Aaron Lennon’s running style, all scampering legs and stuck out whirling arms has never been the most elegant, more wind up toy than gazelle, but when he collected Bale’s return flick just before half time on Sunday and hared straight towards goal he was transformed into poetry in motion. The sight was certainly enough to entrance Chris Baird as he feebly attempted to show Lennon the inside long after he’d taken the decision to go the other way. After the Irishman had witnessed the fine left foot finish flash past a helpless Schwarzer he stamped his foot and gave what appeared to be a petulant wave of his arms to bewildered colleagues who were well within their rights to return a more exaggeratedly flicked two fingered gesture given the feebleness of his challenge.
Most will have noticed that Lennon has been involved in four of the last five Spurs goals scored whilst he’s been on the pitch. For years the lazy observers have pointed out a supposed fallibility with his final ball so it’s only right that his recent crucial interventions are noted and lauded. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that he’s suddenly making regular Beckhamesque deliveries into the area, only that his experience and link up play are making him a very crucial part of our set up.
What makes him especially important at the moment is the lack of adequate cover available when he’s out. Bale, Modric and Van der Vaart have all been tried but all have looked underwhelming and underwhelmed with motormouth VdV even going public on the matter.
Walker has his defensive limitations but they seem less exposed when Lennon is on hand to cover as opposed to the other fishes out of water. What was also noticeable against QPR was that Bale’s two goals were assisted by Lennon after he’d moved inside, i.e. he doesn’t need to be getting chalk on his boots these days to cause damage.
He is far from the finished article of course as his waste of an opportunity to cut the ball back at Old Trafford with the score at nil all showed. He does however provide balance to the midfield and thus save us from some of Harry’s more extreme attempts to fit all his favourites in to the side. Lennon’s also shown a propensity for turning up in the right place at the right time in the last few years as late goals against Liverpool, Newcastle and most memorably at the new Library have shown. At 24 Aaron is not a kid any more but he is still a couple of years short of what has traditionally been seen as a footballer’s most productive age; he already though has the experience of two world cups to fall back on. It can only be to our benefit to keep him happy and healthy and ensure that we get the best out of the years ahead, fingers crossed the best is yet to come.
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