How to sum up Tottenham Hotspur’s last season in words – Harry Kane, 5-3 win over Chelsea, runners-up, fifth again or maybe even young talent. However you look at it, it’s been interesting.
But what’s lacking? It’s not a goalscorer that’s for sure and it definitely wasn’t a lack of depth, yet something was missing. Now I could write and write, making you read a big anti-climaxing paragraph of what Tottenham need but instead I’m just going to come out and say it…they need a captain.
A leader, a mentor, a teacher, ideally a captain is your manager’s right hand man and when you look at Spurs, not one player comes to mind. A team mixed with youth and foreign internationals, very few spring to mind when you consider the leader of Tottenham.
This was a past role proudly handed to club legends such as Gary Mabbutt, Danny Blanchflower, Steve Perryman and Ledley King that is now being passed around like a hot potato with the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and William Gallas receiving the now tarnished honour.
Now many of you may think Hugo Lloris is the easy choice, he’s the French captain and definitely one of the more influential players, but can Spurs really rely on a keeper to take charge of the game, especially one who may well be leaving soon?
Maybe even Kane, he has certainly shown the passion and work rate that would inspire the players around him but when handed the honour last season his performances dropped dramatically, which suggests he just isn’t ready.
In truth there hasn’t been a steady leader since King’s injury concerns became apparent, which has meant they are going through captains quicker than managers and that says a lot coming from Tottenham. It might not be a key priority of Potch’s plans this summer but adding some actual experience and leadership to the squad could have a real impact.
They need someone who can lead by example and make sure players like Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen don’t let their performances drop. They need another Michael Dawson or Scott Parker, a player who would take one in the face at training a day before his wedding. These players not only led the team, they drove them forward and gave birth to passion.
To give Mauricio Pochettino his credit, he did try last season and bring a leader to the team but Fazio just didn’t have the bottle for the Premier League. He was bullied most weeks and performed way below par which came as a surprise after his battle with Diego Costa in Spain and the high regard the Sevilla fans gave him.
It is quite obvious where Tottenham need to strengthen this summer, a stronger defence, a partner/backup for Kane and a solid midfielder, but why not add a leader to this list as this may well prove to be the best signing.
So far it looks clear Potch plans a further influx of youngers into the squad, whether it be from their own club or from others. It may be refreshing to see Spurs building the club the right way, the traditional way, but after so many years of building, they need results.
The famous Alan Hansen quote, “you will never win anything with kids,” mocked for the last two decades jumps to mind and you wouldn’t be far wrong when speaking about Tottenham.
United may have proved Alan wrong back in 1992 but they had a lot of experience from the likes of Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and Mark Hughes who moulded Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville into Premier League greats, something I do not see at Tottenham.
How are Eric Dier and Nabil Bentaleb supposed to learn from the clubs experienced players when they’re all being sold or don’t play?
So just how can Tottenham achieve success? Personally I believe they need to buy one or two experienced players, like they did with Parker a few years back. The ideal candidate would have been James Milner; his work rate and professionalism would be a great addition to the club.
Unfortunately this is no longer an option, so Tottenham should be on the lookout for players similar to Michael Carrick and Gareth Barry, aging players who can control a midfield and become a real asset to the team. One stand out player I believe Tottenham should look into is Ashley Williams.
The current captain of Swansea and Wales, he ticks all the boxes and can make a huge impact at White Hart Lane. He would slot in nicely next to Vertonghen next season and give their defence some real direction and leadership.
It seems however more than likely Potch will not be adding experience to his squad this summer, even with my convincing argument. So with the youthful philosophy in mind they should just simply hand the armband to a young player outright.
Crucially though he needs to entrust the duty to one of the players who hasn’t been bought and one who has fought for his place in the team from the bottom up.
Kane and Ryan Mason would be the obvious choices in this scenario as the youth already look up to these players, taking solace from their accomplishments believing they can follow in their footsteps.
Whoever it is though, they will have to gain a lot of maturity and fast if they are ever going to successfully lead this Tottenham team.