Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham “need to be patient” with Erik Lamela but admits it is a “key season” for the Argentine at White Hart Lane.
Lamela is the club’s record signing but has struggled to make an impact since his £25.7million move from Roma in 2013.
He is now into his third season at the club, but Pochettino still believes he needs to be afforded patience.
“We believe we can develop his game and I think we need to be patient with him,” the Tottenham head coach said of his compatriot.
“It’s true, now is the third season here, but we believe in him and we want to give the opportunity to show his value. We have a lot of games to play, for competition, we need a good player in all positions. I think with the squad we have, we have a very good balance.
“I think this is a key season for him. After two seasons at Tottenham, now is the moment for him. Not to put pressure, but it’s true. It’s a key moment for him to develop and to move on his game. It’s important.”
Having first caught the eye in Europe during his time with Roma, Lamela has been known to Pochettino since he burst onto the scene at River Plate – drawing instant comparisons to other Argentinian stars.
“Yes I knew him, it’s normal – in Argentina I have friends.
“Lamela was young, long, blond hair and he made big impact. Always if there was going to appear a player in this style, left-footed, before he was the new (Diego) Maradona.
“Now he’s the new (Lionel) Messi. It’s like this. All the people compare him with new Messi and it’s impossible to stop that.”