Tim Sherwood: Pochettino is like me in one area at Tottenham

Nabil Bentaleb Spurs

Tim Sherwood has praised Mauricio Pochettino and his use of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb.

Mason has been one of the Lilywhites' standout performers this term, making his Premier League debut just days after scoring his first goal for the club in a League Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

The 23-year-old midfielder has brought energy and desire to a midfield seemingly lacking in both, and his presence in the middle of the park plays into head coach Mauricio Pochettino’s hands. The Argentine coach plays a system focused upon high pressing and compressing the ball in the middle third, and Mason’s energetic performances allow his midfield partners to spend more time with the ball to act as creators.

He has since turned out eight times in the top flight for Spurs, and he is sure to keep his place on Wednesday evening for the visit to Chelsea. Alongside Mason, Algerian youngster Nabil Bentaleb could be set to keep his place in the midfield, registering successive starts for the first time since August. Injury has kept the 20-year-old out of action, and, following his return as a substitute against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, he played the full 90 minutes against Everton.

Bentaleb made his debut under caretaker boss Tim Sherwood last season, making 20 appearances in all competitions after coming on as a 50th minute substitute in a 3-2 victory over Southampton in December 2013. His impressive form for Spurs saw him called up to the Algerian squad for the first time in February 2014, before being named in Vahid Halilhodzic’s squad for the 2014 World Cup Finals. The youngster impressed in the heart of the over-performing Algerian’s midfield, and he is set to continue his rapid rise following his return from an injury suffered at the start of the season.

Pochettino has continued selecting the in-form youngsters, despite the presence of such names as Paulinho and Moussa Dembele, and he received praise from this by Sherwood, who likened the Argentine coach to himself.

In an interview with talkSPORT: “I’ve known these boys since they were young kids, and I’m immensely proud when I see those boys running out there and playing as well as they do.

“They’ve done fantastically well, and I’ve got to give credit to Pochettino for that.

“He doesn’t pick reputation, he doesn’t pick price-tags - he’s similar to myself. He picks them on a level with everyone else, and those boys are getting in on merit.”

While Sherwood has often been derided for his time with Spurs, due to his old fashioned management style, the former Blackburn man should be praised for his reliance on youth and his desire to promote from within. With Sherwood laying the groundwork last season, Spurs fans will be hoping that Pochettino can now develop these youngsters into the men who can lead the North London club up the Premier League table.

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