Blogs | Fresh Spurs - Part 30


Dele Alli: Destined For Spurs Stardom

When Tottenham Hotspur signed MK Dons midfielder Dele Alli for £5million back in January, Spurs fans saw it as an extremely clever and shrewd piece of business. The 19-year-old then went back on loan with the League One side for the rest of this season to continue his development.

The teenager is prodigiously talented and looks destined for the top of the game, he ended the season in top form for MK Dons, with Alli helping them seal automatic promotion to the Championship with a final day victory against Yeovil Town. He ended the campaign with 16 goals and 11 assists.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will be hard pressed not to include him in his first-team squad as soon as he can which leads onto this, a question on many Spurs fans minds is: ‘Will Alli be a major part of our squad next season?’ My answer to that would be, yes he will be.

He’s proven in the lower leagues that he can be a complete midfielder, a true box-to-box midfielder, someone who can defend efficiently and then make the instant transition into attack and set up a goalscoring move.

In recent seasons we’ve brought players like Paulinho and Dembele who were supposed to be that player but neither has looked anything like the player who we believed them to be. That’s where Alli comes key in our squad. He has shown to be a very good tackler, despite his young age and has speed and physical strength in an attack and when he gets to the final third he either goes for goal or lays it off for his striker, unlike Paulinho/Dembele who would pass sidewards or backwards.

On top of all that he also presses high up and wins the ball upfield which is the definition of what Poch wants from his whole team so Alli should have no difficulty in adapting to the system at Spurs. He’s a fantastic athlete, already at a young age with no limits seemingly, who’s technical ability allows him to create chances for himself and his team-mates. Spurs fans should be very excited for what Alli can bring to the Lilywhites in 2015/16.

Does Ryan Mason Deserve A Starting Place In The Tottenham Side?

Does Ryan Mason deserve to keep his place in the starting eleven for Tottenham? Many different views from many different people, none are wrong of course, but everyone has their opinion. My opinion is that over the course of the season, he hasn’t exactly showed that he deserves to be in the midfield. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t a bad player, he is a good young player.

But Tottenham need a fully developed player, not someone who could take a few years to blossom. Someone like Morgan Schneiderlin, who has shown on many occasions this season that he is the type of player that many teams need. A player who can protect the back four, break up play and allow the attackers to attack. Nemanja Matic is the proof of how a strong defensive midfielder can improve a team. Now, I’m not comparing Mason to Matic, but to Schneiderlin who Spurs could have and should have signed in the summer, he isn’t what is needed.

It is nice to see a youth player finally make an impact in the Spurs side, and alongside Harry Kane, he has become a first team regular due to his fire, desire, determination and love for the club. But fire, desire and a love for the club shouldn’t mean he gets an automatic place in the side. I love Oasis, and I love Metallica, but that alone doesn’t mean that I should replace Noel Gallagher or Kirk Hammet. I have to be better than them, and a lot of other people, to get their place and the same applies to Ryan Mason. He may be a ‘Spurs Boy’ but that doesn’t mean he is better than someone else.

Paulinho has played better than him whenever he’s made an appearance lately, and even managed to grab a Man of the Match award. Does that mean he should play ahead of Mason? When football is judged on talent, then yes it does mean that he should play ahead of him.

I don’t want to come across as if I’m criticising Mason for not having talent, he is talented. I first saw him last season whilst he was on loan at Swindon Town playing midfield against Tranmere Rovers in League One. He was clearly miles ahead of everyone on that pitch and made me proud to say ‘that lad plays for Tottenham’. He clearly had talent then and has it now. Another example is the North London Derby at White Hart Lane this season. Anyone who has read any of my other pieces about Spurs knows how this game was probably the best part of the season for me. Harry Kane got the headlines, but Ryan Mason was the one who controlled the game.

Against the likes of World Cup winners Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, Mason showed them how football was meant to be played and was fantastic from the first whistle to last. But that was the last time I remember being impressed by Mason for a whole game. The talent is there, but at what level? Is it too much too soon for a player who was playing League One football last year and then made his full Spurs debut away at Arsenal?

What lies in stall for Ryan Mason? It’s not like he is getting sold any time soon, but could lose his place if someone new is bought. Rumours linking Spurs with Schneiderlin, who many see as the first piece of the Pochettino jigsaw, could see Mason dropped to the bench. Whilst it is nice seeing a product of the Spurs youth getting a first team place, it would be nicer to see a player come in and bring some level of success to the team, whether he is youth or bought because ultimately, in the words of the great Bill Nicholson, the game is about glory and if a player brings the club glory, then that is all that matters. Rather fittingly considering the debate that English football is having at the moment, Mason may be entertaining for some fans, but eventually the entertainment must evaporate when the club doesn’t win anything?

