By Richard Parks
Frank Lampard has raved about Mousa Dembele and hailed him as the “complete central midfielder” ahead of Tottenham’s Champions League showdown against Juventus.
The Chelsea legend has been blown away by the transformation of the Belgium international, who began his Premier League career as a forward.
Lampard explained what makes Dembele, 30, special, pointing out that his ability to commit and beat an opponent is something he could not do, or would ever dare do, from central midfield.
“I played against Dembele when he was at Fulham and in his early days at Tottenham, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of player he was back then,” Lampard said in an Evening Standard column.
“He was playing in a more advanced role, he could beat you left and right but there was no massive end product to justify being so far up the pitch.
“Now he has adapted his game to play deeper and still uses his ability to dribble past people, not many midfielders can do that.
“I always thought it was risky in that position, I liked the ball to move, but he’s different.
“He can commit and beat somebody, which opens up the whole game, so he has something extra and he is also very strong in the tackle, he is a complete central midfielder.”
Football Insider verdict:
Spurs fans will love the upbeat verdict on Dembele from Lampard, a player they loved to hate when he was hoovering up trophies during his Chelsea days. There has been plenty of favourable comments about the brilliant Belgian since his masterclass in Turin three weeks ago, when he saved Spurs from whimpering out of the competition with one of the great Champions League performances. Lampard knows what it takes to win Europe’s premier competition and his high praise for Dembele will further strengthen the conviction of Tottenham fans that, not only do they have a special player in their ranks, but they can reach the quarter-finals of the competition tomorrow night.