The Tottenham first-teamer who has become a forgotten man

Following a commanding 4-1 win over West Ham at the weekend, Tottenham are on an unbeaten run of 12 games and look like a side fully capable of finishing in the top four this season.

Mauricio Pochettino’s young side appear to be buying into his football ideals, with Spurs playing a brand of attacking football to delight their fans and resembling a tougher outfit in 2015-16.

However, one of the factors that has really contributed to the White Hart Lane side’s progressive campaign to date has been a settled side.

Although the Argentine has a number of positions that can be interchanged, up to eight or nine of the current starting XI are automatic selections if fit and available.

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As such, some of the Lilywhites fringe figures are spending prolonged periods on the sidelines and are being restricted to action in the Europa League.

Given the competitive nature of Spurs’ squad currently, injuries can not only restrict a respective player’s chances of featuring while they are on the treatment table, but a return to the starting line-up is made all the more difficult.

Ryan Mason, who was a virtual ever-present last term under Pochettino, has found this out, with Dele Alli taking his midfield slot since the England international was hurt against Sunderland.

However, arguably one first-team player that featured regularly last season but is now something of a forgotten man is Nacer Chadli.

The Belgium international was one of the seven players signed by the North London club with Gareth Bale’s world-record transfer fee and has been adjudged as one of the only successes.

Outwith Christian Eriksen who was also acquired in the summer of 2013, Chadli’s arrival has been commonly hailed as a good piece of business. The former Twente man started to show his calibre last season, with his goals and assists contributing to the side’s collective efforts.

He offered up 11 Premier League goals from midfield last term, no mean feat, and was selected to start 28 of the side’s domestic fixtures.

However, with Chadli still on the treatment table after picking up injury earlier this term, his potential for slotting straight into the starting line-up is not guaranteed.

Eriksen will always command one of the three attacking midfield berths in Pochettino’s side, while summer signing Son Heung-min was acquired at considerable expense and looked like a star in the making.

Add to this the rejuvenated figure of Mousa Dembele, England’s young hope Alli and a much-improved Erik Lamela and it is clear to see that competition for midfield berths is specifically fierce.

Looking at current form, it seems likely that Spurs will continue with a trio of Eriksen, Son and either Dembele or Alli, with the other playing deeper in central midfield.

Chadli still has a role to play in Tottenham’s top-four hopes this term, but upon his return from injury he may well find that patience is required before he is thrown back into the mix.