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Tottenham season review 2023/24: Micky van de Ven

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Can Micky van de Ven reach his ceiling? Examining a breakout year at Spurs

Rarely do you see players that leave a mark beyond just ninety minutes of football, and knowingly or unknowingly, Tottenham Hotspur got their hands on one of those highly attributable talents in Micky van de Ven.

Defence has been a major cause of concern for the North Londoners off late, and while Cristian Romero is a stagnant presence, he is someone who is a tad too aggressive in his position, and that has consistently left Spurs on the back foot. Incoming boss Ange realized that the club has to sign a player who is not only going to compliment the Argentine centre-back but also ensure that he cleans up his mess. There are not many defenders that have such capacities, especially in the Premier League. 

Is Micky van de Ven the real deal? Dissecting a stellar but injury-hit season. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

While the Lilywhites were linked with multiple defenders around Europe, each unique in their own right, they signed budding Dutch defender Micky van de Ven in a £34.5m deal from Wolfsburg.

The money spent on his acquisition is worth every penny, and maybe even in multiples. He not only transformed Tottenham but also ensured he built his reputation as one of the best upcoming CBs in the game.

We will look at various aspects of his game to determine how he performed this season and what makes him unique.

Last ditch attempt 

Micky van de Ven’s heroic defensive stands for Tottenham (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Every time Tottenham find themselves in a breach of defence, they turn to one man with hopes and fears: their Dutch centre-back Micky van de Ven. At least that was the case throughout the recently concluded campaign, where Spurs looked to him to make last-ditch defensive efforts to make some thunderous stops every time that someone found a way to run through the lines.

It is not only the fact that he is crazy fast but also the way he makes himself present in such moments. He recovers in the blink of an eye and ensures that his breath is felt on the opponent’s neck. 

Having such attributes means Ange can play with a high line in defence and get away with anything that breaches the last line. 

This worked massively for the first half of the season; however, teams found it easier to ensure they breached the high line in a way that the Dutchman was away from the game, which has resulted in a few goals. 

Passing it out

The multifaceted brilliance of Micky van de Ven. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Tottenham have made a huge improvement in their ball play in the first phase, as they want teams to press them into open spaces that they can transition from, and the former Wolfsburg defender is a massive facilitator of that, initiating the attacks with his composure and progressive passing.

Mickey van de Ven generally covers for the offensive-minded Destiny Udogie and ensures that the passes from the first phases are made in spaces that Tottenham can exploit. He not only has a calm head to ensure the first passes are made with precision and accuracy, but he also possesses highly technical range, with a fantastic range of passing that can unlock playing sequences and find teammates in those very spaces.

This has had a massive impact on how Tottenham play and how they try to build up. Ball progression was one of the concerns that many had when Spurs signed him, but he has not been half bad in something many used to tag as a weakness in his playing style.

Injury concerns

Injury cloud over paradise (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

This season has been phenomenal for the Dutch defender; however, his injuries have been a massive cause for concern about his progression and his status as one of the best defenders in the Premier League. He has had hamstring problems, possibly a domino effect of his high speed and lack of agility. 

The Dutchman missed twelve games with injuries this season, which is a massive number if you look at how integral he is to the Spurs. 

This is one of the things that puts a patch on an excellent season he has enjoyed at N17. This is also forcing the club to buy a new defender in the upcoming summer window to ensure that they have a high-potential backup if similar problems were to resurface next season.

An after-thought to VDV’s 2023–24 season

How Micky van de Ven shored up Tottenham’s defence (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Micky had an excellent season; he has been a blessing to Tottenham, especially with how they conduct their play under the Australian gaffer. He is a beast, someone who can compete with the likes of William Saliba and Virgil van Dijk if he keeps up to his current form and adds a few levels to his game. 

However, it’s his hamstring that concerns me. We have seen ample players with high potential who have been terrorized with injury concerns; hopefully, he is not one of them. Beyond that, he could be seen as a mainstay in the Spurs defence for at least the next decade.

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Overall, Micky van de Ven had an exceptional first season at N17. We would rate it a 7.5/10, with a few levels to explore in his game complemented by his ill injury concerns if Tottenham want to compete for silverware.

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