Tag Archives: Spurs News

What is the future for Project Ledley?

ledleyIt’s pleasing to see Ledley King pledging his future to the Club and saying he will be playing for us after 2012. Having said that is this what the club needs? Having read Harry Hotspur for a period of time he has quite often asked this question “How long can project Ledley carry on for?” and whilst this appears quite harsh and disloyal to one of our best players the Birmingham and Chelsea games have shown that the lack of proper training leads to a succession of muscle pulls and strains.

As a Spurs fan its difficult to think of a time when we had a better centre back corp.? It’s easy to think of times when we didn’t and certain players come to mind quite quickly that leave a chill down the spine – in fact it’s quite an endless list if you think about it! So to have players of the ability of Woodgate, Dawson King and Bassong on our squad competing for two places is a fantastic problem for the manager to have.

WoodyThis season injury has played a major part to our defensive selections. When we signed Jonathan Woodgate there were those who thought “not another sicknote” only to find him a near ever present in the side. Then there was Dawson. In his early Spurs career a fantastic prospThere's only 1 Michael Dawsonect that ran out of gas, made errors missed Ledley and became a bag of nerves. Since Harry has been manager most of these problems have been put right and his attitude has future captain written all over it.

So are these two going to be happy sitting on the bench when we are not in Europe and do not have two games a week? Both are English and will want to press claims for the World Cup squad in South Africa, as is Ledley who is offering himself to Fabio in a role to be determined.

BassongWe have not yet mentioned Bassong who after looking a liability at Newcastle has looked good on the ball, attacked the aerial ball well in both boxes but with areas to work upon to stop him getting turned etc.

So a team of cultured defenders but all prone to the one error in a game that can be costly. Yes even Ledley. His lack of real training tells me it is difficult to man mark and often when he plays we are vulnerable to an opposition substitution in the striker department and this can lead to a goal being conceded. Sunderland last year was a prime example when Cisse came on and got space, a free header and scored. My thought was Ledley you lost your man.

I was willing to forgive this understanding what a good clubman Ledley was and then we played Everton away. Knowing that your knee swells up really badly after a game would indicate that you’d elevate it and give it rest once the Spurs team got back to North London. But these days you fly not take a coach, so back to Stansted and out in London on the beer is one choice against rest and relaxation. Ledley picked the former and ended up in a cell. Apart from the cell he might always have picked the former – his book will tell us when he writes it – and this was a crucial moment in my thinking. I hate players mouthing about how much they earn a week and quiet cultured Ledley was the last person I expected it from. I was shocked as he was the last player I thought this might happen to. From that moment I’m maybe not as forgiving of the slack marking.

I’m not a man from the Rafa Benitez School of management. I think you have to know your best team and in certain areas keep playing it rather than rotate to build up understanding, confidence and a style of play. For me central defence is the most important pairing and if you get it right at worst you draw at best a win. I therefore believe that you pick a pairing and stick to it week in week out. If Ledley had great knees he’d be part of that and a first choice on the team sheet but as it is we are really playing with only 2 subs because there is likelihood that he won’t make it to the end of the game.

If Spurs want to break into the top 4 can we do it on this basis? I’m not sure we can and concerned that we get offers on the others that the players want to explore for regular first team football only for Ledley to unfortunately reach the end of his career a couple of months later.  You might think I don’t like Ledley King but that’s not true at all. I enjoy watching him play and play he certainly can. Mike EnglandHe’s up there with Mike England, the ex Notts County player and Richard Gough as the best centre backs I’ve seen play at the club. He was giving Drogba a great tussle on Sunday but couldn’t last the game to help deliver maybe a draw. Sometimes for the long term you have to look at the luxury a player provides and decide whether we can cope with it or not. It’s a question we’ll be asking about other positions in our team before the seasons end but that will be called healthy competition.

And that’s our problem. To date this season it has not existed. On Saturday it won’t either as Dawson will no doubt play 90 minutes alongside Bassong if he is recovered from his concussion. Woodgate may need further surgery so our problem may not present itself until after Christmas when the decision will be pick two from the four. Crickey it’s a toughie and Harry is going to have to put his mind to it but making tough decisions is what he is paid to do.

No knee problem I’d go Woodgate King but with the knee Dawson Woodgate. But you tell me – what do you think our best permutation is going forward.

Lennon on fire, Jermain merely smoulders….

While JD had 35 minutes to smoulder Aaron Lennon was most definitely on fire when he got the ball and helped England to an easy win with a man of the match performance. Lennon, who has been in Defoe’s shadow, got the nod to start against Croatia and after an early run which earned a penalty and a lovely deep cross for a headed second showed why Fabio had made such a decision.

The first goal showed the improvement Spurs fans have witnessed this season. Last year he would have dribbled all around the edge of the box without entering as if an electric fence was keeping him out. I often called for him to break into the box to prevent the defender’s tackle opportunity without huge risk of conceding a penalty and that is exactly what he did this evening. Harry’s suggestion to get a shot off has certainly worked and while you question why such a suggestion might be necessary it’s the simple stuff that works.

His crossing has certainly improved and if Sir Alex was not watching Scotland he’ll be hoping such exploits are not repeated against a certain Mr Evra this saturday tea time. Evra will certainly not be looking forward to the game after the Carling Cup final and our first half performance at Old Trafford.

And thanks Fabio, subbing the lad early to ensure his fitness!

Spurs stars score for Countries

I was fortunate to be a guest at Club Wembley for the Slovenia international and therefore saw Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon’s second half performances which culminated in a decent link up and a goal for JD as he unleashed a shot from the edge of the area. Hopefully he will start on Wednesday.

Lennon replaced Wright-Phillips at half time but was used infrequently by Glen Johnson who preferred to play across the back rather than give the crowd something to cheer. If Aaron is to get a decent game he needs to be used but he did what he could keeping to the line in space waiting for a chance of the ball.

Elsewhere Alan Hutton got an outing for Scotland in the pouring rain at Hampden Park in a 2-0 victory over Macedonia.

Robbie Keane notched the winner in Cyprus to keep the Republic of Ireland’s chances well and truly alive and Roman Pavluchenko got 2 before half time – but they were both penalties before getting booked after the interval.

Charlie Corluka was sent off in Croatia’s 1 nil win over Belarus for two yellow cards so should miss the game at Wembley but Kranjcar played and received a decent rating on Sky.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto joined Sebastien Bassong in the Cameroon line up for the away game in Gabon. Cameroon won 2-0 but Bassong was replaced after 24 minutes suggesting an injury and Ekotto picked up a card. One wonders whether the Spurs programme will have the correct flag for Bassong at the Manchester United game?

Turning to Central America Giovani Dos-Santos scored Mexico’s first in a 3-0 win over Costa Rica but no Wilson Palacios for Honduras, possibly being rested for Wednesday’s game against Mexico?