William Gallas may have left Tottenham Hotspur without really making a massive impact, but he did have an influence on one youngster at White Hart Lane: Nabil Bentaleb.
Bentaleb is just 19 years of age and has yet to fully come into the attention of the worldwide media. However, given the progress he made at Tottenham in the 2013-14 season, there is every reason to believe that he could be a star of the future.
The Algerian made his debut for Spurs in their 3-2 victory over Southampton in December and went on to make 14 more appearances in the Premier League, including in games against Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Bentaleb’s displays saw him earn a call-up to Algeria’s 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. He has now revealed that it was former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Gallas who made him believe in himself and stay on course to fulfil his dreams.
‘A few months ago I wouldn’t even imagine being where I am now’, he told World Soccer magazine. ‘But William Gallas said to me things can change in football very quickly, both ways.
'You can climb very fast but you can drop soon after and it is up to you which path you take. The most important thing is to continue to work hard’.
Bentaleb has made just 20 appearances in his professional career so far and has lots to learn and improve on. The former France Under-19 international may not be able to make himself a first-team regular at Tottenham next season, although under new boss Mauricio Pochettino, he will have the chance to work with one of the better managers in the English top flight.
Algeria have been drawn against Belgium, Russia and South Korea in Group H at the World Cup. While the Belgians are the firm favourites to progress to the round of 16 from this group, the runners-up spot is up for grabs.
Whether Algeria can shock Russia and South Korea in Brazil over the coming days remains to be seen.