‘A street footballer on the pitch’ – Declan Rice sings praises of Tanguy Ndombele

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Tanguy Ndombele
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Declan Rice has suggested that the perception of Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is too harsh.

The Frenchman has made 91 appearances for Spurs across all competitions, contributing 10 goals and 9 assists over three years with the club (transfermarkt). However, his time in N17 has been characterised by severe ups and downs.

Things came to a head last season when Ndombele was booed off the pitch as he rather slowly made his way to the sideline after being substituted in Spurs’ FA Cup tie against Morecambe (SkySports).

Later that month Ndombele completed a loan return to former side Lyon where he made 15 appearances across Ligue 1 and Europa League last season (transfermarkt). He failed to impress, leaving Lyon to decline the option of making his loan move permanent (GFFN).

Unfortunately for Ndombele, he is now back at Hotspur Way where he was one of the four players left out of Tottenham’s pre-season in a bid to find a transfer away from the club this summer (Football London).

According to journalist Xavi Jorquera Marquez, Spurs are open to letting Ndombele go to Villarreal, while Galatasary are also reportedly keen on the Frenchman, with hopes to open fresh talks soon (Fanatik).

Conte is the latest in a line of Tottenham managers who have struggled to fit Ndombele into their plans. It took the Frenchman months to get into the team under Pochettino, Mourinho, and Nuno, while Ryan Mason kept him almost exclusively on the bench.

Whether it’s a question of attitude, work rate, or tactical fit, managers and fans alike have often criticised the flamboyant midfielder.

When talking about the playmaker, Declan Rice had some kinds words to say (Tubes & Ange Golf Life Youtube): “The perception of him, it shouldn’t be what it is because I tell you now, he is one of the toughest I have played against.

“He is top. Just a street footballer on the pitch. He takes the ball anywhere, little flicks and tricks. Like he doesn’t care. He does everything so confidently.

“With players like that, you just have to let them play. Give them the freedom to go out and do whatever they want. When we played against Lyon in the Europa League, he was incredible. He’s a top player.”

Spurs Web Opinion:

Ndombele is one of the most confusing transfers in Tottenham’s history. His dazzling talent leaves fans bemused when he is left out of managers’ plans so often. What it all comes down to is attitude. The Frenchman simply doesn’t have the drive to succeed at the top.

He doesn’t do the required defensive work or hard yards. While this may have passed under former managers like Pochettino and Nuno, it won’t under Conte.

Whether it’s a loan or Tottenham can find a club bold enough to take him on permanently, Ndombele will very likely be leaving North London this summer.

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