Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham wildcard option vs Arsenal has big Radu Dragusin benefit

Radu Dragusin could be the man to benefit if Ange Postecoglou makes a key Tottenham decision vs Arsenal
Radu Dragusin could be the man to benefit if Ange Postecoglou makes a key Tottenham decision vs Arsenal -Credit:Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Ange Postecoglou's plans for Tottenham's North London Derby showdown against Arsenal on Sunday have been hit by Destiny Udogie's season-ending injury. An integral part of the Australian's side, the left-back stated late on Saturday evening that he would not feature again this term as he posted an update on his Instagram account.

Confirmation from Tottenham duly arrived the following morning. A statement from the club read: "We can confirm that Destiny Udogie has undergone surgery to his left quadriceps, having sustained an injury in training earlier this week. The defender will continue his rehabilitation with our medical staff and is expected to rejoin the squad during pre-season."

Udogie's injury at a time when Tottenham are fighting it out with Aston Villa for a Champions League spot comes as a huge blow for Postecoglou and the team. Ben Davies will be the favourite to fill in for the Italian in the final six games, with Emerson Royal also an alternative at left-back having played in the role on a handful of occasions across the season so far.

One wildcard option available to Postecoglou is to move Micky van de Ven from his centre-back berth across to left-back. The Dutchman has excelled since his transfer to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium from Wolfsburg and he has made a real statement in his first season in the Premier League.

Not only an excellent defender, the 23-year-old is also extremely impressive with the ball at his feet and he is blessed with pace. The Wormer-born player has all the attributes Postecoglou requires in his left-back, which is in fact a position he has played in previously in recent seasons.

Van de Ven has played 15 times as a left-back before, including in FC Voldendam's first team and youth team, for Netherlands Under-21s and also on his senior Netherlands bow against Greece last October. During his time with Wolfsburg, the player started seven times at left-back and also came on there for the final 10 minutes of a 1-1 draw with VfB Stuttgart.

READ MORE: Destiny Udogie to miss the rest of Tottenham's season after injury announcement

READ MORE: Ange Postecoglou has three Tottenham players to replace Destiny Udogie as injury blow confirmed

Registering one goal and three assists in those 15 appearances as a left-back, Van de Ven notably teed up Max Kruse for Wolfsburg's equaliser with a superb low cross in their 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich in April 2022. Given his previous experience in the position and the qualities he possesses, the youngster could quite easily help solve Postecoglou's Udogie headache ahead of some crucial Premier League games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City.

The issue for Postecoglou and Spurs, though, is that you would be taking Van de Ven out of his strongest position and temporarily break up the excellent partnership he has formed with Cristian Romero at the heart of defence. Another thing that must be considered is that playing as a left-back in Postecoglou's team is not as straightforward as it may be in some other sides as the Australian wants both his full-backs to come inside and get on the ball as Spurs play their attacking brand of football.

Certainly a new experience for Udogie and Pedro Porro this campaign, both have thrived in their new roles but it is something that has come with time after hours of work on the training pitch. If Postecoglou does opt to play his wildcard and start Van de Ven at left-back up against Bukayo Saka in the Arsenal clash this weekend, one player it could benefit is Radu Dragusin.

Signed from Italian side Genoa at the start of the year as Tottenham finally addressed a lack of centre-back options at the club, the 22-year-old has so far made six appearances for the Lilywhites since his January switch. Four of those have come from the substitutes' bench, with the player getting 41 minutes under his belt in one substitute appearance after replacing the injured Van de Ven in the 4-0 triumph at Aston Villa.

Dragusin didn't enjoy the best of full debuts in a miserable showing at Fulham six days later but he was much improved after March's international break as the team got back to winning ways against Luton Town. The key to the Romanian international replicating his Serie A form in the Premier League is by playing consistent football week in, week out, something which Postecoglou hasn't been able to give him since his transfer from Genoa.

A switch to left-back for Van de Ven would allow Dragusin to potentially start six successive Premier League games, which would only benefit him as he looks to fully adapt to the pace and intensity of England's top flight ahead of his first full season in N17. More game time should come the 22-year-old's way next season as Tottenham look on course for a return to Europe, with the more minutes he obtains between now and May only going to work in his favour in the long run.

A huge week in the calendar for Tottenham with the North London Derby coming up, Postecoglou faces a big call when it comes to deciding on his Udogie replacement.

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