2 Key Passes, 6 Tackles, Fiorentina's forgotten man Ilicic shows why Tottenham should not discount him

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Josip Ilicic was linked with signing for Leeds and Aston Villa last year, but he remained at Fiorentina and may yet have a part to play against Tottenham Hotspur.

Mauricio Pochettino is not the only boss to have to rotate his squad to deal with the heavy fixture list, with their Europa League opponents Fiorentina in the same situation.

Vincenzo Montella changed his side around for Sunday's game against Torino - selecting Josip Ilicic to stary his first game since November 9.

The attacking midfielder had seemed to be heading for the exit ahead of the recent transfer window, with The Mirror suggesting Aston Villa had taken an interest, and The Star touting him for a move to Leeds United on loan.

Ilicic remained in Florence, and that decision could yet be Fiorentina's gain, and to Tottenham's detriment.

The Slovenian was an unused substitute for the first leg against Spurs, but impressed with his first start in three months against Torino.

He created two goalscoring chances during the game, completing 85 per cent of his passes, and managed an impressive six tackles, more than any other player on the pitch. 

Ilicic also managed five shots, although disappointingly they were all off target.

His performance certainly caught the eye, with Fiorentina boss Montella quoted by GianlucadiMarzio.com stating:

"This was Ilicic's best performance of the season. Both in terms in terms of his quality and his work rate."

The former Italian international striker went onto describe Tottenham as a great side, citing the intensity of the Europa League games as his need to rotate his squad.

It could just be that Ilicic has played his way into the mix for the all important second leg, to have a chance of making what previously seemed an unlikely impact. Getting a start may not be possible, but his chances off coming off the bench as a potential game-changer would seem to have increased after the weekend.

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