Former Spurs star Gus Poyet, who himself is proficient in carrying the ball from deep, has explained Rodrigo Bentancur’s ability to drive Tottenham forward from midfield makes him a rare talent in today’s game.
“For you all to understand, when he was 19, 20 [years old], Rodrigo was at Boca Juniors,” he told the club website.
“I watched him when I was at Real Betis [in 2016] and I wanted to take him. I asked, but he wasn’t able to go. So, I had him on my radar five or six years ago.
“Two things are important here. One, he didn’t want to be comfortable in Uruguay, and took a risk, crossing the river from Uruguay to join Boca Juniors. Two, as soon as he got into Juventus, his understanding of fitness and what he needed to improve… he went to another level.
“There was a moment when people didn’t know if he was going to play, and yet we saw this Juventus team and he was always in it – with every manager.
“He has the commitment, the technical ability, he understands the game. I’m so impressed with him, especially how he drives with the ball. He’s confident, he will get the ball and run metres with it.
“That’s something that we’ve lost in football because everyone wants to play two touches, positional, control and pass. He gets the ball, and he will drive with the ball.”
Poyet described his pleasure at fellow Uruguayan export Bentancur making his mark on the English game.
“I’m pleased, as well, to see a Uruguayan in the Premier League,” he continued. “That’s nice for us. His caps are unbelievable, at 24. I got 30 in my whole career!
“Think now, at 24, he will be at the top of his game, experienced enough, but still young. The next couple of years are going to be amazing for him, and for Tottenham.”
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is also excited about the potential of Rodrigo Bentancur following his transfer from Juventus on a deadline day.
“He is only 24 years old but he has already played 200 games,” Conte said last month.
“It means he has great experience. He has played with his national team. He has played many games with Juventus, and to play many games with Juventus you have to show you deserve the chance and you have to be able to live with the high pressure.”
Bentancur, together with his former Juventus team-mate Dejan Kulusevski have being pivotal to Tottenham’s push for Premier League top four this season.
Bentancur alongside Hojbjerg in a two-man midfield, has brought balance and control in the centre of the pitch, averaging more touches and passes per 90 minutes than anyone else.