Michael Dawson: My pain at missing Champions League group stage with Spurs

MICHAEL Dawson admits that he has endured one of the most heartbreaking and frustrating spells in his career after being forced to sit and watch Spurs’ Champions League adventure.

The 27-year-old played in 29 of Tottenham’s league games last season and frequently captained the Lilywhites as they finished fourth and won a spot in Europe’s elite tournament for the first time ever.

Dawson was all set for a stellar season in 2010-11 after also breaking into the England team – but an injury sustained on international duty in September has ruled him out of 20 Tottenham matches, meaning he has missed the whole of the group stage.

“Last year we worked so hard. The lads did so fantastically well and I was a big part of it, and then five games into the season I get a knee and ankle injury away on international duty. It was hard,” says Dawson.

“Ask the wife how hard it’s been, she’s had to put up with me for three months! But I’m back now and enjoying every minute.

“Preparing for a game at the weekend, there’s no better feeling. When you get a good result like on Sunday [against Chelsea], and to be back involved, it’s great.

“Of course it’s a good time to come back now. The lads have been fantastic, they deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve done so far, but we’re only half way through the season. To finish top of the group in the Champions League with the teams that were in it was a huge credit to them.

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“Of course I’ve been sitting watching the games and missed out on it, but it was a nice feeling to be back at the weekend and hopefully I’ll get the chance in February to be playing in the Champions League.”

Dawson made his return as captain for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, and he admits to having mixed feelings about the result.

“A lot of work has gone into being back playing on that pitch, a lot of work with the fitness coaches. It’s a great feeling. It would have been better if we had kept a clean sheet and got the three points, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t win the game but had we lost, wow, that would have been devastating. Maybe two or three years ago we would have taken a point against Chelsea, but this year we went into the game believing we could win it.

“We would have gone a point behind them had we won, but we’re still in the mix. It’s not the worst result in the world but it could have been better.”

Meanwhile, Alan Hutton paid tribute to his team-mate on his return to action: “I’ve always thought he’s a terrific player,” said the Scot. “He wins every header, he’s commanding. We’ve really been missing that sometimes and he’s come back in and didn’t look out of place. He looked fit, sharp, so it’s good to have him back.”

You can see the full interview with Michael Dawson on Spurs TV Online.