Pochettino: This Tottenham 22-year-old needed a wake-up call
By Harry Sykes
Vincent Janssen needed a wake-up call at Tottenham this season to be reminded he was still in the manager’s thoughts.
Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that the striker has had a “difficult” debut campaign at Spurs as he struggled to adapt following his £18million transfer from AZ Alkmaar.
Pochettino sensed a drop in focus from the 22-year-old when he was pushed down the pecking order by the outstanding form of Harry Kane and a settled Spurs starting XI.
But the Argentine insisted that the coaching staff are still “happy” with Janssen and that he is ready for more game time now Kane has been ruled out for around a month with ankle ligament damage.
Janssen scored his first goal from open play last weekend as Spurs thrashed League One outfit Millwall 6-0 in the FA Cup, but his total haul of five from 30 appearances – four of which have been penalties – has not lived up to expectations following his 32 goals for AZ last season.
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“He’s very young and came from Holland, a different league, the adaptation is difficult but he’s in the process to learn and improve,” said Pochettino, as quoted by the Telegraph.
“It’s only his first season in England. We are happy with him. It’s true that in some periods of the season his form was down.
“He needed a wake-up to be reminded that the possibility of playing could arrive. He is very young. He came from Holland. I’m happy with him and all the players, but I understand they are not happy with some situations.
“He is motivated and confident. He is feeling a little bit of relief as his first goal from open play and that is important. I am happy in the way that he trained this week too.”
In the absence of Kane, Son Heung-Min is expected to be asked to spearhead the Tottenham attack in their Premier League clash against Southampton at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Janssen is likely to have to settle for a place on the substitute’s bench but has moved up the pecking order as a result of the injury to the 19-goal joint Premier League top scorer.
In other Tottenham transfer news, a forward has signed after Spurs agreed terms on an out-of-window deal.