The Nuno Santo era could not have got off to a more perfect start for Tottenham Hotspur.
They sit top of the Premier League standings heading into the first international break of the season and have made it through the qualification stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
After sacking Jose Mourinho in mid-April, chairman Daniel Levy was reportedly on the lookout for an attack-minded head coach – one that can develop the club’s young prospects at the same time.
It’s still early days but Spurs are the lowest scorers in the top ten, though they are yet to concede a single goal after three successive wins. Nuno has also given an opportunity to payers like Japhet Tangana and Oliver Skipp, so there is that balance that Levy was looking for, in some respect.
You could argue that the Portuguese is lacking the sort of creative presence that can elevate Spurs’ game even more and perhaps he can kill two birds with one stone by looking to one of their more promising youth products.
Once again, it’s Harry Kane that sits near the top of the creativity charts, despite being their striker and only starting one game. Only one other player has averaged more than one key pass per game, as per WhoScored.
Nuno has trusted Dele Alli to start in a more advanced role in midfield but he’s yet to provide a key chance and is still some way off his 2016/17 form that saw him register 18 goals and seven assists in just one season.
Spurs’ next Alli could be found in Dilan Markanday, who just last week scored a hat-trick for the U23 squad.
According to the club’s official website, the 20-year-old gem is a ‘clever attacking midfielder who normally plays on the right’ – in some ways, this is similar to the Englishman under Mauricio Pochettino.
Furthermore, Markanday has earned a comparison to former academy star Marcus Edwards.
“Markanday has looked bright today. Have always felt he has a very similar running and dribbling style to Marcus Edwards,” football.london’s Alasdair Gold said. He also praised him when Spurs’ U19s faced Inter Milan in 2018.
“Inter are struggling to deal with Dilan Markanday. His dribbling and passing ability is pulling their defence and midfield all over the place.”
Spurs have only scored three goals in their opening three games, so it’s this sort of presence that is required in the no.10 role. Nuno should consider unleashing the U23 sensation and in doing so, he may well discover the next Alli in north London.