Tottenham Hotspur star Nabil Bentaleb showed his versatility on Sunday as he exceeded expectations with a wonderful performance at left-back during his side’s 1-0 win at Everton in the Premier League.
The Algerian international has spent the majority of the campaign alongside Ryan Mason in midfield, performing well and earning the trust of head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
However, owing to a number of defensive injuries at White Hart Lane, Spurs headed into their season finale at Goodison Park without a recognised full-back.
Eric Dier was once again pushed out at right-back, but in a surprise selection it was Bentaleb who was chosen to fill in for the absent Danny Rose and his performance made quite an impression.
|Tackles||Defensive Duel Winners||Interceptions||Ball Recoveries||Take-ons||Accurate Passes||Mins Played|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the 20-year-old put in a superb defensive performance and dealt with the Toffees' wide players with relative ease.
Bentaleb recorded two tackles, five interceptions, nine ball recoveries and a remarkable 10 defensive duel winners – more than any other player on the pitch.
Moreover, Bentaleb’s attacking intuitions provided the visitors with a threat from deep as he produced four successful take-ons, with no Spurs player completing more over the 90 minutes.
His surprising performance may not exactly pave the way for a position change, but it may prove that the left-back slot is well covered and one area less for Pochettino to strengthen this summer.
Harry Kane gave the visitors all three points with his 21st Premier League goal of the season, but the real star performer was Bentaleb and the Spurs fans acknowledged his input on Twitter after the game.
Bentaleb absolutely incredible at left back today! Such an intelligent footballer! #COYS— Mr Stuuuu (@MrStu10) Mayo 24, 2015
Bentaleb was superb again today. Thrown in at left-back and looked an experienced player there. Mature beyond his years. So much potential.— Ben (@BenLewis0795) Mayo 24, 2015
Think Bentaleb could probably excel in any position. Doing well at left back today - really is one of our unsung heroes this season.— Lukas Bedford (@Lukas_Bedford) Mayo 24, 2015
Turns out Nabil Bentaleb is the best left-back in the world.— Charlie Parrish (@charlieparrish) Mayo 24, 2015