Mauricio Pochettino identifies new season as Eric Lamela's time to shine

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has thrown down the gauntlet for misfiring star Erik Lamela to finally find his feet in the Premier League.

The 23-year-old is Spurs' club-record signing, bought for £25.7 million, but has so far failed to justify his steep price tag, managing just two league goals last term.

Pochettino, however, has grown impatient with the Argentine and expects more, according to BBC Sport.


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He said: "I think this is a key season for him. After two seasons at Tottenham, now is the moment for him".

"We believe we can develop his game and I think we need to be patient with him."

Whilst insistent that patience is needed to allow Lamela to blossom, there is an undeniable sense of urgency and candour in Pochettino's words - he clearly feels that Lamela could and should produce more.

The Argentina international was optimistically tipped by Ossie Ardiles, a Spurs legend, to be the new Lionel Messi, and while such comparisons seem fanciful at the moment, such belief demonstrates the untapped talent that Lamela clearly possesses.

Lamela's finest hour in a Tottenham shirt was his famous Rabona goal in the Europa League last season, though his true pedigree was shown at Roma, where he scored an impressive 15 goals in 33 games from midfield.

Tottenham were uncharacteristically quieter than usual in this summer's transfer window, which may explain the need for Lamela to start producing the goods. There was no great investment at White Hart Lane, as Daniel Levy - renowned as one of the toughest negotiators in the game - sought to balance the books.

This, in turn, places greater reliance on existing stars, and particularly those that are seen to be underperforming.

Spurs did complete some business, though, notably tying down promising defender Eric Dier to a new long-term contract in recent weeks. Dier will now be at the club until the summer of 2020.

The lack of activity will also mean increased reliance on the out-of-sorts Harry Kane, who is the next great hope in English football. The 22-year-old came from absolute obscurity to score 21 goals last season but has largely struggled to replicate such form this campaign, even despite scoring twice for England during the international break.

One expects, though, that the inevitable return of Kane will bode well for Lamela, and vice versa, with the pair key components in Tottenham's attacking force.

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