Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Lamela vows to hit his stride

Erik Lamela missed a spot-kick during Tottenham's shootout victory over Hull on Wednesday night
Erik Lamela missed a spot-kick during Tottenham's shootout victory over Hull on Wednesday night

Erik Lamela insists he will justify his £30million price tag once he has adjusted to life in the Barclays Premier League.

Lamela was expected to be the man to fill the void left by Gareth Bale when he moved from Roma in a club-record deal this summer, but he has failed to impress so far.

The excellent form of Andros Townsend has meant Lamela has played a peripheral role for the north London club, starting just five games - all of which have come in the cup competitions.

Lamela showed glimpses of his potential in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup win over Hull - although he did miss a penalty - but the slight midfielder admits he still needs time to adjust to the rigours of the English game.

"I think I need a bit of time," Lamela said.

"I feel good here, although getting used to life here in every sense is a completely different thing. I've barely been here two months, so time is maybe what I need.

"I need training, a bit of rhythm, some games. English football is very different from the game in Italy - much more physical, whereas Serie A is more tactical.

"It's not necessarily more difficult, but it's just different. This is a style of football I like very much, though, and I think, with the way I play, it will be very suited to my game."

Manager Andre Villas-Boas hopes the fact that Lamela's family have recently moved to London will help the former River Plate man, who enjoyed two successful seasons at Roma after moving to Europe from Argentina.

The Tottenham boss, a fluent Spanish speaker, has been trying to help Lamela break down the language barrier that he thinks has hindered the youngster's progress since he signed for Spurs.

Lamela is convinced he retains the confidence of the Spurs boss and is sure he will get enough game time for him to be considered for next year's World Cup.

"My moment will come and I will make the difference," Lamela told the London Evening Standard.

"You always train thinking that you're going to play. Sooner or later, my moment will arrive and I have to be ready. That is the way I am looking at it.

"I get on very well with Andre Villas-Boas. He is a great guy who clearly thinks about the future. Because of this, coming to Tottenham is a great step for me and in the future, we'll see why.

"Of course, it's also important for me to get into the Argentina squad for the World Cup, but I'm confident I'll play here. We are involved in four competitions so there are many games ahead."

Tottenham scraped past Hull for the second time in four days on Wednesday night to set up a Capital One Cup quarter-final grudge match against West Ham.

Paul McShane had put the away side on course for a shock win in extra-time, but Harry Kane scored his second goal for Spurs to take the game to a penalty shoot-out, which the hosts won 8-7.

Kane enjoyed an impressive loan spell at Millwall two years ago, but last term he did not fare as well while at Norwich and Leicester, scoring just three times all season.

The 20-year-old was set for another loan spell this season, but Villas-Boas may end up keeping the player after being impressed by his recent efforts.

"I couldn't be happier with Harry, so that has made us delay his (loan) move," Villas-Boas said.

"He is doing extremely well in training.

"We have a lot of interest for Harry but if the next loan move happens, we need 100 per cent certainty that he (plays regularly).

"With the way he is training he has more of a chance of playing in those teams. But he's doing enough to compete for his place here."

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