How do you solve a problem like Lamela?

Erik Lamela
ENFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11: Erik Lamela of Tottenham during the Tottenham Hotspur training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on October 11, 2017 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

The news that long lost Erik Lamela is back in full training, and near a return to the squad, has met with mixed reactions from the Spurs fans.

Solving the Erik Lamela Problem

The reception has been largely positive though, as there has been no doubt that there have been times when his creativity has been missed.

The negatives are from those already frustrated with his presence in the side, and his absence has done little to change this. The lack of information released by Tottenham themselves helped fuel many rumours about his long and continued absence.

Where was Erik Lamela?

For Lamela himself it’s been tough, with the injury problems coming at a time when his skills were needed. Conspiracy type theories emerged,with rumours of a possible drug ban, and a return to Roma being the most favoured.

His injuries have added to the frustrations particularly in his first season since his £30 million move from Roma in 2013. His complex hip injuries in some fans minds afforded him a ‘year off’, unkind as the reality is that he has undergone two operations and a year out of playing football.

It will have been a full year out of action when he finally does pull on the jersey again. He will re-enter to find a much altered side now.

Skills

It would it seem though that perhaps absence has made the hearts grow fonder. There was never a doubt in his ability to change a game from the bench. Despite the odd needless free kick, he is a play maker, makes use of space on the wing, and is dogged in regaining possession.

There has never been any doubt of his commitment, he challenges opponents, albeit occasionally too aggressively, and never gives up. His creative streak was never in doubt, and was more evident in his last few games. In the high paced Spurs game, he can only be an asset now.

A different corner?

His abilty to take a good corner is another a reason the fans have come miss him. Valiant efforts by Christian Eriksen have failed to make the Tottenham corner kick dangerous. A trait the opposition have recognized. His continued stepping up, can only indicate lack of a better option.

Whilst Kieran Trippier is capable of a well placed corner, he lacks the speed of his predecessor Kyle Walker to track back on the right.

The trust that Mauricio Pochettino places in Lamela, is a sign that Lamela has more to give. His similar recent faith is beginning to show in the resurrection of Moussa Sissoko.

Sissoko failed to make any impact in his first season at Spurs. This left fans exasperated when he remained in the squad at the end of the transfer season.

However, Sissoko has improved. Particulary in the Champions League tie against Apoel Nicosia, with Eriksen and Dembele absent. He looked solid and in control. The fans could now see why Pochettino didn’t sell, and how effective he was in his preferred central role.

‘Coco’ is no clown

The integration of Erik Lamela back into the full squad will be a test. The long suffering Spurs fans though have learned to trust their beloved manager, and will be more receptive of the Argentinian this time.

Previous managers Andreas Villas-Boas, and Tim Sherwood failed to get anything out of Lamela. Mauricio Pochettino brought out his undoubted talent, having faith, and finding his niche.

Pochettino had similar successes with Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, making them twice the players they were.

Therefore there’s little doubt that when Erik Lamela does return to the pitch, he will at least have the support of the fans.

This is instrumental in a controversial player like Erik Lamela. Tottenham fans have learned, with Mauricio Pochettino there’s always a plan. Plans which continue to improve rejuvenated Spurs. Plans that keep Pochettino safely on the pedestal he deserves.

 

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