The mood around Enfield Training Centre on Thursday was cloudy even without any trace of rain. Don’t panic, Harry Kane isn’t going to Real Madrid. At least not yet. Nor is there another setback in the new White Hart Lane project.
Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris won’t be available for a couple of fixtures.
The expression on Mauricio Pochettino’s face says it all. He will be without two influential players for an extremely important week. In that period, Tottenham faces Liverpool and Inter Milan in the Champions League. While the role of his drink-driving skipper is never in doubt, it is clear who he will miss the most.
“Disappointed, because we’re going to miss him (Alli) for this game, and possibly Inter Milan in the Champions League (on Tuesday), but it is not a big issue,” Pochettino told reporters.
Pochettino’s last remark isn’t surprising. Nowadays managers seem to possess superior PR skills than the experts themselves. More often than not, they blow up trivial issues and downplay the major ones. Jose Mourinho is senior prefect in this school of thought.
What Dele brings to Spurs is priceless. That’s beside the razzmatazz of his brainless challenges. The England midfielder oozes quality, effectively complimenting Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. Sometimes childish, though, he could go the extra mile for the LillyWhites.
Dele works tirelessly, presses, tracks and selfless in his decision making. He has that tendency to drift wide and then cut inside the opposition fullback and centre back causing confusion in the defensive line as his movement is diagonal and across the face of one defender and on the blindside of another.
So far this season, however, Dele hasn’t quite done much of those. His looks and fan base on social media seem a better motivator than ending Spurs’ trophy drought.
Besides that opening day strike at Newcastle United, the 22-year-old would be in the same class as Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and even Jermain Defoe.
In reality, perhaps, Pochetinno may not miss his no 20. Not when he has an in-form Lucas Moura firing on all cylinders. Deployed in tandem with Kane in a two-man strikeforce, the Brazilian is showing an exceptional knack for goals. His four strikes from corresponding matches bought him the Player of the Month award.
As a natural winger, Moura’s ability to commit defenders with his speed and close control has sharpened Kane’s armoury. The fear of breaking their bromance must have occurred to Spurs boss, especially with Son Heung-min back from the Asian games. With the latest injury setback, however, he needn’t think any further.
Instead of Moura, the South Korean could take Dele’s spot. And there will definitely be some added benefits. Like Moura, explosive pace and positional sense are his greatest strengths.
Always able to find and win space to play, his close control and clinical finishing make him a deadly forward, and one perfect for Spurs’ counter-attacking style of play. Those qualities will definitely compliment the movement of Moura and Kane’s predatory.
Who says some things don’t happen for good?
Written by Toby Prince
Follow Toby on Twitter @prinzToby
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