Being Brave and Earning your Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Mauricio Pochettino has spoken at length about the need for Spurs to be brave. There has always been discussion around the Spurs fans as to what this means.

A lot of fans have taken this to mean a loosening of the purse strings and spending big on big names.

I’m not actually convinced by this, because I think Poch knows full well that enough funds are simply not available.

For me, Poch has continuously shown bravery during his reign. The list is endless.

First, there is his absolute faith in his youth players. If Poch sees something and trusts you, you will get a chance. In a different approach to other managers, Poch is happy to blood youngsters in the team and allow them to learn on the job. Very brave indeed. Oliver Skipp being the latest recipient.

Early on there was the conversion of Eric Dier from versatile defender to an International holding midfielder. Again an example of not having to spend to make a massive improvement to the team.

Yesterday in the heat of the North London derby left-back Danny Rose was latterly deployed as a holding midfielder (the only other time against Real Madrid!). Although Danny gave the ball away a few times his drive have us a different dimension. Danny played the game like a derby – I felt like I was watching a real fan out there.

Recently we have seen the emergence of Moussa Sissoko. I suspect this was a Levy signing rather than a Poch one but one he embraced. Again allowing the player to find his feet in the team while constantly facing a barrage of criticism. This is now paying massive dividends.

Then there is Poch’s ability to jettison fans favourites under the radar. Early in his reign saw the departures of Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon. Both who had been mainstays of the emergence of the team but didn’t fit the Poch Mantra. This season has seen the departure of Moussa Dembele at a time when injury had given the squad a thin feel.

That brings us to the present day. Maybe I am the brave one with my next few paragraphs but here goes!

Spurs and Liverpool are often put shoulder to shoulder as the most successful ‘net spenders’ in the league.

Liverpool took the brave decision to recoup £142 million on Phillipe Coutinho. An excellent business decision for a player that clearly didn’t see his future at the club.

What they did next was buy a World Class centre half and goalkeeper – their two big gaps – and now find themselves in a straight battle with Manchester City for the league title (having reached the Champions League final last year).

Yesterday may have proved significant for a couple of reasons.

Toby Alderweireld yesterday turned 30. Toby is still one of the best Centre Halves in the business and seems as committed as ever, but can leave for 25 million in the summer or free the next.

Christian Erikson has been a wonderful player for Spurs in recent seasons but rumours of a desire to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona have gathered pace. For me at the moment Erikson yesterday looked like was carrying a weight on his shoulders – maybe the contract speculation or also the pressure of having to constantly be the magician to conjuring something up in big games.

Do I want either player to leave – an emphatic no. However, if the players haven’t signed a new contract by now Do they really see their future at White Hart Lane? We need every player committed and wanting to play for our great club. There are plenty of players who would relish the chance.

It would be a very brave decision to ‘cash in’ on both players now but suspect there may be pressure from the ‘business’. I can’t help feeling that we kept Modric for a season too long when his heart wasn’t in it.

All good teams, in all walks of life get to a point where they need to evolve. It’s sometimes difficult to get the timing right. With the euphoria of entering a new stadium keeping the fans occupied, now may be a good time to ‘tweak’ the squad.

Pochettino is magic as the fans rightly tell him. If he is able to recruit and develop replacements for Toby and Christian while maintaining the success of previous seasons Poch will have well and truly earned his spurs.

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