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3 Tottenham Hotspur Players Who Deserve Increased Playing Time

Tottenham Hotspur's Austrian defender Kevin Wimmer (L) vies with Bournemouth's Norwegian striker Joshua King during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth at White Hart Lane in London, on March 20, 2016. / AFP / BEN STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images
Sam RookeFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2016

Tottenham Hotspur have one of the most settled starting lineups in the Premier League. 

If all members of the squad are available, the XI is virtually automatically selected. 

Ten members of Tottenham's squad have started at least 22 of their 31 Premier League games so far this season. 

The list—Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Kyle Walker, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele—demonstrates which players Mauricio Pochettino has chosen to place his faith in. 

Spurs are enjoying their best season in decades, so it is difficult to argue with Pochettino's selections.

The full-back situation best exemplifies that difficulty. 

Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies are both fine players and would be considered first-team quality for most other clubs, but Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are simply better. 

It cannot be argued that Trippier and Davies genuinely deserve more time on the pitch. 

Based on their exertions last season, Alex Pritchard and Nabil Bentaleb would have been deserving of greater playing time, but injuries have ruined their opportunities, and it would be tough to fault Pochettino for that. 

Harry Winks and Joshua Onomah, too, have the talent to deserve maximum opportunities, but both are still finding their feet in the professional game. Their time will come. 

However, there are three members of Spurs' squad who can legitimately be said to deserve more time on the pitch. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 17:  Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund at White Hart Lane on March 17, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dul
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

The first and most deserving is Heung-Min Son. 

Signed for £22 million in the summer, Son has showed promise but has been used sparingly. 

He has played 1,645 minutes (approximately 18 full games) across his first season, entered 18 matches as a substitute and been withdrawn early on eight further occasions. 

Eight goals and 10 assists is an impressive return given those less than ideal conditions. 

The emergence of Dele Alli has hurt Son more than any of this team-mates. With Eriksen and Lamela regular selections in Pochettino's attacking line behind the undroppable Kane, opportunities are limited. 

Son is the player in Spurs' squad with the greatest potential to exceed his current output. 

The levels he is already achieving in his first year in English football suggest he is worthy of greater opportunities. But Son has weaknesses as a player that Pochettino is understandably averse to exposing against top-class opposition. 

The manager has opted to utilise the relative safe space of the UEFA Europa League to allow Son to learn the game plan and become familiar with his team-mates. 

This is often Pochettino's tactic with significant signings, and Son is likely to be more significantly utilised next season. 

Tottenham´s Kevin Wimmer reacts after the UEFA Europe League Round of 16 first leg football match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspurs in Dortmund , western Germany on March 10, 2016.  / AFP / PATRIK STOLLARZ        (Photo credit should read P
PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

When Jan Vertonghen went down injured against Crystal Palace in January, Tottenham's season appeared to be at stake. 

So much of Spurs' good work had been built around his partnership with Toby Alderweireld, but Kevin Wimmer has proved a more than capable replacement. 

Wimmer has been an absolute professional in his first year at Spurs. 

Despite starting just three times in 2015, Wimmer refused to quibble in the media, preferring to bide his time. 

Once Vertonghen went down, Wimmer has shone. 

The Austrian has total confidence with the ball at his feet. He is more comparable with Alderweireld than Vertonghen, preferring to pass than dribble out of defence, but he brings the same cavalier confidence to Tottenham's back line. 

Wimmer stands ahead of capable team-mates like Trippier and Davies in that he is simply too good to sit out entire seasons. It is unreasonable for such a good defender to spend next season wishing for another team-mate's injury. 

More than any member of Spurs' squad, he is simply too good to warm the bench. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20:  Marc Pugh of Bournemouth is challenged by Ryan Mason of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and A.F.C. Bournemouth at White Hart Lane on March 20, 2016 in London, United Kingdom
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

None of Tottenham's squad members have the proven quality along with the experience that Ryan Mason combines. 

Mason started 31 league games last season and won his place ahead of the underperforming Dembele, the misfiring Paulinho and the misplaced Benjamin Stambouli and Etienne Capoue

Far from the local lad filling an empty place in the lineup, Mason deserved his spot. 

He is an ideal foot soldier for Pochettino—tactically flexible, physically capable and brave enough to take responsibility upon himself. 

When Pochettino rotates his squad heavily, Mason is handed great responsibility, despite his relative lack of playing time. 

Mason has started each of Spurs' last four defeats, but that should not be blamed on him. 

He is best suited to an attacking midfield role, one that he was rarely asked to play last season. 

For the second consecutive year, Mason has willingly played a subsidiary role for his manager, but he deserves more. 

He can legitimately demand to stand in for the defensively-minded Dier against less attacking opposition or to be selected more often ahead of team-mates like Alli and Eriksen

Tottenham's strength in depth is the reason they are title contenders. 

There is a quality to the players that, far from the starting lineup, make up the numbers. 

Mason, Wimmer and Son stand ahead of their team-mates as players who can fairly ask for more time in a Spurs shirt. 

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