Former striker Tony Cascarino has demanded that Mauricio Pochettino drops Christian Eriksen from his Tottenham Hotspur first-team, or risk having an insignificant player on the field, as told to talkSPORT.
Cascarino was speaking following Spurs’ 2-1 defeat away to Leicester City on Saturday, in which Eriksen featured as a late substitute replacing Erik Lamela, after the Argentine enjoyed a strong performance with a joint-high three key passes (WhoScored).
Eriksen could not fashion the same level of involvement during his eleven-minute cameo, however, while also offering no shots, attempted dribbles, aerial duels or attempted tackles at the King Power Stadium, as the North Londoners went in search of an equaliser.
It was the latest in a string of sub-par performances by the 2020-free agent, who was linked with a move to Real Madrid in the summer (Daily Mail) and was believed to have held talks with Manchester United, but preferred the potential switch to Spain (BBC).
Cascarino has now called for Pochettino to drop the 27-year-old from his plans, otherwise he risks wasting his time with a midfielder that has seen his best days reach their end, like Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez and West Ham United and Marko Arnautovic.
“Eriksen came on as a substitute yesterday, but I’m never a fan of managers choosing players who are in the final year of their contract or have had their heads turned to go for a move,” the retired striker told talkSPORT.
“Eriksen started the season and, apart from coming on against Aston Villa, he’s had no impact at all. Now he’s come on as a substitute, so he’s sort of part of the squad but he’s not going to play to the levels Eriksen did before.
“I’ll give you two examples. One was Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal. His final year at Arsenal was so below par compared to his previous season. Another one was Marko Arnautovic at West Ham. When he had his head turned by China last January, he was a non-event between January and the end of the season.”
Pochettino opting to drop Eriksen from his matchday plans altogether would be a very drastic move, and arguably one that would backfire very quickly.
His head may have turned in the summer toward angling for a move to Madrid, but in Eriksen, Spurs have their best creative midfielder, and one that contributed twice as many assists as the next man along in the Premier League last season with 12 to Heung-Min Son’s six (WhoScored).
Players do not always see a decline in their performances after being denied moves away like Sanchez or Arnautovic, either. Jack Grealish was the subject of grand speculation linking him with a move to Spurs in the summer of 2018 (Telegraph), but remained in the Championship and helped Aston Villa to secure promotion into the Premier League with six goals and five assists – including the winning strike of the Second City Derby in March away to Birmingham City.
It is just about working on getting the player’s mind in the right situation to perform, and encouragement is surely a much better tool for that than showing a ruthless touch.
Tottenham fans, would you like to see Pochettino keep Eriksen in his plans, or adhere to Cascarino’s warning? Let us know in the comments below…
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