Thursday, 9 June 2011
Spurs - an idiot's guide: the wingers
I always believed in Gareth Bale. No, honestly, I swear. I know there were a few bumps in the road to his current lofty status, but that boy always had the game.
There were, admittedly, some early doubts about his mentality and maybe even his physicality... Okay, what I'm saying is, for a while there we thought that he was either a brittle-boned, twangy-tendoned sicknote-in-waiting or a thundering great pansy who hobbles off at any excuse and refuses to play if he feels the slightest twinge.
But he's toughened up. He's toughened in the way that an egg yolk toughens into meringue, perhaps - but he's still got the game.
I remember watching his first goal for us, Fulham away I think, when he burst down the left and, ignoring an unmarked (and offside) Berbatov in the middle, just calmly slid the ball in at the keeper's near post. It was a proper, confident finish.
His progress over the next couple of years was faltering, and he's still not a genuine go-to match winner on a regular enough basis, but he's shaking off his youthful reticence and acquiring some belief and confidence - in his ability and his body. And now and again, oh boy...
To the consternation of most Spurs fans, he probably carries the highest price ticket of all the players in the current squad, and it's interesting that many of us would, possibly, regard accepting an offer of, say, £40m not a bad piece of business. (Except, of course, whether it makes 'sense' or not also has to weighed against what messages it sends to the rest of the players in the squad)
Another scenario I've seen touted is Man City offering us Adam Johnson, Micah Richards and, steady yourselves, Adebayor in a straight swap. Again, there are those who believe we'd be getting the sweet end of that deal.
Not much back up though, is there? Danny Rose, I guess, can cover BAE and Bale. And Kranjcar can cover pretty much anyone, but it seems unlikely he'll be with us come August.
On the right, Aaron had an indifferent season, but did pop up with a couple of joyous late goals - Liverpool at home and Newcastle away.
As @studup pointed out recently on thfc1882, Lennon really can't be considered in terms of potential anymore. He should be terrifying full-backs week-in, week-out - and I can't help thinking that maybe a lack of top notch coaching has hampered his progress a bit.
Perhaps that's harsh on Harry and his team. But, even if they're doing everything they can for the lad technically, they don't seem to have pushed the right buttons in terms of motivation. In fact, they seem to have accidentally leaned on the one marked OFF. And I don't think that situation's fixed yet.
I hope little Azza stays, though. He's a player who was born for the epiphet 'jet-heeled'. Which means, essentially, he's defined by his speed. Which, in turn, means at 24 he can't still be developing. He should be at the peak of his powers right now. Maybe he is. Which would be a shame.
Cover? Well there's David Bentley. But there won't be for much longer, surely. I know at least one very loyal and very wise Spurs fan who will be sorry to see him go, but I won't miss him. I thought his performance against Arsenal in this season's league cup match was pretty much a disgrace.
Apart from that, Jenas can put a shift in when required, but it's not ideal. And Harry tried to crowbar VdV into the position towards the end of the season, but as a right winger he drifted towards the middle more than Ken Clarke. At times, he seemed to do it at about the same speed as well.
So let's concentrate on our first choices - Aaron and Gareth. They sound like a couple of jolly nice young boys from a middle-ranking public school, but fit, firing and on form, they're possibly the best right/left combination in the league. Now they just need to deliver more knockout blows.
And here are an idiot's guide to the goalkeepers, the full-backs, and the centre-backs.