He is Tottenham's club-record signing, but his first season at White Hart Lane didn't go to plan for himself or the club. Erik Lamela will be looking to make up for lost time this season, as the Argentine bids to show the Spurs fans, technical director Franco Baldini and CEO Daniel Levy exactly why they splashed the cash to secure his services last summer.
It was an extremely tough first season in England for the 22-year-old; he had to deal with long spells on the sidelines with injury. Further, the new culture and language, and the fast-paced nature of the Premier League made it hard to adapt.
Spurs' lack of continuity in the dugout did not exactly help any of the new signings. That said, neither André Villas-Boas nor his successor Tim Sherwood seemed to have any faith in the former Roma star. Under their respective spells in the dugout, he was mostly used as a substitute. Add to that fact that he's yet to get off the mark goalscoring wise in competitive action, he certainly has a point to prove - not only to the fans but maybe even to himself as next season fast approaches.
Nicknamed Coco, Lamela will be looking to recapture the form that made Tottenham invest such a large amount of money in his talent. However, it looks like under his compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, he will be given that chance to kick-start his Tottenham career.
The signs of him achieving that goal seem positive so far. He has started three of the five friendly matches, grabbing three goals - two of which game in the match against Jermain Defoe's Toronto FC side. The confidence and belief that Pochettino has given him seems to be bearing fruit. He and Christian Eriksen look like they are beginning to form a telepathic understanding in the line of three behind the striker.
He must carry his good pre-season form into the start of the season. He has magnificent talent, and this year should be the year the Tottenham faithful, and the rest of the league see the real Erik Lamela. If you ask the Roma support, an on-form injury-free Lamela is a joy to watch.
It is a fresh start for him, but there is no doubt even under Pochettino, that if his performances do not improve, he will be used as the latest expensive stick to beat the Tottenham hierarchy with.
It is possibly the biggest season in the young man's career to date. He must seize the opportunity and faith show in him by his new boss, as he will certainly be one of Spurs' main men as they strive to break into the top four for the first time since the days of Harry Redknapp.
Only time will tell on how Lamela responds this season. He looks fit, sharp, and hungry to get properly started in a Spurs jersey. This can only be a massive positive for everyone at the club. A fully focused and motivated Lamela can only be an exciting prospect for his teammates, Pochettino and the Tottenham fans, as they have yet to see the best of him in a Tottenham shirt.
He's not Gareth Bale, but the Erik Lamela era at White Hart Lane may just be about to begin.
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