Player Watch: Tanguy Ndombele

daryl hannah

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Not sure that's the issue. He struggled to get around the pitch at times. Their opening goal could have been avoided, but ndombele couldn't track the oppo players run. He looked completely shot trying to chase him down. I'm sure he'll get through it if he applies himself properly
He got wiped out in the first half - a saints player clattered him and he hurt his hip so may have been carrying that all game.

When he came off, José looked at him concerned and said, "Are you OK?"
 

double0

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It's very simple with Ndombele he needs to play games consecutively. The same happened with Lo Celso
 

danielneeds

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From what i've heard he didn't make it with natural talent at Amiens. Apparently he had been dropped and was very much on the periphery until he picked his socks up and knuckled down on his fitness. Once he actually started trying he earned a move to Lyon within 18 months.

Lumbering around with 61% pass completion vs Southampton is not the sign of a player that can make it on talent alone.
It’s so hard to judge him until he’s in that match rhythm, though. So far it’s been one game here, a couple of games there, he just needs 10 games in a row to build up that match fitness, get in a rhythm and get in step with his team-mates.
 

Sp3akerboxxx

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I agree fully. The issue lies down to himself and him wanting it enough. At the moment he isn't showing enough. That doesnt mean that he won't make it either. Just needs patience and time.

He cant help the price tag, it's just football has gone crazy with these ridiculous fees, and that ties into fans expectations for a player to hit the ground running immediately. All he can do is knuckle down and show more hunger to become elite.

Investments sometimes take time before they really pay off, but then when it pays off. It really pays off.

Patience is all we can have with him. He will grow into an absolute boss.
Always have to give the new signings at least a full 12 months before they should be judged in my opinion. Can take a whole season for some players to start hitting their stride. Others can do it from day 1 of course.

When it comes to Tanguys past it can really be interpreted in two ways. 1. It's bad that he has had this motivation and fitness problem hamper his career multiple times. 2. He has overcome motivation and fitness levels in the past, so he can do it again.

It's way too early to be writing him off. But...... his lack of fitness as a PROFESSIONAL is fucking disgraceful.
 

Sp3akerboxxx

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It’s so hard to judge him until he’s in that match rhythm, though. So far it’s been one game here, a couple of games there, he just needs 10 games in a row to build up that match fitness, get in a rhythm and get in step with his team-mates.
He can't have 10 games in a row where he can barely last until half time. That is putting way too much pressure on his teammates when they are trying to get us into the CL places. He should be brought on as an impact sub until the end of the season in my opinion.

Winks-Gedson in the middle for me, with N'dombele coming on 60+.
 

Sp3akerboxxx

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It's very simple with Ndombele he needs to play games consecutively. The same happened with Lo Celso
Lo Celso did not have these fitness issues. Even in cameos and sporadic appearances Lo Celso looked like a dog off a leash, chasing and harrying every ball. N'Dombele looks like a cat lounging in the sun.
 

southlondonyiddo

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He can't have 10 games in a row where he can barely last until half time. That is putting way too much pressure on his teammates when they are trying to get us into the CL places. He should be brought on as an impact sub until the end of the season in my opinion.

Winks-Gedson in the middle for me, with N'dombele coming on 60+.
75+
 

DJS

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He got wiped out in the first half - a saints player clattered him and he hurt his hip so may have been carrying that all game.

When he came off, José looked at him concerned and said, "Are you OK?"
You sure Jose wasn’t saying “man up”.






(I jest I jest!)




(Or do I... :sneaky:).
 

Ronwol196061

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In the early stages of Tottenham’s 3-2 win over Southampton on Wednesday, Tanguy Ndombele did the sort of thing that has you involuntarily laughing to yourself. In fact, he did it twice within a few seconds. First he tempted Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg towards the ball only to nick it away at the last millisecond. Then, with Hojbjerg out of the picture, Ndombele made Oriel Romeu look similarly stupid with an equally audacious drag-back.

As can be the case with Ndombele though, it came at a cost. Romeu committed a tactical foul and, in falling to the ground, Ndombele hurt his back. He did his best to run it off but seemed to be moving at half-pace at points until the break.

So it has been for Ndombele since joining Spurs: the verve mixed in with the vulnerability. He is a player who is utterly compelling to watch — seemingly possessing the ability to bend time to his will when he is on the ball — but who physically still seems some way short of being a regular option for Jose Mourinho. A riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside a Cruyff turn.

In last night’s FA Cup fourth round replay win for instance, he created the opening goal by booting a loose ball into the back of the net via Southampton’s Jack Stephens, but had to be substituted after 61 minutes with his reserves well and truly depleted.

And this is the crux of the Ndombele debate at present: is he a lavishly talented player who requires patience as he navigates his debut season in English football, or does he need a kick up the backside to get himself into shape? The Athletic understands that it is as much of a conundrum within the club as it is for their fans on social media.

