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At times it seems as if this season’s Tottenham squad has only two real stars in it, Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

They are, for good reason, the names on virtually everyone’s list who talks about the team. To many they are the embodiments of Mauricio Pochettino’s vision for the club: young, dynamic and potent.

In reality, though, there’s a lot more going for this team than those two players. Pochettino’s system demands a lot of every position in the team, and Tottenham wouldn’t be in second place in the Premier League table if there weren’t for some exceptional performances being turned in week and week out from everywhere on the pitch.

Let’s take a look at just three of those other players who have impressed. All three have been vital to Tottenham’s success this season, though for surprisingly different reasons.

Eric Dier

Eric Dier

When Pochettino began the season fielding Dier in the defensive midfield role, there were more than a few doubters. Even after good performances in the first few matches of the Premier League season, there still seemed a better than decent chance that Tottenham would elect to find a “proper” defensive midfielder to play out the rest of the season.

This wasn’t precisely an unreasonable assumption. While Dier had performed decently well in his debut season with the club last term, it had been playing as either a centre-back or a right-back. At no point did he ever step up into midfield and thereby prove his worth in that position.

Pochettino knew that he had played in midfield prior to joining Tottenham, though, and likely felt that it was worth a shot considering how poorly the pair of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb had been last season.

Dier had no trouble exceeding low expectations, but then proceeded to only improve as the first month of the season wore on. After an especially dominant performance against Everton at the end of August, it became abundantly clear that the club would not have to spend money to bring in a “proper” player in Dier’s position.

The 22-year-old has gone on to play in each and every match for which he was available so far this season. That durability is a real plus, but it’s easily overshadowed by how competent he looks guarding the area in front of the centre-back duo.

Toby Alderweireld

toby alderweireld

It’s no surprise that the next name on this list is another member of the defense. Tottenham have the best goals conceded record in the Premier League, and Alderweireld has played a big role in getting there.

The former Southampton and Atletico Madrid centre-back came to Tottenham in the summer as part of a sweeping defensive reshuffle undertaken by Pochettino. A lot of dead wood was shipped out and some new faces were brought in.

While Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer were clearly meant to be back-up or signings for the future, Alderweireld was meant to step right into a starting role alongside his Belgium teammate Jan Vertonghen. And he’s done so phenomenally well.

The 26-year-old has brought a solidity to Tottenham’s backline that simply hasn’t existed since Ledley King and Michael Dawson were at their peaks, and maybe even before that. He’s intelligent and mobile and, most importantly, perfectly complements Vertonghen’s style of play.

Mousa Dembele

Mousa Dembele

If Dier and Alderweireld were surprises, they were mild by comparison to the shock that many should be experiencing about the re-emergence of Mousa Dembele.

The Belgian midfielder came to Tottenham in 2012 to some mild fanfair. He’s was a good dribbler, a decent passer, but never really ever scored and even set up goals. Consequently, he was shuffled around the pitch with no manager really sure where his best position might be.

Until Pochettino. It took most of last season, but by the end Pochettino recognized the potential Dembele had to act as the engine room for his high pressing game. He might not present much of an attacking threat, but his ability to close down opposition defenders and disrupt build up play is instrumental as Christian Eriksen’s chances and Harry Kane’s goals.

This season began with Dembele in the starting line-up, and he’s retained that place for as long as he’s been healthy. Recently he’s been moved back into central midfield where, if anything, he’s grown even more influential. It’s difficult to imagine where Pochettino’s tactical philosophy would be were it not for Dembele, and he is due a lot more respect.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Brian Draycott

    February 16, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    so what about the other 8/9/10 that have played also brilliantly???

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“My goal is to be ready for January” – Injured Tottenham star provides update as rehab continues

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Hugo Lloris confident of Tottenham return in January

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris is expecting to return to action in January and is positive about his time away from football.

The 32-year-old dislocated his elbow in the 3-0 loss to Brighton in October and had to undergo surgery recently too.

Lloris is expected to be out till 2020, but the Frenchman is confident he will be back in January.

Hugo Lloris
Hugo Lloris during a training session (Image credit: Tottenham Twitter)

The World Cup winner was speaking to French outlet M6 and added he would be back to his best (h/t Football.london):

“Everything is well. There can always be hazards, but my goal is to be ready for January.

“Whether it’s the beginning, the middle or the end, I don’t know. In any case, I’ll take time to make sure I’m well healed and that I can come back in top form.”

The Frenchman added that he was using this time to “regenerate” himself. Lloris also was spending more time with his family and was looking forward to getting the right rehab too:

“I’m in good hands and we’re moving forward calmly. Everything’s been done as it should have been. Now, we have to focus on rehabilitation, strengthening, gradually gaining mobility and confidence.”

Lloris should take his time to return

The 32-year-old doesn’t need to rush his return as we have a decent back-up at the moment.

