Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg reminded everyone of his qualities in last Monday night’s clash with Fulham.
The Danish midfielder was typically combative on his first Premier League start of the season and helped Tottenham move top of the table.
He has been on the periphery since Ange Postecoglou’s arrival, with Yves Bissouma preferred alongside Pape Matar Sarr.
But with Bissouma suspended, Hojbjerg took his opportunity to impress.
Ahead of tonight’s meeting with Crystal Palace, we consider the playmaker’s chances of forcing his way back into the starting XI regularly and whether a January move could be on the cards.
Point to prove
Hojbjerg, 28, was highly influential in a dominant Tottenham performance against Fulham.
Only Cristian Romero completed more passes than the midfielder (76), while he ranked first for completed balls into the final third (21).
And a pass completion rate of 95% suggests Hojbjerg is more than capable of playing the kind of possession-based football Postecoglou has introduced.
The Spurs boss said: “I thought Pierre was good. He’s been good in every game he’s played for us.
“I’ve put him on in some difficult situations and he’s handled them really well. He’s very experienced and I thought he handled it well tonight.
“Our pressing was outstanding all game and I thought he was a big part of that. He made interceptions for both goals and it was important to have him in there.
“Bissouma has been very important for us and in such a crucial role — but I thought he was excellent.”
Whether Hojbjerg still has a future in North London remains to be seen.
The former Bayern Munich ace was the subject of transfer speculation in the summer when both Atletico Madrid and Fulham were rumoured to be interested.
And according to , Juventus are the latest club to be linked with a bid for the Copenhagen native, who should have plenty of suitors after impressing for both Southampton and Spurs since moving to the Premier League in 2016.
Tottenham’s No5 was indispensable in the centre of the park under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte — but Bissouma’s excellent form has potentially left Hojbjerg with a decision to make in January.
Part to play
Hojbjerg clearly still has the backing of his team-mates, with James Maddison praising him after the Fulham victory.
He said: “[Hojbjerg] was absolutely outstanding tonight. It’s not easy to come into the team when you haven’t played very much, especially to replace Biss [Bissouma] who’s been brilliant.
“So big credit to him, he was like a rock in there today and obviously instrumental in my goal.”
Despite the deserved plaudits, one strong performance is unlikely to be enough for Hojbjerg to permanently displace Bissouma, although the 71-cap international should at least have planted a seed of doubt in Postecoglou’s mind.
There could yet be a useful role for the midfield enforcer in Tottenham’s squad, as they look to continue their unexpected title challenge.
Much will depend on whether Hojbjerg is willing to fight for his place — and if such a determined character can cope with spending long periods of the season on the bench.
Gregory Daniels is your guide to the latest trends, viral sensations, and internet phenomena. With a finger on the pulse of digital culture, he explores what’s trending across social media and pop culture. Gregory enjoys staying ahead of the curve and sharing emerging trends with his readers.