Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has said that Spurs have missed long-term absentee Erik Lamela. The winger returns to action after a gap of 13 months and will be part of the squad to face Leicester City. Pochettino spoke a great deal about what the Argentine, who signed in 2013 for £30 million, can bring to the team.
“He’s not a new player, eh? He’s been here for four and a half years,” Pochettino said. “We miss his energy, his energy is massive. You can feel when he is on the pitch he is always available to run, to press. And when he has the ball, he has the capacity to beat opponents. We miss him because he is a completely different option to what we have up front.”
Lamela’s last game for Spurs was the League Cup defeat to Liverpool in October 2016. Since then, recurring hip problems have ensured he has been left on the sidelines. He returned to former club Roma to receive treatment in January. The 25-year-old has had a tough time in the last year but manager Pochettino is optimistic about his return.
“He was very down,” Pochettino said. “He’s still so young but it was a massive problem for him. But you know how he is and he loves to play football and staying away for a long time was difficult for him.
“You see his history and in four and a half years [at Tottenham] he was injured for almost two years. If you remember the first season before we arrived he had a back injury.”
“He was the player that was keen to do what we expected from the team because he has a massive energy and is a very energetic person. When you see him in the dressing room or restaurant he is always moving. He is hyperactive, that’s how he is on the pitch. He loves to run, loves to feel the ball in his feet. He always wants the ball: ‘give me the ball’.”
Lamela was extremely important in Tottenham’s successful 2015-16 season where the club mounted a title challenge. The club has been seen struggling in the past few games and go to Leicester after dropping points against West Brom. The Argentine’s return will certainly boost Pochettino’s team’s prospects who face Stoke City and Brighton next.