Nabil Bentaleb, 19, started his playing career in France as he represented the Lille academy, yet follows Adnan Januzaj in being linked with playing for England.
After being released at 15-years-old, the young Frenchman easily found a second club as he joined Belgian side Mouscron.
The young midfielder never represented the Belgian side’s first team, and found himself on the move again as he signed into the Tottenham Hotspur academy in January 2012.
Over the last two years, Bentaleb has gone from strength to strength. Impressive performances in the U21 side earned him a new four-year contract which expires in 2018, before breaking into the Tottenham first team squad, coinciding with former coach Tim Sherwood stepping up to the role of head coach following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.
The Spurs youngster made his debut on 22 December 2013, coming on as a second half substitute in place of Mousa Dembele during Tottenham’s 3-2 away victory at Southampton. He has gone on to make two Premier League starts, averaging 44.6 passes per game and completing 91.5% of them – the highest in Tottenham’s entire squad.
The midfielder has shown composure, intelligence and patience on the ball – all similar traits to current Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez.
Whilst the comparison may be a little far-fetched, Tim Sherwood has huge hopes for the midfielder, quoting in the independent that Bentaleb could even become an England international if he is prepared to wait:
“[Bentaleb] would have to wait a while for [qualification for England],” Sherwood said,
“But if he carries on as he is then he would be knocking on the door for the French squad. He has to make a decision and I am not sure how much love the French have shown him until now”.
“He has been in the wilderness, but now he is not. Everyone is starting to know about him and he has been performing regularly. He probably could be an arm-wrestle if the English are genuine about it.”
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