The progression regression of Harry Redknapp's Tottenham - Part III
Long live the King. There was always going to be a time when not training like an ordinary footballer would finally catch up with him. Ledley is no ordinary footballer. If he had more than the one knee, he'd be beyond the extraordinary player that he is. He's proven us wrong before. He might well do again but I'm hoping the player finally puts his own well being ahead of the shirt he wears and considers his future beyond football. A walk in the park is what Ledley has made it look countless times down the years but he doesn't want to rob himself of being able to do the same thing post-retirement. Offer him a coaching role, keep him at Tottenham.
We are so reliant on King that this has stopped us from truly moving on with building a solid foundation for the future at the back. We cannot wait for his cameo appearances and accept other players to simply adapt accordingly. Yes, he brings composure, maturity and leadership to the back four but then when he's injured/resting someone else has to slot in again. This can breed uncertainty. Caulker might be the future, we won't know until next season. We have Dawson and Kaboul. That's three. Is that enough? Probably not. We need another. King at the moment is showing signs of jadedness, as you'd expect he won't be up to the fitness of others what with the lack of training finally catching up with him. For so long this all sat comfortably in his back pocket along with several top Premier league forwards. He has to now consider putting Spurs ahead of himself. We need to consider that too.
For the past five years, every summer we except King to announce his retirement. He may still refuse to give in. I hope he doesn't take any of it lightly and does what he believes is best for himself and Spurs. Whatever he decides, his legacy will remain untouchable.
If Levy knows the state of mind player and agent, and it's not good, he should make the decision the moment the season ends as I don't want yet another cryfest Daily Mail induced melting pot of petulance from Modric and Sky Sports.
If Levy does not want to sell him, then do the same as last summer and let everyone know this. If Levy does not want to sell him but believes player and agent will do their utmost to rock the boat, just get rid. It's not worth the instability. It might yet depend on the next manager in to influence whether Modric finally gets to write up his transfer request. We'll have to wait and see. But considering the media hell mouth that is about to rain down on us, we have to make sure we display the same strength and control.
Modric is another player suffering from a dip in form/burn out. He's a brilliant footballer. He provides the bullet to our gun. He's the heartbeat of our side. But we can't spend too much time scared and concerned about the possibility of him leaving. If he does, he's gone and that's that. We've lost better players in the past. You move on. He may appear to be indispensable, but the next playmaker/midfielder will offer us another dimension. Something new, something different. The negative impact is the possibility of making one of our rivals stronger.
Bale ties in perfectly (not so) with Harry’s flawed tactics and management. I’ve discussed this before. Remember Bale is only a kid and he’s one that went through a ridiculous amount of upheaval with injury and bad luck and was almost sent out on loan before catching his lucky break and then going from left-back to left-wing. No development or skilled managerial acumen here. Sheer luck found him back in the first team. It was lucky that we caught the kids rise to prominence before he disappeared into possible obscurity (or fame elsewhere). Confidence and self-belief has driven him forward. Do not under estimate what this can do for a player. He blossomed from a delicate flower into a rampaging monster.
Has he been consumed by ego and hype? Let’s think of this way. The more he plays the better he gets the more he learns to adapt. His development is key. The manager selects him and gives him instructions. You can see where this is going, right? When Bale destroyed Inter and surprised Europe in the Champions League he got doubled up on the league. He’s still found a way through and improved but the emphasis has shifted from left flank to roaming and what our manager is failing to grasp is the simplicity of discipline. Also, with Bale voicing the fact that he needs to be able to roam, the manager has influence over him. Which is something you would expect. But if the managers advice is not on key?
He should be an outlet on the left flank as a marauding winger. There are times when cutting in or running through the middle (or swapping wings) works and then there are times when spending most of the game doing so doesn’t. There is no control here. Bale has to believe he can be the best but this isn’t about believing the hype and having an ego. I’m certain he doesn’t go out there and think it’s all about him. That’s an easy punch to throw.
What we’ve seen is a drop in confidence because of the lack of impact when roaming which has made him lose composure and when you think too much the edge you get from instinctive play is lost. You end up attempting to do it all yourself because you're so self-conscious that you're not influencing the game.
