Two months after Mauricio Pochettino was installed as manager of the club, Tottenham left-back Danny Rose penned a new and improved five-year contract with the club, to the bemusement of the majority of the Spurs faithful.
The £10million arrival of Wales defender Ben Davies from Swansea in the summer of 2014 looked to have spelled the end for Rose’s stint in N17, but fast-forward 18 months and the former Leeds youngster is now more important to the club than he has been at any stage since making the move to White Hart Lane almost a decade ago.
It is down to Rose and Davies to create the width and be an outlet on the left when the side are going forward, and the decision to rotate between the two has contributed to their ability to be able to do so so successfully for 90 minutes at a time whenever called upon.
Rose appears fresher this season due to playing fewer minutes, and his display at Manchester City was testament to a fresher, fitter player. The 25-year-old was Spurs’ most threatening attacking outlet in the first half of Sunday’s dramatic 2-1 win, with his tireless running up and down the line giving City right-back Pablo Zabaleta a torrid time and, unlike in previous seasons, Tottenham didn’t appear defensively vulnerable down the left as a result.
A past criticism of Rose was that he failed to get back in to position quick enough after finding himself high up the pitch, but this is something that Pochettino has clearly raised and addressed and something that is no longer a chink in the defender’s armour.
The former England under-21 international’s defensive improvement in the past 18 months has been vast; the 2013/14 campaign saw the defender register three defensive errors in 22 Premier League outings, compared to none in 28 appearances last season and just one so far this term.
This newfound defensive consistency is a pillar of Rose’s game many Spurs fans never thought they would see. A player that was once a liability and the source of, often warranted, criticism is now a major contributor to the best defence in the league and it would be an injustice to the former Sunderland loanee should England boss Roy Hodgson continue to overlook him in favour less-deserving contenders for the left-back spot.
Everton’s Leighton Baines will more than likely retain his place in Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016 despite making just eight appearences this season due to injury, while Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs remains ahead of Rose in the pecking order despite playing second fiddle to Spain defender Nacho Monreal at the Emirates for much of the season.
Rose won more tackles, made more interceptions, registered fewer defensive errors and won more aerial duels than both Gibbs and Baines last season, but remained uncapped throughout the entirety of England’s 2016 qualifying campaign.
Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand is another deserving of a place in the squad for France, and Hodgson could do far worse than take the former Chelsea youngster to this summer’s tournament along with Rose, but will he be bold enough to do so?
A lasting criticism of Rose’s play is the lack of protection he offers on the outside, which has been highlighted by Jan Vertonghen’s noticeably improved performances when alongside Davies rather than Rose, but this is an aspect of his game that appears to be becoming less of an issue as the games go by.
The 2014/15 campaign was Rose’s best as a Spurs player to date, and despite not featuring as heavily this season, the 25-year-old appears to be continuing on an upward trajectory under Pochettino that could, and should, see him on the plane to France come June.
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