Search

Spurs boss defends reliable Lennon, but does winger offer enough?

11:58 11 March 2014

Aaron Lennon (right) in action against Branislav Ivanovic at Stamford Bridge

Aaron Lennon (right) in action against Branislav Ivanovic at Stamford Bridge

PA Wire/Press Association Images

There is rarely stability at White Hart Lane. Managers come and go – with increasing regularity these days – while the same applies to the players.

However, some things never change and, whoever has been in the hot-seat in the past five years, they have always picked Aaron Lennon.

Indeed, amidst the chaos and agony of Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge, Lennon quietly made his 250th Premier League appearance for Spurs.

The winger was given some opposition in the form of David Bentley back in 2008, and Spurs flooded their squad with attacking midfielders last summer.

Erik Lamela was certainly supposed to offer a threat to Lennon, and Andros Townsend has come closer than most, enjoying a run of games on the right flank at the start of the campaign and leapfrogging his team-mate at international level.

However, normal service has resumed at Tottenham and Lennon is one of the first names on the teamsheet again, having started the last 11 league games.

That is in spite of the fact that he is currently enduring one of his least productive seasons - the 26-year-old has mustered just one goal and one assist in his 23 games in all competitions.

There has always been a question mark over Lennon’s end product, and it is as relevant now as ever.

It is easy to forget that the diminutive wide man went to the last two World Cups with England, in 2006 and 2010, but he appears to be a long way down Roy Hodgson’s list – and few could argue with that, even Spurs fans.

There do not seem to be any signs of improvement and, given that Lennon got five goals and eight assists in 2008/09, and four goals and eight assists last season, he has arguably gone backwards.

However, Tim Sherwood has issued a strong defence of the midfielder, and explained why he has been such a favourite with his last three managers.

Speaking the day before the trip to Chelsea, the head coach said: “Until you’re in the job as a manager, you don’t appreciate Aaron Lennon.

“What he does out of possession probably makes him the best defensive player we have got on the pitch. He is so diligent. He recognises when to thicken up and when to put pressure on.

“We have seen in transition how he gets you on the edge of your seat. Aaron knows full well he wants to have more end product – maybe a different area of the field might benefit him.

“But I’m certain that when you need to rely on someone, he’s on your teamsheet. He gives 100 per cent in every game and leaves nothing on the pitch.

“He is such a physical specimen. For a small lad, his high-intensity runs, he gets back in, his desire – when you’re asking him to do all that, to then start saying ‘we want 20 goals or 15 assists’, it’s a bit much.

“There is a balance, but when you’re looking for reliability he’s on your teamsheet.”

Sherwood’s praise bears even more weight given his post-match comments after the drubbing at Chelsea, when he questioned his players’ character and guts.

Tellingly, the Spurs boss fumed: “There’s a few I’d count on and there’s a few I wouldn’t.”

Lennon would appear to be in the former category and it was also interesting that, having stated that “a different area of the field might benefit him”, Sherwood fielded Lennon in a central role behind Emmanuel Adebayor at the Bridge.

Once again, though, Lennon made little impact and, before the first half was even over, he was moved to the left flank – where he was equally ineffective.

In fairness, that is not his position either, and of course there were worse performances in the Spurs ranks. He cannot be blamed for the defensive errors.

However, if Sherwood hoped that a central role would make Lennon more of a threat then he was probably disappointed.

After the game, Jose Mourinho delivered a damning verdict of Spurs’ attacking threat: “I think they are a team that have great control of the ball possession, but they don’t hurt people,” he said.

The same could easily apply to Lennon as an individual. There is plenty of promise when he picks the ball up and attacks his opponent, but it very rarely results in a goal.

While Lennon’s work ethic cannot be questioned, and has rightly been highlighted by Sherwood, a club with top-four aspirations must surely expect more from a winger in the final third.

Hodgson certainly seems to think so.

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

07:30
North London players celebrate a wicket from Jordan Gregory in their five-run win against Brentham. Pic: Max Flego

Captain Sam Bardon has urged North London to maintain the impetus of their seven-match unbeaten run as they prepare to face the top two sides in Middlesex County League Division Three.

Yesterday, 17:06
Joel Hughes has taken 100 wickets for North Middlesex in the Premier Division. Pic: Paolo Minoli

North Middlesex secured their fourth straight Premier Division victory after beating second-placed Teddington by two runs – and captain Tom Nicoll believes the strength of his side’s bowling attack means they have a shot at the title.

Yesterday, 15:24
Brondesbury captain Adam Wilson (centre), pictured against Hornsey. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Brondesbury slipped out of the promotion spots after a four-wicket defeat at Harrow St Mary’s – and Hornsey were unable to capitalise as they drew with Indian Gymkhana.

Yesterday, 14:47
Ragheb Aga (right) hit an unbeaten 65 for Hampstead. Pic: Max Flego

Ragheb Aga struck a crucial unbeaten 65 as Hampstead narrowly overcame basement boys Eastcote and moved out of the Premier Division relegation zone.

Yesterday, 07:14
Middlesex's Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan feels Middlesex’s impressive County Championship form has been a key factor in their recent improvement in white-ball cricket.

Friday, July 22, 2016
Spencer McCall in action for Hendon against QPR Under-21s (Pic: DBeechPhotography)

Hendon signing Spencer McCall believes the club should be challenging for the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs as an absolute minimum this season.

Friday, July 22, 2016
Dominic Ogbechie was given the Outstanding Individual Boy award at last weeks Camden Sport and Physical Activity Celebration night. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Already standing 6ft 1in tall at the tender age of 14, Highgate Harriers’ Dominic Ogbechie clearly has a knack for defying gravity – and the sky is the limit for the prodigious teenager.

Friday, July 22, 2016
St Aloysius' Junior School were top of the list in the Active School Awards and also won the Inclusive prize. Pics: Paolo Minoli

The success of the borough’s young sporting talents was celebrated at an awards night at the Camden Centre last Wednesday, with around 200 children attending to see 20 presentations.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now