London - Tottenham Hotspur's record signing Erik Lamela needs to prove his worth this season, according to compatriot and manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs secured the Argentine midfielder's services from Italian side Roma for a reported £26 million pounds in 2013, but the 23-year-old has struggled to perform consistently over the past two seasons.
He has started just one game for Spurs in the Premier League this campaign - the 1-1 draw with Leicester City - and was linked with a loan move to Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille during the summer.
Now in his third season at Spurs, Lamela has scored two goals in 46 league appearances, a poor return for a player who found the back of the net 19 times for Roma in the Italian top flight over two seasons.
Lamela came off the bench to assist Ryan Mason's winner in Sunday's 1-0 win over Sunderland, giving Spurs their first Premier League win of the season and Pochettino has spoken of this being a key season for the player.
"We believe we can develop his game and I think we need to be patient with him," Pochettino told the British media.
"I think this is a key season for him. After two seasons at Tottenham, now is the moment for him. Not to put pressure, but it's true. It's a key moment for him to develop and to move on his game. It's important.
"We want to give the opportunity to show his value. We have a lot of games to play, for competition, we need a good player in all positions," the former Southampton manager said.
Tottenham Hotspur, who are 12th in league table, welcome sixth placed Crystal Palace on Sunday.