeland in 2018.
Speaking after Sunday’s win, however, Nuno said: “I will not speak about any player, I will speak only about Spurs players, nothing else.”