January signalled the arrival of The German Under-21 captain as Lewis Holtby completed his £1.5 million move from FC Schalke. Having already signed a pre-contract agreement to join the club this summer, the club then took up the option of bringing the transfer forward for just £2 million. So how has Holtby done in his first half-season at Spurs?
Outlined as a key target very early on in the Winter Transfer Window, he made his first appearance for the club coming on against Norwich for a 20 minute cameo at the latter end of January, impressing with a performance of energy, creation and willingness. This was then backed up by an admirable showing in the following game against West Brom as he replaced Jermain Defoe in the first half and continued where he left off at Norwich. Fans marvelled at the stunning bargain purchase the club had made and were soon calling for him to be offered first team opportunities.
It seemed those wishes had been granted with Holtby starting three of the sides next four games across all competitions in February and March though fatigue became evident in his play across the course of a full ninety minutes, his time off during the Bundesliga’s winter break appearing to catch up on him. Tackles were often rash and energy low, albeit the performances delivered with great passion and commitment.
An impressive showing against his boyhood club, Everton, was enough to regain confidence in the youngster as he looked to have finally adapted to the pace of the Premier League. This was then followed by a match turning cameo against Manchester City as his assist for Defoe’s pivotal goal proved key to Spurs picking up all three points, whilst remaining combative and alert alongside Tom Huddlestone.
To put it simply it’s been a mixed bag of success, though it would perhaps e unfair to expect anything more for a player of his age in a new league joining half way through the season. Positives have been his passion, passing abilities and build up play whilst negatives mainly centre around poor discipline with tackling that the recently retired Paul Scholes would have been proud of.
It still remains unclear as to his most effective position with Holtby having been employed at centre midfield, left midfield and just behind the striker, though the performances against Man City and Everton would suggest that a deeper role suits his game better.
In terms of commitment to the club and the side, Holtby passes on all fronts. His Social Media presence has been positive in conveying his enjoyment at playing for Spurs as well as his responses to interviews whilst on the pitch you always feel like Lewis has given his full effort to help the cause.
The young midfielder still has much to learn but is in the best environment to do just that. These five months have been solid, but now is the time for Holtby, with a full pre-season under his belt, to realise his potential and help lead Spurs to glory next season. The raw tools are all there.
Friday, December 26, 2014 Leicester City 15:00 Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, December 20, 2014 Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Burnley Sunday, December 14, 2014 Swansea City 1 - 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League Table
# MP Team G P 1 16 Chelsea +23 39 2 17 Manchester City +22 39 3 17 Manchester United +12 32 4 17 West Ham United +10 31 5 17 Southampton +15 29 6 17 Tottenham Hotspur -1 27 7 16 Arsenal +9 26 8 17 Swansea City +3 25 9 16 Newcastle United -4 23 10 17 Everton +0 21 11 16 Liverpool -3 21 12 17 Aston Villa -10 20 13 16 Stoke City -3 19 14 17 West Bromwich Albion -6 17 15 17 Queens Park Rangers -12 17 16 16 Sunderland -10 16 17 17 Crystal Palace -8 15 18 17 Burnley -14 15 19 17 Hull City -9 13 20 17 Leicester City -14 10