Tottenham started off the year in poor fashion, struggling to keep things tight at the back with any consistency, with a poor run of form denting the club’s top-four ambitions.
An injury to Harry Kane also meant that goals were hard to come by from the start of the year onwards.
However, the introduction of one man has almost paved the way for the club to kick on again. That man is Japhet Tanganga.
When Tanganga was called up against Liverpool, it was certainly a surprise. The twenty-year-old had been one to look out for in pre-season under Pochettino, even impressing against a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. However, it was still a massive risk for Jose Mourinho at the time when you look at the calibre of talent that Liverpool possess.
Tanganga has been a breath of fresh air. It took just three minutes for him to make his mark against the Reds, doing superbly to clear a shot off the line from Roberto Firmino. In all honesty, Tanganga was arguably the man of the match on the day, despite the defeat.
It was great to see Tanganga involved against Watford just a week later, although it was a testing game up against Ismaila Sarr. Once again, it was clear to see that the defensive issues were starting to be addressed. Tottenham would go onto keep a clean sheet. Albeit in a goalless draw.
The youngster has also shown his versatility, impressing on both sides of the full-back position, as well as in central defence (TransferMarkt).
Just like he did against Liverpool, Tanganga was on hand to save the side in the away cup match against Southampton, this time clearing an effort from Danny Ings off the line.
Even the calibre of attacking talent from Manchester City didn’t phase Tanganga. It was arguably one of the most quiet games I have seen from the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling. Tanganga had done remarkably well to nullify the threat.
The early defensive woes that Tottenham had faced under Mourinho have seemingly disappeared, or are at least heavily improving.
For me, you have to pinpoint the introduction of Tanganga for this as he has been a breath of fresh air to the Tottenham squad, starting line-up, and the fans.
Reports this week suggest that Tanganga is closing in on a much-deserved new contract (Evening Standard), along with a hefty pay rise.
I will certainly be praying that the starlet puts pen to paper on a contract in the hope that Japhet can have a bright career at this club.
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