Bentaleb silencing Spurs critics

Nabil Bentaleb came from nowhere to play for Spurs under Tim Sherwood last season.

Bentaleb silencing Spurs critics


He was brought on against Southampton away at St Mary's and after another substitute appearance was a starter. He immediately made an impression with England coach and the best pundit on TV, Gary Neville, being hugely impressed with the youngster, feeling Spurs had found one.

"At the beginning of the season I was not expecting to play at the World Cup, I was looking to be at home watching it!

"I think it’s been a very good season for me. It’s my first season playing at the highest level and I think I did pretty well to get a chance to be in the World Cup. It’s going to be an amazing experience."

Many of us agreed with him. He had the twists and turns you need today to keep hold of the ball, keep it away from the opponent until the right pass is available. Tim Sherwood knew what he had, what he could do and that he could rely on him.

"I think he’s got a bit of everything, Nabil. I think he can get up and back, and he can also score."

He has been proven right, easily being the best of all the Tottenham players at the World Cup and looking right at home playing in midfield at the highest level of the game, indeed he has already scored for Algeria, albeit a tap-in, but you have to be in the position to tap it in in the first place.

With Bentaleb progressing and only 19 there may be question marks over the futures of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby. Both primarily are central midfielders, where Spurs have an abundance of players. The squad requires a better balance, Mousa Dembélé and Paulinho both play the same box-to-box midfield role.

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Sandro is covered as a defensive midfielder by Étienne Capoue and Nabil Bentaleb, who can both perform the box-to-box role as well. Lewis Holtby has not been tried as a defensive midfielder but you have to question what his role in the squad actually is.

If it comes to a toss up between Lewis Holtby and Nabil Bentaleb then Bentaleb, in my book, is going to turn into the better player. He has the mental toughness that is missing from so many players within the squad.

“Since I came to the club I had good people around me that helped me going through the homesickness. But once you have dreams you do ­everything to achieve them.

“I tried in France but no-one wanted me. So I had to come to England. I went on trial to Birmingham and then my agent at the time told me to come on trial for Tottenham and it was Tim that signed me.

“I tried so hard. I was at Lille – they kicked me out. They said I was too small. I sent my CV to all the clubs and went on trial for a few clubs.

“I didn’t feel it was all over. After I tried everything I knew my future was not going to be in France. Now I feel wonderful – it’s a good revenge.”

Hardly surprising that he chose to play for Algeria rather than England or France in that order as he revealed when he first decided, quite rightly, to play for the country of his parents.

“I chose to play for Algeria. I’ve asked many people around me, like coaches and family, and they told me one thing that you have to take the decision that your heart tells you and my heart was telling me Algeria. Yes, England would have been a possibility but my choice is made. The World Cup is still a long way but we’ll see.”

At 19 he obviously isn't the finished article but players like himself and Harry Kane will only develop with game time. Supporters who moan that he shouldn't be playing take no notice of players being totally out of form, the way Sandro was last season, or for the future of the club.

Nothing wrong with that 'I want it now attitude' but those same supporters can't then complain when we have manager after manager without the same time they don't want to give a developing player.

Spurs gave Bentaleb his chance and it's possible he'll feel a connection with the club. He will develop into an excellent player, so one with a bond with the club can only be good for our long term future.



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