Davinson Sanchez is being shifted into a prominent role at Tottenham.
Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Davinson Sanchez is being thrust into the spotlight at the club.
It is overdue. This is his third season, and he cannot be hidden behind Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen any longer.
Tottenham are doing the right thing by challenging Sanchez, even if it is not having the desired effect early on.
Sanchez is Tottenham’s record defensive signing at £42 million. He has the potential to be a superstar.
Spurs shielded Sanchez when he was first brought in, playing him in a three man defence with Vertonghen and Alderweireld.
He has been the third wheel, playing when one of the pair were injured, and he has largely done well, but this season he has looked out of sorts so far.
Sanchez has had some criticism, and that’s because Tottenham fans have high hopes for him. They know he can do better, or at least he should be.
Against Newcastle at the weekend he was bypassed too easily for Joelinton’s winning goal.
It might be unfair to criticise him entirely for that. Partnerships, between a defensive duo, and a centre-back and full-backs take time to develop.
Sanchez is in the spotlight because Vertonghen has been taken out of the team in an unorganic way, without real explanation.
That does not mean Tottenham are wrong to put him under pressure.
Both Vertonghen and Alderweireld have expiring contracts. Tottenham need Sanchez to accumulate more experience and game time.
This is an enlightening experience for Spurs, highlighting Sanchez’s weakness, and reminding Tottenham they might not be able to rely on him as the leader of their future defence.
That is not ideal, but it is better for Spurs to discover this now, than next season when they erroneously trust him as their lead man.