Inside Lane: Spurs must upgrade full-backs in the summer
12:18 16 April 2014
Tottenham blogger Mike Williams believes that Spurs’ defensive problems are largely due to their full-backs, and that the club must make that area a priority this summer.
Our up and down rollercoaster of a season continued on Saturday as we trailed 3-0 to a relatively poor West Brom side before coming back to draw.
Woefully poor defending has made us somewhat of a laughing stock at times for the rest of the division, as teams look like scoring every time they attack.
Our problems haven’t been helped by centre-backs being changed with regularity, but I believe the issue is more down to the personnel who are currently operating on our flanks in the full-back positions.
On the right-hand side we have been unlucky with the absence of Kyle Walker – who has been one of our most consistent players during this campaign – but even he still has a lot to learn.
The free-flowing attack-minded player is often the master of his own downfall as his lack of concentration often gets the better of him.
Despite that, Walker remains one of the most promising players around and his pelvic injury is not just a loss to us, but potentially England as well with the World Cup looming on the horizon.
Walker’s absence means the baton has been handed to the other Kyle (Naughton), but in truth it doesn’t seem that he is up to the challenge of being a regular in a team with top-four ambitions - he has been found out on more than one occasion.
On the opposite side, Spurs’ left-back problems seem to have returned in a big way. The laid-back figure of Benoit Assou-Ekotto was the answer for some but Andre Villas-Boas didn’t agree as he let the Cameroon international go to QPR on a season-long loan.
That decision meant one thing – Danny Rose was now Tottenham’s first-choice left-back, but is he really a left-back? Rose looked superb in a Sunderland shirt but I feel that was purely down to a decent player looking good in a poor side.
At times this season, Rose has looked more than capable but for the majority of the campaign, like Naughton, he has looked out of his depth.
We’ve tried with Rose, he’s had a good chance this term, but it just hasn’t worked. It’s an odd situation as, during his spell out injured – when Jan Vertonghen and Naughton were filling in and playing out of position - a returning Rose was deemed as our potential saviour. It’s an odd phenomenon that players often seem to get better when they’re out injured – or rather, their importance is exaggerated – and this was a classic case.
We have to learn our lessons from last summer and not make too many drastic changes in the upcoming transfer window, but a solid left-back must be the top priority – and we probably need better competition and cover for Walker as well.
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