We take a look at three Tottenham Hotspur players who may have to wait until the summer to force their way back into the first-team fold regularly.
Tottenham Hotspur are in the midst of a wonderful campaign but some of their players are looking on from the periphery, knowing they cannot or will not make much impact between now and May.
Young midfielder Alex Pritchard is currently on loan at West Bromwich Albion, while winger Nabil Bentaleb has rarely been used in recent times and summer signing Clinton N’Jie has just recovered from serious injury.
And while the latter two players could have a say in the next few months they are unlikely to have any significant impact until next season at the earliest.
For that reason the summer is huge for all three and here is why:
N’Jie’s knee injury and subsequent operation mean he has featured just 13 times for Tottenham to date, providing one assist in the process.
He is capable of so much more but despite his return to training he will know his manager Mauricio Pochettino is likely to use him as an impact sub at best and not for a while yet.
With a new striker surely on the agenda this summer, N’Jie will know he has a limited window to impress and will want to hit the ground running in pre-season to ensure he remains an integral part of Tottenham’s short-term plans.
What a strange season it has been for Algerian international Bentaleb, once hailed as the next great Spurs midfielder but now consigned predominantly to under-21 appearances.
With little chance of turning things around this season, Bentaleb will know he needs to treat next season as a fresh start.
Many saw Pritchard’s loan move to West Bromwich Albion as the kick-start his career needed after injury struck at the start of this campaign. However the 22-year-old has featured just twice to date, playing a total of 53 minutes and sitting on the bench for the last four league matches.
Pritchard needs a full pre-season back in North London as he bids to show he can follow other Tottenham academy products into the first-team.