Clinton NJie spoke yesterday during pre-season training on how this is the hardest he has ever had to work while preparing for the upcoming campaign.
With Tottenham’s pre-season program beginning on July 1st, players who weren’t on international duty have spent this past week getting up to speed on their fitness training. Among them is 22-year-old Clinton NJie who is looking to stay healthy after a knee injury robbed him of his debut season.
It goes without saying, that the Cameroon international’s second year with Tottenham should be much better than last term. That is, assuming he’s fully fit now.
In 16 games after NJie was signed, he appeared in 12 fixtures in all competitions. Eight of which were consecutive appearances, while not being selected in four of them. It was a promising sign that NJie, who never had a pre-season program under his belt, was already a part of Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.
And after spending £12 million on the former Olympique Lyon forward, he hit the ground running and had a couple of good outings. Like his 13 minute showing against Manchester City on September 26th. Where he recorded an assist on Érik Lamela’s goal after being subbed on.
That little glimpse of talent was just a sliver of what he could do and he showed it again against Liverpool after Nacer Chadli was forced to leave after the 11th minute. Giving N’Jie his longest appearance of the season by playing 79 minutes (tied with his Europa League start against Monaco which resulted in an injury).
Double training sessions have been the norm for Mauricio Pochettino upon his arrival two summers ago. Players who have gone through the grueling off-season program aren’t necessarily immune to the constant training every day, but they’re able to withstand it much better than players who have never experienced it.
There’s a reason why Clinton N’Jie who spoke with Spurs TV yesterday, talked about how this is the hardest he’s ever had to work. This isn’t him saying he’s never worked hard before, it’s just that Tottenham players are forced to work twice as hard.
“This is the hardest I have been working in my career,” N’Jie admitted.
“It’s been going very well, we’ve been training very hard and I think all the guys who are in have been doing well for themselves.”
“Training is tough but we need to do this because we want to have a great season.”
“You saw last season that we were one of the best and fittest teams in the Premier League so I think this is the time to work harder to enable us to perform at the top level.”
Tottenham were in fact one of the most fittest teams in the league last season. And it should come as no surprise since Pochettino pushes his team to their limits.
The only drawback was the fact that at the end of these past two seasons, Spurs have faded. And a big part of that was a lack of rotation and depth. Two things that should — hopefully — be corrected this term.
“Like I said, the sessions are really tough but we don’t complain because we will see the results in the end and that’s important.” Clinton N’Jie added.
Everyone now expects Tottenham to challenge for the Premier League title once again, and rightfully so. But another top-four finish wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. After all, Spurs weren’t supposed to come this close last year, because they were at least a season or two too early.
With a squad that should boast more depth and attacking options, Clinton N’Jie should get more playing time as a super-sub as mentioned above. There isn’t that many holes in the starting XI as is, so this is the best that Pochettino could offer the 22-year-old right now.
Then again, that’s good enough. It gives spurs more threats on the bench.
Something Tottenham haven’t had in a few seasons where the talent level doesn’t drop significantly, like in years past. A player like N’Jie, who has the pace and directness to change a game in Tottenham’s favor, will be welcomed.
With a full pre-season training program, the Cameroon winger should fully grasp Pochettino’s high-press and counterattacking style of football that dominated teams last year despite what happened in the end when they faded.