Mauricio Pochettino’s ability to transform precocious potential into consistently brilliant performances is perhaps best epitomised by the rise of Kyle Walker at Tottenham Hotspur.
A jet-heeled yet erratic talent before the Argentine tactician arrived at White Hart Lane in 2014, the Sheffield-born flyer is now one of the most fearsome full-backs in the world game.
Therefore, Spurs would be loath to lose one of their undisputed starters this summer. While the likes of Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose are committed to the north London club after signing new contracts, Walker’s future remains up in the air as The Mirror reports that Pep Guardiola is determined to lure him to Manchester City.
Tottenham's Kyle Walker faces an uncertain future
Though if England’s heart-wrenching penalty shootout defeat to, guess who, Germany in the Under-21 semi-finals is anything to go by, Spurs may have an excellent replacement lined up.
According to Sky Sports, Jeremy Toljan is on Spurs’ shortlist after a superb season with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, playing a major role as Julian Nagelsmann’s overachieving underdogs qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history.
With just a year remaining on his contract, he may be available for below his market value this summer.
And while German ‘keeper Julian Pollersbeck, who saved penalties from Tammy Abraham and Nathan Redmond in the semi-final shootout on Monday, may hog the headlines, Toljan was clearly the Man of the Match in Poland.
Starting at right-back, Toljan spent most of the game as high up the wing as possible as he tore Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell apart with his electric movement and impressive turn of pace. He was a relentless attacking force and central to almost every threatening German attack.
Jeremy Toljan ripped England apart
When Stefan Kuntz’s side poured forward in search of a winner, they didn’t look to Max Meyer or big money Dortmund signing Maximillian Philipp. Instead, Toljan was the outlet.
Only Nadiem Amiri somehow missing an open goal in extra-time denied Toljan the assist his performance deserved.
In fact, he looks every inch a carbon copy of the man he could replace at White Hart Lane. And his performance surely won’t have passed Pochettino by.