Writer: Bernio Villas-Spuras
Date:Saturday November 9 2013
G'day everyone, Football is fickle. Clubs are fickle, players are fickle, pundits are fickle, so too are the fans.
In the Capital One Cup match against Hull, I'm pretty sure there were more than a few fans with growing concern about the young career of Erik Lamela, at least in a Spurs shirt. Our club record signing, up until that point, had shown very few glimpses of quality, which were mere drops in an ocean of predictability, loose touches and physical weakness. His penalty miss pretty much summed up his short career at Spurs.
His already low confidence was surely shot. My response to any comments made by my non-Spurs friends was that I didn't care. Townsend has been our unearthed gem, so as long as we've spent near enough £30m in the transfer window, I don't care where our £30m player comes from, whether it's Roma or our own youth system. The pendulum, however, seems to have swung the other way on Thursday night. Any manager at any level of football, professional or otherwise, will tell you that if you're struggling for form, no matter how good you think you are, run your gonads off and the fans will get behind you.
That is EXACTLY the kind of attitude Lamela took on board in our home match against Sheriff. He's not the most physical player we have in our squad and even on a couple of occasions on Thursday he got robbed and shrugged off the ball. He could have easily, however, thrown his arms in the air, lowered his head and sulked in obscurity. When things aren't going your way, it's easy to play the victim, blame the opposition, the ref, the manager, anyone but yourself. Lamela showed me, along with some amazing ability, notably the dribbles for the penalties (only one was given of course), that he is willing to fight the opposition as well as his team mates for a place in the starting XI.
He was everywhere that night, throwing himself in to challenges, tracking back, digging in deep and showing he's willing to make the game come to him, rather than waiting for it to gift him a successful career at the Lane. Now I have to ask where he fits into our current PL starting XI. I previously mentioned how promising Townsend has looked, but why on earth do we want players 'occupying' positions. In Townsend, we have the most two footed player in the league (other than maybe Santi Cazorla), and together with Erik Lamela, we possibly have two excellent dribblers, with the pace and skill to get defenders running towards their own goal.
With these two in the wide areas, both with the ability to go either side of the fullback, as well as switching flanks, appearing more centrally and picking a pass, we could have a dangerous pairing in our side. Any thoughts appreciated.
Written by Bernio Villas-Spuras
Date:Saturday November 9 2013
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