But ultimately it comes down to whether Ryan Mason is good enough for a club who needs and demands success when he isn’t looking like giving them success.

Is Everyone Supportive Of Mauricio Pochettino?

Why does it always happen to Spurs? Start a season with hope, only for it to drizzle away with a few games remaining. We look to blame the finger and eventually the manager gets blamed. But there is only so much one man can do. Has the board finally accepted that they are to blame for the inconsistency and poor signings in recent years? Not really, as poor players are still being signed and sporting director Franco Baldini still has a job. Is there even anyone to blame for this season? No one can solely be blamed, as it is finally being shown to be a club failure. The players aren’t good enough; the board doesn’t seem to be ready to take the blame as of yet. But where does that leave Mauricio Pochettino?

It’s not like he’s doing a bad job. I mean, the team is playing much better than last season, and fitness seems to be improving, but in his defense, there is only so much he can do with players like Paulinho and Erik Lamela. I understand they need to adapt to the style but including Roberto Soldado, the amount that was paid for them, they should be able to at least play well consistently at this level. That is a defense for Pochettino, as not even Jose Mourinho could win anything with these players. He’s implemented his style of play as well as he could to the team, but the consistency levels vary week to week that it must be frustrating for the manager, even more so than for the fans, as he has no choice but to start these players, who we as faithful fans know aren’t that great.

After seeing the reaction to managers such as Andre Villas Boas and Tim Sherwood, its safe to say that Pochettino is getting a fairly easy ride. Yes, some fans want him out, but every club has fans that constantly want change, mainly for the sake of change. Some wanted Frank de Boer, others didn’t. That’s fine, but it’s the Pochettino supports from the beginning that seem to be turning on him, but why? Because we cant finish top 4? Well, it took us 20 plus years of the Premier League to do it one time, so don’t panic if it doesn’t happen straight afterwards.

Would it be best for business to change manager once again? Not when Tottenham have a track record of changing a manager and replacing him with someone who starts off well, finishes the season poorly and gets the boot without affecting the team at all. If Pochettino were to be sacked, the Spurs cycle of “lose, sack, appoint new manager, and repeat” would continue. How does this cycle stop? By the looks of it, until someone comes in and wins everything immediately, it is set to continue. And quite frankly, if that’s how the club will be run, I will struggle to believe that we will ever achieve much under the current regime.

This has been something bugging me since the backlash of the draw against Burnley and loss at home to Aston Villa. Boos were expected at the end of the Villa game, but it made me wonder who is really fully supportive of the current regime.

Pochettino Must Invest In Squad Depth If Spurs Are To Achieve A Top Four Finish

This could be one of the reasons for Tottenham’s crushing defeat at home to Aston Villa. Certain members of the squad may be suffering from burnout, and are in need of a week or two off.

Burnout results in a low intensity game from the team that is suffering, and this is exactly what we got from Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon. Naming just a few, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason and Christian Eriksen looked like they were in need of a rest.

So, what is the answer to this problem? Name a different starting eleven. It is as simple as that. However, it not quite as simple as that when you have the likes of Paulinho in your squad.

I don’t mean to be unfair to the lad, but he just hasn’t settled into the Premier League at all and the performance against Burnley summed up his time at Tottenham, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was offloaded somewhere else in the summer transfer window.

Looking at the bench we named against Aston Villa, there wasn’t really anybody that could change the game, and that is something that you are crying out for when you are trailing at home to a side like Villa.

Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and DeAndre Yedlin all came on in the defeat to Villa at the weekend, and hardly made an impact, we just needed that somebody that could turn the game on its head that wasn’t already on the pitch.

Also, we will need to field a very competitive side whatever players we pick, this is key when we are competing in European competitions, as the same players can’t be played twice a week on a regular basis.

So, this summer, I would like to see Paul Mitchell and Mauricio Pochettino sign some talent that can give us some depth in the side, and somebody who can turn a game on its head.

DeAndre Yedlin Should Start In All Of Tottenham’s Remaining Fixtures

Amongst the disappointment of losing to Aston Villa at home on Saturday there was one moment that shone through, we saw the much-prolonged and anticipated debut of American DeAndre Yedlin.

The Full-Back was signed from the Seattle Sounders last summer, but was then loaned back to complete the MLS season before joining up with Spurs in January. But we hadn’t seen him anywhere near the first-team until Saturday and may fans started to wonder what the logic was in holding him back.

