Tottenham’s youth midfield talent, who turned 20 in November, is a rising star but with that being said, relatively under-rated in European football today. Read below, for exactly why.
English football has been criticised for the lack of young talents shining through the first-team ranks at the top Premier League clubs, but Nabil Bentaleb is certainly an exception. The 20-year-old Algerian midfielder joined the Spurs set-up in 2012 after non-professional spells in France and Belgium respectively. He signed a new contract until 2018 as a result of his impressive displays, and was consequently promoted into the first-team itself, back in the 2013-14 season; where he made 20 appearances in all club competitions as well as featuring in last summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Since then, he has flourished in the Tottenham side, and is often one of the first names on the team sheet, when he is available and fit, mind you.
Bentaleb has already played the same amount of games as he did last season, so far in the 2014-15 campaign; for both Spurs and Algeria (at the African Cup of Nations), where he scored his second international goal in a 2-0 victory over Senegal last week.
Although his overall stats upon first viewing do not look too impressive with two goals and an assist to his name, he is a hard-working midfielder who is ready to put his body on the line for his team-mates, a credible asset for any professional team to have. He is versatile and can play anywhere from CDM to CAM in the midfield, but is mostly preferred as a defensive-minded midfield player who looks to pass the ball up to the front-players, whilst doing the dirty work and getting involved in tackles galore.
His main strengths include his passing, whether that be short-range or long-range, as well as a lack of fear shown to get involved in 50-50 challenges and tackles to win the ball. The only real downside to his game, apart from the lack of eye-catching stats (goals and assists), is his lack of disclipine; three yellow cards in his last five matches proves this. The rate at which he is developing and maturing is very fast, and he is without a doubt, one of Europe’s finest young prospects for the future – as well as a key player for Mauricio Pochettino‘s men.