Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has been speaking to the London Evening Standard about his Argentine winger Erik Lamela.
The 23-year-old has played 67 games for Spurs, scoring six goals and providing 15 assists in that time, but after a debut campaign that was blighted by injury, he remains inconsistent in what is now his third season at White Hart Lane.
That could be about to change, after Lamela came off the bench against Sunderland to change the game last weekend, providing a wonderful pass after some excellent build-up play to set up Ryan Mason for the match-winning goal.
Lamela is still young, and yet he is no longer young enough for his age to be used as an excuse for his up-and-down form, but Pochettino spoke to the Standard about the pressure that is inevitably on his player due to his nationality.
“Lamela was young, long blond hair and he made big impact,” the Tottenham boss said. “Always if there was going to appear a player in this style, left-footed, before he was the new (Diego) Maradona.
“Now he’s the new (Lionel) Messi. It’s like this. All the people compare him with new Messi and it’s impossible to stop that.”
Lamela is certainly not the new Messi, but he does possess the innate talent to become one of Tottenham’s key players, provided he can add consistency to his game.