Tanguay Ndombele has had his fitness and attitude questioned by World Cup-winning Frenchman Emmanuel Petit.
Tottenham paid Lyon £54 million ($68m) for Ndombele’s services last summer, but the 23-year-old has so far failed to impress for the north London club.
Jose Mourinho, who replaced Mauricio Pochettino in November, has publicly lambasted the performances of Ndombele .
And countryman Petit, who is regarded as a legend by fans of Spurs’ greatest rivals Arsenal, believes that Mourinho was well within his right to criticise the midfielder.
“Is he overweight? He looks a little bit. But his body language does not help him. He needs to improve physically,” Petit told The Sun .
“When I see him I think ‘Come on, you can do more than that’. He received the same criticisms at Lyon. We all know the potential of Ndombele. I like this type of player and I used to watch him in France.
“He was not regularly a top player. Sometimes he could play a beautiful game - then three days later be average. He is not consistent enough. He doesn’t play well with any regularity. He has quality but I agree with Mourinho in that Ndombele could do much more.
“When he is very motivated, fit and ready, with his mind and body, and when he has the ambition to perform well, he becomes a top player.”
Petit, who also played for Barcelona and Chelsea, asked whether or not Ndombele is committing himself as best as he could be, both in terms of football and adjusting to his new surroundings.
He continued: “When you move to a new country you must make an effort to adapt. You cannot be a foreign player not speaking the same language because communication in the dressing room and on the pitch is so important.
“When he wakes up every morning he needs to ask the same question, ‘Am I doing the best I can?’
“It is hard to be a top player and you have to sacrifice everything to get there. You cannot lie to yourself.”
Ndombele’s obvious talent meant that it was considered a coup for Spurs to lure him to the Premier League, and he also reportedly interested Barcelona in recent months despite his sub-par displays.
The high-pressure expectations of English football’s top-flight makes it ever more important for the 23-year-old to correct his poor start.
Petit added: “If he wants to be a top player he needs to perform well every game. Every player has the right to a bad game now and then. But you don’t have the right not to give 100 per cent.”