Another professional debut was handed out by Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho as Marcel Lavinier earned a 16-minute cameo during his side’s 4-0 win over Wolfsberger in the Europa League.
The 20-year-old academy sensation replaced Matt Doherty late in the second half and enjoyed an energetic spell that saw him record 19 touches. He also delivered two tackles, made six passes from eight attempts and won 80% of his five duels, via SofaScore.
On the whole, it was hugely encouraging, which begs the question – could he break into the first-team full-time?
The right-back spot has been a problematic area for Mourinho all season with the likes of Doherty (nine league starts), Serge Aurier (14 league starts) and Japhet Tanganga (two starts) splitting game time there.
There are doubts over them all.
According to ESPN, the Portuguese manager remains unconvinced by Doherty, Aurier will soon enter the final year of his current contract and has always been regarded as a liability, while we’re still yet to learn of Tanganga’s natural role despite hints that he has a future as a full-back.
Lavinier could solve this should his development continue at this increasing rate, and it has every chance to as he’s part of Spurs’ 25-man UEL squad for the remainder of the campaign.
You could even argue that Spurs have never truly replaced Kieran Trippier, who swapped north London for Madrid in 2019. In some ways, the emerging prospect is a carbon-copy as he too can play on the other side of defence and through middle.
As noted by the Daily Mail, Lavinier’s speed is a key asset and is a very versatile weapon to have at your disposal, especially given his direct nature – only further drawing comparisons to the Atletico Madrid man.
The young defender was snapped up by Spurs in the summer on a free following his release from local rivals Chelsea, and that move has turned out to be a masterstroke thus far.
In fact, it was perhaps a surprise to see him depart Stamford Bridge after notching three goals and eight assists across their U18 and U23 squads, as per Transfermarkt.
There’s still a long way to do, but Mourinho really could unearth Spurs’ future at right-back in Lavinier.
Forget Tanganga, the 20-year-old could possess so much more potential.