Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
“Here’s the outstanding stat of the weekend for you. On his full league debut, Nabil Bentaleb, Tottenham’s 19-year-old midfielder, made 106 passes. That’s more passes than any other player in the Premier League and he completed 93.4 per cent of them, too. That is phenomenal. He made 17 more than the next best, his team-mate Mousa Dembele (89), more than double Michael Carrick (50) and was only six shy of Barcelona’s pass master Xavi (112).” – Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail.
Leaving aside the fact it is in Jamie Redknapp’s interest to big up Nabil Bentaleb, as the youngster is the current face of Tim Sherwood’s Spurs, the above quote is unbeleivable.
Even comparing Bentaleb to Michael Carrick is far fetched, as a midfielder who graced White Hart Lane with distinction before heading to Manchester United. But, Xavi, well, this is simply outrageous.
The intriguing aspect of Bentaleb’s burgeoning career so far has been the disparity between the media and Spurs fans, who have generally played down the youngster’s performances so far.
For many Tottenham fans, Sandro and Paulinho remain Tottenham’s first choice central midfield pairing, in a 4-4-2, and many believe the likes of Etienne Capoue and Lewis Holtby have been unfairly sidelined under Sherwood.
When Andros Townsend returns to the first team (he reportedly played exceptionally well for the Spurs Under-21s today) will Christian Eriksen be moved into a central role, further complicating Bentaleb’s position.
From the video above it is clear Bentaleb had a fine game, shooting well from distance and keeping the ball well – but were the numbers inflated by a host of simple passes?