Tottenham Focus - Time for Rose to blossom
Tottenham have had an excellent summer in the transfer market. However the last day of the window saw some fans bemoaning the fact that Spurs had not only let Benoit Assou-Ekotto leave on loan to Queens Park Rangers but not brought in a replacement either, leaving Danny Rose as first-choice left-back.
There were comments that Rose was either too inexperienced, too short against the high ball- although Rose is taller than Philipp Lahm - or simply not good enough. Yet Spurs coach André Villas-Boas has decided that the young Englishman will be his first choice.
Like his teammate Andros Townsend, Rose was sent out on loan to earn vital Premier League experience - in Rose’s case for a whole season. Like Townsend at QPR, Rose’s loan to Sunderland was arguably the most important move of his career. With Harry Redknapp’s preference for picking the same team week in, week out Rose had hardly got a look-in the previous year and the move to Sunderland proved vital in helping his development as a full-back. Rose excelled and ended up being voted Black Cats Player of the Year and was strongly linked with a Sunderland move on a permanent basis.
Rose made 27 appearances in the Premier League (25 starts) for Sunderland. In a struggling team, Rose won 63 tackles at 2.3 per game, made 64 clearances and an impressive 73 interceptions, arguably showing that his reading of the game is better than some Spurs fans may believe, his tackle and interception ratio per game outstripping both Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Naughton.
Last season Rose lost possession roughly every five minutes on average, a high figure but this should be perhaps put in the context of playing in a struggling Sunderland team. Assou-Ekotto lost possession every four minutes - not much difference in a better team. Rose’s passing accuracy was decent at Sunderland but has improved to 78% this season at Spurs as has his crossing, arguably both benefits of being in a better team, but his crossing is perhaps the attacking area that needs the most work.
As so often these days a full-back’s duties appears to be more of a wing-back in nature, to work up and down the pitch defensively and offensively. Perhaps this is one of the reasons behind Villas-Boas’ preference for Rose over the wonderfully laid-back character of the Cameroonian. Rose has pace and strength and gets up and down the pitch, benefitting from his previous incarnation as a winger. These abilities would seem to fit with Villas-Boas’ tactics so far with the winger cutting inside and Rose overlapping.
Some fans may see Rose as a gamble, but could Villas-Boas have pulled a master stoke? Rose showed too much promise at Sunderland to sit on the bench again. By loaning out Assou-Ekotto, has the Portuguese given confidence and sent a message to Rose that he has faith and belief in the young player to be his first choice. Now it’s up to Rose to make the position his.
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