Spurs legend Ardiles advises Mourinho to give 'clever' Lo Celso more freedom

The former Lilywhite has been impressed with how quickly his fellow Argentine has adapted to the demands of Premier League football

Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles has urged Jose Mourinho to allow Giovani Lo Celso more freedom to express himself on the pitch, insisting he can go from “strength to strength” in a more advanced role.

Lo Celso arrived at Spurs from Real Betis on an initial loan deal last summer, but he was cut down by injury after making just three substitute appearances for the club.

A hip issue sustained while away on international duty with Argentina kept him out of action until October, but he has since managed to establish himself as a key member of the Lilywhites squad.

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Jose Mourinho took a shine to the 23-year-old after being drafted in to replace Mauricio Pochettino at the helm in November, and Tottenham decided to make his move from Betis permanent for £27 million ($31m) on January 28.

Ardiles has been impressed by his compatriot’s contribution to his old club’s cause over the last few months, highlighting the midfielder’s versatility and intelligence both in and out of possession. 

“The first thing I’d like to say about Giovani is that I’m very proud of him,” the ex-Spurs playmaker told the club’s official website.

“Suddenly, when he came here to Spurs, he had one of the worst things that can happen to you as a footballer when you first arrive in a new club – he got injured.

“So, he arrived at a new club in Tottenham, wanted to play, wanted to do well but he couldn’t because of that injury, so it wasn’t the most auspicious of starts.

“However, he started to play more regularly and, immediately, he made an impact. He’s a very sensible player, he knows what he’s doing all the time, he’s clever and so on.

“Little by little, I have to say, he’s adapted to the pace of the game here extremely well. Right now, it doesn’t look like he has any problems with that at all.

“He can play in a number of positions in midfield, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, he uses his left foot more but he’s very comfortable on the right as well. So basically, he can play in any position in midfield.

“In fact, he can play the holding, defensive midfield position as well, he already has done this season.”

Ardiles went on to express his belief that Mourinho should deploy Le Celso further up the pitch in order to get the best out of him: “For me, his ideal position is he when he has freedom, he can go forward and attack players.

“If he has space, he’ll attack it immediately and that produces space for other players.

“He’s very skilful… look, everyone is skilful, but what makes you different is what is in your head. And even though he’s very young, I don’t want to say he has an older head, but he has a more experienced head on his shoulders.

“He’s a very, very good player and he can go from strength to strength.”

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