Kevin Phillips has compared Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to former Chelsea star Claude Makelele and current player N’Golo Kante.
Hojbjerg arrived at Tottenham from fellow Premier League side Southampton in the summer transfer window. He is yet to score for his new side, but has still been influential.
The Denmark international has been ever-present for Spurs in the league in their first eight games. He has been a contributing factor in their surge to second place in the table.
But Football Insider pundit Phillips thinks Hojbjerg’s influence is not just apparent in what he does himself, but in the freedom he gives to other players.
For example, Tanguy Ndombele is enjoying a better spell of form than he did last season after a club record transfer to Tottenham. The former Lyon midfielder has now revived his career – and Phillips thinks that is largely thanks to his new teammate.
He said: “Hojbjerg gives the license to someone like a Ndombele to push on, be more offensive and get into those attacking areas.
“Every team needs a player like that. Kante did it at Leicester, Makelele at Chelsea – he was unbelievable in that role. He was that screen, that protection.
“Hojbjerg has so many qualities. He can win the ball and he can find a pass so you have to give huge credit to the player, Mourinho and his recruitment department.
“They have done their homework and identified him as a major cog in Tottenham’s team this year.”
Hojbjerg loving life under Mourinho
Speaking last month, Hojbjerg confirmed that he was enjoying the bright start to his Tottenham career.
The 25-year-old named manager Jose Mourinho as a big factor in his decision to join the club and in helping him thrive once he got there.
“It’s great to train under Jose Mourinho,” he said. “He is a great trainer and he has a great personality.
“You can learn a lot from him, and he’s incredibly hungry and motivated to keep learning, and that’s really cool.”