The most important shock from Tottenham Hotspur‘s beginning lineup of their 1-1 pleasant with Sevilla in the present day wasn’t that Lucas Moura was beginning the match — it was that Lucas was taking part in in a special place. Particularly, Antonio Conte opted to start out Lucas deeper with no consideration wing again, throughout from Ryan Sessegnon on the opposite flank.
This was attention-grabbing for a few causes. First, it famous the absence of recent signing Ivan Perisic, who is not but able to play matches whereas he recovers from an harm, and Sergio Reguilon, who was left behind in England as Spurs attempt to transfer him this summer time. It additionally urged that we’d see a second half wingback pairing of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty, taking part in out of place on the left. (That is precisely what we noticed.)
Secondly, it continues an oft-referenced propensity by Antonio Conte on the golf equipment he is managed to show offensive-minded wingers into attacking wingbacks in his tactical methods. We have seen this not solely with Perisic, whom Conte efficiently transitioned whereas at Inter, but additionally Victor Moses at Chelsea. Actually, there have been a bunch of Spurs followers, myself included, who checked out Conte’s tenure at Spurs and puzzled why he hadn’t tried this already.
The obvious candidate for winger-to-wingback was Dejan Kulusevski, particularly after Conte particularly talked about in a press convention that the Swede may play in that position. However whereas Deki had a few cameos late within the season there, it was clear Conte noticed him as integral to Tottenham’s entrance line.
So in the present day was one thing of a shock (though Lucas at RWB is one thing that we have mentioned internally in Carty Free’s Slack chat channel for months now). And Lucas really did fairly properly! He linked up decently along with his Brazilian compatriot Richarlison in Spurs’ attacking band and confirmed glimpses of promise transferring into ahead areas from a deeper place. He floated just a few first rate crosses into the field as properly. It was certainly not an ideal outing — Lucas tended to overthink a few of his take-ons the best way he so usually (and frustratingly) does when taking part in as a midfielder, and he was completely a little bit of a legal responsibility defensively.
However you may see… one thing… there, and it certain did seem like he’d spent a while familiarizing himself with The Patterns™ from that wingback place. It could not have been a wonderfully pure match, nevertheless it certain seemed like a alternative.
It was, actually, a deliberate alternative. Maybe it was made out of necessity, however Conte was requested within the post-match press convention about Lucas’ new position and the Italian stated that, sure, this might be an choice for him this season.
Spurs are in a curious place proper now, as is Lucas specifically. At current Tottenham have three proper wingbacks, assuming the approaching signing of Djed Spence from Middlesbrough. You’d assume that a minimum of one among Matt Doherty or Emerson Royal is prone to depart this summer time, however whereas Royal has been nominally linked with a transfer to Atletico Madrid, and there have been stories that Spurs would take heed to presents for Doherty, nothing appears significantly pressing in the intervening time. With out outgoings, and including in Lucas, that is a reasonably crowded area, even acknowledging that Doherty can play on the left as properly.
However the choices do not look significantly good within the attacking band for Lucas. With Richarlison and Kulusevski taking part in alongside Son and Kane and additional rumors linking Spurs for an extra attacking midfielder, Lucas may very properly find yourself fifth or sixth on the depth chart, or bought totally. A transfer to wingback may simply be what he must rejuvenate his Tottenham profession (assuming he is not bought). His dribbling and pace are plusses in that deeper place, and the again three, particularly with Cuti Romero behind him, will do a ton to ameliorate any defensive deficiencies Lucas may possess in that position.
Look, let’s not get too far forward of ourselves right here. One half of preseason soccer with a remarkably brief squad does not essentially imply that Lucas Moura is a wingback now. However, it does NOT imply that, both! Lucas is slight in body and never a sturdy defender, however he has the bodily instruments and the pace to be an efficient wingback choice, if he works at it and commits to the change. Jury’s nonetheless out on whether or not he’ll try this or is even keen to. However the indicators are there. And if Spurs are in a state of affairs the place they’re chasing a recreation halfway via the second half and want somebody to return in to make line-breaking runs from deep positions, properly, why not Lucas Moura?
We would have simply collectively wished one thing into existence. How cool is that?