COMMENT By Matt Farr
Georges-Kevin N’Koudou has certainly found it tough since arriving at White Hart Lane from Marseille in the summer.
The 21-year-old landed at Tottenham with big expectation in light of an £11million transfer fee, but the Spurs faithful have only yet had glimpses of what is a special talent.
As he continues to adjust to life in north London and the top-flight, Mauricio Pochettino has often held N’Koudou back. It came as a bit of a surprise that the Spurs boss did not start the winger against Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Sunday, but he at least got an opportunity to impress off the bench.
He has now made 11 appearances in all competitions this season, but has started just once. However, after a scintillating cameo role in the victory over Villa, the time has come for Pochettino to grant N’Koudou his first Premier League start, and a more regular role in the first-team setup.
What makes N’Koudou stand out from many of his Tottenham team-mates is his express pace. While the likes of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela have an abundance of quality in midfield and in the wide areas, the France U21 international is the only true speedster in the Tottenham ranks.
Spurs currently have a formidable attacking unit, led by Harry Kane up-front – and they showcased their brilliance by ending Chelsea’s 13-match winning run in their last Premier League encounter.
However, with Vincent Janssen leading the line against Villa on Sunday, Tottenham switched to Plan B; and for much of the game, that plan did not really work.
Spurs had quality, but with all credit to a fine Villa defensive effort, they were lacking in the final-third. That was, until N’Koudou’s introduction in the 70th minute.
A cheeky reverse nutmeg on Alan Hutton demonstrated a player growing in confidence, and N’Koudou played a part in both Tottenham goals, assisting Ben Davies’ opener just moments after his introduction.
The way he sliced through the Villa defence and burst forward at speed to create the opportunity demonstrates why Pochettino should be looking to give him more first-team football.
A loan move has been suggested for N’Koudou in the next six months, and it was something that Football Insider raised only days ago.
A lack of first-team opportunities over the course of the campaign is an issue, and the urge to leave on loan will remain next summer if he does not become a bigger part of Pochettino’s first-team.
However, on viewing his display against Villa, Football Insider can also recognise that N’Koudou does not necessarily have to leave White Hart Lane to fulfil his full potential.
It is firmly in the hands of Pochettino to give the player a run in the first-team because he has a lot to offer, and can give them a whole new dimension to their attacking game.
In other Tottenham news, fans gave mixed verdicts on Kevin Wimmer’s performance against Villa.