BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas believes the introduction of Stephen Ireland changed the game for Stoke City against Tottenham on Saturday afternoon, with the playmaker being the key difference during the second half at White Hart Lane, according to BBC Football.
Indeed, Jenas naturally pointed to the fact Harry Kane went off affecting the north London side but he believes Mark Hughes' decision to bring Ireland on for Stoke was the main game-changer, as Tottenham simply couldn't handle the midfielder.
He said: "The main reason this game turned on its head is because of Stevie Ireland. He was so positive. Every time he got the ball, he tried to find the striker.
"Spurs just didn’t know what to do with him. He could have won the game for them in the end and he was the difference."
Meanwhile, Stuart Pearce echoed that sentiment, telling BBC Radio Five Live: "On the run of play, Tottenham probably deserved to win this game. It wasn't until Stoke made those substitutions and the impact of Stephen Ireland that the complexion of the game changed."
|Chances Created||Final-Third Passes||Touches||Forward Passes||Minutes Played|
As Opta stats show, Ireland's 31-minute contribution made a mockery of the creative efforts of the Tottenham team - despite the fact they were dominating the game against Stoke prior to his introduction.
Indeed, in just half an hour, the midfielder created more chances and completed more final-third passes than any of Spurs' key men, also taking 30 touches and making six forward passes.
It's about time a Tottenham man other than Harry Kane made a similar impact - and, more pertinently, it's about time someone Mauricio Pochettino brought on from the bench changed a game.