Player of the Weekend – Rafael van der Vaart

Tottenham Hotspur’s Rafael van der Vaart is A Different League’s player of the weekend, he put in quite a performance against Aston Villa and is quickly becoming a favourite at White Hart Lane.

This weekend was marked more by some non-performances than any great performances. Most of the Kop will confirm that none of the Liverpool team merit any mention here, and most Manchester United fans will accept that none of their players shone this weekend – with Rio Ferdinand the only possible exception, but that was mostly because his team mates kept putting him in situations where he had no option but to show his class.

Many an England fan will be confused by the work Emile Heskey was doing for Aston Villa at Tottenham. Despite going off injured he displayed the new lease of life new manager Gerrard Houllier’s faith in him has inspired. Heskey displayed all the attributes people try to claim make him a great ‘non scoring striker’. He brought the more exciting element of Aston Villa’s attack into the play – Ashley Young and Marc Albrighton seem to be thriving off his play.

Carlos Tevez continued his one man campaign to reward his generous paymasters as he scored yet another goal for City and continued to run himself into the ground to help his team mates.

Jordan Henderson displayed all the talents that encourages Steve Bruce to heap praise on him every week; he seems to be growing into the role of Sunderland’s playmaker and his confidence on the ball against the experienced United midfield showed his growing maturity.

The man of the weekend though has to be Rafael van der Vaart. His manager Harry Redknapp said after the game, “He’s started well, he’s going great. He’s always looking to get on the ball and he has that knack of scoring goals.” What Redknapp could have added is that the Dutchmen seems determined to spend every 90 minutes he gets in a Tottenham shirt making it very clear that his previous employers aware that they were wrong to dispense with him. Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid is being built around the young German centre midfielders Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil; Van Der Vaart seems adamant that Mourinho need not have discarded experience for youth in order to build a wold class side.

The entire club seems to have been buoyed by the Dutchman. The fans all sit up the second he gets on the ball, and the players around him have all responded to his presence. Peter Crouch has already formed a partnership with him,with Redknapp commenting that having Van Der Vaart in the midfield means Crouch isn’t really playing up front on his own.

This weekend, Van Der Vaart demonstrated his huge talent, and his importance to Spurs this season, when he grabbed a lacklustre Spurs side and dragged them to three points. Villa started brightly and took the lead, but that only provoked the midfielder. He scored both goals as Spurs came back to claim three points, but the highlight reel was a masterclass in intelligent passes, clever touches, incisive runs and bringing teammates into play.

Rafael van der Vaart is A Different League’s player of the weekend, but I think it is safe to say that he will be a real contender for Tottenham’s player of the season come May.

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