Vinicius has done job but doubts remain over Spurs future


s a rule of thumb, no serious conclusions should be drawn from a Europa League opponent of this standard, particularly as Wolfsberger’s heads dropped long before the final whistle.

Alli and Bale’s pedigree is not in doubt, and they will surely play more significant roles in the latter part of Tottenham’s season, but judging Vinicius remains a curiously difficult task.

Signed on a season-long loan from Benfica, the Brazilian’s main remit was to spare Harry Kane from a succession of early cup matches, a task he has performed well.

Kane featured heavily in the Europa League qualifiers before Vinicius’s arrival but has since played just over 100 minutes in the competition and looked better for it, picking up another ankle injury last month but missing only two matches.

Vinicius has been reassuringly effective in the Europa League and he is currently second-top scorer in the competition with six, averaging a goal or assist every 51 minutes.

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Last night, he displayed a range of different finishes, rounding the goalkeeper with a neat ball-roll, only for his tame shot to be cleared off the line but making amends with two second-half goals – a back post header and curling shot.

Though he often looks unpolished and hesitant, his instincts are clearly good and he comes alive in the box.

Jose Mourinho remains unconvinced about the 25-year-old’s readiness for the hustle and bustle of the top flight, however, and on his only League start to date, he was anonymous in the defeat to Chelsea, in common with every one of his teammates.

Vinicius will likely take a year and a pre-season to get up to speed with English football but Spurs have a decision to make in the summer, with a £45million option to buy him permanently, which currently seems an unlikely prospect.

With the Europa League set to get harder from here and Dele and Bale back in the picture, Vinicius’ opportunities could be even more limited for the rest of the campaign but in many respects he has already served his purpose.

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