The young defender was thrust into the first team with Argentina at this summer’s tournament, and his compatriot couldn’t have been happier for him
Erik Lamela thinks his Tottenham teammate Juan Foyth proved his character with Argentina at the Copa America this summer, and hopes it is just the start of a long international career.
The 21-year-old defender had only three senior caps to his name before the tournament in Brazil and wasn’t expecting to play a big part.
But he ended up securing a vital role in the team, and despite playing out of his most natural position at right-back, he held his own in Argentina’s last four games as they ended up with a third-place finish.
“He’s a young player who always wants to train hard and play,” Lamela told the club’s website.
“He always shows very good character and I’m so happy for him – what a way to finish the season!
“It’s important for him. He’s young and developing well. He still has a lot of time. I’m so happy for him and will always try to help him as much as I can.
“To be there, the pressure is big in Argentina. The team always has to win. Juan has big character and I believe in him.
“He is a player who is always confident, I can see that in every training session, in every game. I hope it’s the start of his career in the national team.”
After initially struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League, Lamela showed the strength of his own character to battle through the doubts and establish himself as an important part of the Spurs squad.
Now 27, he could make his 200th Tottenham appearance in the coming season, which will be his seventh in English football.
Having played an important role in helping Foyth settle in north London, fellow Argentine and Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping he can make a big contribution in the coming years.
Signed from Estudiantes in 2017, he has taken his first steps into the first team, making eight appearances in his first season and 15 last campaign.
Foyth’s exploits at right-back during the Copa America may help him stake a claim for more first-team football at Spurs, with Kieran Trippier’s future in the position in doubt.
The youngster will see his long-term future at centre-back, but his adaptability will no doubt be appreciated by Pochettino as Spurs prepare to fight on four fronts once again this season.