Vincent Janssen could make his first appearance of the 2018/19 season in what seems like a sudden bolt from the blue. Janssen’s foot injury was seemingly the nail in the coffin; he didn’t even make the 25-man Premier League squad for this season. However, with Mousa Dembélé and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou departing the club, two spaces appear. With Harry Kane still recovering, this is a natural move by Mauricio Pochettino. After all, he only has Fernando Llorente to rely on; misfiring yet scoring the crucial winning goal against Watford to grab three points. Enter Janssen.
Vincent Janssen Returns to the Tottenham First Team
One Last Chance?
Prior to this move, Janssen was left in a very dark place; a senior footballer but left out of the first team squad. Essentially, he was dead wood. Now, he at least has a tangible hope to get back into the squad. Harry Kane has previously suffered injuries when Janssen was less tarnished. But, during those pivotal moments, the Dutchman failed to impress. There is no doubt that this is the very final chance for Janssen. In reality, it may well be a case of advertising his services to the transfer market. After all, he has not played any senior football this season; this is enough to put off any club from signing him. The club, and through Pochettino, may be doing this player a favour.
Janssen and Llorente
What can Janssen do for the club? Namely, he can score goals. Except, he has been far less than prolific for Tottenham, scoring two league goals in 26 appearances. He is a spectre of his former self, once the top Eredivisie striker’s at quite a young age. In his previous performances, he carries none of that previous confidence.
There have been some flashes of good play, though. One of his greatest assets is his hold-up play. By shielding the ball with back to goal, he is able to turn opponents or lay it off to a team-mate. This sounds rather simple, however, it is useful. Llorente has been complacent at times performing this role, with some poor touches. Herein reveals another purpose to Janssen: to give Llorente some competition. Now, Llorente, as aforementioned, was vital in that win over Watford, with a bumbled assist meaning he actually contributed to both goals; essentially he won the game for Spurs. By throwing Janssen into the mix, Pochettino may well get the best out of both players.
A combination of Llorente and Janssen up top should only be reserved for the direst of situations though. They both lack any real pace, and both provide the same kinds of roles as target men, or forwards able to link up with the players around them. Nevertheless, they both are physical players that can bludgeon defences in the latter stages of a match.
A quick case must be made for the preservation of Troy Parrott’s playing time. The young Republic of Ireland striker will soon turn 17. He has been really impressing in the youth academy, scoring a goal every 57 minutes in the U18’s Premier League. Adding Janssen to the squad list potentially blocks Parrott’s progress.
Before this move, Kazaiah Sterling was the striker left on the bench and indeed made his debut last year in the Champions League. Now, he has been loaned to Sunderland. As a result, it is likely that Parrott would be the replacement for Sterling. However, if Vincent Janssen is training with the first team, working hard to prepare, he surely deserves some kind of chance. Furthermore, he is a far more experienced player than Parrott, with greater physicality and so on. Therefore, Janssen’s inclusion is a necessary move but one that is inevitability going to deprive Parrott of game time.
There is a good reason for why Pochettino excluded Janssen. He isn’t the top class striker Spurs need. However, there is an equally important reason why Pochettino has brought him out of the cold. Spurs need to increase their depth. Janssen will be happy enough to bide his time on the bench, taking an opportunity if one arises. But, he fills a Troy Parrott-sized space on the bench, throttling a young star’s potential. With Harry Kane still not fit, there is time enough for both Janssen and Llorente to cement their places at the club. Both provide some value, but nothing that equals the value of Kane’s phenomenal goalscoring.