To recap, this was only the 23-year-old’s second appearance, and first start, since he limped off after 25 minutes of the 1-0 loss away to the same opposition on New Year’s Day with a hip problem. After the match, Mourinho described Ndombele as being “always injured”. Six days earlier, Mourinho had said of Tottenham’s £55-million record signing missing the 2-1 Boxing Day win over Brighton: “He was not injured but not feeling in a condition to play.”

In between all that, Ndombele produced a man-of-the-match performance — including a stoppage-time rabona cross — in a 2-2 draw at Norwich City.

Publicly calling Ndombele out did not go down well with some members of the squad, The Athletic understands. Those uncomfortable about it felt Mourinho would have been better off dealing with the issue privately and that it should have been more of a discussion between the head coach and Tottenham’s medical staff.

Others at the club, however, were supportive of Mourinho’s position and felt concern at Ndombele’s lack of conditioning and general fitness levels.

After all, this was not the first time Ndombele has had these sort of issues. When he was with Amiens in 2016, he had to be sat down by the club’s director of football, John Williams, and told that he was “not really fit, overweight”. Ndombele then worked hard to get himself in the shape required for an elite-level footballer.

More recently, Mourinho’s predecessor Mauricio Pochettino had been worried by the Frenchman’s condition. “For him it’s difficult. We cannot expect too much,” Pochettino said on the eve of the season starting.

In total, Ndombele has started 42 per cent of Spurs’ games this season, completed the 90 minutes just five times, and in his 22 appearances so far have averaged only 54 minutes per game.

All of which suggests he is a bit of a luxury player not to be relied upon.

And yet…

To watch Ndombele in action is to become a believer once more. Against Manchester City on Sunday, he was only on the pitch for 20 minutes, but still found time to create Son Heung-min’s decisive goal with a sumptuous turn and pass, and humiliate Rodri with an outrageous step-over and drop of the shoulder.

He is a player who generates so much buzz that even some fairly rudimentary stretching before the Southampton game was quickly packaged into a two-minute video for Twitter. Shortly after, he entertained the crowd by indulging in a few no-look passes just for the hell of it.

Once the game started, he was both mesmerising and maddening — a flicked pass on the volley here, a loose ball there. His first contribution was to lose Romeu with a balletic turn, only to instantly give possession away with a sloppy pass.

Ndombele even appears to run differently when in and out of possession — the grace when on the ball giving way to a meandering lollop when off it. He is so relaxed that he was comfortably the last man out on to the pitch for the second half, and his 61 per cent pass completion — the second-lowest of Spurs’ outfielders — underlines that this is not a player too concerned with keeping things ticking over just for the sake of it.

By the time the second half was under way, Ndombele looked close to running out of steam — making good on Mourinho’s pre-match assertion that he would not be able to last the full game. His head coach added afterwards: “I knew he couldn’t play 90 minutes.”

To try and help the situation, Ndombele has been placed on a bespoke fitness programme, taking in nutrition, sports science and individual training work. This is a sensible step, according to injuries analyst Ben Dinnery.

“Coming from Ligue 1, like Ndombele has, is a huge physical step up,” Dinnery he says. “Acclimatising to the Premier League is tough. The demands on the body are different, and all these changes he’s having to get used to could be going against the grain of some traits he’s been brought up with and played all his career with. Suddenly there are differences — even with Pochettino and Mourinho — and it’s about being able to tolerate and cope with that.

“Ndombele is young, and comes with a big price tag, a big reputation. He wants to prove himself — but it’s always going to be difficult because if you’re not in peak condition, you’re more likely to pick up knocks and niggles. It becomes a vicious cycle where you keep getting close to getting fit but then forcing it.”

Spurs will hope they have been patient enough to have ensured Ndombele will soon start to shake off these niggles. And when he does, he will surely be worth persevering with.

Football is supposed to be fun, and players who can make you laugh and smile as regularly as him don’t come along very often.

Coys absolutely brilliant. It's exactly what I thought it might be. So how is it dealt with?
Two ways only.
Mourinho/NDombele confrontation wherever it falls.
Or understanding the quality and uniqueness and building around it. No need to defend we can have two DMs for security.
One other thing. Play a closed door game where we try this. Play NDombele the whole game. See how he us with and without the ball and see how much he can create with it. But he has to produce.

It wont happen. Confrontation coming
 

Giovanni

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He was full of life v Norwich i think it was. He was going strong until the end of that one.
These things can change fast. Id continue to play him game after game from here on out.
 

spurs9

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It’s the desire aspect. That’s what worries me. Lo Celso has it in bucket loads. Come on Tanguy.
Funnily enough, people were questioning Lo Celso's desire just 2 months ago (Bayern game springs to mind) and we had comments like "he simply isn't a Jose player" and "will go the way of Mata under Jose", even at the start of January people were saying he was too ponderous and would never adapt to the pace of the PL and now he is arguably our most important player.

