Noel Whelan has claimed that Japhet Tanganga deserves a run of starts at Tottenham after the injury to Cristian Romero.
Just when it seemed as though Romero was settling well into life in the Premier League the Argentine picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty earlier this month.
The extent of the defender’s injury is still not clear, with Antonio Conte admitting last week that the club are still waiting to assess the damage through another scan.
Tanganga came into the starting eleven at right-centre-back in Romero’s absence against Leeds United and the Europa Conference League clash against NS Mura.
The 22-year-old did not pull up any trees in either match and was replaced by Davinson Sanchez in the starting lineup against Burnley on Sunday, although the match was eventually postponed due to heavy snowfall.
Whelan believes the Tottenham academy graduate would have learned from his sending off against Crystal Palace earlier this season and backed him to come good in Romero’s absence.
When asked about Tanganga, the former Coventry City striker told Football Insider: “A young player, he showed that recklessness against Crystal Palace.
“That was something he has hopefully learned from. You have got to learn from being over-enthusiastic. He needs discipline and to show a leader’s performance out there.
“I’m sure he has learned from that. He’s definitely a player with massive potential. I like his aggression. He seems to have everything that centre-half should have.
“Hopefully now, with the devastating blow to Romero, he’ll get a good string of games under his belt where he can prove to Conte that he is one of those players that deserves to be at Tottenham. A player they can build a team around.”
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I was surprised to see Sanchez being named in the starting lineup ahead of Tanganga on Sunday, particularly given how poor the Colombian was against Mura.
Perhaps that had to do with Conte feeling that Sanchez would be able to cope better with Burnely’s long-balls and aerial threat.
I certainly think Tanganga is a much better option at right-centre-back. In fact, I believe that playing on the right side of a back three is arguably the 22-year-old’s most natural position.
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