COMMENT By Matt Farr
Just 36 minutes. That’s how much Premier League football Georges Kevin N’Koudou has seen for Tottenham this season.
The 21-year-old arrived at White Hart Lane in the summer with high prospects, and a talent that could set the Premier League alight.
However, with first-team opportunities at a premium, N’Koudou has hardly had much chance to impress his new manager, Mauricio Pochettino.
Despite spending £11million on him just six months ago, the Tottenham boss clearly does not quite hold N’Koudou in the same regard as his other young first-team stars, who have all jumped above the winger in the pecking order.
But N’Koudou does not have to just sit there and wait for a first-team opportunity that may or may not come his way in the coming weeks. A loan switch for the second half of the season would be a huge boost to his development, and a chance to remind his new manager why he brought him to the club in the first place.
The Spurs outcast has not featured for the first-team since the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on December 11, and has not been part of the matchday squad for either of their last two Premier League matches.
By no means is his Tottenham career over. It would be stupid to suggest that. But he is a young player, coming to a new league and a new club, and he has not been given much of a chance to become accustomed to his new surroundings.
N’Koudou has the ability to surprise everyone. He arrived at White Hart Lane on the back of a tremendous debut campaign with Marseille, where he scored ten goals in 41 appearances for the French side.
Many Premier League fans – let alone Tottenham ones – had a particularly strong knowledge of what N’Koudou was capable of, either. He’s got pace, a superb dribbling ability and a very good mentality, and a loan spell could be the key to unlocking the rest of the arsenal.
A return to France could be on the cards, as it is the place where N’Koudou first established himself as a prodigy and where he feels most comfortable.
He shouldn’t shy away from a move to another Premier League club, though. If there is a side in England’s top-flight that can offer him a regular first-team role, it would benefit him more than a move abroad would.
Part of his failure to play regular football at Tottenham this season is likely down to not adjusting to the Premier League. But to do that, he needs to be given the time to get it right.
Pochettino has to grant him a loan move this month or he risks his summer signing becoming another expensive flop – and only he will be to blame.
In other Tottenham news, Pochettino should unleash this academy sensation against Aston Villa.