Former Premier League footballer Joe Cole was full of praise for reported Tottenham Hotspur target Sofyan Amrabat after his incredible performance for Morocco in their World Cup triumph over Spain.
A determined performance saw the Atlas Lions take the 2010 world champions to penalties before Yassine Bounou became the man of the moment, saving two penalties as the north African side progressed.
However, it was another Moroccan star that caught the eye of Cole at half-time following another inspired first-half performance from Amrabat, who was once again crucial to Walid Regragui’s side as they reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their nation’s history.
The former England international was a pundit for ITV’s coverage of the clash when he lauded the 26-year-old, who was previously linked with a move to Tottenham by Italian media last month after being on the club’s radar for some time.
Cole said: “He’s been excellent, he’s sort of patrolling the middle of the pitch, he’s not allowing Gavi and Pedri to get into any type of dangerous position, he’s got great defensive instincts. Tonight, he’s been excellent off the ball.
“He’s been crucial. What he’s done is he’s not allowed [Dani] Olmo and Ferran [Torres] to rotate and get in [on goal]. This [clearance off the line] is the best part of it. Talk about not giving up, and he’s been the epitome of everything good Morocco have done in that half.”
TIF Thoughts on Cole’s comments…
Once again, Amrabat, who has a reported price tag of £30m, proved his qualities and importance to his side as he played the whole 120 minutes of the Spain tie, with his incredible block to deny them the opening goal in the first half perhaps his finest moment.
As solid as he’s proved all tournament, the Fiorentina midfielder picked up a joint-third-highest Moroccan match rating of 7.2 as he won all seven of his ground duels and made a huge four tackles, which was the joint-most of the game, as per Sofascore.
According to FBref, only three players rank higher for tackles and interceptions than Amrabat’s 17. He is also joint-fourth in Qatar for the number of tackles in the defensive third with nine, highlighting he’s one of the stars of the whole tournament.
Therefore, you can see why clubs like Spurs are apparently interested, and we would be intrigued to see where he would fit into Antonio Conte’s system if he was to make a move to north London.