Ben Davies returned to training over the winter break, with Jose Mourinho confirming to Football London that the Welshman will be in the squad to face Aston Villa on Sunday after three months out with an ankle injury.
Nobody will be more pleased to see the 26-year-old back than Mourinho, who has constantly highlighted how important a figure he could be in his defensive setup as the inverted left-back, a position where the Portuguese has tried four other players since losing Davies in his first game in charge.
While there is an acknowledgement among Spurs fans that Gentle Ben seems naturally suited for this role, that is twinned with some concern as to what his return could mean for 20-year-old Japhet Tanganga, who has been nothing sort of sensational since breaking into the team in January.
So keen is Mourinho on Davies that it surely won’t be long perhaps until he is a regular on the left, where Tanganga has seen most of his minutes.
Serge Aurier could score an own goal and celebrate by stripping down to Arsenal-branded Y-fronts, and he’d still get his pick on the right, where Tanganga showed off his attacking ability in the FA Cup win over Middlesbrough.
Centre-half is Tanganga’s natural position but he is yet to play there, at least in a back four, for the first team, and he has three senior defenders in his way, even if Jan Vertonghen could be phased out over the next few months.
Dan Kilpatrick in the London Evening Standard summaraised Tanganga’s playing prospects quite well, writing: “I expect he will be the first reverse in all three positions across the back four once Davies is fully up to speed.”
While still a rookie, I don’t see any harm in that as I expect Tanganga will still get plenty of minutes across the back four over the rest of the season.
But Mourinho shouldn’t treat him as a square peg for too long, as the kid is talented enough to make a place in our defence his own within 12 months.