Erik Lamela: Mauricio Pochettino says Spurs midfielder faces key season
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Erik Lamela faces a make-or-break season after struggling since arriving at the club, says manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The Argentina international, 23, is the club's record £25.7m signing, but scored two league goals last season.
Lamela has previously been tipped as the new Lionel Messi in his homeland by Spurs legend Ossie Ardiles.
Pochettino said: "I think this is a key season for him. After two seasons at Tottenham, now is the moment for him."
He added: "We believe we can develop his game and I think we need to be patient with him."
The midfielder provided the assist for Spurs' goal in their first win of the season against Sunderland on Saturday.
Lamela scored a memorable 'rabona-style' goal for Spurs in the Europa League last year and he was compared to Argentina team-mate and Barcelona forward Messi as he scored 15 goals in 33 games for previous club Roma.
Lamela is set to start for Spurs in the club's home game against Azerbaijan champions Qarabag in the Europa League, which kicks off on Thursday at 20.05 BST.