Tottenham’s injury woes increased this week, after it was confirmed that Dele Alli would be out for at least six weeks with a hamstring injury he sustained against Fulham last week.
With Harry Kane and Son Heung-min currently unavailable as well, Spurs will be severely stretched over the next month or so.
Mauricio Pochettino would surely change his formation around with such a large number of attackers in absentia. Tottenham’s match again Fulham at the weekend was the clearest indication of this, as the manager opted to play with three at the back, with Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies playing as wing-backs. That slightly reduces the number of attacking midfielders required. But with Alli gone now, he may need to rely upon his defensive midfielders, whereby there is a huge amount of young talent coming through.
With Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen, Érik Lamela and Lucas Moura, Tottenham just have enough numbers to squeeze out a midfield and a striker. With Fernando Llorente on the fringes, that adds options. But for a team that are still competing in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League, they may need to add a few more players into the mix to allow rotation.
That opens the door for Oliver Skipp to step up more regularly for The Lilwhites. The 18-year-old is not a like-for-like replacement for Alli, but could offer defensive support in the midfield, as he has done so far this season. Mauricio Pochettino has called upon the midfielder five times in the Premier League this season, giving him his first start against Burnley in December. He is stylistically similar to teammate Harry Winks, which will provide creativity from the middle of the field, and may mean that Eriksen can be deployed in a more advanced position where he is more dangerous.
Skipp now has a bit of experience at the top level for Tottenham, but he may have a whole lot more come March.