This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Lucas Moura has to be in the Tottenham Hotspur team.
The Brazil international has made just three starts in the Premier League this season and has completed the 90 minutes twice, in the opening game of the season against Aston Villa and the third against Newcastle United.
He started against Olympiacos in the Champions League, scoring in the first half of the 2-2 draw, but was substituted off in the 76th minute, while he played just 19 minutes in the 7-2 thumping at the hands of Bayern Munich. Lucas was on the bench against Red Star Belgrade.
And all of this is really rather puzzling.
The 27-year-old, of course, enjoyed an exceptional season in 2018/19, netting 15 goals in all competitions, including that famous hat-trick against Ajax in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Following Harry Kane’s return to fitness, he was benched for the final in Madrid, playing just 24 minutes as a sub, though he did put pen to paper on a new contract in the summer.
One would think, then, that he was at least promised a fair few minutes this term.
The fact is, though, that he has played just 86 of them across the last three games, losses against Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion and a draw with Watford.
With Spurs in something of a rut, it is bizarre at best and mismanagement at worst to leave Lucas on the bench consistently.
Even in his short appearances this season, Lucas has scored once, assisted one more, registered 1.6 shots per game, 0.6 key passes and 1.3 dribbles, per WhoScored.
He is a pacey, explosive presence and, as evidenced last season, he can produce magic from nothing.
The only other options on the right of the attack are Christian Eriksen, who played there against Liverpool, and Erik Lamela. The former endured a torrid time against the Reds, proving that if he is going to be effective, he has to be deployed through the middle, while Lamela is injured once again. Since being at Spurs, the Argentine has missed a total of 85 games through injury.
Lucas, then, is the reliable, assured option. He is motivated – he has one over on Eriksen after committing his future to the club – while he is not made of glass, either.
As Spurs look to come out of their rut, reverting to two goalscoring wingers in Son Heung-Min and Lucas would go a long way to making their attack look all the more dangerous.
Leaving him on the bench does nobody any favours at all.