Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

There Was Only One Winner after Nabil Unsettled the Boss

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

There Was Only One Winner after Nabil Unsettled the Boss

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Football Correspondent

AT the end of the 2014-15 season, a Tottenham firstteam player gave an interview in which he discussed his frustration at unresolved contract talks and mentioned a possible transfer to "Champions League clubs".

During that campaign, Nabil Bentaleb had been a key man for Spurs, playing 35 games.

He eventually signed a new deal that summer but relations with boss Mauricio Pochettino went downhill rapidly. He started only five games in 2015-16 and was allowed to join Schalke at its conclusion.

Injuries played a part in Bentaleb's lack of playing time but there was no doubt that the breakdown in his rapport with Pochettino played a part in his exclusion.

With that in mind, Tottenham players will be asking themselves what might happen to Danny Rose.

Rose has now put the ball in Pochettino's court. The pair had got on famously since the Argentine joined Spurs in May 2014, though Standard Sport understands their relationship lacks the warmth it once had even before Rose's interview in The Sun today.

Pochettino places great value on a compact, united group.

He was expected to speak to Rose today, though the Argentine has known for some time that Rose was thinking hard about his future: when it became clear both Manchester clubs, as well as Paris St Germain, were interested in Rose, the 27-yearold approached Pochettino to discuss the matter.

He was advised to focus on football until the end of the season, though Rose was injured soon afterwards, damaging a knee in a 0-0 draw at Sunderland on January 31, and has not played since. If Pochettino believes Rose was simply airing his frustrations, and that he remains committed to Tottenham, Rose may be reminded of his responsibilities and the manager will forgive and forget.

If Pochettino decides Rose's heart is no longer at Tottenham, or that having an unhappy player within his squad might damage morale, then the club's "not-for-sale-at-any-price" stance may alter in the coming days. …

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