Exit Interview: The brightest of starts but no progression as Georgiou heads home after limited chances at Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
Anthony Georgiou has returned to Tottenham following the end of his loan at Ipswich Town. Andy Warren looks back at his brief time at Portman Road.
Be honest, had you heard of Anthony Georgiou when his loan move to Portman Road was announced on August 19?
After some frantic internet searching and the viewing of the Cypriot international playing for Tottenham's first team in a pre-season game with Roma, there was real excitement as to what he could offer.
In many ways he was exactly what Ipswich needed. Quick, attacking and an out-and-out left-winger. Could he play left-back, too? 'Imagine what he could do in tandem with Luke Garbutt' we thought.
He couldn't realistically have gotten off to a better start, either.
Georgiou was named on the bench just a day after making his move and, with Ipswich trailing 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon having toiled during a miserable first-half, stepped off the bench at the interval. He changed the game, with his trickery, width and drive towards goal opening the contest up and proving the catalyst for James Norwood and Kayden Jackson's late goals on a dramatic night under the Portman Road lights.
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Sadly, though, that was as good as it got for the 22-year-old.
He leaves having never made a league start, doing so just twice in the FA Cup and once more in the EFL Trophy.
His 10 substitute appearances from the bench were packed with effort and promise but, sadly, the end product never quite reached the heights of his debut.
Garbutt's form and the switch to wing-backs didn't help his cause as the Blues' regular system changes made it difficult to imagine where Georgiou would fit in. He only made the bench as Lambert's youthful side edged past Peterborough on penalties in the trophy at the start of the month and, from that point onwards, it was clear his loan would not be extended when it expired at the end of the year.
Could things have been different had he been given greater opportunity during the early weeks of his loan? That's something we will never know.
The return to fitness of Freddie Sears and the possibilities the January transfer window brings, coupled with Georgiou's failure to fly following a promising start, means a break-up is probably best for all parties.
What went well
The previously-mentioned game with AFC Wimbledon is the perfect example of what the international winger can bring to a side.
He's an out-and-out winger with a positive first touch who looks to make something happen each and every time he gets on the ball.
He did it well on that occasion, beating his man and fizzing in low crosses to tease the Wimbledon defence and backed that up with another positive impact during his 20 minutes on the pitch at Bolton.
He looked like the man to change the game again when Rotherham cam and conquered Portman Road in October and was the focal point as the Blues came from behind in the FA Cup game with Lincoln as he was finally handed a first start.
Areas to improve
In total he played just 489 minutes in an Ipswich shirt and, while there were positives from most of his 13 appearances, they clearly weren't consistent enough to earn regular time on the field.
It's not unusual for wingers to find it hard to produce on a consistent basis, it's an issue which has plagued Gwion Edwards, Danny Rowe and (an admittedly out-of-position) Alan Judge this season too. But consistency is what can make or break players in that position.
While inconsistency is par for the course in an attacking sense, there were one or two occasions where he lost runners in the defensive third and that's something that could use a little work.
All in all, though, you have to feel Georgiou had little chance of gaining any kind of consistent momentum given he was feeding off scraps when it came to minutes.
What the future holds
Georgiou now returns to parent club Tottenham, now managed by Jose Mourinho, and of course finds himself a significant distance from the Premier League side's first-team.
He will presumably slide back into the Under 23 side in Premier League 2 but, now 22 himself, the clock is ticking in terms of his involvement there.
His senior involvement beyond his time at Portman Road consists of one unused substitute appearance for Spurs in the FA Cup at Newport two years ago, as well as 11 appearances for Levante's reserve side in the third division of Spanish football.
He has another 18 months on his contract at White Hart Lane but, like so many before him, it feels as if his career will truly begin once he's left the safety of Premier League academy football.