Spurs midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has come one step closer to heading to Brazil today as he was named Algeria's 30-man provisional World Cup squad. The 19-year old was named one of eight midfielders named to the team by Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodžić.
Bentaleb was one of the surprises coming out of Tottenham's 2013-14 season. A Spurs academy player, he was thrust abruptly into the starting lineup after Tim Sherwood took over as manager. Bentaleb made 13 appearances for Spurs in the second half of the season, including several starts, and comported himself very well. His meteoric rise impacted his decision to declare for Algeria, the home of his parents, over France, where he played in the U19 squad, and England. He made his Algeria debut in March against Slovenia, and now has a chance to receive a ticket to Brazil.
I don't know enough about the Algerian squad to know how realistic Bentaleb's chances are to make the final 23-man squad for the Fennec Foxes. With eight midfielders in the provisional team, it seems likely that a few of them will be cut from the final roster and it's unknown if Bentaleb has shown enough in his brief Algeria appearances to make the final cut. Nevertheless, this is fantastic news for Nabil. Whether he makes the final team or not, he's shown himself capable enough to be included in a World Cup-caliber squad and has a real chance of heading to Brazil this summer. With luck, this will do nothing but help kick on his development as he tries to lock down a regular playing position in the Tottenham midfield next year.