This season has been touted as the one where Erik Lamela explodes on to the English football scene – a year after he was due to.
The Argentine winger struggled during his first season in the Premier League, after a £30 million move to White Hart Lane last summer.
The former Roma star was tipped to be outbound Gareth Bale’s replacement for Spurs, but he failed to impress in his debut season.
New Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has put his faith in the 22-year-old ahead of the new campaign and the winger is keen to repay his compatriot.
Lamela started the fiery opening day victory against West Ham, in which both sides had a player sent off. He was not spectacular, but he definitely showed signs of promise – which will please Pochettino.
He did not pose too much of an attacking threat, which will have to improve, recording no shots whatsoever during the match.
His 75% pass completion is decent but not spectacular and Pochettino will also be hoping that figure increases over the next few weeks.
All three of his crosses failed to find a team-mate which, again, the manager will be hoping improves as soon as possible.His heat map from the match shows that he popped up on both sides of the pitch – and was involved in play in the centre. His ability to switch flanks and appear in the middle will be helpful if he can begin to improve his passing and link up play. He has the potential to be a good Gareth Bale replacement, as the Welshman is capable of popping up all over the final third for Real Madrid – as he did for Tottenham.
More promising for fans and Pochettino alike, Lamela was successful with two of his three attempted take ons. As long as he can continue to beat his man the majority of the time, he will be able to bring the ball forward and kickstart attacks for the north London club.
He also provided a clearance, blocked a shot and won 100% of his tackles – albeit only two, but they need to be won nonetheless. This will provide some joy to Pochettino, as it shows a player who is willing to get stuck in and help his team out defensively. We know what an attacking talent he is, from his time at Roma, where he bagged 15 goals and five assists during the 2012-13 season.
If he can begin to rediscover the form that Spurs paid £30 million for, he will prove himself to be worth every single penny. His confidence and self-belief will grow with the help of his manager, who has put his faith in the young star.