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James Maddison: Have Spurs finally found a replacement for Christian Eriksen?

James Maddison in action for Tottenham against Bournemouth in the Premier League
James Maddison registered more shots, attempted more crosses and engaged in more duels than any of his team-mates in the win at Bournemouth

James Maddison's Tottenham career is barely two months old, yet with the way he has settled it almost feels like the England man has been at the club for years.

After following up his two assists at Brentford with an influential display against Manchester United last weekend, Maddison is going up through the gears.

He scored his first goal in Tottenham colours at Bournemouth on Saturday and delivered a superb all-round display to help Ange Postecoglou's side continue their unbeaten start to the campaign.

Maddison was sensational at Vitality Stadium, dropping deep on numerous occasions to collect possession, threading passes into the path of team-mates and producing a composed finish to set Spurs on their way to a second league win of the season.

It may be early days but the former Leicester man, named as a vice-captain to Son Heung-min following Harry Kane's summer departure to Bayern Munich, looks set to play a key role as Postecoglou aims to rejuvenate a Spurs side that was low on creativity and invention under previous managers Nuno Espirito Santo, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

"I'm at my best when I have responsibility on my shoulders - that's when I thrive," Maddison told BBC Match of the Day after Saturday's 2-0 win. "I'm a player who loves to be on the ball and that fits with how the manager wants his players to play."

A delighted Postecoglou added: "He's the kind of guy that when the ball gets to his feet, things happen. He also works hard for the team. He embraces that side of it.

"I thought it was a really good performance from him."

Eriksen's natural successor?

The fact Spurs fans were singing "we've got our Tottenham back" at the end of the game was in large part down to 26-year-old Maddison, who registered more shots, attempted more crosses and engaged in more duels than any of his team-mates on the south coast.

It is an ability to unlock opposition defences, however, that Tottenham have been crying out for since Christian Eriksen's departure to Inter Milan in January 2020, a move which left a void that Spurs struggled - and for a long time failed - to fill.

Having been linked with the former Coventry and Norwich man on several occasions in the intervening years, Spurs fended off strong interest from Newcastle this summer to finally land their man on a five-year contract.

As well as registering three goal involvements in as many games, Maddison seems to have formed a strong understanding with Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma in Spurs' new-look midfield - as evidenced by the visitors' opener against Bournemouth.

Former Brighton midfielder Bissouma squared the ball for Sarr, who picked out Maddison with a superb through ball and the England man made no mistake with the finish.

"Pape has that quality," Maddison said, reflecting on his 17th-minute strike. "I know I can make those runs and he can find me.

"We were all involved [in the goal]. We're all working really well together."

Harry who?

Maddison's knack for a goal is another welcome addition for a Spurs squad still adjusting to life after Kane, who called time on his record-breaking career at Tottenham last month.

The playmaker, who registered 55 goals for the Foxes on top of his 41 assists, could have had a hat-trick at Bournemouth. He shot straight at Cherries goalkeeper Neto in the first half before drilling wide from a good position in the second.

It mattered little, though, as Dejan Kulusevski found the far corner from Destiny Udogie's pass to double Tottenham's lead just after the hour mark and settle the visitors' nerves after a bright start to the second half by Bournemouth.

While replacing a player of Kane's ability is a fruitless task, Postecoglou feels Maddison and his team-mates - in the long run, at least - can help Spurs become a more unpredictable outfit in the absence of their record scorer.

"It makes us a more difficult team to try and stop because the goals can come from different avenues," said the former Celtic boss. "It's not just because Harry left, it's the way I set my teams up."

It is an approach that appears to be getting the best out of Maddison, who says Spurs have momentum on their side as they look to build on their impressive start.

"We've got the bit between our teeth - long may that continue," Maddison said.

"Hopefully we can still implement the final steps the gaffer wants to see, which is attacking football."