Michael Dawson praised Dejan Kulusevski both before and after Tottenham’s 3-2 defeat to Man United on Saturday, which the 21-year-old played 78 minutes of.
The Swedish international was one of Spurs’ two January arrivals, along with Rodrigo Bentancur and it hasn’t taken him long at all to settle in to life in England and the Premier League.
Antonio Conte has played Kulusevski alongside Son Heung-min, just behind Harry Kane, helping Tottenham create more in the final third.
The youngster has already made seven league appearances, scoring two goals and registering three assists, showing his immediate positive impact.
Ahead of the tie at Old Trafford, former Tottenham skipper Dawson praised the January transfer window signing.
“You’ve got Kulusevski who’s come in and hit the ground running,” the 38-year-old admitted. “They’ve got the speed of Kane, trickery of Kulusevski, he can go past players and create.”
Despite the Lilywhites’ defeat, the Swede still tried to make an impact in the game and suceeded in helping Spurs threaten their opponents in spells of the game.
The 21-year-old produced two key passes and had 89.3 per cent passing accuracy.
Kulusevski brought skill and creativity to the game and showed once again his ability to play effective through balls, as he did for Son in the second half and his bravery in taking players on.
Son is a fan favourite and when he is at his best, is a dangerous player for opposition teams, but in recent times he has failed to make a consistent impact in games.
That is why both Kulusevski and Spurs fans may have been frustrated to see the South Korean remain on the pitch and the 21-year-old replaced with Lucas Moura in the 78th minute.
Dawson also felt this, which he explained in his post match analysis.
“Taking off Kulusevski surprised me, Son we know how much fans love him but he hasn’t been to the level,” the former Tottenham defender admitted. “Leave Kulusevski on, bring Lucas on to bring pace.
“He took Kulusevski off, he’s been good since he come in.”
Conte’s substitutions weren’t able to turn the game around and the Lilywhites missed out on a pivotal three points in the battle for a spot in the top four.