Update time. How do we look for the new season with a few weeks to go.
First team goodness:
BAE Vertonghen Kaboul Walker
Centre-back: Caulker. Dawson.
Central midfield - Carroll. Holtby. Parker.
Attacking midfield - Sigurdsson. Dempsey. Townsend.
Full-backs: Naughton. Rose.
Central midfield: Livermore. Huddlestone.
We've bolstered our team, there's no denying that, with the captures of Paulinho and Chadli. We've added extra power and strength in the middle and a creative spark in attack. Our Belgian providing cover and competition. This summer would look even better right about now had we not signed Lewis Holtby early. It's worth discussing this again. We fast-tracked his arrival in the aftermath of Sandro's injury and at the time perhaps this wasn't the best of ideas when taking into consideration how our expectancy of the players impact would differ from an immediate arrival compared to a summer time one. He was thrown into the deep end. Had he arrived this month, he would have transitioned far more smoothly. Still, testament to the players character, he appears unfazed and still as enthusiastic and determined as ever.
Holtby's role appeared to be one of urgency last season. Energetic cameos that lacked the cultured touch he is more than capable of (as displayed in Germany and for Germany - at youth level). This has diluted the hype surrounding him as we've not had the pleasure of a more deep-lying midfielder, although we have been treated to some neat first time touches that allow for fluidity of possession. It's all been a little bit rushed.
However, he's already settled into life at Spurs, so we may as well look at his early arrival as an advantage. My expectancy is still quite high, and to embrace a cliché many will scoff at...this will be like having a new player. Just, one that's already been with us for some time.
Regarding the tenuous listed players above, we have to wait and see if there are any departures or promotions. Currently, according to what we expect as supporters based on performance/rumour:
Gomes - Hasn't played a part for so long, you forget he's still here. Was on loan last season. Needs first team football, if anything, for his own well being.
Naughton. Rose - Are they good enough? In terms of current level of ability/quality - no. They could do a job as cover, but full-back positions are pivotal, as any position should be when you're attempting to build towards a high standard of football. Arguably, based on the erraticness of Walker and BAE, we possibly need to acquire a new fullback. At the moment, Kaboul can deputise at right and Verts at left. Not ideal - especially if there are long term injuries. We won't know until the season starts how the dynamic here will work (unless signings are made soon).
Townsend played well for QPR. Worth holding onto IMO, again as cover - when considering the amount of games we have to play. Hence why I opted him for rotation. That's not to say I'll be shocked if he went back out on loan. Just, if he's good enough, he should be part of our squad. I worry about the frequency of some of our youth players being loaned. Suggests its more than a window than development.
Livermore. Huddlestone - Jake will always be backup and nowhere near the standard to the other midfielders we have. Parker might well be classed under tenuous also, but more likely to play. Huddlestone remains a player that would have been a superstar in the 80s or possibly even abroad where the pace of the game will allow him ample time to work it. So says the fabled excuse for his misunderstood talents. He's a good footballer, he could have done with being at a club that can build around him and protect him accordingly. With our style of play, it won't happen at Spurs. Hudd is more effective when the situation fits him, rather than him taking control of the situation. See the City 3-1 game last season as the perfect example of how instrumental he can be. Sadly, that had more to do with City than us (City affording him the time and space).
Of course, football is a sport of mistakes and taking advantage of them. If Huddlestone remains as part of rotation, I wouldn't complain. But again, for his well being, he is better off spending his time as a first team player elsewhere. If anything, to prove/disprove all the theory and criticism that follows him around.
Mentioned the striker conundrum in the last article, so won't repeat myself so soon.