Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that this is the final season for Erik Lamela to prove himself at White Hart Lane, according to reports from talkSPORT.
Lamela arrived at Tottenham and is still the club’s record signing after the Lilywhites splashed £30million on his transfer back in the summer of 2013, but it is safe to say that the Argentina international has played nowhere near that value.
And last month, it was thought that the 23-year-old was set to leave the club ahead of deadline day, however the failed transfer of Saido Berahino from West Bromwich Albion forced Spurs to keep Lamela at least until January.
It may actually come as a blessing in disguise, with Lamela assisting Ryan Mason to score their winner against Sunderland last weekend and Pochettino believes it is time for Lamela to shine ahead of their Europa League clash against Qarabag on Thursday.
“We believe we can develop his game and I think we need to be patient with him,” the Tottenham head coach said of his compatriot.
“It’s true, now is the third season here, but we believe in him and we want to give the opportunity to show his value. We have a lot of games to play, for competition, we need a good player in all positions. I think with the squad we have, we have a very good balance.
“I think this is a key season for him. After two seasons at Tottenham, now is the moment for him. Not to put pressure, but it’s true. It’s a key moment for him to develop and to move on his game. It’s important.
“Yes I knew him, it’s normal – in Argentina I have friends.
“Lamela was young, long, blond hair and he made big impact. Always if there was going to appear a player in this style, left-footed, before he was the new [Diego] Maradona.
“Now he’s the new [Lionel] Messi. It’s like this. All the people compare him with new Messi and it’s impossible to stop that.”
Lamela made 46 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring five goals.