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Could Jan Vertonghen Be The Answer To Spurs’ Midfield Problems?

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It’s no secret that Tottenham Hotspur miss Sandro in defensive midfield. The Brazilian brought steel, intelligence and the ability to intercept almost everything that came his way during his great form from September to January. But his injury in the first 25 minutes in Spurs’ away trip to former manager Harry Redknapp’s QPR side, has left us thinking, Scott Parker really isn’t the player to fill the Brazilian’s boots.

In the Redknapp regime, Parker played an instrumental role before picking up an injury in March/April time when we succumbed a ten point lead over our rivals Arsenal. Parker completed the job Redknapp asked him to, to guard the back four, run around and intercept, put challenges in, but most importantly give the ball to Luka Modric.

Redknapp and Modric have been and gone, Andre Villas-Boas’ side do not go out to ‘enjoy themselves’ to ‘play with freedom.’ No, there is a strict game plan that Villas-Boas sends his starting line up with.

Since Sandro’s injury, Scott Parker hasn’t fulfilled the defensive midfield position. He’s pushed forward more, when maybe he should stick to the position he played in so well last season. Parker doesn’t have the ability to pass the ball forward, he doesn’t have the ability to do anything, but a full 360 degree turn and then play the ball to one of the back four.

One player that I think could fulfil Sandro’s role in the team until he makes his return from his knee injury is Jan Vertonghen. The Belgian loves to bring the ball out from the back and push the team forward, but as a central defender, he knows when he needs to push forward and knows when to sit back.

Vertonghen has played the defensive midfield role on numerous occasions for Belgium, and back in his Ajax days. His game versus West Brom on the 3rd of February demonstrates the 25 year old’s versatility.

In that game he completed 55 of his 57 passes (96%), 35 out of 37 passes were played forward, the other twenty being played backward or square. Vertonghen has the ability to find space between the lines; the Belgian played three of his 57 passes in the attacking third of the pitch.

Vertonghen has been one of the most consistent performers in defence this season, not just for Tottenham, but in the Premier League, averaging 7.49 per game.

Vertonghen has the ability to spot a pass, and playing alongside fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele may bring the latter his form back. Although his goal was sublime against Lyon, his performances have dropped since Parker has been placed alongside the midfielder.

It is clear that Dembele needs a more dynamic partner in midfield, someone who will shield the back four. You may ask, “But who will fill Vertonghen’s shoes at centre back?”

I think Steven Caulker still has a huge role to play at the club and starting alongside Michael Dawson, a natural leader should give the young English centre back the confidence he had at the start of the season, and throughout his loan spell at Swansea.

Caulker can play a passing game, something he established throughout his season in Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea side. His last three performances for Tottenham have brought at least a rating of 7.2 and over, and who was his partner in defence? Michael Dawson.

Combining Vertonghen’s defensive and midfield qualities and placing him alongside Mousa Dembele could be the perfect fit until Sandro regains his fitness.

Over to you, Andre Villas-Boas.

5 thoughts on “Could Jan Vertonghen Be The Answer To Spurs’ Midfield Problems?”

  1. Not a bad idea but I think his presence is still needed more at the back than in a def mid role. Parker hasn't regained form to be sure – only more matches can allow him to capture past form. Replacing Sandro is a very tall order and I'm afraid that Caulker/Dawson is simply not as solid as having Jan leading the back line.

  2. No no no no. He is a cb aand simply needs to be played there. The only problem with our midfield is that Scotty is having a poor season flowing his injuries. We have gilf, holtby (who looks like he might be an excellent signing) and Livermore.

    Thanks but you are creating a problem that doesn't exist with a suggestion that doesn't make sense

  3. I thought i was the only person who noticed that Scot Parker cant pass the ball forward and that he turns 360 degrees and passes the ball backwards .I dont rate him at all i think he slows down play when we are on the attack and gives away too many free kicks he just causes chaos and should be sold we've got better players we could use in his position we've got too many week links at the moment also Dembele Dempsey and sigundson , Adebayor if we want to be world class these players have to go .

  4. You sound just like me!! Totally agree about Parker and that we need to try Jan there. If I see one more 360 degree spin for no apparent reason I may explode.

  5. Got it spot on about Parker, as much as I love him, it is starting to show his weaker side to his game playing without modric. Modric used to be able to go past players like dembele can but was also one of the best passers in the prem unlike dembele meaning Parker had to do little distribution or didn't have to sit on the ball often. Is Vertonghen the answer? He would defo give dembele some space to move forward in the hole more often where he could attack the back four instead of the midfield.

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