Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Player Ratings: Spurs
They went from being the entertainers who everyone wanted to watch in the Premier League to a tormented side treading water and in serious danger of drowning as manager Harry Redknapp was apparently being lined up to become the next England boss.
In the end, Redknapp was not required for national service, yet the speculation over his future had already derailed Spurs' season. They were unfortunate to finish without the consolation of Champions League football and now face a summer of wondering whether their top stars will look to leave as a result.
Gareth Bale - 9
As Tottenham's season collapsed in startling fashion during late February and the last week of April, the classy Bale was striving more than most to lift their spirits. Players of this quality should be performing in the Champions League every season and few would be surprised if Spurs' star man is doing that elsewhere in September. The links with Barcelona are unlikely to evaporate in the coming weeks.
Scott Parker - 8.5
No Premier League club was prepared to take a chance on Parker as he started the season in the Championship with West Ham and Spurs boss Redknapp later confirmed his chairman Daniel Levy was not too keen to hand the midfielder a lucrative contract as he prepared to toast his 31st birthday. Yet it proved to be an inspired move, as Parker was magnificent until injury and fatigue affected him in the final few weeks.
Kyle Walker - 8.5
This was a breakthrough season for a right-back who had only played two Premier League games for Tottenham back in August. Now firmly established as one of the finest defenders in English football, his drive and energy down the flank were complemented by sound defensive skills. He also produced a winning goal against Arsenal and memorable free-kick in a victory against Blackburn.
Younes Kaboul - 8
This powerhouse French centre-back struggled during his first spell at Tottenham and many a Spurs fans questioned Redknapp's decision to re-sign him from Portsmouth in January 2010, but he more than proved his worth this season. Even though he often played with different defensive partners on a weekly basis, Kaboul showed the passion and quality required in a top class defender.
Aaron Lennon - 7.5
Lennon's importance to this Tottenham side was fully appreciated during his regular spells on the sidelines nursing persistent hamstring injuries. Without a natural replacement to fill his role on the right side of midfield, Spurs looked horribly unbalanced when he was absent and they have to try to solve both Lennon's injury woes and their lack of depth in that area of the team in the off-season.
Brad Friedel - 7.5
The accident-prone Heurelho Gomes was not up to the job of keeping goal for a side with genuine aspirations of Premier League success, so the signing of this veteran American was a major boost to the Tottenham cause. Like many in Redknapp's side, he showed signs of tiredness in the final few weeks of the season, but the 41-year-old remains a quality operator.
Beniot Assou-Ekotto - 7.5
Many respected defensive judges have questioned the positional sense of the Frenchman - who boasts one of the more flamboyant haircuts in the Premier League - but he was reliable for Spurs in the left-back slot. He is one of many in this squad who have hinted that they may look for a transfer this summer.
Rafael van der Vaart - 7
After an impressive first season in England, the Dutchman's efforts during this campaign were less spectacular. His 11 goals in 33 Premier League games was a decent return, but an inability to cause damage from his set-pieces was a major flaw in Tottenham's make-up. Remarkably, Spurs went 15 months and 49 Premier League games without scoring a goal from a set-piece. That woeful run ended against Swansea on April 1.
Jake Livermore - 7
Redknapp handed the young midfielder a total of 38 appearances in four competitions and he looked the part against some of the better sides in the Premier League. With Tom Huddlestone missing the entire season, Livermore emerged as a player who could do the role with a little more reliability and his promise needs to be nurtured.
Emmanuel Adebayor - 7
A final total of 17 league goals represented an excellent return from this Manchester City loanee and boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed his desire to keep the player at White Hart Lane next season. The criticism of Adebayor was that he does not take enough of the chances that come his way and his lack of headed goals is also a failing for a striker of his stature. Furthermore, he was caught offside more often than any other Premier League player.
Luka Modric - 7
Redknapp claimed his side turned down a £40 million offer from Chelsea for Modric last summer, yet you suspect they would be tempted to take a similar cash windfall as the Croatian struggled horribly amid their end of season slump. Looking jaded and uninspired for the final third of the season, the midfielder who desperately wanted to leave Spurs last summer is likely to push for a move once more this time around.
Ledley King - 6.5
Few doubt King's qualities, but his fitness issues are so acute that his presence is in danger of becoming a disruptive influence. He famously doesn't train in his bid to protect his crumbling knee, but his ability to defy all odds and continue to perform showed signs of waning as Tottenham's season faltered.
Sandro - 6.5
Kept out of the side by Scott Parker's impressive form, Sandro should have started a few more times alongside the Englishman as he gave the Spurs side a solidity that was missing in his absence. Keen to show ambition, Redknapp viewed the Parker/Sandro pairing as a little negative, but the Arsenal away game and the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea were crying out for that kind of midfield stability.
Louis Saha - 6.5
Redknapp's eagerness to sign players who spend too much time stuck in the treatment room was confirmed when he signed Saha from Everton in January and while his initial impact was impressive as he scored in the thrilling 5-0 win against Newcastle in February, Saha struggled to maintain that form. Out of contract, he is hoping to stay at Spurs for another year, but his retention would be a gamble.
Niko Kranjcar - 6.5
As Tottenham's season moved into overdrive at the turn of the year, the Croatia midfielder appeared to have found a niche for himself in the heart of the midfield, yet he was substituted at half-time in the defeat at Arsenal in February and was cast back onto the sidelines in the months that followed. He tried to find himself a new club in the summer of 2011 and may do the same again this year.
Danny Rose - 6.5
Rose's sending off in the penultimate game of the campaign at Aston Villa was a hammer blow to Tottenham's Champions League hopes and yet the 21-year-old showed signs that he could be a useful squad player next season. Tidy and uncomplicated in his full-back role, he played 20 times in all competitions.
Jermain Defoe - 6
A solid tally of 11 goals for the season was all the more impressive when you consider he only started 11 games, yet Defoe's position as fourth pick forward behind Adebayor, Van der Vaart and January signing Saha confirm he has long lost the faith of manager Redknapp. His poor showings in the crucial end-of-season defeats against QPR and Norwich were indicative of his year.
Ryan Nelsen - 6
One of the more curious January transfer window buys, 34-year-old Nelsen was signed from Blackburn on the sort of short-term deal that was the order of the day for Spurs at the time. Their reluctance to spend money may have stemmed from the belief that manager Redknapp would be leaving for the England job, but it proved to be a costly error as fatigue rippled through their squad.
Michael Dawson - 5.5
Redknapp has chosen to surround himself with ageing, injury prone defenders, so Tottenham were unfortunate to have their one of their more youthful and consistent defensive operators in the treatment room for most of the season. A talisman of their Champions League run last season, Dawson's absence was a big blow as resources were stretched at the back. He played just six Premier League games.
Giovani Dos Santos - 5.5
There has never been any faith shown in this Mexican midfielder and he made just seven Premier League appearances from the substitutes' bench as his exile from the Spurs team continued. Giovani will look to find a route out of Tottenham this summer, but he may have to set his sights a little lower than the top end of the Premier League.
William Gallas - 5.5
Redknapp's move to bring this former Arsenal captain to White Hart Lane proved successful last season, but the 34-year-old Gallas showed alarming signs of wear and tear in recent months. Bullied into submission by Didier Drogba in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, he rarely looked fit. Gallas still has another year left on his Tottenham contract.