Why Erik Lamela Got the Contract He Deserves
Strength and Weakness
One of Lamela’s strengths is also one of his downfalls. It is his tenacity and energy which throws him across the pitch. He has infamously committed many poor challenges when matches start to get dirty. For sure, he is not afraid of a strong challenge. Whilst he can sometimes exceed the limits of the game, the club desperately needs his energy. More often he has been used to come off the bench to impact matches. Indeed, he can shake up teams with his pressing and desire to win the ball.
But, he really shouldn’t just be defined by his heart and his passion. There is a wealth of technical ability that Lamela always possesses. Whether it’s a rabona finish or some delicate ball rolls, he is gifted. The issue is that he doesn’t always showcase his gifts. He is inconsistent. This could well be because of the injuries that have pinned him back and allowed others into the team. Now, he struggles to start in the first team and thus fails to secure the game time to improve on his performances.
His biggest contribution is his infectious mentality. As aforementioned, not every match demands his aggressive style of play. Nevertheless, it is his fiery spark that sets an example for his fellow players. For too long Spurs have been a club without a backbone, commonly labelled ‘bottlers’ and portrayed as weak. Lamela is a player that refutes that, who fights (sometimes literally) when he plays for the club. To have a player like this is so important. It gives starting players the encouragement needed to play that little harder to keep their place.
So far in the Premier League, Lamela’s contribution in terms of goals and assists isn’t impressive. In 110 appearances he has scored ten goals and made 20 assists. However, when some context is used in conjunction with this, in relation to his injuries and to his prolonged adaptation to English football, this isn’t so bad. Many of those goals were truly marvellous, such as his debut Premier goal against Burnley. However, most criticisms levelled at him is because of his lack of productivity. It is true that there is much room for improvement here. In pre-season so far, he notched a hat-trick against Southend in a 6-0 demolition behind closed doors. Perhaps he will go to contribute more this season if fit.
Erik Lamela’s new contract is a positive move by the club. He still has some years left in the tank and is approaching his peak as a footballer. However, he will need to improve on his goal and assists tally to really become a top player for the club. For now, he remains as that passionate player who fights with all his heart on the football pitch. After his shaky start to the club and to English football, he did show some promising signs before injury struck. Now, he has returned and Pochettino puts faith in him once more, and rightly so.