Joining Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, Nabil Bentaleb was long considered one of the club’s better youth talents, expected to make the breakthrough at White Hart Lane.
In the same 20-23 age bracket as Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Eric Dier, Bentaleb was given chances earlier and for it while it looked like he’d be taking them.
But things changed, the player’s relationship with Mauricio Pochettino didn’t seem to develop as well as others, and there were reports of problems off the pitch, and a frustration from Bentaleb.
With Dele Ali getting the role as attacking star, and further competition for midfield places, Bentaleb didn’t feel he could develop and went to Schalke, on a loan which quickly turned into a permanent move.
Portrayed at Schalke as the best thing since sliced bread or a ‘slacker’, depending on the leaks being pushed from the club at a certain time, the midfielder has done well to battle through a tough season.
Speaking to Bild, the 22 year old was asked how he stands outs: “At Tottenham I played as a six and made very simple passes. I was said to be safe – even in the English media. Only Markus Weinzierl told me before my substitution in Frankfurt: Go to the box, get goals and make opportunities! So I should play more offensively, as an eight.
“I have added a new element to my game: the goalscoring. In England I didn’t score a single goal in the league. But this is a bonus, not my main task.”