It’s down to clever man-management from Mauricio Pochettino. It’s easy to forget that Yedlin is a 21 Year-Old coming to England and Poch has let Yedlin settle down in the country first before throwing him into the deep end of first team football.

Now after a string of impressive outings for the U21 side, he made his first forte into the first team and should remain there for the rest of the season. Considering that Kyle Walker is out injured and Vlad Chiriches and Eric Dier are having to deputise there it leaves us with a lack of width defensively and a lack of threat going forward on the break.

Starting Yedlin in the remaining six games that we have this season would be beneficial to us and to him. As these games are perfect to settle him in and prepare Yedlin for next season, also it gives us a new dynamic option as he offers a lot going forward with his blistering speed and awareness with the ball.

So there may not be much to play for but there is a lot to learn from some of our players and Yedlin can show a lot of his worth to the Spurs faithful in this final run-in of fixtures and maybe DeAndre can start to make a name for himself in N17.

What Exactly Went Wrong In Tottenham’s Crushing Defeat To Aston Villa?

Tottenham fell to a crushing and disappointing defeat at White Hart Lane at the hands of Aston Villa. Mauricio Pochettino’s men came out second best to Tim Sherwood’s side, who made his return to North London. So, what actually went wrong for the Lilywhites?

Well, where do I start? The performance was lacklustre, full stop. Too many passes failed to reach their intended targets, and what happened to the crossing? Or lack of it, should I say? There was always one needless pass that was made before the ball was delivered, and the ball was actually delivered into the box on very few occasions.

The pace of the game was very much dictated by Spurs, and for me, the pace of the game was far too slow, and the unwillingness to play a long ball forward was very frustrating to watch. It very much reminded me of the AVB days with the slow build-up play, which was also very frustrating to watch.

Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen failed to perform. Now, I am not saying that I have a problem with this, but the sign of a good team is when other players can step forward and perform when the best players don’t, and unfortunately, this isn’t something that happens at Tottenham Hotspur.

Everybody seemed to have an off-day (apart from Danny Rose), and that simply is not good enough. Harry Kane looked like the only man on the pitch that could make something special happen, and got a few shots on goal off. However, the rest of the players simply didn’t perform, and shows that we cannot become too reliant on the likes of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane, because we have just seen what happens when we are.

For me, Mauricio Pochettino made his substitutions way too late in the game for them to have any impact. DeAndre Yedlin for Vlad Chiriches in the 79th minute was not the substitution to make at all from the Argentine coach. If you must make this change, it must be made at half-time or on the hour mark at the very latest. A right-back for right-back was not the right substitution eleven minutes from the end when you are chasing the game and searching for an equaliser.

Eleven minutes is not enough for a substitute to make an impact, it is as simple as that. Erik Lamela played a solid game, and so did Roberto Soldado, who was brought on in the 62nd minute.

Spurs must invest in squad depth during this summer transfer window. Looking at the bench from today, there wasn’t really anybody that could turn the game on its head for us, and that needs to be rectified ahead of next season.

Season Under Review! Have Spurs Progressed Under New Management?

When Tim Sherwood was let go at the end of last season, the general consensus was that the club needed a fresh new face at the helm. The club drew up a shortlist of managers who they felt were capable of leading the club, with Frank de Boer and Mauricio Pochettino top of the list. Whilst de Boer was leading a youthful and exciting Ajax to there 4th Eredivisie title in as many years, Pochettino was guiding a young Southampton to an impressive 8th finish in the Premier League. It left Daniel Levy with a rather difficult task of choosing between the two. The fans were split. Some wanted proven winner de Boer, others wanted the Premier League proven Pochettino.

The club chose Mauricio Pochettino and looked immediately to bring in targets such as Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana, both of which worked with Pochettino at Southampton, but Spurs failed in their attempts to sing either of them. After a while, the Spurs faithful looked set to be stuck with another “transition” season after missing out on multiple targets and bringing in a backup left back and goalkeeper, two central defenders who were relatively unknown in England and still no striker. I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to this season. Yet again, the club failed to address the issue that had been holding the club back for years, and that was the lack of a top-class striker. Nonetheless, in my typical Spurs fan fashion, I believed we could actually achieve something this season.

When the season started at West Ham away, a lot of the fans wanted to win at all costs, because it was West Ham, never mind the new style the manager brought, or whether Soldado would actually score, or if Lamela played a good game. We won the game 1-0 with a last minute goal from one of the new signings Eric Dier. The month continued to be promising to Tottenham, as wins over AEL Limassol home and away in the Europa League, and a 4-0 home demolition of QPR were the providing the fans with hope, and actually left us top of the table, albeit for a couple of days.

