Joshua Onomah of England celebrates
Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has been forced to deal with the absences of players such as Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela this season, but the lack of football for Mousa Dembele will be the biggest concern.
Dembele, 30, was often a talented yet infuriatingly inconsistent midfielder under Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, but eventually developed into a key player under Mauricio Pochettino.
The Belgian international midfielder possesses the drive and quality on the ball from the middle of the park to carry Spurs up the pitch, offering great balance alongside the more defensively-minded Eric Dier or Victor Wanyama.
Unfortunately for Pochettino, Dembele has been out injured since the 1-0 Carabao Cup win over Burnley, with a niggling ankle injury continuing to keep him on the sidelines – and Spurs have few players who can match his unique skillset.
Moussa Sissoko has shown some promise in a similar role, but with Harry Winks more of a tidy playmaker than a driving force, manager Pochettino will be hoping that Joshua Onomah can step up into the role from next season.
Onomah, 20, has been sent out on loan to Aston Villa to continue his development, and whilst he was once an attacking midfielder who could play out wide, he is emerging as a box-to-box player with the same drive as Dembele from the heart of midfield.
Onomah played in a deeper role for the England Under-20's and thrived there, whilst his central role with Villa has seen him show real potential under Steve Bruce, and Tottenham need Onomah to continue his progression with a view to making him Dembele's heir.
Many may feel that Spurs need to sign another midfielder to eventually replace Dembele, but Pochettino may have an in-house replacement on his hands in Onomah, which would save Spurs money and mean no signing would be needed.
Onomah must prove himself worthy of that role with his performances in the Championship this term, and he may have to initially deal with being cover for Dembele next season, but after Harry Winks became Pochettino's latest Tottenham success story with his first England cap, Onomah should be looking to do the same once he returns to North London.