On 9 November, 2019, Tanguy Ndombele started for Tottenham against Sheffield United, but he managed just 45 minutes of humiliation before being hauled off at half-time.
He was carrying an injury and looked well off the pace, and it was a performance which sparked questions about his future. Was the club’s record signing genuinely good enough to play for Tottenham?
On January 17, 2021, he started for Tottenham against Sheffield United, and he put in an utterly outstanding 90-minute display.
Ndombele looked nothing like the player who struggled to adjust to life in London, shining at both ends of the field and looking every bit like the £60m player Spurs expected him to be when he was brought over from Lyon.
Forming a terrifyingly impressive pivot with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ndombele was the one given more license to play forward. He was given permission to try some audacious passes to unlock Sheffield United’s defence, and importantly, he had the quality needed to pull most of them off.
He passed the ball with pin-point accuracy and always wanted to make things happen, but it was Ndombele himself who stole the headlines with an utterly outstanding lob to bag Spurs’ third goal.
While he was the forward-thinker in midfield, Ndombele didn’t shirk his defensive duties. He was dominant in the tackle and constantly hoovered up possession, forming a two-man wrecking crew alongside Hojbjerg.
The duo make up a complete pairing who are capable of excelling at both ends of the field. They’ve barely even played together, and yet appear to have built up a perfect understanding with one another.
Jose Mourinho appears to have finally gotten through to Ndombele, and the results have been outstanding.
The Frenchman now has to be seen as one of the Premier League’s finest midfielders. He can do everything at an incredibly high level, and if he can maintain this level of form, the sky really is the limit.
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