This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Tottenham Hotspur and Argentina defender Juan Foyth has enjoyed a strong showing at the Copa America.
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The 22-year-old only really made his first-team breakthrough in 2018/19, as he made 12 appearances in the Premier League and three in the club’s run to the Champions League final.
He was included in Argentina’s squad for the tournament, however, and has enjoyed a relatively impressive showing.
Indeed, Foyth made four appearances for his country, including playing 90 minutes in the semi-final defeat to Brazil.
Per WhoScored, he averaged 3.8 tackles per game, along with 3.5 clearances.
On the ball, he made an average of 29.8 passes per game with a completion rate of 90.8%, and also made 1.5 dribbles per game.
He is raw, of course, and also made 1.8 fouls per game while he was dribbled past, on average, 1.3 times per game.
Perhaps this speaks to playing in a system that does not prize defensive solidity; Foyth made fewer tackles, on average, in the Premier League, as well as fewer fouls.
Foyth is still a youngster in terms of his development and one has to feel that higher scrutiny is placed upon defenders who are learning their trade.
Yet he has equipped himself well thus far and is clearly ingratiating himself under Pochettino, who reportedly believes Foyth has the potential to become one of the best centre-backs in Europe.
The experience of a major international tournament, and the heartache that can come along with it, will hopefully stand Foyth in good stead to make further progress in England upon his return.
Spurs, of course, have a number of excellent central defenders, with Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez still on the books.
But when Foyth is given a chance, and one has to assume that he will be given Pochettino’s clear liking of the youngster, he has all the tools required to grab it with both hands. Those 12 Premier League appearances represent a number that can be readily improved upon next time out.