Tottenham: James Maddison ‘not the only new signing to sparkle’

Nick Godwin, BBC Radio London

A summer of massive upheaval at Tottenham was always going to dominate the conversation this autumn amongst fans and journalists. However that conversation has quickly shifted away from the big figures who no longer dominate the landscape.

James Maddison has become an absolutely vital cog in their attacking apparatus. He’s been so influential that it is now frightening to think what it might be like without him.

However, he is not the only new signing to sparkle in these opening weeks. Destiny Udogie is only 20 but has already shown himself to be not only one of the most talented left-backs in the Premier League, but also one of the most level-headed. When a Spurs defender gets booked early in a North London Derby up against Bukayo Saka, you tend to feel it’s only going to end one way. Not last Sunday. Udogie subdued Saka in the second half despite walking that tightrope.

Micky Van de Ven has slotted in alongside Cristian Romero at centre-back as though they’ve been playing together for years. His unfussy style and sheer enthusiasm for defending has turned Romero into a much more composed defender as well. He’s also pretty rapid. Just ask Cody Gakpo, who must have thought he was through on goal on Saturday, only to see Van de Ven thunder past him to tidy up.

And a word too for the goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, who’s first half double save against Liverpool kept the score at 0-0. In their own way, all three have contributed as much as Maddison.

The previous spine of this team, for good or ill, has been stripped out. Lloris, Dier, Hojberg, Kane – all gone or discarded. The players that have come in have all quietly distinguished themselves and made it look much easier than it actually is.

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