Lamela: I'm not Gareth Bale…. but are there similarities?

The Argentina international has been quick to dismiss comparisons with the former Spurs man, but the pair have some things in common.

Erik Lamela put in his best performance in a Tottenham shirt on Thursday night against FC Sheriff in the Europa League.

The ex-Roma forward scored his first goal for the White Hart Lane side, and showed glimpses of individual brilliance against the Moldovan minnows.

The Argentine attacker has a world of expectation on his shoulders following a big-money move in the summer, with the South American naturally being hailed as Gareth Bale’s successor.

However, Lamela has been quick to rubbish links with the world’s most expensive player and has stated he wants to forge his own identity in north London.

“I’m not Gareth Bale, I’m Erik Lamela,” he told the Evening Standard. “Bale is Bale, I am Erik Lamela.

“Bale is at Real Madrid, one of the most important clubs in the world. He is who he is and I am who I am.

‘People have said many things about me and about the other players who joined last summer. Everyone can bring his own qualities and give his best for the team but it is wrong to say I was brought here to replace Bale.

“The transfer fee is no pressure for me, because when I went to Roma in 2011, they paid quite a lot to bring me from River Plate.

“The size of the transfer fee is a good thing for me. It means that Tottenham were prepared to go the extra mile to get me, so I want to show them what I can do, always for the benefit of the team.”

Despite Lamela’s pleas for the comparisons to stop, there are some similarities between the players.

Both are left footed, with the pair playing in similar right-wing positions this season, with tendencies to cut inside onto their favoured foot. Both are tall, rangy attackers with athleticism. Bale became a scoring phenomenon at White Hart Lane, and Lamela showed he has the potential to become the same with 15 goals for Roma in Serie A last term.

There is an argument to suggest that Lamela is a more competent technical player, with immaculate control and technique immediately apparent. He will also bring a more creative influence to Tottenham that Bale lacked.

However, Bale is certainly more physical than the Argentine, with his direct approach of running at defenders more devastating that the less forceful Lamela. The Wales international is better in the air, and has proven himself as a match-winner in England, especially with his shooting from distance.

Lamela certainly has potential, and the technique, skill and ability of the 21-year-old was there for all to see on Thursday night.

He has a massive job to ever get close to replacing Bale at Tottenham, but has shown that his own unique skillset can be a real bonus for the north London side.

image: © andybrannan

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