Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has suggested that Tanguy Ndombele has benefited hugely from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s arrival at Tottenham since the Dane has given the Frenchman the platform to express himself going forward.
During the majority of his time at Lyon, Ndombele was used either in a box-to-box role or as one of two midfield pivots in front of the back four.
Mauricio Pochettino used the midfielder in a similar position at Tottenham during his first few months at the club but the 23-year-old failed to have the same impact, although he did show glimpses of his quality.
Jose Mourinho has deployed Ndombele as the furthest forward of a midfield three this season and seems to have settled on a midfield of Moussa Sissoko, Hojbjerg and Ndombele for balance.
Phillips believes Hojbjerg’s arrival has transformed the Tottenham side and hailed Mourinho for defying the former Southampton man as the player to improve his midfield.
The pundit told Football Insider: “Hojbjerg gives the license to someone like a Ndombele to push on, be more offensive and get into those attacking areas.
“Every team needs a player like that. Kante did it at Leicester, Makelele at Chelsea – he was unbelievable in that role. He was that screen, that protection.
“Hojbjerg has so many qualities. He can win the ball and he can find a pass so you have to give huge credit to the player, Mourinho and his recruitment department.
“They have done their homework and identified him as a major cog in Tottenham’s team this year.”
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