Cartilage Free Captain is reviewing each of Spurs' first team players and evaluating their season. The series continues today with Tottenham Hotspur winger Erik Lamela.
Minutes played: 2,924
What went right?
After a year marred by acclimation and injury, this was the season we hoped Erik Lamela would turn into the superstar-in-training we thought Spurs bought in 2013. And in just about every metric Lamela was an improvement over his 2013-14 self. A tireless worker, based on this season Lamela should never be criticized for his effort. His vision improved over the course of the season, as did his commitment to the midfield press. He proved to be one of the important cogs in Pochettino's offense with a team-leading ten assists in all competitions, and after being dropped to the bench for a few matches early in 2015, came back and played some of his best football toward the end of the season. He didn't score as many goals as what many hoped for. But when he did score? Oh. My.
What went wrong?
If you hold Lamela to the unreasonable standard of his £26m transfer fee, or even to his outstanding performances at Roma prior to his move to Spurs, then Lamela is still a disappointment. He started the season rather poorly with a string of lackluster appearances, even getting himself benched for a stretch. He's still not taking over matches or terrorizing opposition defenses with his skill, and sometimes attempts to "skill" past players instead of passing to open teammates, making a difficult move when an easy one might do. On balance his finishing has been weak, and he can sometimes look a bit lost in matches. All that said, he's getting better.
It's really hard to justify the calls for Lamela to be sold this offseason. If you overlook his first season here, which one really should do considering the external circumstances, then this is really Lamela's first full season of English football. While he's had his share of disappointing outings, the last 4-5 matches for Spurs were among the best he has had in a Tottenham shirt. And while he's not yet a superstar, in his first season under Mauricio Pochettino he's most certainly shown that he can fit into Pochettino's system and is on an upward career trajectory. There's still plenty of room for improvement, he's still young, and definitely putting in the effort. Pretty sure the best is yet to come from the young Argentine.
Grade: 3.5 Chirpys