Opinion: Assessing Bergwijn’s first year at Spurs and what he offers a Mourinho side

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Steven Bergwijn
GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Approximately one year after Steven Bergwijn completed his £27 million move from PSV to Tottenham Hotspur, the winger has established himself in the Mourinho squad.

He was brought in for his direct dribbling, electrifying speed, and an end-product that meant he could chip in with a fair amount of goals and assists.

The 23-year-old started off brightly, with three goals in his first six games but, since his goal against Manchester United on 19 June, he hasn’t scored (Transfermarkt).

Despite the goal drought, he has featured 12 times in the Premier League this season and appears to be Jose Mourinho’s main choice for the right-wing position.

Understandably, Spurs fans have expressed doubt over the lack of goals and assists, especially when he missed two great chances against Liverpool at Anfield that probably would have won Spurs the game.

These fears are, without doubt, viable. But Bergwijn is definitely contributing something to the team. He’s putting in the hard graft and carrying out the important duties that often go without mention.

Firstly, his defensive work has been impressive. So often, especially against higher-quality sides like Manchester City and Liverpool, he doubled up with right-back Serge Aurier to nullify the opposing left-winger and carry out the deep low-block system that Mourinho implements from time to time. He tracks back tirelessly. And that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Also, when Spurs are operating their counter-attacking style, he is very important in the transitions. One of Bergwijn’s best traits is how he can keep hold of the ball in tight situations, a key skill to carry out quick counters.

For their first goal against Arsenal, which was a perfect demonstration of Spurs’ game plan, he wins the flick on, which starts the transition. No goal or an assist, but a vital role to play in starting the counter-attack.

It should also be said that Bergwijn’s movement is very clever and it has been a key factor in some important goals for Spurs this season.

For Spurs’ second goal against Man City, Lo Celso received the ball after a great pass from Kane. Bergwijn, meanwhile, distracted Ruben Dias with his inside run, allowing space for Lo Celso to drive in on goal and slot home.

Against Liverpool, he did something similar – this time distracting young defender Rhys Williams which created space for Son to run-in behind a draw the game level at 1-1.

So, Bergwijn has shown this season that he is a mature footballer who adds a lot to Spurs’ attack when he plays.

Hopefully, with confidence and time, he adds goals and assists to his game. The recent chip assist to Ndombele against Sheffield United is a good place to start.

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