Dele Alli
Dele Alli with Paulo Gazzaniga after the 1-1 draw against Watford (Image credit: Getty)

Paulo Gazzaniga was impressive in the previous campaign when he took over from Lloris. The Argentine has been good this season too and has put in some excellent performances too.

Lloris should only return to the side when he is 100% healed and ready for first-team action.

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The injury he sustained seemed to be a serious one, and all precautions need to be taken before bringing the captain back.

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Levy keeping tabs on three managers as Poch under pressure ahead of West Ham game

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Daniel Levy keeping tabs on three managers as possible replacements for Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham’s season hasn’t gone to plan this time around as we lie 14th in the Premier League.

Spurs haven’t pushed on from the Champions League final from last season, and have lost a lot of ground in the race for the top four.

We have also exited the Carabao Cup in the first round to Colchester and lost 7-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Giovani Lo Celso
Giovani Lo Celso with Mauricio Pochettino (L) against Red Star Belgrade (Image credit: Getty)

Tottenham are also without a win in their last five Premier League games, and the Telegraph (h/t Express) claims that Mauricio Pochettino could be sacked if we don’t beat West Ham.

The report claims that Daniel Levy is reluctant to pay Pochettino’s £12.5m compensation fee, but is keeping tabs on three managers.

Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe is one candidate as the Englishman has brought the Cherries up from the lower leagues to the Premier League.

RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann is another option, and his new team have done well in his first season in charge.

The third option, according to the report, is England manager Gareth Southgate.

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup (Image credit: Getty)

Tottenham have other options too

Sacking Pochettino midway through the season could also see other managers take up the role.

The report adds that Max Allegri and Jose Mourinho are free agents in the manager market.

Allegri left Juventus at the start of the season and was replaced by Maurizio Sarri while Mourinho hasn’t managed since the Red Devils sacked him last year.

Pochettino is still one of the best in the business but he needs to turn our season around fast.

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We are 11 points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and need to go on a winning run to close that gap down.

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Man United could scupper Tottenham’s £50m pursuit of this 11-goal attacker

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Manchester United could scupper Tottenham’s move for Memphis Depay

Manchester United could block Tottenham’s hopes of signing Memphis Depay, according to the Sun.

Tottenham have been linked with a £50million move for the Dutch attacker as they are struggling in 14th place in the league (h/t Sun).

Depay has been in great form for Lyon, having scored 11 goals this season. However, the Ligue 1 giants have confirmed that United have the first option to buy their former star (h/t Sun).

Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay in action for the Netherlands (Image credit: Getty)

The Dutch international couldn’t make it at Old Trafford and joined Lyon in 2017 for a fee of £16m (h/t Sun).

Lyon don’t want to sell Depay

Lyon claim that Depay is happy at the club and wants to extend his stay beyond 2021 (h/t Sun).

However, they are also struggling in Ligue 1 and that could tempt the 25-year-old to return to Old Trafford in January (h/t Sun).

Manchester United have also struggled with consistency this season and lie seventh, nine points off fourth-placed Manchester City.

Giovani Lo Celso
Giovani Lo Celso with Mauricio Pochettino (L) against Red Star Belgrade (Image credit: Getty)

The Red Devils are also interested in signing a forward in January (h/t Sun), and it will be interesting to see if Depay is on the move then.

The Lyon certainly has reinvigorated his career in Lyon and could do a decent job for any top club in the world.

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He has become a regular for the national side too, and Spurs could move for him if United don’t use their clause (h/t Sun).

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Serie A giants already planning for this Tottenham star’s potential arrival

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Inter Milan planning for Christian Eriksen’s summer arrival

Inter Milan are preparing for the arrival of Christian Eriksen in the summer, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato).

The Dane is a free agent at the end of the season and hasn’t been at his best for Tottenham.

Eriksen has scored a couple of goals for us in this campaign. The 27-year-old was a substitute in the win over Red Star Belgrade and was unused in our draw against Sheffield United.

Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen is a free agent in the summer (Image credit: Getty)

Giovani Lo Celso has started both the above-mentioned games for Spurs, and it will be interesting to see if the Argentine replaces Eriksen in the first-team.

The former Real Betis man struggled with injuries after joining but scored on his first start for the club against Red Star.

Inter are also interested in other January moves, and it will be interesting to see what happens with Eriksen (h/t Calciomercato).

Tottenham’s January decision

Spurs can make some money by selling Eriksen in January, however, the Dane has to be open to leaving the club then.

Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen after his miss against Colchester in the Carabao Cup (Image credit: Getty)

A move in the summer would hand us no money and it will be tough finding a like-for-like replacement for the Dane.

Tottenham have other stars who are free agents at the end of the campaign too.

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Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are on the final year of their contracts, and the pair didn’t start in the 1-1 draw against Sheffield either.

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