When Will Tottenham Fans See Japhet Tanganga Play Again?

(L) Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
(L) Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images) /
Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham Hotspur
(L) Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images) /

2020 has been a year of change for Japhet Tanganga who went from the youth player to squad contributor for Tottenham only to disappear injured.

When Jose Mourinho came to Tottenham Hotspur a video made the rounds, thanks to All or Nothing, of Jose Mourinho commenting on how he was going to make Japhet Tanganga a known player. Having started and played well versus Liverpool and demonstrated an ability to contribute from multiple areas in defense, Tanganga looked a real contributor. Then Japhet got injured and the young defender has not been seen on the field since.

Japhet Tanganga Tottenham Breakthrough

While Tanganga had played one match under Mauricio Pochettino – Spurs Carabao Cup loss to Colchester United; Japhet was not even on the bench in a single other game under the Argentine. It was January of 2020 that Japhet Tanganga made his Premier League debut against Liverpool.  While Spurs lost the match, Tanganga held his own against Mo Salah and company demonstrating he could play at this level of football.

Following that match, Tanganga would start in 10 more matches between January 2020 and the lockdown in mid-March, sitting on the bench for only 3 matches over the time. Beyond starting Tanganga played 90 minutes in all but one of those 10 games, when he was pulled against Wolves to bring on more attackers.

These were not meaningless minutes Tanganga was playing either. Tanganga was particularly impressive in victories over Middlesboro and against Southampton. However, just when it seemed everything was working for Japhet Tanganga, Covid-19 struck and play was suspended. During training for the return to play in June Tanganga suffered a stress fracture in his back and missed the first five games of project restart as a result.

While Japhet was on the bench for the final four matches of the season, he never made it on the pitch and his continued breakout would have to wait.

Where is Japhet Tanganga?

At this point the breakout continues to wait. After recovering from the back issues, Tanganga penned a new deal with the club in July, keeping him with the club until 2025. As preseason approached, Tanganga was given a new number, moving from 39 to his new number 25.

However, as Tottenham started preparing for this season, Tanganga was again injured causing him to miss the first five matches of the season. Japhet did start and play 70 minutes in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup win over Chelsea but has not been in the squad since.

The club has been quiet on what exactly is wrong with Japhet Tanganga at this point, with Jose Mourinho noting that he would be out a few more weeks with a tendon issue back in September. Then it looked promising as Tanganga was called up the England U21 squad, but subsequently withdrew with injury.

Given the lack of information around Tanganga’s injury and the addition of Joe Rodon giving the team a fifth senior center-half it could be worse than first reported, but we hope not. The good news is that Japhet Tanganga is young and the team does not have to rely on him at this moment so he can take his time get fully healthy. I know I look forward to seeing him back on the field, just wish we knew when that might be.