December 10 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Monday, September 16, 2013
Exclusive: Tottenham’s Danny Rose discusses Spurs’ strength in depth, the competition for his left-back spot, the integration of the new signings and Christian Eriksen’s impressive debut against Norwich.
There was plenty to excite the Tottenham fans on the field during Saturday’s victory over Norwich – and the list of players who were absent from the starting line-up was just as impressive.
The bench included super signing Erik Lamela as well as Jermain Defoe, Lewis Holtby, Sandro, Younes Kaboul, Kyle Naughton and Brad Friedel – and Nacer Chadli, Aaron Lennon, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Emmanuel Adebayor were all missing from the 18-man roster.
The fruits of Spurs’ investment in their squad are there for all to see. Andre Villas-Boas could name a completely different XI to the one that started against the Canaries and still field a side packed full of internationals – and he may well do so later this week when Spurs kick off their Europa League campaign against Tromso.
“I think that’s the plan for the season, not just for Thursday,” said Danny Rose. “We had a little meeting a few days ago and the gaffer said there’s going to be competition for places and the team’s going to be rotated.
“There’s no point having the squad that we’ve got if people aren’t going to get games. Whoever plays on Thursday that didn’t play against Norwich, it will be a chance for them to impress the manager.
“The Europa League is a competition that he’s very fond of. He doesn’t see it as a nothing competition, he wants to win it and it will be a strong team on Thursday, make no mistake about it.”
Rotation for Europa League games is nothing new at Tottenham, and Rose was frequently drafted in for Spurs’ continental fixtures under Harry Redknapp in the 2011 group stage.
However, that was generally as part of a weakened, experienced side – the Lilywhites failed to qualify for the knock-outs - and the left-back is expecting Villas-Boas to handle things differently as Spurs bid for a sustained assault on four competitions this season.
“A couple of years ago, no matter how you did on the Thursday you knew for a fact that you weren’t going to play on the Saturday - but now it’s different,” he said.
“The manager could quite easily put Kyle Naughton in, or Zeki [Fryers], or even play Jan [Vertonghen] at left-back and he could do the same on Sunday against Cardiff, because there’s a difficult game away at Aston Villa in the League Cup next Tuesday.
“Now everyone’s going to get quite a bit of playing time throughout the season. If you think about it, if we do well, there could be up to 60 games this season so there’s going to be a lot of game time for everyone.”
Spurs fans may feel that there is less convincing cover and competition for Rose than in other positions, but the 23-year-old is adamant that he faces a fight for his place.
“If I’m not up to scratch the gaffer has Jan, or Kyle [Naughton], or Zeki, who are more than capable of taking my place,” he said.
“If you see how Kyle trains, you feel a little bit sorry that he doesn’t get more game time, because he’s a brilliant player.
“I wasn’t here last season but I saw him play at left-back and people have to remember that he’s out of position, and I thought he did well.
“I just want to make the most of the game time I’m getting at the moment and I hope I can stay in the team for as long as possible.”
Performances like Saturday’s will certainly help in that respect as Rose put in a fine all-round display, blocking two Ricky van Wolfswinkel shots at one end of the pitch and also getting forward to good effect at the other.
“Was it my best game for Spurs? Possibly, I thought I did well,” said the full-back. “It always helps when you get the ball out wide as early as possible.
“I was up against a tricky opponent in [Robert] Snodgrass and I like to think I kept him quiet, so I’m pleased with how I played and how the team did as well.
“The gaffer likes me and Kyle [Walker] to get forward as much as possible, especially when you see Andros [Townsend] cutting inside as he likes to do – and there’s not many people who are going to stop Kyle once he sets off.
“It depends on who plays in front of me but I’d like to get forward as much as I can and try to create as many chances as possible for the team.”
Rose played a part in Tottenham’s first goal – one of many superb team moves which suggested that a new-look squad will take less time to gel than many, including their manager, expects. However, the defender is cautious about getting carried away.
“It’s true that we need time,” he said. “I don’t want people to think it’s just an excuse for if we drop points, that we’re going to use it and say ‘we need time to gel together’.
“Obviously we’ve got great individual players but we need to learn how to get used to things like Roberto’s movement up front and how Eriksen like the ball into his feet, and Lamela as well.
“I hope people can give us time, but if we play like we did in this game we won’t be having much trouble.
“It’s a great result. The first game after the derby was always going to be important. This is where the gaffer finds out a lot about his players - how we all bounce back from a disappointing result a couple of weeks ago.
“We’re all over the moon with the performance and Christian’s debut, plus Lamela got to play in front of the home fans as well, so there were a lot of positives to take out of the performance and the result.
“We haven’t seen that much of Christian as he went away on international duty. He’s quiet [off the pitch], but when he gets the ball at his feet we all expect him to make something happen, and he does do that. He’s a pleasure to watch.
“When Rafa [van der Vaart] first came here he was brilliant and he was creating and scoring goals so we hope Christian will do the same. Obviously we don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but after that performance he looks good.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs