Our performance against Everton has been lauded by fans for intensity and passion and quality that hasn’t been displayed so far this season. Several players have been credited for it, Vertonghen, Lennon, Kane, Soldado amongst them, but one player who went unnoticed but in my view was a pivotal factor was Nabil Bentaleb.
We all remember that December day away at Southampton when Tim Sherwood brought him off the bench and he showed us that day, that he could handle himself at the elite level in England but many assumed that he was playing because Sherwood was making a point. Bentaleb throughout the 2nd half of the season got branded ‘Teacher’s Pet’ by many for the amount of trust that was placed upon him and when he departed at the end of the season, most felt that Bentaleb would plummet down the pecking order at Spurs.
But under Mauricio Pochettino he started the opening three Premier League games before being sidelined with injury, he came back into the side on Sunday against a front four of Eto’o, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku, people, myself included, that Bentaleb would be overrun against that line-up. But he controlled the pace of the game partnered with Ryan Mason and the two combined very neatly, Bentaleb sat back and held the ball well, allowing Mason to trek further upfield to create chances.
Nabil won every tackle in the midfield and looked as if he’s been playing in the Premier League for 10 years, showing such great maturity for a 20 year old, bet if he was English the media wouldn’t stop raving about him! Anyways it’s great to see such a young player thriving at our club and I hope he continues to grow from strength to strength with us for many years to come.