When Tottenham managed to sensationally re-sign Gareth Bale on loan in the summer, many Spurs fans were understandably overjoyed to see the Welsh superstar don the club’s colours once again.
However, the move might not have been met with the same jubilation by Tottenham’s wingers.
The likes of Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn could have been forgiven for thinking that they could potentially struggle for game time after Bale’s return.
It was Bergwijn who looked the most susceptible as the Dutchman had a stop-start beginning to the season due to injuries and struggled to get going.
He was one of four players who were withdrawn at half-time during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat at Antwerp in October, with Jose Mourinho being extremely critical of the team’s first-half performance in Belgium that evening.
It looked as if the former PSV Eindhoven star could have his work cut out to get back into the Spurs boss’ plans but he has certainly answered his critics since then and has managed to force his way into the starting eleven.
Bergwijn has started all of Tottenham’s last four league games including clashes against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, which is evidence of the level of trust Mourinho has in the winger.
The Dutch international insisted that he did not fear the competition for places at the club.
When asked if he was worried when Bale returned to the club, Bergwijn told Football.London: “We play a lot of games so we need a lot of players. Everybody knows Gareth is a world-class player so I am very happy he is here and he can help us.
“We have a big squad with a lot of goals in it. It is good that we have a lot of good players – we need that.”
Speaking about being handed a start in big matches over recent weeks, the winger said: “It is a big compliment. I just need to do my thing. The trainer needs me so I am there.”
Bergwijn also insisted that the players are under no extra pressure due to the fact that they are top of the table.
When asked if there were any nerves in the dressing room to preserve the club’s place in the summit of the standings, he responded: “No. We are Tottenham and we are a big club so we always want to win.
“That is normal. For this group of players, it is normal. Every opponent in the Premier League is tough so we have to chase every game.”
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Bergwijn has shown that he is mentally strong enough to rise to a challenge by not letting his head drop when he was left out of the side in the first few weeks of the campaign. He seems to have now moved ahead of the likes of Bale and Moura in the pecking order. Like Lamela, he has shown Mourinho that he is ready to put in a major defensive shift, which is why the Spurs boss seems to trust him in big matches.
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