Rafael van der Vaart – The Flying Dutchman

LONDON ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Rafael van der Vaart of Spurs celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan at White Hart Lane on November 2 2010 in London England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Since our deadline day signing of Rafael van der Vaart, all Tottenham Hotspur fans have seen the good, bad and downright ugly of this special Dutch player. From the beginning of the season until Christmas time, van der Vaart was in red hot form. He effectively played upfront on his own away to Aston Villa and was sensational. That particular performance and of course the goals, bred confidence in van der Vaart, as well as convincing us that he can perform in the Premier League. Rafael van der Vaart’s double performance in both North London Derbies was equally stellar. The Derby games clearly brought out the best in him. His orchestration of our comeback win at the Emirates was a definite highlight.

However, there were ‘stories’ that Van der Vaart didn’t feel fully fit to play over the Christmas period. It’s been said that he’s been used to having a winter break and this is his first season without one, this is a plausible reason for his dip in form and fitness. However, there were also concerns that he’d gained weight at the tail end of last year.

Dutch players have a reputation for wanting to play at 100% ala a certain Arjen Robben during his time in the Premier League. There’s been an element that Harry Redknapp has been happy to field a patched up van der Vaart especially in the Champions League, his mentality and the occasion of particular games would get him through 90 minutes, but that wasn’t often the case. He is also known to have a mean game time of only 72 minutes. The constant substitutions led him to feel that he wasn’t being taken seriously by the manager. I suppose, whatever club you join after Real Madrid will always feel like a step down in the exiting players eye, Mr. van der Vaart has echoed that particular sentiment.

As of late, van der Vaart was voted into the running for the PFA Team of the Season by his fellow peers, this being all the professionals in the entire Football League and not just the Premier League. He’s also starting to pick up his early season form again; let’s hope it continues for our Premier League run in.
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