There's one very obvious precedent when it comes to judging whether or not Dele Alli can realistically get back into the first-team frame with Tottenham Hotspur.
The big name casualty in Jose Mourinho's summer overhaul of Spurs' attack, the 24-year-old has amassed just 70 Premier League minutes this season and Alli has been left out of four of the six match-day squads.
Frozen out for both club and country, his current situation is a far cry from the meteoric rise that saw Alli leap from League One to the Premier League as the kind of overnight sensation many pop stars would be jealous of.
Still, it does seem as if all not is lost when it comes to being out of the squad under the self-proclaimed 'Special One'. Indeed, Tanguy Ndombele can certainly attest to that.
With the manager who signed the Frenchman at club-record expense in Mauricio Pochettino sacked after only five months of working together, Mourinho's arrival saw him fall out of favour.
This season, however, Ndombele is a regular starter.
One of only six players to feature in every league game this season as Mourinho looks to rotate a scarily deep squad to fight across all fronts, he's certainly proven there is a way back.
December's trip to Turf Moor was a low point - much as Alli's substitution at half-time against Everton on the opening day was - but it didn't mean all was lost. After all, Alli was a key figure under Mourinho upon his initial arrival, so has demonstrated he can have a role to play before.
There is, of course, the schedule to deal with too.
The most condensed campaign in modern history, options within a squad will be as important as ever (late November alone sees Spurs play three games in eight days) so there should be ample opportunities to feature.
With that in mind, it's hard to completely write Alli's time at Tottenham off just yet. Traveling to Antwerp tonight for their Europa League tie, Ndombele provides a very obvious precedent for him.
- Tottenham are now amongst the favourites to win the Premier League
- Spurs' academy is actually one of the best in the world
- Gary Neville has drawn a major comparison between a Spurs star and a Liverpool star