Tottenham Hotspur have made a fine start to the new campaign – both domestically and in Europe – although one man who has been a bystander to proceedings is summer signing, Djed Spence, with the 22-year-old having been on the periphery under Antonio Conte thus far.
Having sparkled on loan at Nottingham Forest last term – where he scored three goals and provided five assists in 46 appearances in all competitions – the promising defender was subsequently snapped up on a £20m deal by the north London outfit, with many expecting him to assume the right wing-back berth for the Lilywhites.
As it has proved, however, the youngster has made just a single appearance thus far this term totalling only one minute, with that solitary outing coming against, ironically, former club Forest at the City Ground.
The England U21 international may well have been regretting his decision not to join Steve Cooper’s side on a permanent deal over the summer rather than opting for a move to Spurs, with the Garibaldi having been in the running for his signature.
Although it is still early days with regards to his time in the capital, the attacking full-back – who was lauded as a “Rolls Royce” by pundit Martin Keown last term – must already be concerned over the role he will have to play under Conte moving forward, with the Italian having labelled him as merely an “investment of the club” upon his arrival.
The 53-year-old has subsequently repeated that sentiment in recent weeks, offering little hope to the London-born starlet regarding a more prominent role, with the former Chelsea boss having even been seeking another wing-back addition after Spence had joined the club.
Should Spence be a regular for Spurs?
No, not convinced
That fact no doubt illustrates what the youngster’s standing is under the serial-winning coach, while journalist Paul Brown has since suggested that the Tottenham manager remains seemingly unconvinced by both the Englishman and teammate Matt Doherty.
It could then prove a long season for the £7.2m-rated man at N17, with owner Daniel Levy potentially having to prepare himself for another young player who may fail to make the grade at the club, following the recent tale of Jack Clarke.
Like Spence, the former Leeds United prodigy was signed after impressing in the Championship at Elland Road – scoring twice and laying on two assists during the 2018/19 campaign – joining on an £11.5m deal in the summer of 2019.
After a season back on loan with the Yorkshire side, the forward was properly integrated into the Tottenham first team set-up, although subsequently made just four senior appearances over the next two years, spending much of his time out on loan at Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City and Sunderland.
The 21-year-old has since secured a permanent move to the Black Cats in the recent window, with it having proven something of a wasted venture in signing him from Leeds in the first place.
It would appear that Spence could well follow a similar path if the early evidence is anything to go by, with the “combative” gem – as dubbed by Ian Wright – facing a real fight to prove himself to a manager who seemingly had little say in his capture.