Lewis Holtby - Released at 14 for being to slow as a winger; now AVB plays him on the wing!

The German adapted his game to a more central role after being released as a youngster by Borussia Monchengladbach. Now AVB has reverted him to his former failed type to little affect.

Last night Tottenham Hotspur faced off against FC Basel in the Europa League and would have hoped to have left White Hart Lane with a good first-leg lead, everyone fighting fit for their tie with Everton on Sunday and with smiles beaming from ear-to-ear.

Unfortunately the footballing gods were not so kind to them and come the end of the tie with the Swiss champions Spurs were counting their lucky stars things were not marginally worse. Well at least Gareth Bale didn’t get stretchered off with an ankle injury. Oh shoot!

The fact Basel also had three key players suspended for the fixture will not fill Tottenham with joy ahead of the second leg at the intimidating St Jakob-Park where Rot-Blau are so dominant.

But it was the team selection of Andre Villas Boas that first caught the eye.

First of all; William Gallas.

The man has no place in a team of this standard anymore. His lacklustre and sluggish display almost cost them their chance against Inter Milan and the inevitable fact he will likely start again in Switzerland must frustrate Tottenham fans to the core.

Secondly was Lewis Holtby’s position on the left-hand side of midfield.

Since Gareth Bale has been utilised in the centre of the pitch to good affect AVB has struggled to find a player capable of playing in the wide position. However the arrival of the naturally left footed German in January, six months earlier than planned, was supposed to help such an issue.

Except for one small fact; the very reason Holtby has been playing as a central midfielder for Schalke 04 is due to his inability to play in his original position, on the left-wing.

The 22-year-old was originally a youth team player at Borussia Monchengladbach where he played as a left winger. However he was released for being too slow in 2004 and he moved to Alemannia Aachen. It was here he was first adapted into more of a central midfield player but still often got used out-wide.

It was an impressive loan spell at FSV Mainz in 2010-11 that eventually secured his place as a creative central midfield player.

His lack of pace is palpable. He had no chance of keeping up with the right-back Markus Steinhofer, who is no Usain Bolt, last night and when played in down the flank he struggled to keep up with the ball.

As Borussia Monchengladbach rightfully pointed out; he is to slow to be a winger.

If only somebody could tell AVB this.

image: © xtranews

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