Tottenham Hotspur head into Wednesday evening’s Champions League meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt on something of a mixed run of form, with Antonio Conte’s side having lost one, drawn one and won one of their last three fixtures in all competitions.
And, with the defeat being a resounding 3-1 loss to north London rivals Arsenal, the draw being a 0-0 stalemate with tonight’s European opponents and the win being a narrow 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend, it is clear to see that goalscoring has been something of a problem for Spurs in recent weeks.
As such, it would appear wise for Conte to attempt to set up his starting XI in a much more attack-minded manner for the visit of Eintracht this evening, especially as a victory against the Bundesliga side would see Tottenham take a huge step towards securing qualification for the knockout stages of the competition.
However, rather than the Italian making sweeping changes to his frontline, there is perhaps one less obvious change that Conte could make that would very much look to add a spark of attacking intent to the Spurs side – finally unleashing Djed Spence.
Despite the club having signed the 22-year-old wing-back as a result of his remarkable returns in the position for Nottingham Forest last season, the England U21 international has so far played just one minute of competitive football for Tottenham.
However, with Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty having combined for a total of zero goals and just one assist, as well as creating no big chances for their teammates, over their accumulative 15 appearances in all competitions so far this season, it is clear to see that a change is now needed at right wing-back.
And, with Spence having more than proven he is capable of contributing in an attacking capacity from right wing-back last term, the 53-year-old manager simply must give the youngster an opportunity to show what he can bring to the Tottenham side against Eintracht this evening.
Indeed, over his 45 Championship appearances for Forest in 2021/22, the £13m-rated defender was in fantastic form going forwards, scoring two goals, registering five assists and creating six big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 0.6 shots, making one key pass and completing 1.8 dribbles per game.
The £20m summer signing also earned extremely high praise from Ian Wright, who, after watching the youngster in Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup, went as far as to compare the 22-year-old to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James.
Speaking on the Wrighty’s House podcast, the Premier League legend said: “I saw him after the game and said: ‘Listen, my friend. You’re on loan from Middlesbrough and I don’t know what’s happened there, because if you can’t get into the Middlesbrough side, I don’t know what’s wrong, so I need to know the full story’.
“But let me say, that was one of the best right-back performances I have seen for a very long time. A very long time. If we are talking about right-backs performing at an unbelievable level, we’re talking Reece James and Trent.
“But I have not seen a combative, technical, swashbuckling performance like that for a very long time. I said to him afterwards: ‘Whatever’s happening, whatever you’re doing, the level you’ve just shown us here is the level you have to be consistently hitting, Djed’. I said to him, in all seriousness” ‘That level we saw there? You should be in the Premier League’.”
As such, with Spence having more than proven he is capable of turning in exceptional attacking displays against some very big sides, Conte simply must afford the defender an opportunity to impress tonight, as the youngster could well prove to be something of a much-needed game-changer for Tottenham at wing-back.