Watching TottenhamVs Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, there was a noticeable, and very necessary difference in Spurs’ first and second half performances. In the first 45 they were slow, disconnected and certainly uninspiring.
In the second 45 they were energetic, pressuring and rapid going forward. Suddenly Spurs looked a handful, with Bale and Lennon on the wings and Assou-Ekotto and Walker bombing on. Bilbao were on the back foot and Spurs looked capable of scoring goals. The first half had made the forthcoming season look like a dull and potentially painful prospect. The second left me eagerly anticipating it.
Whilst Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy may have thus far performed woefully in the transfer market, (their inability to shift any of the high paid squad players has been a particular grievance), they can take some solace in the return of Kyle Walker.
Walker is a star on the rise, last season he impressed on loan at QPR and then at Villa from January and then again with the England U-21’s this summer where he drew (undoubtedly premature) comparisons with Roberto Carlos. With young English talent now fetching extortionate rates in the transfer market, Walker’s return is welcome and well timed and looks a good bit of business. Whilst Corluka is a solid, intelligent right back, I’ve often been frustrated by how slow he is. Walker’s speed and ambition to get forward make him a refreshing alternative. Playing alongside Lennon, they may not make the most experienced or defensive right-sided partnership but they will certainly cause plenty of problems in the opposition half.
Of course Walker is not a new signing for Tottenham, the ‘capture’ of 40 year old Brad Friedel on a free transfer sums up this season’s real business thus far, (at least in terms of seniors or very seniors really) but Walker is an exciting talent, and with the club seemingly unable to sell anyone or afford a striker he may be the closest Tottenham get to a purchase.
It’s immensely frustrating watching Redknapp’s fantasy football adverts on sky where he buys half the premiership, I couldn’t help shouting at the T.V. ‘why don’t you buy some players in real life you b*****d!!!!
Kyle Walker may not have been the difference on Saturday. The continued presence of Jermaine Jenas in the heart of midfield and a 4-5-1 formation may have been more decisive factors in the team’s dismal first half performance. But Walker brought a new, attacking game with him and I look forward to watching him try and force his way into the first team. In a summer when incredibly few positives can be taken, Walker’s return is certainly one.
Written by Philip Wroe for FootballFancast.com.