When it was announced that Paulinho would be starting for Tottenham Hotspur against Newcastle United at the weekend, it is fair to say more than a few Spurs fans greeted the news with raised eyebrows.
The Brazilian midfielder has had a hit-and-miss campaign and Sunday was only his 14th Premier League appearance under Mauricio Pochettino.
But the decision paid off, with the 26-year-old enjoying a fine game, setting up one goal and forming a formidable midfield partnership with the always-impressive Nabil Bentaleb.
Paulinho may yet move on this summer, but if he plays like this between now and the end of the season, he could yet prove he has what it takes to be the experienced defensive midfielder Tottenham need.
|Passing Accuracy||Key Passes||Goal Assists||Duels Won||Tackles Won||Interceptions Won||Ball Recoveries||Touches||Mins Played|
Against Newcastle, Paulinho had an impressive passing accuracy of 83 per cent, while he played two key passes, recovered the ball five times and won four tackles.
The Spurs man also won five duels and one interception, proving a very effective alternative to Ryan Mason in the centre of the field.
Was this the performance that signalled the resurgence of his Tottenham career, or one to get the attention of those clubs seeking to sign him in the summer?
Only time will tell, but he must be applauded for this latest efforts, which is something few would have envisaged prior to kick-off.