Can Clinton N’Jie Become a Starter for Spurs?

Clinton N’Jie has become a super sub for Spurs so far this season.

Upon completing a £12 million move — way before Heung-Min Son would sign with Spurs for £22 million — there was a thought that Clinton N’Jie would push Nacer Chadli to the bench or at the very least, Érik Lamela.

Now with the aforementioned Heung-Min Son becoming a regular starter for Mauricio Pochettino’s lineup and Érik Lamela playing very well these past few games, not to mention having to keep Christian Eriksen in the starting eleven. This has made Clinton N’Jie nothing more than a bench player to start his Tottenham career.

But due to his ability to play on both flanks and as a striker, N’Jie has so far become a very good super sub for Pochettino. In fact, this is something that he’s done for the past six games starting with Spurs’ opening Europa League group stage match versus Qaraba? FK at home. Unfortunately for Clinton N’Jie, out of all six appearances, they’ve all appeared near the 65th minute and none have lasted more than 26 minutes — the longest N’Jie’s played which recently came against Swansea City. In essence, Clinton N’Jie is a super sub but who is only allowed less than 30 minutes to get into a groove to help spark the team.

It’s highly likely that sooner or later Mauricio Pochettino’s attacking four will consist of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Heung-Min Son and Clinton N’Jie. This will be a lineup that offers plenty of pace and opportunities for Harry Kane or anyone in the attacking third to score. They create enough chances as is, but could create more, which should translate to more shots, shots on target and most importantly, goals.

As for Érik Lamela while he has done well recently, there’s still a concern that his form won’t last much longer whether it’s due to defenses defending better, Lamela’s mistakes coming back to haunt him more often or like against Swansea, the Argentine winger was a non-factor for nearly an hour before making way for Andros Townsend.

To combat this potential problem, perhaps Mauricio Pochettino can turn his right midfielder position into a situation like the left-back spot. For certain games, Danny Rose and Ben Davies have alternated as the starter which has so far proven to work. This could happen with Clinton N’Jie and Érik Lamela.

For instance, opponents who can’t defend a pacey winger, Clinton N’Jie should be starting. When teams are more defensively sound and can stop attacking minded players well, Érik Lamela can start. He has the ability to link up well with teammates and although there will be times that Lamela will turn the ball over, he has shown that he’ll still 1.) tirelessly chase the player to recover the ball back which he wins back about half of the time and 2.) always moves the ball forward.

Clinton N’Jie can very well do the same things that Érik Lamela does — he may do it better — but so far, Mauricio Pochettino is more inclined to have the Cameroon international become a super sub than a starter for the time being. Hopefully that N’Jie’s substitution appearances up to this point, six games in all competitions, have been enough for Pochettino to give a couple of starts for N’Jie.


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