Heroes and Villains - Part II
Continuing a casual look at the players achievements in 2009 and what we'd like to see in 2010.
Crouch - Hero (but not like Bruce Wayne, bit more like Rodney from Only Fools and Horses dressed as Robin)
I like Crouchie. He's a decent down to earth bloke with his head in the clouds. He's not a dreamer, just very tall. He knows his limitations and strengths and makes it work, as a foil, even if people shrug about his lack of goals. If Defoe is banging them in by virtue of playing up front with Peter, then it's the partnership that works and matters more than who is sticking them away - as long as someone is. Still, would be nice if he bagged a few more for himself. But we sort of knew this would be the case prior to him signing. But I'm not going to complain about something that makes me happy. And he does. He's not been out of his skin unbelievable, but he's done a good job and can play up front with whomever. He's a good option to have in there, although you do wonder if we didn't would Pav have stepped up and settled into life in the Prem? You know, Pav being a £14M investment that wasn't fit to start in his first season and doesn't appear to be an option in his second.
Fact is, we have a variation of types as far as our forwards are concerned. And having someone who has tight foot control and causes panic in opposition areas is a good thing. The rest of our team have to remember to play to feet rather than hoof it up to him. Also, I live in the hope that one day a ref will work out that just because someone is tall, doesn't mean that every time he jumps up for the ball with an opposition player it’s an automatic free kick against him.
Do more in 2010: Over-head kicks. Have we had one yet?
Do less of in 2010: Hoofing the ball up to him. Everyone knows, robots can't jump.
Defoe - Hero
Cracking player. Has matured thanks to that loan spell at Pompey and he's in the form of his life. This guy has a love affair with Spurs. It's his spiritual home. He's a goal-scorer. He's hungry for it and he has a point to prove and in World Cup year he is not only in complete control of his destiny, he's in the front seat driving at speed towards South Africa. Essex police, catch him if you can.
Offside? Offside I hear you cry? Jermain Defoe is never offside, he's so fast he creates an illusion that he's moved before the ball has and the assistant referee reacts to it by raising his flag. Whether JD lashes them or flicks them past, his form has validated Harry and the decision to let Darren Bent go. We need one goal scorer and we need him to be able to play a part in a footballing side, rather than just run onto balls over the top.
We've been waiting for a while to see JD step up a level. And he's finally done that. 20 goals would be a good target.
Do more in 2010: Remain focused. Don't take it for granted.
Do less of in 2010: Lay off the c-list celeb WAGS.
Kranjcar - Hero. Sexy Hero
Not that long ago we had a player at Spurs. He was top drawer. Had that shirt tucked out socks rolled down swagger about him. Tottenhamesque in every way. Flair, magic on the ball and an understated arrogance. An almost likeable arrogance. None of that third-rate stuff you get from the Arsenal players who posture like the universe was a stage created for their fronting. No. This is altogether a different type of arrogance. A 'hey, look, I just did something amazing and I hope you liked it, because I liked doing it, and it was done for you' arrogance. Ginola.
And then we found ourselves with Berbatov. A would-be-king who renounced the throne in spectacular fashion to became a court jester in a far away land (harsh, but fair).
Niko could be the next in-line. Some scoffed when he signed, concerned he was too inconsistent and lacked fight. Okay, so defensively he won't offer too much - but neither did Ginola or Berbatov. In a team where we will always look towards Modric for that little piece of magic, we have someone else who can take responsibility. Another unlocker of doors. The wonderful thing for me here is that when he was signed he wasn't fully fit. And as he worked towards regaining match fitness he played his part with cameos, with many impatient. Harry guided him into team affairs with care and attention. And he's slotted in near perfectly. This is what we like at the Lane. A player with class, oozing with every touch. And if continues to play and score we might just have a goal-scoring outlet from midfield.
Do more in 2010: Swagger, creation and craft. And more goals.
Do less of in 2010: Sit on the bench.
Huddlestone - Incredible Hero
Love him or hate him, Harry has done what most of us have wanted. He's stuck Hudd in the midfield and practically started him for every match. We've always banged on about whether Tommy is cut out for a central midfield job. He's not mobile enough, he's easily bullied, he's too slow. And yet there he stands. And whether we like it or not (some people take it personally) he isn't doing too bad of a job. I find myself swaying between opinions. Much like Jenas, he promises a lot. But then it's easy to forget that Tom has only just turned 23. He's a kid. Feels like he's been around for an age. So, for someone so young, arguably he is doing more than just fine. Note the improvements to his defensive game. I've seen it, with my own eyes, Carrickesque nicking of the ball off players. He gets given the ball (often from the likes of Dawson) and as a deep lying midfield turns defence into attack with a forward pass, spread 30 or so yards to feet.
Okay, he can sometimes get lost in the middle. But development wise, there is no better place for him than starting against Wilson. If this kid is going to make it, best he does playing in Lilywhite and best he does so playing week in and week out. We are 4th. At the half way stage. And he's a first team player. I guess the reality of it is this: Huddlestone works.
He's got a triffic shot on him, so a bit of target practice and we might just have another goal-scoring midfielder on our hands.
On the flip side, as mentioned, he gets lost in the middle. If the game doesn't suit his style. If he has no time on the ball. This is actually a problem, because if the opposition are in his face up-tempo then he is practically rendered redundant. Hence the reason why there is both love and hate for the boy.
So, when the game suits him - he's brilliant. When it doesn’t, its best not spoken about. From incredible hero to incredible zero.
Do more in 2010: Score. Brilliant volley skillz. Needs to hit target more often. And has to show signs of adapting.
Do less of in 2010: Mayo and ketchup.
Pavlychenko, Bassong, Corluka, King, Assou-Ekotto, Woodgate, Bale, Lennon, Keane, Modric, Giovani, Hutton and Dawson to follow...
Read the concluding part here.