Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndomebele’s fitness has been questioned by club legend Glenn Hoddle following the home defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.
The Lowdown: First game back
It has been clear since he moved to Tottenham that the Frenchman hasn’t been an unqualified success. Apart from a handful of outstanding moments, such as his audacious goal at Sheffield United last season, the 24-year-old has largely struggled with life in N17.
Yesterday’s defeat to Chelsea was his 77th appearance for the club and his first in the Premier League under Nuno Espirito Santo after previously playing just 79 minutes of first team football this season against Rennes.
He only featured for 62 minutes, in a midfield diamond, before being replaced by Oliver Skipp, and his fitness levels have been criticised following the defeat.
The Latest: Not fit enough
Speaking to Premier League Productions [via Spurs Web] following the Chelsea game, former Spurs boss Hoddle has questioned the midfielder’s fitness as the match was ultimately won in the middle of the park after N’Golo Kante’s introduction at half-time.
Hoddle said: “The first 20 minutes of a football match, for a professional player, you should have the intensity, you should have the energy to close down and have a picture in your mind. Slowly, but surely, they got fatigued and there was too much space on the edge of the area.
“Ndombele, in the end, he has got to get himself fit to play football. He’s not fit enough, the lad. He’s got ability.”
The Verdict: Time to shine
To be fair to the £45m-valued Ndombele, Nuno opted not to include him in any of the opening four games or any of the pre-season fixtures. After a summer of wanting out of the club, the 24-year-old now must now work on his fitness and battle with Skipp for the slot next to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the middle of the park.
With the Danish international a more defensive-minded player, Spurs have lacked a creative plug within midfield in their previous two games against Crystal Palace and Chelsea.
Getting Ndombele back to his best could be on Nuno’s mind and may hint at why he has started the previous two games. He has the chance on Wednesday to gain more minutes under his belt in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Wolves as he hopefully improves his fitness levels in order to make a more telling contribution to the team.
In other news, Tottenham have been handed a huge boost in their pursuit of a 21-year-old striker. Find out more here.
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