But in typical Spurs fashion, all the hard work had been thrown away after simply being outclassed at home by Liverpool, losing 3-0. This ended up being the start of a huge wake up call for the team, as in the month of September, they only managed to pick up 2 points. One of these points, however, was away at archrivals Arsenal, with a Premier League debut for youth star Ryan Mason, who impressed in the week against Nottingham Forest. Was the emergence of Mason the start of a youth revolution at Spurs? Pochettino was key in the rise of players such as James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers, and maybe one of the key reasons for his appointment was his youth policy. The performances were rather average with a few exceptions, but signs of improvement were there. It was just taking a few months to really show its strength.

You know a tem isn’t performing to its strengths when their fans boo at home. Spurs fans weren’t afraid to show their feelings, and many were starting to doubt whether anything had really changed with the club. They were performing well in the League Cup, but on the league front, they were languishing around mid table and just outside the Europa League positions. Sound familiar? Despite multiple manager changes, the club always seems to end up in this position regardless of the players. Makes you wonder whether it’s the players, or even the manager, or the club in general.

The club went into the winter months not really expecting much, with Arsenal still to play, as well as Chelsea home and away. But this is where the season starts to get fun. Late goals galore all away from home at Hull, Swansea and Aston Villa mirrored what were quite frankly awful performances, and sent the fans home happy. Finally, the fans had a striker they can get behind, someone who can fire them to glory! And he had been at the club the whole time. Harry Kane seized his opportunity with his big Walthemstow hands. After going out to various clubs on loan such as Leyton Orient and Millwall, and after not starting a Premier League game until November, he started firing goals on a consistent basis. I think Spurs fans had forgotten what it was like to have a striker who actually scored on a consistent basis.

As the winter games started piling up, Pochettino managed to get his players ready for the challenge of playing Manchester United at home, followed by Chelsea at home on New Years Day. On that New Years Day game, it was really a performance worthy of any team in the world. The Pochettino style that he made famous at Southampton finally reared its head for all to see, and provided the fans with a moment they can hold onto for a long time yet. Coupled with the Chelsea game, the team had just gotten into the semi final of the Capital One Cup.

Had this team improved? Had the influx on youth helped the squad develop into a force that could be reckoned with for years? All these questions were still to be answered and Pochettino was still being scrutinized for his youth policy. People always compare Tottenham to Arsenal, and in this season, it appeared that the gap was being closed. But again, we have been in this position before, with a better team and much better players. How many years will it take to get close to our rivals? Slowly, as the season dragged along, it appeared that Tottenham had improved massively and had jumped leaps and bounds to get anywhere near the top 4 race, and as the showdown of North London approached, the squad was booming bright with confidence.

On February 7th, at White Hart Lane Tottenham faced Arsenal with the chance to jump into the top 4. I am very proud to say that I managed to take Andrea, my girlfriend, to this game and even she recognized that our team outplayed Arsenal at her own game. Young players, closing down at tremendous pace and passing around the midfield, everything football is meant to be. As Harry Kane soared through the air, you could feel the optimism around the stadium, loving this team and feeling such a connection. They felt the squad was improving, and so did everyone else. Was this really our year? Could we really finish above the old enemy?

Loses away at Liverpool and Manchester United dented our chances of top 4 drastically, which ask the question of has he mentality of the players really changed. The loss in the Capital One Cup final provided the fans with much hope for the future, but Chelsea were there for the taking in that game, and I sat there watching thinking, “were the players happy to just be there?” They seemed to give up after the first goal, which is a “Spursy” characteristic. When the going gets tough, cave in and try not to be embarrassed. That’s how I’ve always remembered it.

I think that the most important thing from this season was that the youth had finally taken over, which will be key during the development of the stadium. When the stadium will be being built, funds for players will be non-existent, similar to what happened to Arsenal in the early years of the Emirates, so the development of this young batch of players will be key to how the squad goes for the future.

Do I believe the team has improved since Pochettino took over? In some ways, yes, but the other areas that haven’t changed run deep in the club and have done for years. The inability to take control of a situation when it really matters is something that has always plagued Tottenham Hotspur for as long as I can remember. I do believe In Pochettino, but when I see Ajax play, I can’t help but wonder if things would’ve been better under Frank de Boer. Unfortunately, de Boer will be taken up by another club, most likely Arsenal (because that’s our luck), and we will be left wondering “what if?” Nevertheless, “In Potch I trust” as the saying goes, and I’m genuinely excited for what the future holds for this club. The future is bright. The future is Lilywhite.

