Something which seems apparent from Sherwood’s management style is he is willingness to give players a chance, particularly young players. The chance to gain Premier League experience is vital if these players are to become top class. It’s certainly an advantage Sherwood has over an outside hire, having worked within the club as a coach he knows the players, especially the young players and when you consider the strength of Spurs’ youth system these are players who will be key in the future.
A prime example of this has been Nabil Bentaleb. The 19 year old centre midfielder looks adept and mature beyond his years. He has more than held his own in the Premier League and looks a bright prospect, apparently the FA are keen to convince him to play for England as he has represented France at Under 19 level. He has started the last 2 games in the league for Spurs, following an impressive display in the FA cup defeat to Arsenal.
Against Palace he played 107 passes, the most in the team and had a pass accuracy of 93%, he also had 120 touches of the ball (the most), his defensive contribution was clear as well, making 4 tackles and 2 interceptions.(1) He is clearly not just a passenger and is having a positive impact on the team. Against Swansea he continued in a similar fashion, with 91% pass accuracy, playing 58 passes (the most), the decrease in the number of passes is due to the possession dominated style of football Swansea play, whereas Spurs dominated the game against Palace. Despite having less of the ball, he made a staggering 10 tackles in the game, showing he’s more than just good on the ball. (2) He’s not bad going forward either, his shot which hit the bar against Palace showed that.
Bentaleb will serve as a prime example for young Spurs players, play well and you’ll continue to get chances in the team. I really like this aspect of Sherwood’s management style; he is basing his selections on performances rather than reputations. Meaning the players who get picked are those are playing and training well, this must inspire confidence in players, which is so important in the modern game.
If he continues in this vein of form it’ll be harder and harder for Sherwood to leave him out. He could be a fixture in the centre of midfield for years to come.
Statistics courtesy of whoscored.com
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