Lamela is going to take the entire season to appreciate what he needs to do in order to compete in this league. The worrying thing is he's either being allowed to play the way he's playing (step overs included) without instructions or he's not being coached accordingly to dig deep, work hard and get the basics right rather than constantly look for that visionary pass or fancy footwork f*ckery every single time. Maybe he's not capable of the digging deep stuff.
I know that considering we're in the midst of a clusterf**k that we may as well just let him be but it would be nice if there was some acknowledgement from player and coaches that he's struggling to retain consistency and that we occasionally witness evidence of lessons learnt.
The £30M price tag doesn't help, that isn't his fault. However because of the outlay we should be expecting someone that is far more capable at adapting to the English league. Maybe he does need to beef up. Maybe it will be a slow evolution. Trouble is, everything is a bit slow at Spurs currently and the demand is to see something, anything that can endeavour to entertain and win us games. Lamela is more Taarabt than he is Ginola. But then Ginola was a finished article. We've basically paid £30M for raw potential.
His ability is evident. His application keeps crashing. I get the feeling that he's trying to be the player we want him to be - the player he believes he can be - but it's like attempting to perform a play you've never read. You need to graft, you need to sacrifice. You need to know your lines before you're able to improvise. He has to step away from the expectancy and hype and create something tangible for all of us (and himself) to grab hold of. Only then will he be able to own the stage.
Last season was a write-off thanks to injury and the abhorrent mess the team (management including) was in. This season he's had ample opportunities to impress. He was more comfortable in Italy thanks to their less frantic build up play compared to England's physicality. I still don't know whether he's better suited centrally, just behind the lead striker or cutting in from the wing in that headache inducing inverted role. This could probably morph into another discussion about the distinct lack of a traditional 'winger' that the modern game seems to have rendered unnecessary leaving us stuck with an assortment of inside forwards that don't seem to blend into the teams shape when selected together.
It's tricky. Do we drop him or do we allow him to learn the harsh realities out on the field, sometimes to the detriment of the teams shape and balance?
At Spurs we love a bit of flair, a bit of talent. It has to be more than the superficial, superfluous cameos. I still firmly believe it's far too early to write Lamela off mainly because he (along with some of his team-mates) are still not playing in a side that has crafted its own consistency with style and identity. That doesn't mean that some players can't prove their worth when the going gets tough. The same finger of disapproval can be waved at Roberto Soldado, a player that no longer has any excuses about formational isolation. Just how does one define the exact moment when we decide to state '...this isn't going to work'?
Our boy Erik is still covered up in bubble-wrap. It's time to start popping.