Nabil Bentaleb: Not good enough for this Tottenham side, or more to come?

Nabil Bentaleb Spurs

It has been a frustrating season for Nabil Bentaleb at Tottenham Hotspur, but can he get back to his best form?

Nabil Bentaleb was handed a rare start for Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup against Crystal Palace, and disappointed on his big chance to impress.

He was not the only player to underwhelm in the 1-0 home defeat, but he was the one who needed a big performance more than anybody.

A season ago Bentaleb was an important part of the first team, but he has fallen out of favour this time around, with the first part of his season written off through injury.

Yet despite returning to action in early December, he has just two Premier League starts to his name, with a further three coming in the FA Cup, and was an unused substitute against Fiorentina in midweek, despite head coach Mauricio Pochettino making six changes to the team which beat Manchester City days earlier.

Bentaleb was a regular last season but like Ryan Mason, who captained the side in the Europa League, has found it difficult to break into the team since returning.

Instead Mousa Dembele has re-established himself as a key player in central midfield, while Eric Dier has surprised everybody by transitioning from defence to midfield so successfully.

The decision Tottenham may have to make at the end of the season is whether they try to upgrade for a potential Champions League campaign, and where that would leave Bentaleb.

A report in The Sun in the week which claimed they were closely monitoring Anderlecht's Youri Tielemans would cast doubt over Bentaleb's playing time next season.

The Algerian is still only 21, and has shown real promise early on in his career, and this may just be a season Spurs have to write off in terms of what he can contribute, in the hope he will be more productive in years to come after a full pre-season under his belt.

The difficulty would be if Mauricio Pochettino genuinely feels Bentaleb is no longer good enough to warrant a place in his XI because Tottenham have moved on to a higher level since his injury, now challenging for the title and believes from what he has seen the midfielder does not stand a chance of kicking on.

 

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