James Maddison's sticky form and why forgotten player deserves a chance instead

James Maddison has really struggled to regain his form after coming back from injury, and this is my case for starting a forgotten about player in his position.
James Maddison has struggled to regain form post-injury, prompting my argument for starting a forgotten player in his position.
James Maddison has struggled to regain form post-injury, prompting my argument for starting a forgotten player in his position. / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Back in early November, on that infamous night against Chelsea, Maddison's superb early-season form was halted by a tough ankle injury that kept him sidelined for the best part of three months.

Since this injury, Spurs' number 10 has failed to refind his early season momentum and has looked seriously rusty and out of sorts.

Maddison was dragged off after 64 minutes on Sunday, with the score 3-0. Once he went off, Spurs pulled two goals back and got so close to pulling off a famous comeback.

Per SofaScore, Maddison has only registered 1 goal and 2 assists in 12 Premier League appearances since his return from injury.

By contrast, in his first 11 league appearances to start the season, Maddison had 3 goals and 5 assists (SofaScore), as well as looking superb to the eye. There is a clear drop-off in numbers and performances.

So what does Ange do? Does he keep starting Maddison every game, in the hope he will eventually refind his form? Or does he give someone else, more deserving, a run in the team?

Well, I certainly hope it's the latter. This is the perfect time to reintroduce forgotten man Giovani Lo Celso to the starting eleven.

During Maddison's absence earlier on in the season, Lo Celso got some more minutes in the team and often impressed. He scored in back-to-back games against Aston Villa and Manchester City, before a very impressive performance against West Ham.

READ MORE: Tottenham left-back conundrum, what should Ange do?

He started in the game on New Year's Eve at home to Bournemouth, playing 82 minutes and registering two assists. He has only started four league games this season, yet has 4 goals and assists (SofaScore).

Lo Celso has always been a very good player, regardless of his Spurs career so far not going as planned. He was a crucial part of Argentina's 2021 Copa America triumph and would have been starting at the World Cup if not for a cruel untimely injury just a few weeks before the tournament.

Despite only averaging 28 minutes per game across 18 league appearances this season, Lo Celso averages 2.4 ball recoveries and 2.8 ground duels per game (SofaScore) so has that added tenacity that Ange likes from his players. Spurs would have even more impetus pressing from the front with the Argentine midfielder in the team.

Lo Celso is a player who is easy on the eye, a dynamic, low center-of-gravity dribbler, and a slick passer. He has all of the on and off-ball traits that suit Ange's system. With Maddison's form or lack thereof, there really is nothing to lose from giving a seasoned pro a chance to start a few games to finish the season. If he can start for Argentina, he can start for Spurs.

We will have to see if Ange's stubbornness prevents this from happening, but he would give the team a better chance of finishing the season strongly if he makes this tweak and drops Maddison for Lo Celso.