We’ve all heard of Tanguy Ndombele by now, right?
You know, that fella with all the talent in the world, has an agenda against tracking back and supposedly hates his manager to the point that he’ll no longer play under him, yeah…that guy.
While there doesn’t appear to be much truth in the portrayed Cold War-esque rift between Ndombele and Jose Mourinho, something seems a little off.
For all his troubles in his maiden Premier League campaign, it’s just not right for a player of Ndombele’s talent to have mustered a mere 19 minutes of action since the restart in a Spurs side that, let’s face it, aren’t great – especially after Mourinho praised the France international’s work during the three-month break.
Those 19 minutes of football came at Bramall Lane when Ndombele was introduced after Lys Mousset had given Sheffield United a 2-0 lead, and facing up against what was pretty much a Blades back six, a delicate through ball to an offside Harry Kane was the former Lyon man’s only bit of noteworthy action.
Against Manchester United, West Ham and Everton he was an unused substitute, and while Jose Mourinho’s attempted implementation of a more rigid defensive structure makes it somewhat understandable as to why the maverick midfielder hasn’t earned too many minutes as of late, he’s certainly more deserving of the mightily limited opportunities he’s been granted – especially when you take into account Moussa Sissoko’s unconvincing form since the restart.
But with a trip to the out of sorts Bournemouth – of course, that’ll all change when the Lilywhites arrive on the south coast – upcoming on Thursday evening, Mourinho’s been blessed with the perfect opportunity to deploy Ndombele from the start.
In a game where the Lilywhites should enjoy the majority share of possession, this should be Ndombele’s chance to shine and the start of the process in which he earns the trust of his manager. On the Premier League’s narrowest pitch, the Frenchman’s supreme press-resistance and ball-manipulation qualities should come to the fore, while Eddie Howe’s deployment of a midfield two mean there’s less potential of the 24-year-old being overrun.
Nevertheless, the opposition shouldn’t be a factor in regards to Ndombele’s selection, his talent is so overwhelming that he simply has a disregard for who he’s facing up against. In fact, the Frenchman was accused of often looking disinterested against inferior opposition at Lyon, but his two most complete showings this term have come against Norwich and European minnows Red Star Belgrade – albeit in the Champions League.
He’s so often teased his unique gift with the ball at his feet and now’s the chance for a – hopefully – motivated Ndombele to kick-on with a stellar showing against a woeful Bournemouth side.
Even with Giovani Lo Celso performing at the level he is, there’s no doubting who Spurs’ most talented midfielder is and who has the potential to define the Mourinho era in north London for the good.
Ndombele may the most naturally gifted footballer Spurs have had on their books since Luka Modric left town, and it’d be devastating to see him go to waste before he inevitably evolves into a superstar at a fortunate member of Europe’s elite.
It’s understood the Frenchman needs minutes from now up until the end of the campaign if he isn’t to pursue a swift exit route from north London this summer, and it’d be incredibly worrying to see his absence once more on Thursday night.