A lot can change in a couple of months.
 

scat1620

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I'm not interested in what he has done previously, I am only focused on what has happened at Spurs. We now have over 6 months worth of evidence.

Tell me what I have said that is untrue?

He rocks up to pre-season, uninjured. During these pre-season games he is demonstrably absolutely knackered after 15 mins. At least one of the games (the back to back schedule in the Audi Cup I believe), he is the only one in the squad who gets 'rested' after such a short turnaround, Poch says he is doing 'special training'.

He then features sporadically throughout the autumn, between injuries, doing largely the same. Pick any game you want it is the same pattern. Has an ok start with the ball, shows some at times serious quality, as the first half goes on the familiar sight kicks in though - bent at the double trying to catch his breath, no longer doing defensive work, stops looking for and getting the ball, and out of the game. Clearly knackered. All (way) before half time.

The only game that is different is the Norwich game, where with the ball he got better as the game went on, though defensively and running back it was still exactly the same where he couldnt do the work. Still, progress I'll readily concede. However very much the anomaly.

He's then back last night, after 'special training' under yet another manager, who says his fitness is a problem, and it's like no progress at all from pre-season. An ok start to the game, after 20 minutes he's done for.

People can try and obfuscate and explain away and take it off on a different tangent or say the man on the street isn't able to cast judgement on him, if they want. But this isn't simply a case of someone not quite up to speed with the PL or not quite doing a 90 minutes. Not quite doing 45 mins would be progress at the moment! And that 'the whole squad is knackered' argument is pure baloney. These guys might not be firing on all cylinders and look a weary group in need of revolution, but none of them are a spent force after 20 mins, every single one of them is fitness wise levels above him on what we see, week in week out.

I feel it needs saying again, I (and I think everyone) fully agree their is a guy with serious ability there who potentially is a super footballer. But I'm not going to be wishy washy and ignore what is going on. As I have asked repeatedly now, and no one has ever had an answer for me which says it all, name me another player at Spurs (or any pro footballer) who you have ever seen bent over after 20 mins gasping for air, and then every couple of mins afterwards, can no longer run and is done for? Game after game. I don't think you can. If that doesn't concern you, then fucking hell. Fuck off it's not worth talking about, 6 months down the line at that, and fans left scratching their head about it. Something is wrong, whether it's within his control or not. I just hope the club is getting to the bottom of it because we all want to see him showcase the full extent of his abilities ASAP and get the player we thought we were getting.
Spot fucking on with every word. Great summary. (y)
 

spurs9

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Lo Celso did not have these fitness issues. Even in cameos and sporadic appearances Lo Celso looked like a dog off a leash, chasing and harrying every ball. N'Dombele looks like a cat lounging in the sun.
Not true, Lo Celso looked lazy when Jose first started giving him chances and many questioned if he wanted to be here.
 

Zippy1980

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I wonder how many times our scouts watched him. Apparently we watched Steve all last season and some of the one before that. If we’d of watched Ndombele for as long his fitness and ability to complete 90 minutes or not It must of been flagged up. If it was, then surely we wouldn’t of spent £60 million on him. We’ve never spent that before or will probably for a while. Maybe that’s part of the problem, he’s on a huge wage (reportedly £200k a week) and thinks he’s made it?

Either way, if he isn’t sorted out by the end of the season then I think we have a decision to make. We can’t afford to have a £60 million albatross around our necks.
Where did you see he was on 200k a week?
 

dondo

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Think he has to be used as an impact sub until he sorts his fitness out. We can’t be starting with any player who is a passenger after 30 minutes
 

Monkey boy

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Maybe we should send him to see LiVARpools “physios” and take some of the magic recovery drinks they give their players.
 

popstar7

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Think he has to be used as an impact sub until he sorts his fitness out. We can’t be starting with any player who is a passenger after 30 minutes
Yeah, makes sense. Worked well against City, will help him get a feel for the league and his teammates without the demands of 90 or even 60 minutes. Can't believe I'm typing that, but whatever...

I wonder what the thinking was behind starting him last night, because he clearly wasn't up to it after about 25 minutes. Can they not see in training what his limits are? Is it tough love? Lack of alternatives?

Would a 4-game break since he last played help him or make it tougher?
 

Flashspur

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It’s so hard to judge him until he’s in that match rhythm, though. So far it’s been one game here, a couple of games there, he just needs 10 games in a row to build up that match fitness, get in a rhythm and get in step with his team-mates.
So how long exactly do we need to wait for this ‘match rhythm’?
 
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