I’m concerned. I’m not worried after one game, I’m just concerned. Hear me out.
I can see what the club are trying to do under Mauricio Pochettino, they are trying to build a side which is aiming to peak when they enter the new stadium in August 2018, however without an experienced centre midfield player in the team in the next couple of seasons, the exciting young players currently in the side may well have moved on to Champions League sides.
Spurs had played competently away to Manchester United in the first twenty minutes at Old Trafford, in fact they should have been leading, as Eriksen should have at least got his effort on target. However once Manchester United took the lead, Spurs for the rest of half fell to bits. It’s not the first time this has happened at Spurs. Whenever we concede a goal, the team collectively lose their heads. It’s all well and good making Hugo Lloris captain, but his leadership of the team is weakened by him being stuck in goal, and not being in the midst of the action. What the team requires is somebody to get the team by the scruff of the neck, and shake of this malaise when we concede.
I’m not Harry Redknapp’s biggest fan, but he realised what the side needed in 2011, when he signed Scott Parker. Scott at the time was 31 and was a short term signing. However he ended up being the catalyst for arguably our best side in the last thirty years. His tenacity and positional play enabled the younger attacking players licence to play. In fact his dominance of the centre midfield position brought out the best of Luka Modric, who had his best ever season alongside Parker. If we even go back a bit further in time, and 2005. Spurs had potentially exciting centre midfielders in Michael Carrick and Jermaine Jenas, but it was the introduction of Edgar Davids, and his experience of playing centre midfield at a high level brought out the better of the two Englishmen.
Going back to Saturday’s game who was the lynchpin for Spurs? It was Eric Dier. A 21 year old centre back playing out of position - not ideal. Whilst Dier played ok, Manchester United knew if they pressured him when he received the ball he would crumble. Dier at times did not know how to shape his body to receive the ball, and was picked off at various times. Now imagine Saturday’s team with a mentally strong defensive midfielder, shouting out instructions to the young bucks alongside him. With the Argentine connection, I’m surprised that Spurs did not make a move for Esteban Cambiasso, who had proved in his season at Leicester that he could play in the Premiership. Yes he’s 34, but he could have passed on his experience to Nabil Bentaleb, who for all his qualities does not have the composure at present to hold in midfield.
So whilst Paul Mitchell and co. are scouting Europe for a defensive midfielder in the age bracket required by the Chairman, so he can consider the sell-on value, wouldn’t it be better if we just settled on a thirty something for a couple of seasons?