Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is a ‘phenomenal’ talent but must start producing those flashes of genius on a more regular basis, former Premier League hero Emile Heskey has told HITC.
While Spurs’ record signing still has a long way to go before he can realistically claim to have justified that £63 million price-tag, he at least appears to be on the right track at last.
As recently as June, ESPN reported that the relationship between Ndombele and the ever-abrasive Jose Mourinho hit rock bottom.
The former Lyon star apparently told the Spurs boss that he never wanted to play for him again, amid suggestions that Bayern Munich could offer him an escape route out of the 2019 Champions League finalists.
Both player and manager appear to have put their differences aside, however, with the former winning over the latter with some drastically improved displays – and an enhanced work-ethic.
Ndombele has now started Tottenham’s last five Premier League games and caught the eye in Sunday’s 1-0 win at West Brom with some truly magic touches in the final third.
But therein lies the problem for Heskey.
He, and many others, still feel that a player with such supreme natural talent can offer far, far more.
“That’s the toughest thing in football – (producing) consistency. With Ndombele, you can see (the talent), the little glimpses – five minutes here, two minutes there, a touch here, a touch there – but you want him to dominate a game throughout the whole time he’s on that pitch,” Heskey explained.
“He’s got the ability to do that but hasn’t shown it just yet. It’ll be fascinating to see whether Jose Mourinho can get that out of him.
“He’s given him a bit of a kick up the backside with some of the comments but he’s still stuck with him and put him back him to go back out there and perform.
“You see little bits of him when he looks phenomenal to be honest. He’s got all the hallmarks to be consistently good but you don’t want to just see little flashes, particularly at a club like Tottenham.”
With Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg breaking up play and Moussa Sissoko bringing his boundless energy to the table, Mourinho appears to have finally found balance in midfield – thereby giving the likes of Ndombele and Gio Lo Celso the creative licence to weave their magic further forwards.
“(Ndombele and Lo Celso) are the ones who create stuff, they’re the ones who drive with the ball. They get in those little pockets and receive the ball and start breaking lines, asking problems of the defenders,” Heskey added.
“You need them. If you don’t have them in your team, you will struggle.”