Can World Cup reignite Giovani's Spurs career?

AS World Cup fever pitch hit the nation two weeks ago, Tottenham fans were looking forward to seeing their favourite Spurs stars grace the greatest stage on Earth. The Lilywhites dominated the England squad, Sebastien Bassong...

By Ben Pearce

AS World Cup fever pitch hit the nation two weeks ago, Tottenham fans were looking forward to seeing their favourite Spurs stars grace the greatest stage on Earth.

The Lilywhites dominated the England squad, Sebastien Bassong and Benoit Assou-Ekotto were waving the flag for Africa for Cameroon, Wilson Palacios was set to be a key player for Honduras and Heurelho Gomes had a chance to going all the way with Brazil - even if he never played.

Everyone forgot Giovani Dos Santos. The little Mexican had been out of sight and out of mind ever since the turn of the year, having been loaned to Galatasaray in January, and Spurs had got on just fine without him.

Where was Giovani when Spurs beat Arsenal and Chelsea? Where was he when Peter Crouch headed the winner at Eastlands?

Can anyone recall the Mexican's last appearance in the white shirt? He last appeared for Spurs as a substitute in December 2009, in the 1-0 defeat against Wolves at the Lane.

Most Read

It has been a remarkable fall from grace for the 21-year-old, who arrived from Barcelona for �4.7million in June 2008. He was a big player in the disatrous start to the season under Juande Ramos before Harry Redknapp's arrival - and has since made six appearances for Spurs in two years.

Giovani is, in many ways, a ghost of Tottenham past, a distant memory of darker times and a symbol of Spurs' transformation under Redknapp.

He was one of the very first casualties of Redknapp's reign, the first to be culled from the first team, followed by other high-profile stars like Gareth Bale and David Bentley.

However, while Bale and Bentley have since earned their redemption in N17 and salvaged their Tottenham careers, Giovani has never been invited back in from the cold.

The former Barcelona man ended his first campaign in England at Ipswich, on loan in the Championship.

And, having made just three appearances for Tottenham in the first half of the last campaign - two of them against Doncaster and Preston in the League Cup - he joined Galatasaray.

The reason for Giovani's continued exclusion seems to be Redknapp's opinion of the player's attitude - his lifestyle following his new-found wealth in north London, and particularly his fondness for a night out.

The Spurs boss was angered by photos of the Mexican lying in a heap on the floor of a London nightclub after the team's Christmas party in 2008, and that lack of maturity off the pitch also appeared to be combined with a lack of responsibility on it.

Redknapp has always expected his players to "put a shift in", regardless of their position, and there is no room in his side for a 'flair player' who doesn't need to do the dirty work. Just ask Roman Pavlyuchenko.

The Tottenham manager has always stated that Giovani has the potential to become an excellent player but he has seen nothing to suggest that the boy is becoming a man - until now, perhaps.

Initially, it was the same old story, Giovani making headlines for all the wrong reasons, threatening to quit the Mexico squad after his brother was omitted from the World Cup party.

Fortunately for his team-mates, the flying forward stepped back from the brink, because he has been one of the stand-out stars of his country's campaign. And, having helped Mexico to qualify from their group on Tuesday, he will be key to his nation's hopes against Argentina on Sunday.

Giovani may not have scored yet but, operating on the right side of a three-man strike force, he has played throughout all three games thus far - the only forward to do so.

Tellingly, the Spurs man has consistently been preferred to Arsenal's Carlos Vela, who made 20 appearances for the Gunners last season, and Manchester United's new recruit Javier Hernandez.

Redknapp will not be surprised to see the electric Mexican scaring international defenders, but he may well have noted Giovani's disciplined showing against France - particularly when he hared back into his own half to dispossess one of his opponents.

That one moment of exemplary patriotism will not change his manager's mind entirely, and Giovani's impressive World Cup certainly doesn't prove that he is ready for another shot at the Premier League. There are many examples of players who have conned top-flight managers into signing them after two or three decent international performances.

However, Giovani's impressive World Cup may well be enough to earn him a stay of execution and keep him at Spurs - assuming he wants to stay.

Redknapp, who is out in South Africa, has stated that he is looking to add players who will "make the difference" this summer - and he may just have found one.