Opinion: Giovanni Lo Celso – How to get the Argentine playing at his best

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Giovani Lo Celso
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Argentine midfielder, Giovanni Lo Celso, is certainly a player that seems to fragment the Tottenham fanbase, however, even some of his greatest admirers seem to admit that he can be incredibly frustrating at times.

Despite seeming to lack fight and form in a Tottenham shirt, the 25-year-old hasn’t experienced any struggles to play at the best of his abilities when he pulls on the sky blue and white stripes of his national team, Argentina. But why is this?

With the recent arrival of Italian manager, Antonio Conte, places have become up for grabs and players have been given the opportunity to impress the demanding manager, and they may have to do so quickly with the January transfer window fast approaching.

Conte certainly isn’t a manager willing to wait around for players and hand out second chances out of the good of his heart.

The club will be keen to recoup some of the £55.3m they spent on the Argentine, or see the player show some of the quality that made the club fork out the big money for him in the first place.

Lo Celso impressed in his first season at Spurs, serving as a point of reliability in a turbulent time.

However, since that first season, Lo Celso has struggled with injuries and has dipped in and out of the starting eleven, unable to cement his place on the team sheet and failing to impress when given a chance.

Although Lo Celso has been struggling in a Tottenham shirt, the midfielder seems to thrive when playing for his national team of Argentina.

Lo Celso has often been deployed in a deeper midfielder role, or sometimes as an attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation that was enforced under Pochettino, Mourinho and Nuno.

However, for Argentina, he has shone in a 4-3-3 formation under manager Lionel Scaloni. Lo Celso usually plays on the left of the three and battles well in the midfield with the support of two others beside him.

Giovanni won the vast majority of his duels against Peru as he put in an impressive performance, which was also the case against Uruguay, where he instead played further forward as a left attacking midfielder and claimed two assists in a 3-0 win, with the help of Messi and co.

The drop off in performances is apparent in Lo Celso’s statistics too, with the 25-year-old only contributing one goal and three assists in 53 Premier League appearances, which is a severe drop off in comparison to his 5 assists in nine World Cup Qualification appearances for his national team.

Lo Celso’s set-up with his national team isn’t all that different to the set-up at Tottenham, just with more of a license to attack and have freedom in his position when he plays for Argentina.

An area of hope for Tottenham will be that, with the new arrival of Conte at the helm, the formation is undeniably going to change, most likely into a 3-4-3, which was applied against Everton, or a 3-4-1-2.

The latter could suit Lo Celso extremely well, if he is played just behind the two forwards, with him being clearly comfortable with plenty of cover around and beside him in the midfield.

An aspect of the Argentina squad that may also be causing Lo Celso’s drastic change in form could be the unity and togetherness of the squad, something which Tottenham have been lacking for the past season or so.

This was mainly due to manager Jose Mourinho causing a divide between certain players with his ruthless and harsh personality.

However, with Conte the club seems now very dedicated to a new project where the Italian coach will be keen to galvanise a disjointed group of players and make them feel part of something.

With the recent introduction of fellow Argentine, Christian Romero, it can only help Giovanni to feel more comfortable at his place of work and ready to apply his skills to the best of his abilities on matchdays.

Spurs fans can only hope that the missing piece for Lo Celso’s Tottenham jigsaw is found, and the team can gain some creativity in the midfield which has been lacking, otherwise, it could be another failed transfer and a clear waste of a players potential.

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