Erik Lamela joined Tottenham late last summer but in an injury disrupted season the Argentine has had little to opportunity to display the talent which persuaded Tottenahm to spend £30m. Lamela last appeared in the first team squad as an unused substitute on New Year’s Day in the win at Old Trafford. Since then he has been out with a back and thigh injury.
Lamela was introduced to the Tottenham squad for the game at Arsenal in September and played for the final minutes as a substitute. He failed to make an immediate impact and was restricted to appearances mostly in the Europa League games and even then failed to have a major impact in games. His best performance was at White Hart Lane against FC Sheriff when he scored his only goal and won a penalty in Spurs 2 – 1 win. Rarely used by Andre Villas-Boas, he started the match at Southampton in Tim Sherwood’s first League game as interim manager but was substituted with an hour played. He made brief 15 minute appearances in the next two games at White Hart Lane with the match against Stoke being his last appearance for Spurs.
Since then, Lamela has been out with injury and apart from playing and scoring for a Spurs XI team against Charlton in early January, all reports have been of his prolonged injury problems with thigh and back issues. Tottenham indicated that they were working cautiously with the player to ensure that no further problems occurred.The ‘forgotten man’ of Tottenham was eventually spotted on the Spurs bench at the north London derby in March but unfortunately that wasn’t an indication of him nearing a return to fitness. Little news has come from Spurs about Lamela apart from occasional fleeting references to his injury problems in the manager’s press conferences.
A week ago Tim Sherwood indicated that Erik Lamela was out for the remainder of the season as reported and tweeted by Ben Perace the Spurs reporter for Ham&High and Hackney Gazette newspapers and Tottenham Journal website.
— Ben Pearce (@BenPearceSpurs) April 12, 2014
Yesterday, Matt Law reported in the Daily Telegraph that the manager was under pressure to play Lamela at some time during the final four games of the season. According to the report Lamela is due to return to training next week and Law wrote,
‘Daniel Levy, the chairman, is desperate to see Lamela succeed and fulfil his potential at Tottenham next season and a run-out before the season ends could give the Argentine international a much-needed lift.’
In his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game against Fulham, Sherwood reiterated his position that Lamela would not play again this season, denying that he was under pressure to play Lamela.
In the report of BBC Sport, Sherwood said,
Chance would be a fine thing, he’s injured……. I think he was fit for about three weeks while I was in charge, and then he’s been out injured.
This season Lamela has made only 17 appearances for Tottenham so after almost a season at White Hart Lane, Spurs know little more about the 22-year-old than they did when they signed him from Roma last August. As with all new signings, it has taken Lamela time to adjust to the demands of English football but with his constant absence with injury, Spurs are no nearer knowing whether the young Argentine is capable of adapting to the Premier League. As Sherwood stated in his press conference,
That’s still an unknown quantity as far as I’m concerned. I’ve assessed the rest of the squad…..With Erik, the jury’s still out because I haven’t seen enough of him – so he’s been very unfortunate.
As the end of the season approaches, the situation with Lamela is just one of a number of issues surrounded in uncertainty at Tottenham, including the future of Tim Sherwood and certain players. With the likelihood of another new manager come next August, it will be like starting all over again for Erik Lamela.