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The blossoming of Erik Lamela has been one of 2015’s more under-reported storylines.
The Argentinian winger spent the latter part of the 2014-15 season evolving into a workaholic on Spurs’ right flank.
Almost becoming a primarily defensive wide midfielder, Lamela’s work-rate was remarkable, and he was vital to the continued implementation of Mauricio Pochettino’s pressing game.
Lamela was contributing less in attack than might have been hoped for, but he locked down his flank and showed a level of toughness that helped him secure his place in the team.
In the first half of this campaign, Lamela has married that defensive efficiency with a similarly improved attacking output.
Before the turn of the year, he has already enjoyed his best Spurs campaign in terms of goals and assists.
He’s scored eight times and laid on three goals for his teammates in just 25 appearances in all competitions.
Only two players have scored more goals in this season’s Europa League than Lamela’s five, and the Argentinian appears to be relishing a more senior role in Spurs’ squad.
Performances like those that have been Lamela’s benchmark in 2015 have more than silenced the ridicule that once accompanied any reference to him and the significant transfer fee that brought him from Rome to London.