Did Paulinho play his way back into Spurs' plans in Leicester win?

Paulinho

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho put in an impressive cameo from the bench to suggest he may yet have something to offer Mauricio Pochettino.

Paulinho made an unexpected appearance from the Tottenham bench in the win over Leicester City on Saturday, his first appearance in five league games and just his 12th of the season.

It looked very much like the Brazil international's lack of game time meant he was a certainty to be sold in the summer, but a strong half-hour against the Foxes suggested that he may not be out of the exit door yet.

Putting in possibly his finest minutes in a Spurs shirt this season, certainly in a league game, Paulinho effectively influenced the game after coming off the bench for the disappointing Andros Townsend.

The Brazilian settled into an attacking midfield position behind Kane after taking to the field, while also offering much more when it came to nullifying Leicester compared to Christian Eriksen, who had operated in that role earlier in the game.

With the Dane pushed out wide, but still able to drift inside, Paulinho did plenty of good work on the ball, hinting at the promise he displayed before his move to White Hart Lane and at times last season.

One piece of strong play saw him hold off several Leicester midfielders before bursting beyond the opponent's midfield line and offloading the ball to a teammate.

It wasn't just defensively that the Brazilian positively influenced the Spurs side - it was his driving run and perfect through ball that put Eriksen clear for what turned out to be the winner, as the former Ajax man's shot came off Kasper Schmeichel and rebounded into the net off the unfortunate Jeffrey Schlupp.

Now there is of course plenty more Paulinho has to do to prove to both manager Mauricio Pochettino and the Spurs faithful that he is worth keeping hold of next season, but it was refreshing to see a player of obvious talent manage to influence a match from the bench - something that hasn't happened enough for Spurs this season.

If nothing else, Paulinho would have proved to Pochettino that he is a valid option in the side's final eight games of the season, especially in combative matches like the meeting with Leicester, where Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb's inexperience is occasionally evident.

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