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Lewis Holtby Shows Tottenham His Capabilities In German Under-21 Team


Whilst German playmaker Lewis Holtby’s first season, albeit from January onwards, was hardly mind-blowing in a Tottenham shirt he did prove himself to be a bright prospect for the future.

Lewis Holtby [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]Article written by Charlie Bee

At just 22 and already boasting a somewhat accomplished start within football, with German captaincy for the U21’s as well as Champions League experience, his future looks bright. This was all exemplified in his mid-week performance for the Germans against Holland which drew much attention due to his composed leadership and influence on the game, providing both a creative and attacking outlet – something which Spurs arguably lacked towards the latter end of last season.

Although the eventual result was a 3-2 loss, Holtby proved instrumental in both of his sides goals. His initial run drew a foul from Dutch keeper Jeroen Zoet from which Hoffenheim midfielder Rudy dispatched from the spot, drawing his side back into the game, surprising given how the Dutch dominated the first half. Whilst his goal threat has been somewhat subdued for Spurs so far this season his goal was an incredible solo effort, beating several Dutch defenders before slotting in to the bottom right hand corner from outside the area. The packed manner of Holland’s defence and the way in which Holtby penetrated it proved to be a cutting edge, something which we’ve lacked so many times against the more resolute sides content to play defensive football, teams we managed to drop points against on occasion.

Even his passing carried a sophistication and calm to it, particularly pleasing given the small pitch on which they played, reminiscent in size to that of White Hart Lane, a much more confined space in comparison to the Veltins-Arena where he performed for Schalke. The main point of difference from German football to English could be seen as the size of the pitches, Germans favouring wide open expanses whereas the English have much more confined spaces in general. His ability to perform in derbies or bigger matches, generally more open in play, was exemplified when he assisted Jermain Defoe in the 3-1 win over Manchester City with a clever through ball. However, one move where he freed Lasogga upfront was a composed chip over the top, something which could’ve caused problems had the striker’s touch been better, impressive nonetheless given the deep line the Dutch deployed. This vision and insight combined with a tenacity and audacity to attempt such balls surely place him in a better stead than Scott Parker whose performances last season were a mere shadow of what he achieved under the arguably less demanding Redknapp. Whilst Parker is almost certain to slip behind Sandro in the pecking order once he regains fitness, Holtby could prove to be a starter as well as he gains maturity and adapts to the pace of the Premier League, whether that be in the central role or elsewhere.

What was most impressive about the young German was his leadership abilities, a trait often overlooked. His strong work-rate both attacking and defensive would no doubt set an example to the rest of the team alongside his experience which for someone of his age is surprisingly impressive, having played both fully for Germany and in the Champions League. With AVB’s focus clearly spent on creating a much younger side, as reflected in both our transfer targets and recent outgoings, experience is vital from a younger age. Where most of the squad have some experience from our solitary Champions League outing, Holtby carries a significant amount more than even our more senior players, important if we were to reach the Champions League next season as is surely expected.

Whether Lewis Holtby is guaranteed a place in AVB’s starting XI next season remains to be seen, however he proves more than a capable back-up player if that is the case. His pace and vision would prove almost made for our counter attacking style of football and whilst he was never really given the chance to link with the main striker, Adebayor, this season the signing of Leandro Damaio a more out and out target man would perhaps provide an opportunity for a link up in the same way Holtby did with Huntelaar at Schalke – to devastating effect.