FIVE Tottenham Players That Could Have A Future In The England Squad

After Harry Kane’s incredible England debut, I think it’s time we considered which players in our current squad have a serious chance of establishing themselves in the England first team and who can help push the national team forward. England have looked good of late (although we all know that doesn’t mean to much) but the question once again is can they do it at a major tournament, and which Spurs players can help them?

Was Gareth Bale Really Born To Play For Spurs?

Gareth Bale was a hero for Tottenham Hotspur. He played a huge part in our progression in the Champions League, as well as being undoubtedly our star player for a number of years. The chant “Gareth Bale, he was born to play for Spurs” echoed around Premier League grounds each week. But was his move to Real Madrid a move too soon? Some could argue yes, some argue no, but after coming under recent scrutiny for his performances in Madrid’s recent “Galactico” team, it is worth taking a look at whether or not he has proved to be worth his £85million price tag.

We all loved Gareth Bale in his last season, when he scored 26 goals in all competitions, nearly single handily carrying the team into that season Champions League, but it wasn’t quite enough. This was a time when we as fans were spoilt for quality in our team. Finally, Spurs had a squad who were good enough to challenge for anything and reach our expectations. The glory years, the years where Bale excelled under Harry Redknapp, he was in a midfield that featured Rafael Van Der Vaart, Luka Modric and Scott Parker, which was arguably the best in the league at the time. But slowly, that midfield was disbanded, leaving Bale on his own. That season where he scored 26 goals also proved to be his last. Understandably, when Real Madrid, one of the biggest clubs in the world, came in for him his head was turned. Everyone would probably do the same with the chance to win virtually everything in Europe. Who would blame him? Except, he refused to train for the club, and play for the club. This is where it gets difficult for some when hearing that some fans would take him back with arms wide open. This is a man who refused to do anything for the club who gave him his chance, and made him the superstar he is supposed to be, and fans forget this very easily.

His time at Real Madrid hasn’t been what was expected from the Madrid fans, known as Madristas in Spain. For a player who cost a world record fee of £85 million, it was expected he would reach the heights of Cristiano Ronaldo, which we know is nearly impossible to replicate, unless your name is Lionel Messi of course. Despite the expectations, he reached 22 goals in his first season, scoring in the Champions League final, the Copa Del Rey final, and the Club World Cup final which is impressive for anyone, but there is one thing that slips people’s minds when mentioning his Champions League goal. He was shocking for the whole game. He missed multiple 1-one-1’s, gave the ball away on several occasions and was kept relatively quiet by Juanfran of Atheltico Madrid. This performance placed seeds of doubt in the mind of the Madrid fans, and they started to doubt whether he was living up to his price tag. This is where it starts to get interesting.

This season Bale hasn’t exactly progressed like many thought he would. With 16 goals to his name, many of the media in Spain have started to question his ability and his worth to the team. “Marca”, who follow every move of Real Madrid even at the training ground to see how many shots are off target and on target, have started to scrutinise every performance to the finest detail of Bale in a Madrid shirt. For some, this may be unfair, or even nit-picking, but for £85 million, it’s almost expected. Ronaldo had the same scrutiny but passed the test, and Luka Modric, another Spurs hero eventually passed the test after being voted ‘the worst signing in La Liga history” by Marca readers. Will Bale past the test? Will he be given any more time or chances from the Madristas? If you believe the papers, then the answer is no.

The rumours linking Gareth Bale back to the Premier League is as rampant as every lately, and some reactions from Spurs fans sparked a thought in my brain. Would the club take back someone who refused to play or train for the club? Yes, he is a top class player and would easily improve the team, but is that valued over loyalty. Now, don’t get me wrong, if Bale turns up at the gates of White Hart Lane and begged Daniel Levy to join, i’d probably be set for that. But I couldn’t help but wonder where  it would leave the club if they almost accept that they are the back up option. What would the majority of Spurs fans do? Would you take him back? Or let him slip to another team?

Does this show that Bale isn’t quite as good as everyone thought, or just a unfortunate move? His quality is there for all to see, but he isn’t world class or in the level just below it, with the likes of James Rodriguez or Zlatan Ibrahimovic just beating him in that level. So would we as Tottenham fans be ready to forget the past and forget the disloyalty and take back a player who couldn’t quite cut it at the very top level, or let him slip to a rival like Manchester United or anyone else? Just a thought.