The captain issue has been a contentious one at Spurs for quite some time, James Highsted makes his debut on The Fighting Cock by looking back at our great captains, and picking the man he thinks could lead us to glory in the future.
The next Spurs captain
With uncertainty over the new stadium, and poor results on the pitch, there are plenty of issues for Spurs fans to lament about. So far this season, spurs have struggled defensively; failed to find a consistent goal scorer and settle on a starting eleven.
The first issue that must be addressed, however, is Tottenham’s glaring lack of leadership and having a strong, reliable captain who plays regularly.
This is incredibly frustrating given Tottenham’s proud history of producing captains who were successful, talented players and whom gave so much of their careers to the club. For decades spurs have produced these players; dependable figureheads, with years of service and have all lifted trophies as Tottenham captains:
The Northern Ireland man is still the benchmark for any Spurs captain. In a ten year career at the lane, Blanchflower captained to the club to the 1961 league and cup double- the first team of the 20th century to do that- the 1962 FA cup, the 1962 European cup semi-final and the 1963 European cup winner’s cup- the first British side to lift a European trophy.
With 866 appearances to his name, Perryman is Spurs’ longest serving player. Between 1969 and 1986, he lifted the FA cup, league cup and UEFA cup. He lifted each trophy on two occasions.
Mabbutt became a stalwart at Tottenham. As Spurs’ second longest serving player, he spent eleven of his sixteen years as captain; this included guiding the club to the 1991 FA cup.
Feel free to spit venom at me for this one. Campbell will never be forgiven for his treacherous move to the old enemy in 2001, but what cannot be denied is his quality as a player- with his power, pace and confidence on the ball- and strong leadership skills.
A year after being made Spurs captain he was given the chance to lead England- at the time the second-youngest player to do that after Bobby Moore. He lifted the 1999 league cup; the first black player to lift a major trophy at Wembley.
What more can be said about this Spurs legend that has not been said already. The one club man was heavily praised by fans and fellow professionals alike. A suburb tackler of the ball, Thierry Henry described him as the best defender he ever played against. Who knows what King could have achieved if it were not for his persistent knee problems. He did, however, lead Spurs to their first trophy in nine years, with a win over Chelsea in the 2008 league cup final.
What makes it difficult for a lot of Spurs players to stake a claim for the captaincy is that Maurico Pochettino is still not sure what his first XI is; a lot of players are coming in and out of the team- with an ever-changing back four.
Spurs’ fixture against Hull is a reminder of the strong defensive presence Michael Dawson had. While “Daws” may have had his injury problems, and struggled with certain types of play, he was a natural leader, a good tackler of the ball and at the time of his departure was Spurs’ longest serving player in the team.
Looking at the present incumbent, Younes Kaboul, it is clear that a change is needed. Kaboul’s capricious nature inhibits him from being an influence on the field. Kaboul’s past issues with fitness and injury are a cause for concern. He missed the entire 2012/13 season with a knee problem, and has had further injuries, subsequently.
Moreover, there have been misgivings over his diet and fitness over the years; leading to accusations that he was overweight.
He can, at times, be a liability at the back. While he is a big, strong powerful unit, he can be error-prone and inept defensively. His high-profile blunder at Anfield last season was a particular low-point.
While Hugo Lloris is a candidate- he is always in the first team, both in the premier league and Europa league- his influence on the pitch will always be limited because he is a goalkeeper. Lloris would find it difficult to influence attacking set plays; he also cannot calm situations down on certain parts of the field because he is in goal.
The successful candidate should firstly be a constant presence in the team; be young and can lead Spurs for many years to come; as well as have talent, pace and skill.
For me, that man is Kyle Walker.
This may be a strange choice, given that Walker has been out since March with a pelvis injury, but I believe he ticks all the boxes, long-term.
At twenty-four years of age, he has a great future ahead of him, and in that respect could be Spurs’ solution to the captaincy problem for the next ten years.
He’s an accomplished and skilled defender, who is as confident attacking as he is staying at the back. In addition to that, he provides a great option as a free-kick taker. Consequently, he was called up to the England squad, and became to 2012 PFA young player of the year.
Walker also appears regularly for the first team. Before his injury, Walker was a constant presence after establishing himself as a first-team regular. In the 2011-12 season he played 37 out of 38 games; the following season he notched up 36 games, thus proving his consistency; he would also be a constant presence in what is an ever-changing back four.
Kyle Walker could return from injury next month, with a London derby against Chelsea being lined-up as a possible comeback game.
Under his captaincy, the Spurs will go marching on!
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