Davinson Sanchez is under pressure to perform when Tottenham Hotspur host Ludogorets in the Europa League on Thursday night, or risks finding himself on Jose Mourinho’s chopping block ahead of facing Chelsea.
Mourinho is set to hand Sanchez a rare chance to impress in north London after Belgian centre-back Toby Alderweireld was confirmed to be out for the next two to four weeks with a muscular injury sustained in Saturday’s win over Manchester City.
Alderweireld had partnered Eric Dier at the back in Tottenham’s last four Premier League fixtures with Mourinho opting to omit Sanchez from his 18-man matchday squad, but is forced to recall the Colombian against Ludogorets with £15million summer signing Joe Rodon ineligible in Europe.
Are you confident in Sanchez’s talent?
Yes, he can replace Toby
No, he isn’t good enough
Sanchez has been a regular for Spurs in their UEFA ties this term, with the 24-year-old starting all three Europa League qualifying fixtures and two Group Stage matches before being benched for this month’s 3-1 win at Ludogorets.
The former Ajax man will be hoping he can do enough at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday night to leave a positive impression on Mourinho, with defensive partner Dier confident that Rodon is ready to step in for his first start of the season if Sanchez falters.
“From what I can see, he’s very humble, very hard-working,” the England international said, via quotes by football.london. “From what I can see he has a fantastic mentality to want to work, to improve.
“From what I’ve seen [of him] around the training ground, all of those things have been fantastic, and I know the Welsh boys Ben [Davies] and Gareth [Bale] speak very highly of him. So excited for him to be able to help the team.
“Everyone in the team is ready to step in if called up. There’s a fantastic feeling within the squad. Everyone has put their individuality aside and is in this for something bigger than that, which is the collective of the team and the team winning games.”
Rodon has so far featured for just 10 minutes across all competitions since his summer transfer, with Mourinho calling on the Wales international to replace the injured Alderweireld against Man City after making his debut in the final seconds at Burnley.
But the former Swansea City star, who Jacks boss Steve Cooper described as “an outstanding player”, could be given a baptism of fire against Chelsea, should Sanchez falter on the continental stage again after being slammed for his role in last month’s defeat to Royal Antwerp.
“[Ben] Davies obviously makes a dreadful mistake,” Glenn Hoddle told BT Sport (29/10/20) after the game. “Sanchez has got to make sure the path of that ball cannot be played so that [Hugo] Lloris comes into it and that the finish is at an angle rather than all the angles opened up and [Lior] Refaelov finishes really well.”
Mourinho will need Sanchez to have put that mistake behind him if the Colombian is going to grab his chance with both hands on Thursday night, but being self-critical is an aspect former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino lauded the defender for during his time in charge.
“He’s so clever, very humble and he’s very open to learn,” the Argentine said, via quotes by The Guardian. “He’s a player that when you tell him something his reaction is to be open and be critical with himself. That is a massive skill for a player, when he’s so open to improve”.