They say that you often don’t realise what you had until you lose it and that has certainly been the case with Tottenham Hotspur and Mousa Dembele.
It isn’t that the midfielder wasn’t appreciated by fans during his time at Spurs but the team’s drastic decline since he left North London in January of last year has shown how much more important he was to the side than many thought.
Dembele was one of the few players in the league who could pick the ball up anywhere on the pitch, breeze past a couple of challenges, and get the team on the front foot out of nothing.
Teammates, coaches, and opponents have heaped praise on the Belgian midfielder throughout the years, often picking him as one of the toughest players they faced (talkSPORT).
Leeds United midfielder, Adam Forshaw, has become the latest player to pick out Dembele as the man he had the most difficulty going up against.
The 28-year-old, who came through Everton’s youth academy, was a mainstay in Middlesbrough’s line up during the 2016/17 campaign and he revealed how the former Spurs midfielder toyed with him on occasions.
When asked to name his toughest opponent, Forshaw told Leeds United’s official website: “Either Mousa Dembele at Spurs or Philippe Coutinho [are the best player I have come up against], they are the two that really stood out when I played against them.
“Kevin De Bruyne was obviously really good, but in terms of performance on the day, someone who I struggled against the most was Dembele, I couldn’t get near him.
“He made me feel like a kid. Literally, whenever I had it he could take it off me with ease and whenever he had it, he held me off and would pivot around me.
“He had everything really, moved well with the ball, was strong and could pass it. He was so strong and physical.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I believe one of the reasons Dembele wasn’t widely recognised as one of the best midfielders in the world during his time at Spurs was that he possessed such a unique skill set which made it difficult to shoehorn him into one position. It wasn’t until later in his career that he was used as a box to box player who could contribute both defensively and offensively. That was when he started to thrive under Pochettino.
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