Alex Pritchard was supposed to break through to Tottenham Hotspur's first team this season. Coming off of a highly successful Championship loan at Brentford last year, Pritch was supposedly admired very much by Spurs' coaching staff and had positioned himself as the next player in Spurs' "golden generation" of academy talent to make the step to the Premier League.
It didn't happen that way. Pritchard picked up a nasty ankle injury this summer while playing for England in the U21 Euro Championships. Rehabilitation wasn't enough for him to get healthy and he ended up having surgery in October.
However, Pritchard is determined not to let this become a "lost season," despite the glut of attacking midfielders currently ahead of him in the lineup. In quotes printed on Tottenham's website, Pritch said that his rehabilitation is coming along nicely, and he's determined to make a comeback.
"Of course, I’m very happy for the boys to be doing so well but on the other hand I find myself sitting there in the physio room watching them playing on the pitch and thinking ‘that's where I want to be.’
"My goal is to return fit, be a better player and play more games in the Premier League."
Pritchard was a standout performer last season while on loan with Brentford, scoring 12 goals in 45 appearances for the Bees, and then-manager Mark Warburton called him "a bright young English talent" who he tipped to play "at the highest level." While his injury has more or less stunted his development this season, Spurs indicated that he should be back to full training "in the New Year" and, depending on Tottenham's progression in the Europa League, there's still a chance he could feature in some way for the club this season.
"It’s been a difficult time for me but I’m getting there now," he added. "I’ve done a lot on the bike and now I’m starting to put bodyweight on my ankle, I’ve been in the pool and running on the treadmill.
"I'm just waiting for the back of my heel to recover properly and then once I’m back outdoors running, hopefully I won’t have to wait too long to be back on the pitch."
Many fans, including a lot of us here at CFC, were excited about Pritchard this summer before his injury. He has an uphill battle, but it's still not out of the question that he could be a contributor for Spurs yet this year. With some Tottenham FA Cup and Europa League wins, Pritch still has a chance to crack the lineup yet this season and show everyone why he was so highly rated.