By Tom Wellman
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Glenn Hoddle says Tottenham must prioritise their defence this summer and that a centre-back should be at the top of their shopping list.
However, the Spurs legend believes the club do not need to make substantial changes to their squad, and that they may belatedly see the best of last year’s recruits next term.
The Lilywhites’ defensive record was poor last season and they suffered heavy defeats to Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Former Spurs player and manager Hoddle feels that issue should be addressed in this transfer window.
“I think it depends on who is going to be leaving,” he said. “I think they need a centre-half. That’s a given, definitely a centre-half and maybe in the full-back areas and in defence and I think they need cover – but I just think they need to get the best out of those new players that came in in the summer. I think that’s the key to it and they can add on a few players.
“At the beginning of last season, when they sold Gareth Bale and they brought in seven new players, they would have wanted a return to the top four. For whatever reasons that hasn’t happened so I think there will be a tad of disappointment.
“There’s not a problem with the seven players, there are some quality players there.
“I think the fact that none of those had any Premier League experience was the key and that was the mistake that has been made, not the actual players. We haven’t seen the best of them I’ve got to admit.
“They might come good next year, having that one year under their belt and that experience. Now they know the culture of the country, they might feel at home more off the pitch with their families and it could still happen for players like [Roberto] Soldado and [Erik] Lamela and all that.”
Hoddle added: “I would say if anyone has impressed at times it has been [Christian] Eriksen. In my opinion he really needs to play in the centre of the pitch, where you can see the best of him, so we will wait and see if that happens in the future, but he looks a decent prospect.”
While Hoddle feels Spurs’ business this summer will be important, he does not feel it will necessarily dictate their fortunes next season.
“You can’t look that far ahead,” he said. “If you had asked me the same question this time last year then we’d be saying ‘they’re not in the top four, bad luck’. They have got to become more consistent to get in that top four, it’s as simple as that.”
One reason for optimism has been the emergence of youngsters such as Nabil Bentaleb, Andros Townsend and Harry Kane.
The future of the club could be further helped by the introduction of Greg Dyke’s controversial ‘B League’, which Hoddle backs.
“It is one of the things the committee have looked at and it could be an advantage to get young players more flexible, playing in a competitive league. I think that is one of the problems we have got,” he said.
“I don’t think it would be a ‘B League’ as such, it would be more like B teams which are being monitored and understood and having an association, and I think it is a positive thing yes.”