It seems bizarre that someone who is universally loved, undoubtedly talented and of late desperately missed, be forced into the footballing wilderness by a club. Yet this is the situation that currently faces Tottenham’s prodigious young midfielder Lewis Holtby as he continues to graft his way back into the reckoning out on loan at relegation-threatened Fulham.
When Lewis Holtby signed for Spurs back in January of last year his arrival was greeted with a wave of optimism. Indeed Spurs had fended off interest from a host of other clubs including Premier League rivals that had tracked the youngster for a number of years, and with a fee of around £1.5m being paid for the former Schalke man this was seen by many as yet another piece of Daniel Levy miracle work.
But since then it has hardly been plain sailing for the infectious young German international. Restricted to brief cameo appearances, Holtby has rarely been afforded the chance to impose himself at Spurs. Just the 10 league starts for his parent club are suggestive of a player that just hasn’t been able to fully convince his employers as of yet. But for me this is symptomatic of the Spurs midfield as a whole, aside from Christian Eriksen the rest of the Spurs engine room have proved to be unconvincing. Sherwood hasn’t been rotating because of injury, he just doesn’t know what his best midfield actually is; too many ill-fitting cogs in a sluggish Spurs machine.
His recent loan to Fulham has though given Lewis Holtby what seems to have been a second lease of life. Despite a frosty relationship between himself and current boss Felix Magath, the German has thrived in the freedom he has been afforded as the keystone of that Fulham midfield. If Fulham stay up, which they may well do now, it will be thanks in the main to the tireless efforts of their creative force Holtby who continues to flourish week in week out. His assist for Rodallega’s late winner last week was indicative of the quality that the 23 year old possesses. He is a cut above his relegation threatened teammates but even so he exudes the same drive and determination that has made him such a fans favourite over the years.
Speaking about his long-term future Holtby had the following to say:
“There is little sense in talking about other clubs since I have a long-term contract at Tottenham,” he told Goal.
“The status quo is that I will go back to Spurs after the summer holidays. I can’t tell you what is going to happen until then. My agent takes care of everything and as far as I know his mobile is always turned on.
“I loved playing for Tottenham and I would like to fulfil my contract there. But at first it is important to avoid relegation with Fulham.
“There is always lots of talk. Louis van Gaal is an exceptional coach, you can’t deny that. He led big teams to big success. I don’t know whether he will be the new coach and of course it is not.”
The comments made by Magath regarding Holtby’s work ethic came as a surprise; the German is full of energy and committed to the end. These traits are ones missing from a Spurs side that have all too often capitulated of late, with a midfield that looks sluggish and deliberative.
On merit it is hard to see why you would sell Lewis Holtby this summer, his teammates at Spurs are hardly setting the world alight and given how downbeat the White Hart Lane faithful have been the return of one of their favoured sons may at least bring back some cheer to the place.
The hope for Holtby is that new management will mean a change of direction for Spurs. Out of favour under AVB, will a summer of change and possibly the arrival of Louis van Gaal change the youngsters fortunes?
Those in and around the game will certainly hope so; the youngster’s enthusiasm is infectious and his all round technical ability isn’t something that should be understated either. Holtby has been a sore loss for Spurs for much of the season and a man that they would do well to hang on to this summer.
Is it time to bring Lewis Holtby back in from the cold?