Steven Bergwijn is best used off the bench for now by Tottenham
Steven Bergwijn has been excellent for Tottenham Hotspur since the Premier League restart and for some that may make them think he should be in the starting XI. However, there are several good reasons – including his pace, age, and standing in the team – to keep Bergwijn coming off the bench for now.
Jose Mourinho made it clear after the Manchester United game and if you did not believe him, he proved it when he started Lucas Moura against West Ham United a couple days later. Although Steven Bergwijn had hit the big shot that put Spurs in the lead and ultimately provide the point, he was not starting over Moura and that makes sense, right now.
In truth while Lucas Moura has provided us all with a day and a moment we will never forget, I do not know if he should be starting or just in the squad or even one the squad next season. The same is true for others like Erik Lamela. Whereas we KNOW Bergwijn will be part of the team next year. And while one could argue that is more reason to play him now, knowing he is part of the future means he doesn’t need to prove the same things others like Moura and Lamela need to prove if they are going to be part of Spurs and Mourinho’s future plans.
Tottenham is using Steven Bergwijn wisely
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We know Bergwijn is firmly in next seasons squad and is likely starting on one of the two wings, his age and experience in the Premier League are another reason to keep an eye on his minutes.
Yes, Spurs are only in 1 competition and yes, they have only played two games in the last 110 days, but those were 2 Premier League games and that is more than 25% of his career Premier League total of 7 games. Slowly breaking the young Dutchman into the League this year so he can break out next year makes sense.
Beyond his age and the need to make some decisions on some other players, I think we can use another young marauding Premier League winger as a guidepost – Adama Traore. Traore has really broken out over the last season for Wolves, but still comes off the bench. His blistering pace and power is the last thing a tired defender with wobbly legs wants to see. The same idea applies to Bergwijn.
While he did not have a goal, his impact in his 18 minutes against West Ham was obvious and it only took a few plays for it to put the Hammers on their heels and Spurs on the front foot to finish. So, the 88 minutes across two games is probably about right for Bergwijn right now, giving him about 30-40 minutes a night to run at defenders and make them pay in the second half – for now.
What do you all think, should Bergwijn be in the starting XI now? Is there value in him coming off the bench? Thoughts?