No Spurs fan will have thought that when we signed Erik Lamela from Roma as a replacement to Gareth Bale, that they would eventually be playing in the same side eight years later.
Joining in 2013, Lamela’s career in North London has not proceeded favourably for the man from Buenos Aires.
Plagued with injuries, the Argentinian has been in and out of the squad for most of his time at Spurs. Only recently under Jose Mourinho has he began to find his rhythm that has resulted in more regular game time for the club this season.
The 29-year-old has tallied 4 goals and 1 assist in all competitions this season. This includes that audacious rabona goal against Arsenal in the North London Derby a few weeks ago (transfermrkt).
However, it is not Lamela’s goalscoring ability that has kept him at the club all this time. Whilst his productivity often lacks, his resilience, passion, and willingness to adapt are features that every Spurs player should have.
When it comes to learning from other players, the former Roma man has plenty to share. Firstly, Lamela has spent nearly two years on the sidelines. His biggest injury kept him out for a total of 388 days (transfermrkt).
Whilst this can be seen as a negative, the resilience that the Argentinian needed to have shown to be able to bounce back from all of these injuries is unrivalled.
Lamela has faced constant setbacks. This has prevented him from developing into a potentially world-class player. However, he has always fought to recover from these injuries.
You can compare these injuries to the likes of Jack Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen. Their clubs moved both injury-prone players on. Yet, Spurs have shown faith in Lamela, and as a result, he always gives his all on the pitch when he is fit.
Continuously, the ball-roll specialist is one of the most passionate players you are ever likely to witness on a football pitch.
He puts his heart and soul into every challenge, every press, and every celebration. Whilst this may not seem to be of much value, you can never underestimate the effect of this sort of player on those around him.
If other players imposed this attitude towards games, similar to how Lamela does, the energy levels will naturally increase.
Yes, there is more to the elite game than pressing high and putting your all into games. However, it is certainly a trait that would not go unappreciated by fans and managers alike.
Finally, the midfielder has a willingness and desire to contribute in any way he can. Over his 8-year stint in the Lilywhite shirt, Lamela has only made 171 Premier League appearances. However, even when not fully fit, he makes himself available.
He constantly looks eager to get onto the pitch. Although he will be aware of when is not in favour of the manager, he will do everything in his power to play his way into the team.
This has happened this year under Mourinho. Despite a few niggles and weeks out due to a reoccurring calf injury, Lamela has been a much more regular feature at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
His final product has never been fully up to standards. But, his creative ability and forward-thinking have certainly added to Spurs’ game this season.
It is for this reason in particular that Spurs players should look to Lamela for inspiration when they are struggling.
No one has been more injury-riddled, more in and out of the side. But yet no one plays with more passion, drive, and hunger.
Yes, Lamela will always be a squad player. But, he is one that should have an influence on those around him.
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