Its been a difficult choice and lots of deliberations have taken place and I guarantee there will be arguments over selections and style but here we go.
The Noughties have once again provided a period of massive change for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. As a consequence the club has used a lot of players in the search for a settled side that can compete at the highest level. One of my bug bears is the way that Spurs introduce the sides both on the tannoy and in the programme. I suggest that for the next decade we adopt the playing positions against squad number for tannoy announcements and positional for the programme – as they do at Old Trafford which certainly helps identify where certain opponents play. So adopting my method here we go:
In Goal number 1 Heurehlo Gomes
First saw him play against us for PSV and was astonished by his throw outs to the half way line. He made saves in that game and the return which prevented us winning the tie and I was delighted when he was signed. After a period of acclimatisation I think he has got to grips with most areas of his game though he can still leak penalties when he rushes out. Once again his performance at Fulham earned us a point where his mare the year before cost us the game.
In defence number 20 Michael Dawson
When Daws joined as part of the Andy Reid deal he was the lesser known player of the two. But having played a few games alongside Ledley he looked far better suited to the Premier League than his tubby Irish counterpart. Michael has always been good in the air and a decent tackler though in previous seasons his distribution was often over ambitious and a present to a ball boy.
After the early promise Ledley’s continuous absences made him leader of the line and like Sol Campbell before him it proved too much and lacking trust in some partners he over committed and lost confidence after the concession of goals. As Harry Redknapp joined the club one wondered whether Daws had a future at the Club but as in all fairy tales Michael’s form has returned and he looks a better player then ever and the world Cup remains a possibility.
Number 39 Jonathan Woodgate
A class act – though an injury prone one – his signing from Boro for £8M was a cause for concern. Another sick note? Yet until this season Woody has had a decent run in the side and looked particularly solid at the back. Add to this his winning goal in the Carling Cup final against Chelsea and how can we not add him to the team?
I fancy that if he gets fit that he and Daws will be our first line pairing.
Number 26 Ledley King
Has ended the decade a crock, only able to play one game a week, not able to train and likely to pull up at any moment with some strain or another. Yet the team always responds to his inclusion and play with a greater confidence with the quiet man amongst them.
Ledley could not miss this side but I think it’s the memories of his greater seasons rather than his current position that warrant his inclusion. At his best he is awesome and he transferred this to the National side and with different knees could have a good number of caps in his locker.
In Midfield number 7 Aaron Lennon
Spreading the ball wide is important in my team and during the Noughties the player causing havoc down the right has been Aaron Lennon. Having been signed for £1M from Leeds United and then grabbing his chance in the team his electric pace was enough to traumatise defenders and win him a place in the world Cup squad four years ago. Granted his crossing at the time was not the greatest but his pace enough to win free kicks and possession.
Defences wised up he was double teamed all the time and often forced to play on the left to get some time on the ball and it was then that the crossing needed to be spot on. In patches it was but often he frustrated his own team and supporters more than the opposition. Cue the David Bentley purchase and we all felt we knew what would happen. But Aaron proved us wrong, stepped up his game and became the player we remembered once more with improved delivery and a useful understanding with Charlie Corluka.
This season he has added some robust tackling and cover play to his locker plus a couple of early season goals. He’ll play in South Africa.
Number 23 Michael Carrick
A £3M signing from West Ham he was the man that Santini did not want. He had to wait until Charlton and Martin Jol to get his start and with us losing he came on picked the ball up on the half way line beat a number of players and nearly scored. It perked us up and we came back to narrowly lose my memory tells me. After that he was an ever present in the side and helped us grow as a team to be that whisker away from a Champions League spot at Upton Park. He more than any Spurs player looked washed out that day and with it went our chance.
Sold to Manchester United for a whopping fee he left a hole in midfield that I did not expect to be as large as it was for I felt he was a little too cautious playing squarer passes when something more ambitious was called for. In my side he’ll play the deeper role so I won’t be criticising him!
Number 14 Luka Modric
The unfortunate leg break has cost Luka this half of the season when he had started the season so well but his all round play since joining the club have won me over sufficiently to warrant him a place in my side. His goal to beat Chelsea capped a memorable performance and the way he has developed his game to make it a success in the Premier League in his first season showed the sort of character we had signed.
Number 12 Wilson Palacios
Anyone who saw his debut on 8 February 2009 would have him in this team. The boy was on fire winning tackles like we’d never seen since Graham Roberts was in a Spurs shirt and it was a joy to watch. His presence along with that of Robbie Keane was enough to transform the side and get us out of the relegation zone and up the table.
Since then he has learned the fate of his brother and I feel that this inevitably weighs heavy on his shoulders and he started this campaign a little under the weather. But in recent weeks his performances on the ball have been improving and hopefully his beast form for the second half of the season.
Number 14 David Ginola
Why did we sell him? A shocking decision that even he maybe never came to terms with for his performances at Villa weren’t all that. David only saw half a season in the Noughties but for me its enough to put him into the side for his contribution to the club during his 3 year tenure. You only have to see the reaction he receives when he comes to a game at the Lane to know that we respect the legend that is David Ginola.
Up front Number 9 Dimitar Berbatov
Ginola and Berba in the same side – now that would be awesome or immense as the younger generation seem to be saying these days. Have we ever seen a centre forward bring down a ball in such a manner? Good in the air, quick of thought and at times inspirational on the ball Berba was as good as we’ve seen up front and could have become a true Spurs legend but instead flew the nest for United gold. And for him it’s been hard to find as he discovered what Carrick also found they want you badly until they’ve got you and it all changes from that point.
Laziness is often pointed at Berba, but often with the near genius it is hard to understand what the others are doing and why so slowly? His looks of disgust at players like Jenas when they’d missed the killer pass to him spoke volumes and he was probably using us as a stepping stone to greater things. But if Harry signed him back next window would we accept him? I think we would because he would improve the side and maybe get us into that top four.
Number 10 Robbie Keane
I expect this might be an unpopular choice with many based upon current form but let’s look back into history and remember the side that Keane joined. Going nowhere, lacking fire power and maybe a little commitment up front – here was a team for Keane to prove his worth after failing to nail down a regular starting position at Inter Milan and Leeds United. And nail it he did helping us to win a number of games single handedly that I remember. A hat trick against Everton and the 4-3 over Portsmouth come instantly to mind.
For most of him time at the club he and Defoe have competed for a place. I agree that Defoe is more instinctive in front of goal and the Keane can miss chances but Robbie’s partnerships with others – in my opinion – have been better than Jermains and for that reason he gets a place in the side!
And to the Bench:
My keeper is Radik Cerny who I thought did well when he got the chance and if his kick had been better might have displaced Robinson for longer periods.
Defoe and Sheringham are also easy picks. JD for his sharpshooting and Teddy for the options he provided either as an out and out striker or link man.
Because I’ve gone 3-5-2 I need some full backs to counter the threat of injury to a defender so Stephen Carr and Christian Ziege get the nod and as replacements in midfield I’ve chosen Gus Poyet and Steed Malbranque purely because I liked what they offered during their time at White Hat Lane.
So there it is. If I’ve left anyone out just send me a comment to let me know or alternatively let me know your side as a comment. Yes its likely we’ll concede a goal or two but it’ll be a joy to watch going forward and after all that is Tottenham Hotspur! Whilst the Noughties have not been our most impressive decade we leave them once more starting to believe that a new dawn awaits us. Let’s hope this time it comes to something!