It's all part of the learning curve.
Bale has phenomenal potential. Can’t see Levy letting him go this summer, so its best you support and defend the lad rather than allow the weight of expectation on your own shoulders weigh him down as long as he desires to wear our shirt*.
This could be evidence enough that Redknapp can't man manage a particular quality of player.
* Update: Bale on Football Focus today (Saturday 28th) saying he would review his position if we fail to qualify for the CL, the suggestion being he would consider leaving. Does the Spurs PR department have no control over player interviews? Is this the right thing to be speaking about at this point in the season considering the mess the manager and players have made of it on the pitch? What's best for yourself Gareth is to shut the **** up and play football for the club and fans you represent. Modern football is a self-preservation society for most where responsibility is an easily detachable commodity. Transfer request at the ready then. Get rid of them all and just pluck eleven fans from the stands.
Where's the heart sign now, Gareth? Too busy mugging me off.
A quick run-down of the rest of our players.
Friedel - Quality. Has been one of most consistent performers. Short term. We need to resolve the issues of Gomes and the long term.
Kaboul - When confident in a confident defence, he's superb. Has shown great resolve this season.
Gallas - Thank you but time to move on.
Dawson - Might turn slower than a brick, but he's got the wallops about him as a defender. Brave and at times, alongside King, has looked composed. Can be left looking anything but at times. Injury hasn't allowed him to push on and prove people wrong/right.
Walker - Deserves his Young Player of the Year award. Development, from a defensive standpoint (positioning) should be the priority of the next coach. Not surprised he is making mistakes at this late stage. Hasn't stopped running. It's key that we have cover next season and actually use that cover effectively rather than ignore it and then send it out to Germany on loan.
Assou-Ekotto - Same with Benny. Hasn't stopped running. Re: cover, as above.
Nelsen - Stop gap. Can hardly criticise him. He is what he is. All our Jan signings were stop gaps.
Khumalo - Signed for the South African market? Makes a mockery of our transfer strategy. I'm sure the lad is a good bloke, seems honest and hard working but what role exactly was he signed for at Spurs? If he was any good he's have gone to a Prem side. He's struggled on loan.
Huddlestone - We've missed the options he can give us to aid with unlocking defences in those tight tight games. Apparently Redknapp wanted to send him to the MLS. Has he not been out injured all season?
Lennon - Liking the treatment room far too often. When he's at full fitness he can be one of our best players, running at the opposition. Also tracks back. We just need to give him help out on the right wing as he can't be the only out and out winger on that side in our squad. Pienaar was hardly like for like and not much liked by manager.
Parker - Tremendous signing. Gave Modric the freedom to recycle the ball to his heart's content. Burnt out.
van der Vaart - Fitness still an issue. Non-effective anywhere but behind the forward or in a three-man midfield ahead of the defensive players in the middle. A true professional who can and has galvanised our play on so many occasions. We need others to match his desire to be a winner.
Kranjcar - Not utilised to his strengths. Cruelly exposed when asked to play in the middle of the park.
Rose - Not enough games, we should continue to give him a chance. Might not be spectacular in any given way, but then how can you possibly ever follow-up on that volley?
Livermore - Determined. It's good to have someone promoted from the youth ranks into the first team and he's showing signs of making more of a career at Spurs than O'Hara managed. His future is probably dependent on the next manager.
Sandro - Not that much game time this season due to injury so not selected often enough and has looked out of sorts when he has. Might blossom in the middle as a direct replacement for Parker. That's if he sticks around and doesn't join Madrid/Barca/Milan. Has the tools, love his personality.
Adebayor - A forward that can play as part of a footballing side. If he scored more we'd be set. When he doesn't play, it shows up how one dimensional we are.
Saha - Short term cover. For the sake of a handful of game time.
Giovani - A mistake that the club just won't admit to and thus here he is, still at Spurs, priced out of moves away.
Defoe - Will never be first choice. Impact player.
Pienaar - Why did we sign him? Why did we let him go out on loan? According to Bill Kenwright in the back of a black cab, he's never coming back.
Bassong, Bentley - To be gone.