5 Players Who Must Step Up for Tottenham After the International Break

13 October 2019 05:43

It wouldn't be too dramatic to state that Tottenham are in freefall. The Champions League final defeat is lingering over them, they've failed to win an away Premier League fixture since January and currently sit ninth in the table.

After failing to tie integral players to new contracts and shift players who are not longer fit for purpose or openly admitted they would have preferred to leave, there is a malaise among this stagnant Spurs squad.

The visit of Watford after the international break provides a golden opportunity to stop the rot, but there are players that simply must do better or step up and grab their chance if they are turn it around.

Here, 90min spins you through five players who must step up for Mauricio Pochettino and co.

Paulo Gazzaniga

Paulo Gazzaniga

The Argentinian is already making the right noises, speaking about being ready to take his chance and the need for ​Tottenham to be strong at home. However, he'll need to do his talking on the pitch and could be seriously rusty after featuring in just six Premier League fixtures over the past three seasons.

If he can shake off the cobwebs, there is a real case for him keeping his place in the starting XI. While Hugo Lloris has been a fantastic servant to the club, he is looking increasingly more error-prone and committed two howlers in the space of a week - the second leading to the elbow injury that has ruled him out.

Davinson Sanchez

Giorgos Masouras,Davinson Sanchez

He arrived with bags of potential and a fee of around £40m, which made him Tottenham's record signing at the time. The weight of expectation didn't seem to phase ​Davinson Sanchez in the early stages of his Spurs career and he benefited from playing in a back three when Mauricio Pochettino tinkered with his formation.

He has looked a little short of confidence at times this season, though, probably not helped by being hung out to dry as a makeshift right back in the north London derby. But with age ever so slightly catching up with Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, it's time for him to claim a spot in the starting XI. 

His tackle success rate (67%) is higher than both Belgian centre backs, so perhaps he just needs a run in the team to kick on and reach the next level.

Kyle Walker-Peters

Kyle Walker-Peters,Cohen Bramall

Selling Kieran Trippier is starting to look like a mistake, just as keeping Serge Aurier is - the Ivorian openly admitted that he wanted to leave in the summer and it's easy to believe it. His outstanding display against Arsenal aside, he has looked disinterested and reckless in equal measure this season.

Moussa Sissoko filled in against Brighton before the break, but Spurs will need his drive and energy in the middle of the park. So, up must step Kyle Walker-Peters - a man with at least until January to stake his claim as Pochettino's first choice right back. It's hard to think of any high profile mistakes, but by the same token he hasn't set the world alight either. Another player who could use a longer spell in the starting XI to prove he can cut it.

Harry Winks

Harry Winks

Criticising Harry Winks feels a little tough. He's hard-working, committed to the cause and has struggled with injury issues. However, at 23 years old there is a nagging doubt that he needs to start showing his potential more frequently and part of that is putting injury woes behind him.

It's one of those curious cases where Tottenham fans are full of praise for their player, while outsiders ​can't quite see what Winks offers. Part of the issue could be slightly flimsy and anonymous performances in the big games, ​Bayern Munich's steamrolling of Spurs a case in point - although Winks was far from the only one culpable on a night where Pochettino got it wrong.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane

Probably not from a performance perspective, given that ​Kane has five goals and an assist in Spurs' opening eight Premier League outings, but in terms of filling in for club captain Hugo Lloris on the pitch. Kane and Vertonghen are current vice-captains, but many believe it will be the England striker wearing the armband for the foreseeable future.

A lot of the blame has ended up at the Pochettino's door this season, but the players need to take a long look at themselves too. Goalkeeper captains are often questioned for their influence on their team's performance, so perhaps having a more vocal leader among the outfield players could be a piece in the Spurs revival jigsaw puzzle.

Source: 90min