Is Neville's criticism of Tottenham's signings justified?

Christian Eriksen playing for Denmark at Euro 2012

The former Manchester United defender has questioned some of the summer additions to Andre Villas-Boas’ squad.

Tottenham endured a terrible afternoon on Sunday, slumping to a 6-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

As such, many in the footballing community have been running the rule over some of the north London club’s summer additions.

Gary Neville gave a relatively scathing analysis of some of the new faces at White Hart Lane, claiming that they are not up to the task of taking Spurs to the top four.

The first to face criticism was Roberto Soldado.

“He doesn’t make anywhere near enough runs,” Neville said.

“He’s got to adapt quickly. I’m not sure he wants to become alive until the ball reaches the 18-yard box.”

Next in the crosshairs was Erik Lamela, who made his Premier League debut in the defeat to City.

“I don’t think he can play on he left, he’s got a left foot but I don’t think he can play there,” Neville critiqued.

Finally, Christian Eriksen’s signing was questioned by the Sky Sports pundit – even though he did not even play against City.

“Possibly, but you’ve got to ask questions why none of the top European clubs have picked him up over the past few seasons,” Neville concluded.

But is his criticism fair?


It is fair to say that the Spaniard is still adjusting to life in England, and has not shown his best form for Tottenham to date.

His lack of goals have been down to a shortage of supply as much as poor finishing or low confidence, as it is not like Soldado is missing chances regularly.

Neville’s comments that he could run in behind defenders more is valid, as Spurs do not seem to have a threat in behind opposition defences.

However, Soldado has been completely isolated so far this term, and playing a second striker alongside him in attack could well be the answer to unleash his ability.


Any criticism of Erik Lamela on Sunday’s performance is unfair, as the Argentine looked like the one player that could potentially make something happen against City.

The former Roma man has copped a lot of flak due to his inflated transfer fee, but he has not been given ample opportunity to showcase what he is capable of in the Premier League.

Neville’s comments that he cannot play on the left are completely unjustified, as the 90 minutes Lamela played on Sunday was likely the only time that the pundit has seen him play.

Admittedly, Lamela did play on the right for Roma last season, and looks like he could even fulfil the number ten role.

But having a left-footed winger on the left of midfield should not be discounted, and Neville’s assessment of Lamela should be delayed until the Argentine is given more time on the pitch.


The Denmark international is yet to fully impress at Tottenham, but his capture in the summer was arguably the most exciting of all the seven new faces.

For Neville to query why other clubs did not buy the playmaker is unwarranted. Eriksen admitted that he had the chance to join Borussia Dortmund in the past, while rumours of other clubs keeping tabs on him were mainstay in the media.

Eriksen’s track record for Ajax and Denmark shows the immense talent that he has, and after only a handful of games in a new side it is unfair to write him off.

image: © Кирилл Крыжановский

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