The Chalkboard: James Maddison’s arrival at Spurs could force Dele Alli to play on the left side of midfield

According to a report from The Mirror, Tottenham are lining up a move for James Maddison as part of a conscious effort to boost their home-grown contingent.

On the chalkboard

Leicester City’s playmaking wizard has been identified as a potential replacement for Christian Eriksen, as per The Mirror, with rumours linking the Denmark international to Real Madrid continuing to run rife in the British media.

Whether he will depart the club or not remains to be seen, but it seems plausible to assume that Maddison will only become a major target in the event of his departure.

The 22-year-old has been a revelation since swapping Norwich City for Leicester in the summer. His natural confidence to receive possession in tight positions and take risks have really caught the eye, and the quality of his final ball has regularly matched the enticing build up play which precedes it.

A return of five goals and four assists for a player partaking in his first full season at this level is outstanding, but his performances have not been completely flawless.

Maddison has looked natural, elegant and at ease in a No.10 role behind the striker. His effectiveness, though, has notably diminished when Claude Puel has decided to start him on the left side of his attacking midfield.

That decision has often been scrapped and seen the England U21 international move into a central position mid-way through proceedings, and his struggle to thrive in that role suggests Pochettino may be forced to tinker with his side in order to incorporate the budding England international.

Alli to play inside left position?

The fluidity of Spurs’ attacking midfield options facilitates the interchanging of positions between the likes of Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, Eriksen and Son Heung-Min.

If Maddison joins Spurs Pochettino would presumably expect a similar level of fluidity from the new recruit, but his success at No.10 with Leicester hints that Alli may be forced to compromise.

Eriksen’s ability to play from the left has often allowed the former MK Dons man to play off Kane in a central role, where he can use his instinctive quality to collect the ball in pockets of space and ghost into the penalty area with apparent invisibility.

But Maddison does not appear to possess the same level of versatility as Eriksen and, unless Pochettino is able to change this on the training ground, Alli may be forced to play on the left more often.

While speaking to Jamie Redknapp, the Foxes man previously named Philippe Coutinho as a player he would like to emulate in his career, per Daily Mail.

‘Philippe Coutinho is someone I really like, a No 10 who scores and creates goals.’

With that knowledge in mind, it’s clear that Maddison regards himself as a central player first and foremost.

Alli could be set for a regular berth on the left if Tottenham get the man they reportedly want to replace Eriksen in north London, but that may not be such a bad thing as his darting, diagonal off-the-ball runs infield from that position can be a devastating weapon.

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Article title: The Chalkboard: James Maddison’s arrival at Spurs could force Dele Alli to play on the left side of midfield

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