To Leave Tottenham Is The Best Decision For This Youngster, Tough Luck For The 21-year Old

Mauricio Pochettino

Spurs have enjoyed a remarkable season number two under Mauricio Pochettino. The club have set personal records, broken past records and are on track to win the Premier League title as they compete against Leicester and local rivals, Arsenal for the trophy.

Every top team does have its fare share of key players. Spurs’s key players are easily identified too. Kane, Alli, Eriksen and Alderweireld have proved to be real match winners for Spurs this season. But there has been continued brilliance from supporting team stars like Eric Dier, who’s versatility has proved to be a real tactical advantage for the system that Tottenham play and not to forget Moussa Dembele, the reborn Belgian midfield soldier who has had a commanding presence on the field and Spurs haven’t looked very comfortable when playing without the Belgian. With Ryan Mason and Carrol waiting in the wings for the back up spot for either of the two CM roles, where does that leave the Algerian wonderkid who was a revelation under Tim Sherwood?

Nabil Bentaleb

Nabil Bentaleb hasn’t played much football this season and that is mostly due to his injury record, but his somewhat erratic passing hasn’t really made him a hit in Pochettino’s system. The manager does love the player and that was proved when the Argentine offered a contract extension to young Bentaleb. If the player was not going to feature in his plans, it is quite absurd as to why he would be offered a new contract, isn’t it?

Let’s recap a little bit. 2014-15, when Pochettino took over the reigns of the club, Bentaleb was the young kid who had enjoyed a wonderful rise to stardom, as he made the trip to Rio along with Algeria. A player full of promise and a raw diamond ready to be moulded the way Schneiderlin was at Southampton. Much was expected from Bentaleb. Pochettino did trust the player a lot. 25 starts in the Premier League showed that he was one of the key cogs of the side. His pressing play and short passing was a main reason for him being preferred in the side, even when Mason and Dembele were fully fit and available.

Bentaleb had a fresh hunger and fight about him that Pochettino loved and longed for in a DM. But sadly, his concentration and physicality was not enough. This made Pochettino look at other options in the summer. The wild goose chase of Wanyama and Schneiderlin led to nowhere and ultimately the Argentine was set to experiment with Dier in the role. Fast forward eight months and we see the rewards of the experiment that Pochettino had conducted.

But for Bentaleb, this is not surely the end. Yes, unfortunately he has last played the full 90 in a Premier League game in August 2015 against Everton in the 0-0 draw. But then he has suffered spells of injuries that has led to him not feature in the side. Recently played against Fiorentina about a month ago and was part of slow reintroduction process to the starting 11. But since, Spurs have even been knocked out off the competition and Bentaleb is yet to get any game time that would benefit him.

To be fair, any game time this season with the important fixtures ahead is going to be a miraculous feat to happen. Really doubt Pochetino would rotate so much that the Algerian would make an appearance in the side with 7 games left. Next season, would be critical as to whether the Algerian would remain at the club or not. 21 years old, nearing his prime, the player would be angling for regular football or a loan move to any PL club where he can still develop as a player. It will be hard decision to make, to stay and compete for a spot against current regulars who are very hard to replace or take his talents elsewhere to not stagnate his development.

Chances are a low at the current spurs side. Its time to make tough career choices. Spurs would not want to lose the player as they would like to maintain the young average age of the squad but Nabil must make a well thought decision if he still wants to play more football rather than being a back-up plan.

Written by Alankrith Shankar

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