December 6 2013 Latest news:
By Declan Olley
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Tottenham blogger Declan Olley hopes Erik Lamela is given his first start for Spurs in this evening’s Europa League clash against Tromso at White Hart Lane.
If you’ve been impressed with new boys Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Christian Eriksen, then be prepared to be even more amazed when you see Erik Lamela.
So far the Argentine has made two brief substitute appearances – the first a 15-minute run-out against Arsenal and the second a seven-minute cameo against Norwich, with neither really giving him a chance to strut his stuff.
This should change tonight though, with Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas hinting that Lamela will get his first full start for the club against Tromso in the Europa League.
The Portuguese’s handling of our club-record £30m signing has been shrewd - he didn’t recklessly throw him in on Saturday after his late arrival from Argentina and seems to be taking the same approach to the situation as he did with Hugo Lloris last year.
Indeed, Lamela can look to the Frenchman’s example when his outstanding Europa League game at Lazio last season saw him break into the first team permanently.
Lamela’s arrival at the Lane is undoubtedly a coup. He was one of the best young talents in Europe last season, he was considered to be Francesco Totti’s heir at Roma and he was the subject of much love and affection from Giallorossi supporters.
But in swapping the Italian capital for the English capital, the 21-year-old is now taking up a new throne: Gareth Bale’s.
And there is no-one better to do so. He possesses a sweet left foot, carries pace and power and is a marketable asset - I saw a lot of Lamela shirts on Saturday.
If that is not enough to convince you that he is Bale’s replacement, then the fact that he has been given the Welshman’s No11 shirt should.
This season, I expect Villas-Boas to deploy him on the right flank where he cuts in to devastating effect – last season he scored 15 goals in 33 league games for Roma in that position.
There is no doubt, though, that Lamela will need time to acclimatise to life in England. Villas-Boas has admitted that he doesn’t speak a word of English and that he will have to adapt to the Premier League’s style.
Remember, however, that it took Bale a while to settle down at the Lane before he became the club’s best player.
But you can tell Lamela is up for the transition. On Saturday he showed professionalism beyond the call of duty as he committed himself to playing despite his brother Axel being kidnapped - he was eventually released for £550
I also watched him warm up as a substitute for near on 15 minutes against Norwich; he was buzzing to come on.
And he should get his opportunity this evening, Spurs fans will see that he has the potential to join the club’s illustrious list of great flair players.
Follow me on Twitter @declanolley