Tapestry Part IV
Jenas: The Marmite of the Spurs midfield
Dear Mr Levy,
"Graham Roberts would run through walls for Tottenham. Jenas would apologetically whisper that he has lost the keys for the door, then sleep in a park bench for the night"
I think it was two years ago when I made that statement. And in some ways it probably stills apply today. I'm not going to dive deep into the enigma that is JJ as I've done that already in great detail here. But I will touch upon one or two aspects in order for the question at the end to make sense.
Jenas is a definitive Levy signing. You know this to be true Daniel. He's always been your poster-boy. Young, English, bags of potential and only cost £7M. And he's also a textbook Spurs midfielder. Bit of a fairy at times, goes missing far too often but has a eye for goal and does turn in a performance every so often. A luxury some would say, as arguably he can only play outstandingly well if he has the right type of players around him, so never expect him to excel if the team is struggling. There's no Roy Keane tenacity or extreme self-belief Lampard style to be seen here. And his best performances usually come against lesser opposition. Not to say he hasn't performed well against stronger opposition, but he does enjoy destroying the likes of Wigan and Derby.
The fact is, Jenas has been at Spurs for a few years now. And we are all still waiting for him take it to the next level. Now considering we all know he lacks that streak of arrogance that would surely elevate him to consistent performer, maybe the reason Jenas has never struck gold at Spurs is because he has never had the right partner in central midfield. He's obviously a fussy type.
See us lot over at Spurs struggle from one season to the next thanks to our inability at noticing what needs fixing. I can see it from the stands, but we'd be damned if you (Mr Chairman) and the management can. Harry, thankfully, did see it on his arrival. Comolli thought he did, but signed us Zokora. But with Harry, in came Palacios. A mean, disciplined (but knows when to be dirty) midfield enforcer who does all the donkey work, sweeping up balls defensively so that can go on the offensive. It's incredible to think that we've not filled this gaping hole in recent years. And when we eventually do, it’s like finding the end of a rainbow and that pot of gold.
Jenas, without the responsibility that usually leads to him crumbling under pressure, has the freedom to roam and actually fulfil that box-to-box expectation we have of him. But with the emphasis more on attack than defence. See no matter what is said about JJ, we know he has the talent, he just struggles with the application. He's a bit like Windows Vista. Got all the tools in the box but it’s a sodding bitch to get it to work with anything.
If you're wondering, Zokora is Windows ME. An eternal blue screen of death.
So I guess the question is - is he worth it? Is Jenas worth another season of patience?
With no Wilson (Windows XP, Service Pack 2 - not flash but bloody consistent), alongside Huddlestone (Linux - an acquired taste ), it doesn't quite work. Is that JJ's fault or the fact that Huddlestone is also the type of player that requires team protection? But if Wilson can boss the midfield no matter the player by the side of him, is JJ a luxury because he only works well if he has someone like Palacios by his side?
If there is a player out there that can handle himself and doesn't suffer from that apologetic disorder we see so much of at the Lane, then why even bother with Jenas at all?
Every season, its 'next year' with us. It's synonymous isn’t it, that we are forever in a transition from one season to the next, never quite settled and it's mirrored by Jenas and his metamorphosis remaining in continued stasis.
Do we need to replace him just for the sake of a fresh start? Or does he warrant a chance, a full season under the guidance and man-management of Harry Redknapp, who has worked his magic with the likes of BAE, which let's face it, we all thought would be an impossible task even if playing in a full back position is more of a rooted role than central midfield.
A consistently confident Jenas is something we have yet to see, but maybe he's deserving of another season with Wilson at his side to prove all the doubters wrong.
You could then sell him to Utd on the final day of the transfer window for £20M.
Tapestry Part V up next, and Harry Redknapp.