102 touches, 74 passes: Does Paulinho have a Spurs future after all?

The Tottenham midfielder impressed during his first Premier League start of the season.

Mauricio Pochettino has been digging Tottenham Hotspur stars out of the wilderness of late.

A number of fringe players have been given new chances at White Hart Lane – some with very positive results.

An example, not an extreme one, is Mousa Dembele. The Tottenham midfielder has fallen down the pecking order in north London, with Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb overtaking him in central midfield.

This week, though, Pochettino has moved him into his natural role – a more advanced one upfield. The Belgian has immediately shown improvement.

Similarly, Paulinho was handed a rare Premier League start (his first of the campaign) at West Brom yesterday and flourished in a deeper role.

 V West Brom Accurate PassesTackles WonInterceptions WonFinal-Third PassesTouchesMinutes Played
Paulinho 74 5 2 12 102 90
Ryan Mason 65 3 0 6 84 74
Christian Eriksen 64 2 1 15 89 90
Erik Lamela 46 2 1 14 60 90
Mousa Dembélé 41 1 1 14 54 62

As Opta stats show, the Brazilian took 102 touches and completed 74 passes, more than any other Tottenham player at the Hawthorns.

He also won two interceptions and made 12 final-third passes. But perhaps most impressively – and surprisingly – Paulinho won more tackles (5) than any of his Spurs team-mates.

Granted, the 26-year-old struggled before half-time. After the break, though, Paulinho came on leaps and bounds.

You never know when it comes to the transfer market, of course, but, with just two days left of the January transfer window, one would think it unlikely the Brazilian will leave north London before the summer.

Could he now, though, stay at Tottenham in the long term should he keep this kind of form up?

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch