There was a point around this time last year when plenty of Tottenham fans would have taken £50 million for Danny Rose, but his performance against Barcelona last night suggested that the club would be foolish to accept an offer of that value.
Tottenham were breathtaking in the Nou Camp last night. With the knowledge that they would at least need to match Inter Milan’s result against PSV Eindhoven, a favourable looking tie for the Italian giants, Spurs attacked Barcelona without the manacles which constrict sides with something to lose.
Some teams are simply better when their backs are against the wall, and Spurs continue to prove that they are one of those sides. Mauricio Pochettino went home proud of every single one of his players following a pulsating team performance, but Rose’s brilliance was truly exceptional under the circumstances.
That Lionel Messi, the greatest footballer of a generation, did little to influence proceedings after coming on as a second-half substitute is a testament to the entire defensive unit, but it’s important to note that Rose was responsible for nullifying his threat cutting in from the right.
At the opposite end of the pitch Rose missed a glorious opportunity to put Tottenham’s destiny into their own hands shortly after Lucas Moura equalised. Aside from that forgivable blunder, Rose was a menace on the breakaway, constantly searching for space down the flank and utilising his blistering pace.
Towards the end of 2017 and indeed throughout the January transfer window of 2018 Rose was linked with a £50 million transfer to Manchester United in a multitude of reports. The price-tag quoted was based on his exceptional form prior to suffering collateral ligament damage in his knee at the start of 2017.
Since then, the Rose who Spurs fans grew to adore had presumably gone missing – until last night. The marauding, threatening and often unplayable full-back who provided balance on the left side of defence returned at exactly the right moment, and simultaneously eased Daniel Levy’s fears of needing to splash out on a new first-choice left-back in 2019.
Just as the relentless fixture list was beginning to pile up Pochettino has welcomed his star full-back into the fold, and what a time for him to return.
The hierarchy will be delighted with the club’s progression into the knockout phase of the Champions League – that is a huge achievement considering the year they have had – but, in the midst of the post-match hype and euphoria, it’s important to remember that Rose demonstrated strength in the face of adversity, with a Herculean performance on the biggest stage of all.
Barcelona away could yet represent a watershed moment in both Rose’s career and Tottenham’s long-term development.
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