Janssen ‘part of the team’ for this season at least

Brighton & Hove Albion's Lewis Dunk (left) appear dejected after the final whistle during the Premie

Brighton & Hove Albion's Lewis Dunk (left) appear dejected after the final whistle during the Premier League match against Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (pic: John Walton/PA Images). - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Dutchman has not had a great time at Tottenham Hotspur, but will hope to make his mark in the next three Premier League games

One of the loudest cheers on Tuesday night at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium occurred for a substitution towards the end of the match between Spurs and Brighton & Hove Albion.

It was not for Heung-min Son departing, although he did also earn a fine ovation, but for the return of the forgotten man – Vincent Janssen.

The forward was introduced in the 80th minute in place of Lucas Moura with the score 0-0 in N17.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team needed a win and with few options on the bench, he turned to Janssen and gave him his first Tottenham appearance since August 20 2017 when he made a cameo in a 2-1 home league defeat to Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.

To say it was a surprise to see the Dutchman on the pitch for Spurs again would be an understatement, but factors have to be taken into consideration.

When Janssen was not given a squad number for the season and Pochettino admitted he wasn’t part of his plans, it was under the expectation he would move on.

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A foot injury and a subsequent operation prevented this and then more injuries saw the 24-year-old fail to earn a January exit.

Eventually he got back playing again and scored some goals for the Tottenham under-23s and yet a first-team return always seemed unlikely.

However, Harry Kane’s ankle ligament damage saw Janssen immediately bumped up the pecking order and last Saturday, he was part of the matchday squad again for the fixture at Manchester City in the Premier League.

While he didn’t come on, he was summoned on Tuesday against Brighton as Pochettino basically had no one else to call upon.

Erik Lamela was out with a hamstring problem and all of Spurs’ other attacking options were on the pitch.

Janssen entered the fray and almost immediately had an impact, but he couldn’t reach a loose ball before a Seagulls player after Christian Eriksen’s shot had been spilled.

Still, his arrival lifted spirits inside the stadium and eventually the breakthrough arrived with 88 on the clock.

It meant Janssen, for the first time since May 2017, walked off as part of a winning Spurs team and he could have a role to play in the upcoming league games against West Ham United, AFC Bournemouth and Everton.

Pochettino said: “No one can be surprised. In January when we decided to involve him again in the first-team, he was a player that had the same possibility as the others.

“With a lot of problems with a lot of offensive players like Harry Kane or Lamela, I think we needed Vincent.

“In the last few months he was injured, but he has recovered from injury and now he is, like I said from January, part of the team.

“We are going to decide if he is available, sometimes to use, sometimes to not, like another player, so I don’t know why it is going to surprise people.

“What I told you four or five months ago, that is the reality that happened. I am not a liar, I am not a person that needs to lie to you or my fans.

“If he is part of the team, he is part of the team and another thing is if I am going to use him or not.

“Against Brighton we needed him and he was on the bench like he was against Man City last Saturday. But he cannot be involved in the Champions League because he is out of the list.”

The message from Pochettino is clear. Janssen is part of the team again, but this is no fairytale story, he’ll probably be gone by August.