Opinion: What has happened to Steven Bergwijn at Spurs?

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Steven Bergwijn
Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

This is a question that all Spurs fans must surely be asking themselves, what happened to Steven Bergwijn?

The Dutchman has gone completely AWOL and hasn’t started in the league since the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at the beginning of February. 

Not only this, but for weeks now, the forward, who was a fixture in Jose Mourinho’s eleven at the beginning of the season, hasn’t even made the matchday squad. So what’s gone wrong for him?

Well, it could be a couple of things. Firstly, it would be of no surprise to any supporter to learn that Bergwijn had lost all confidence. After all, with no goals in 30 appearances in all competitions this season, including against some pretty ordinary teams in Europe, his lack of individual firepower must be playing on his mind.

Either this or the online abuse which the winger received in December could be deeper rooted than we all thought.

The turning point in question was the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, in which Bergwijn missed two great chances to put Spurs in front, only to then lose the game in the dying minutes.

At the time, the Spurs boss attempted to comfort Bergwijn, emphasising that the team wins as one, and loses as one, and that his work rate was something to be proud of, despite the missed opportunities.

The manager couldn’t have done more to brush aside any proposed blame which lay on Bergwijn’s head. But perhaps this has only dented his appetite.

After all, if a player, who had played pretty well received pellets for missing a couple of chances, it is only understandable to be apprehensive about any future mishaps.

But the odd thing about Bergwijn’s complete exclusion from Premier League contention is that he was putting in good performances, despite his inability to find the back of the net.

As the season got going, Bergwijn was wanting the ball more and looked hungrier to run at opposition players, much in the same vein as Lucas Moura.

Another thing that hasn’t helped Bergwijn is that Spurs have played a system that does not generate too many chances.

So often, when Bergwijn was in the fold, Spurs would soak up pressure, catch teams on the counter, and be reliant on putting those chances away. In particular, the North London Derby win in December comes to mind.

On top of this, Spurs have been praying that the front three, in our usual formation, come up with the goods.

Kane and Son have hit the back of the net for fun, but that only adds pressure to whoever takes the third spot, whether that’s Bergwijn, Lucas Moura, or Erik Lamela. So Bergwijn’s lack of goal involvements have stood out like a sore thumb.

Therefore, any missed chances will, and have been completely magnified, whereas a team that creates chances by the minute might get away with missing the majority of them.

So what next for the winger? Well, to be frank, it looks increasingly unlikely that Mourinho will still be in charge next season. So this will give Bergwijn a fresh opportunity to impress a new manager. 

So hopefully, when Bergwijn does get his chance again, he can continue to do all the right things, and sooner, rather than later, find his time to shine. By doing this, he will hopefully begin to look like the player that we all hope him to be.

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