After debuting for Tottenham back in 2013, Nabil Bentaleb has become a mainstay in a team that has challenged to get the North London club back into the Champions League, with the Algeria international becoming a central figure in the centre of midfield.
The 20-year-old has made a big impact in the Premier League last season, when he played his first game in senior football, under the management of the then Spurs boss Tim Sherwood, who claimed that the Algerian could become one of the best central midfielders in the division.
After being born in Lille, France to Algerian parents, Bentaleb started his career with his hometown side, for whom he played for five years between 2004-2009, before eventually being released at the age of 15.
After failing to make the grade at Lille, Bentaleb moved to Belgium where he joined the Mouscron youth team, as he continued in his pursuit to become a professional footballer. He ended up having a trial at Birmingham City but eventually opted to sign for Tottenham, after the Premier League side came in with a contract offer in January 2012.
Bentaleb is considered by some to be one of the brightest talents playing in England’s top flight, with his size and strength he is able to knock his opponents off of the ball with ease, and he has an incredible range of passing and very seldom gives away possession cheaply.
His main fault though is his lack of goals, having only scored one goal in over 50 club games during his career so far. The 20-year-old needs to get on the score-sheet more often if he ever wants to be considered one of the best players in his favoured central midfield position. Whilst his strikes are decent from long-range, having tested various opposition goalkeepers in the past, the Algerian needs to make more forward runs when needed, and latch onto any loose balls in the box to improve his goalscoring tally.
Another key attribute that Bentaleb has is his versatility, with his manager Mauricio Pochettino playing the starlet in serval positions over the course of the 2014-15 campaign. The Argentine manager has deployed him in a more defensive midfield role for the majority of the season, but Bentaleb has also played at centre back and even at left back in the last game of the year against Everton.
Bentaleb is a full Algeria international, with an impressive 16 caps, given his age, yet after being born in France, the Spurs star could have opted to play for Les Bleus. But, ultimately, he decided on representing the country that both of his parents originate from and has played for the African country at both last year’s World Cup in Brazil, and the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
Yet it was not a straightforward decision after previously playing for the France Under-19 side and his former manager Sherwood stating that England were looking into the possibility of Bentaleb playing for the Three Lions.