14 miles to the west of Tottenham Hotspur’s home White Hart Lane, there’s a banner during every home game that states one player is a ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’. We all know who that thunderc*** is, but one thing you can’t put against him, is that he bleeds blue, and puts himself on the line for his team.
Every top team needs one of those players that will put their head, body and legs on the line – and we have that in our very own Yorkshireman, Michael Dawson.
He might not have grown up on the terraces of White Hart Lane, and might not have made his way through our academy like Ledley King, but Michael Dawson is one player Andre Villas-Boas needs, and one he would of regretted selling. The Portuguese manager even admitted it was wrong to transfer list the former Nottingham Forest player.
“Yes. I think we appreciate the fact we were able to hang on to him,” said Villas-Boas.
“We ended up being on the better side by the fact he agreed to stay with us. We were lucky in that sense.”
Most players would have succumbed to Andre Villas-Boas’ hard stance, but not Dawson. He could have gone to QPR for big bucks, but instead decided to stay and fight for his place. He could have caused an almighty uproar within the Spurs camp after being stripped of his captaincy, but instead worked his way back into the squad, and regained the captain’s armband.
Gary Neville highlighted on Monday Night Football that if you are to play a high line, you need a leader. The players who play along the back four need stability and leadership, just look at the success of teams who have/had leaders. Chelsea’s John Terry, Arsenal’s Tony Adams and Milan’s Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini. These are the type of players you need when the team is going through a difficult period in a game or in a period of poor form.
Dawson may not be the quickest or the most mobile of defenders, but he leads by example, and that was shown in the North London Derby. It helps that he has a superb defender alongside him in Jan Vertonghen, who seem to be on the same wavelength.
Spurs’ goals were not too dissimilar to the movement that Arsenal were trying to create to open the scoring. But what Arsenal missed in their back four was a leader, and they definitely do not have that in Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker.
The Spurs skipper has mentioned the key role Ledley King played in his development, when speaking to Topman.com.
“Ledley is an amazing player and it’s unfortunate that he had to retire so young, but he taught me so much and helped me out when I first moved to Spurs. To play alongside him was an honour – he’s probably the best player I’ve played alongside.”
Dawson seems so humbled to have played alongside the ‘King’, and his game would’ve improved dramatically from what he learned from Spurs’ former skipper. He would’ve learned King’s ability to read the game and anticipating trouble. Dawson will prove crucial to the development of Steven Caulker’s game.
Although Gareth Bale is the player on everyone’s lips around the country, Michael Dawson’s re-emergence into the side hasn’t gone unnoticed. Since Dawson established his place in the back four, Spurs gone the last 12 games unbeaten when he’s started.
Michael Dawson will play a huge part in the Premier League and Europa League, and although he might not be starting in the latter, his presence in the dressing room will be a huge factor for Villas-Boas’ Blue and White Army.