Tony Cascarino insists Tanguy Ndombele has been ‘nowhere near’ the level he was for Lyon at Tottenham.
The midfielder joined Spurs in a club-record £55million deal from the French club last summer, but has failed to make an impact in north London.
Ndombele was hooked at half-time in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley, before being criticised by his manager Jose Mourinho in a post-match press conference.
Making it clear he was talking about Ndombele without naming the player, the Tottenham boss admitted he couldn’t ‘keep giving him opportunities’, while demanding a ‘different level’ from the Frenchman.
talkSPORT host Cascarino agreed with Mourinho’s comments.
He said: “Ndombele’s been there for almost three quarters of a season. [He’s played] 27 games, and I think 20-plus of them he’s been subbed or coming on as a sub.
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“The level he is playing to is not the player I saw at Lyon. He’s been nowhere near that. All his midfielders, apart from [Giovani] Lo Celso, have been really poor since Mourinho took the job.
“Harry Winks has found it hard, he was on the bench yesterday. Watching [Oliver] Skipp, he’s a young lad who’s been given an opportunity, he was substituted [at half-time] as well.
“It’s really hard on the midfielders. If you’re any type of footballing midfielder for Jose, and you’re not quite making things tick, he is going to go for you. He wants generals in the engine room.”
Meanwhile, Cascarino’s co-host Georgie Bingham reckons Mourinho was ‘almost bullying’ Ndombele with his post-match criticism.
She said: “I heard his post-match press conference and I thought ‘Jose’s got the right tone, he’s pragmatic, he’s not hanging anyone out to dry’ and I then heard all of it with the Ndombele comments.
“It’s basically bullying, almost bullying, to the point where you are expecting someone to go out there and do a job.
“So it’s clearly not working very well, but if you call them out publicly like he has, you’re effectively saying, ‘he’s got no future in my team at the moment.’
“But the damage you can do to their confidence, which is such an important thing in football, could be very dangerous.”