Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tottenham & The Europa League

(originally written in November 2011)

There’s been a lot of debate about our elimination from the Europe League at the group stage.  Lots of people happier for it and lots of people who feel disappointed.  I’m one of the latter.

A lot of the pro camp will say we had no intention of winning it and now we can concentrate on the league and they’ve got a point.  But the counter arguement here is there wasn’t many of the first choice starting XI who actually played in the competition.  VDV for example wasn’t even registered.  Harry exercised his right to give the squad players and emerging talent a chance, a decision I actually agree with and despite our exit, I believe it proved beneficial.

Players like Tom Carroll, Ryan Fredericks, Harry Kane were thrust into the minds of Tottenham fans, many of whom had never heard of them or had never seen them in action.  Again I fall into the latter.  And like me, many were impressed by what they saw.  Tom Carroll is a slip of a lad but looked very composed on the ball and a very usefull passer.  Harry Kane a big strong, almost old fashioned centre forward who actually possesses a decent touch. Ryan Fredericks, quick and versatile, will have been disappointed to have missed a few games with injury.

Some of the younger brigade have been around for a little bit longer, Andros Townsend and Jake Livermore for example.  Townsend was played in a variety of positions but was at his best when wide left.  He looks the type of player who will cause fullbacks sleepless nights and is able to create chances.  At the moment very much a squad player who could be used as an impact sub if so required.  Livermore as well remains a squad player in the big picture.

The Europa league also gave some of the more senior players a chance to shine.  Some grasped it, some didn’t.  Steven Pienaar while not setting the world alight did show some glimpses af quality and might still prove to be a useful player for the club.  Others like Giovani dos Santos and Roman Pavlyuchenko, while both getting on the scoresheet, didn’t really thrust themselves back into contention for a league start.
The main positive was getting these players gametime.  Nobody wants to sit around on the bench or out of the frame on a Saturday.  The Europe League provided a competitive environment for them to get games.  Now that we’re out what happens now?

Well it’s a good question.  The likes of Sandro, Kranjcar and Pienaar might not be happy with lack of games and benchwarming in league fixtures.  And if we lose our squad players it will affect our league campaign should injuries and suspensions take their toll.

Of the youngsters some will go out on loan most proabably.  Caroll for example would be a great addition to a side like Brighton or Southampton in the Championship.  Others like Kane may not be allowed to leave, depending on how important our involvement in the Next Gen Series is seen.  Townsend would be a one to keep for the reasons stated above.  And of course there will be those departing the club for the last time, Gomes, Corluka, Bassong and Pav falling most possibly into this category.

And for those thinking a good FA Cup run will allow these youngsters and squad players games I disagree.  FA Cup games are played instead of league matches so there’s no problem in playing more or less your strongest side here.  They still get a week to recover before the next game.  And I for one would love to win a trophy!

And I think therin lies the crux of the arguement.  We all want to see the club be successful and winning trophies helps us achieve this.  We all remember the league cup final a few years ago.  And in the upcoming book ‘The Glory Glory Game’, written by the Spurs Writers Club, I talk about the sheer enjoyment of winning the 1984 Uefa Cup.

Therefore I  think it is a shame we are out of the Europa League.  And January might be an interesting time for goings.

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