Lamela or Townsend - who should start for Tottenham?

The north London club’s record signing is starting to show glimpses of what he is capable of – but competition in the starting XI is fierce.

Big things are expected from Erik Lamela at Tottenham, with the Argentina international signed as a direct replacement for the outgoing Gareth Bale.

It is understandable that the former Roma attacker will need time to get used to a new team, country and league, and as such the South American has been used solely from the bench by Andre Villas-Boas in the Premier League to date.

However, over the last four days Lamela has started to show why the north London club was willing to splurge £30 million to bring him to England. A start against Tromso in the Europa League on Thursday night gave the White Hart Lane faithful the first real look at the former River Plate prodigy, while he came off the bench on Sunday to set up a late winner against Cardiff in the league.

The 21-year-old showed outstanding vision to play a one-touch through-ball for Jermain Defoe to score the opener in the Europa League clash and looked hungry to receive the ball to feet. Against Cardiff he looked immediately dangerous and played his part in the decisive Paulinho goal with a clever run and cross.

Despite Lamela’s promising early showings, inflated price tag and reputation, the South American still has a job on his hands to win and consolidate a place in the Tottenham starting XI. He seems likely to predominantly operate from the right wing, with Christian Eriksen set to play in the number ten role, and as such has Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon as competition for a starting place.

With Lennon on the sidelines due to injury, homegrown talent Townsend has taken his chance to shine and has impressed. His tendency to cut in from the flank and shoot is not dissimilar to Gareth Bale, while the 22-year-old’s pace and trickery have been a key part in Spurs’ early season attack.

As the games pile up thick and fast, both will have their chance to play and it is a good dilemma for Villas-Boas to have on his hands. Having both an exceptionally talented foreign import and an ever-improving youth system product gives Villas-Boas different options open depending on the opposition.

The Portuguese trainer will continue to select who plays based on form, and as such both players should improve as a result.

image: © OliverN5

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