Ledley King has revealed that he has been working closely with Joe Rodon following his move to Tottenham Hotspur last summer in a bid to improve his game.
Rodon has been impressive in all three of Wales’ Euro 2020 fixtures, playing a key role in helping his side qualify for the knockout stages where they will face Denmark in Amsterdam on Saturday evening.
King has praised the character of the 23-year-old, revealing that he has always been hungry to work on his defending when he has not been involved with the first-team at Tottenham.
Rodon made the move to North London from Swansea City last summer in an £11million deal and saw opportunities initially hard to come by, partly down to being left out of the Europa League squad (BBC).
The central defender did start each of Tottenham’s last four Premier League matches under Jose Mourinho before he was sacked and played just a single minute of top flight football when interim head coach Ryan Mason took over (transfermarkt).
King, who worked closely with the players on the training pitch last season believes that Rodon has the trust of those at Tottenham and has an exiciting future in the game.
He told the Evening Standard: “I’ve been keeping a keen eye on Joe Rodon for Wales and he is doing everything he can to return to Tottenham and be a first-choice centre-half.
“Joe’s a great character. He loves defending. You might think that should be a given for a defender, but it’s not. Some love it more than others, and Joe is one of those who will celebrate a block or a header.
“It’s not been an easy season for him, coming from the Championship to the Premier League and trying to embed himself in a changing back-four.
“We did a lot of individual work at Spurs after training, which shows his character. A lot of players can be down when they’re not playing and want to get off the training pitch as soon as possible, but Joe was often the last there, always wanting to do extra.
“He’s very self-critical and he beats himself up over small mistakes, like giving the ball away. A lot of the work we did together was mental — on getting him to bounce back from what he thought was an error.
“When I was a young lad, I was similar — I’d get angry with myself. I don’t see it as a bad thing. He cares about his performance, about the details of the game. But it’s about having the mindset to brush it off and get back to business.
“Preparing for this tournament, it was just about getting him in the right mindset, about him knowing he was a top player.
“For young players, the mental side of the game is often the hardest part. When you’re not playing, or not even making the squad, self-doubt can creep in. For Joe, it was about assuring him that his time would come and to believe in himself. It’s the same for any young player.
“We trust him at Tottenham and I’ve got no doubt he has a bright future.”
Rodon is a much more naturally rounded defender than Eric Dier and needs to be given the opportunity to prove himself worthy of a place in the starting eleven next season. He was rarely given the opportunity to play more than four games in a row and defenders need consistency with selection.
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