After spending £30 million on the so-called dribbling wizard that is Erik Lamela some people are having some serious doubts about his abilities with the ball at his feet and his ability to make those defence splitting runs and passes we got so used to seeing with Gareth Bale. He has been sidelined for 90% of all our Premier League games and 10 matches into the campaign is yet to start. So what is going wrong? Is it Lamela’s poor attitude and ability which seems unlikely, or something else…
The first reason why I think Lamela has struggled with his opening few matches is extreme lack of confidence. It is a monumental task for a young 21-year-old player to change countries as a club’s record signing and expect to instantly impress. He needs time to adjust to the unique style of play that the world renowned Premier League offers for all players. And as the managing staff have realised the only way to cure a lack of confidence is to keep getting the games under your belt and albeit not in the league matches that’s exactly what Andre Villas Boas is doing.
In the Capital One Cup and Europa League matches he has played in, unfortunately he has still struggled to influence play until recently. I was at the recent League Cup match against Hull where it was by far Erik’s best game. He was starting to build confidence by going on runs, taking more shots and hitting more ambitious passes. But an interesting point I picked up on was that he was getting himself in to good positions, in space and he was rarely passed the ball unless it was the only option. So maybe it is more a case of building bonds with colleagues as well as ability. But despite this he is definitely showing glimpses of the football we all want to see. Sadly though, you could argue this new-found confidence was lost when he struck a disappointing penalty.
To conclude I really don’t think Spurs fans need to be worried about Lamela’s progress. I simply believe it is going to take a little more time for him to settle down into playing the football we all know him to be capable of, than a more experienced player. And hopefully he can take the good points from the midweek clash with Hull and carry them into the Europa League tie against FC Sheriff on Thursday evening.
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