Tottenham Hotspur's Best XI Of The Decade: Central Defenders

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Matt Derbyshire of Birmingham City is challenged by Ledley King of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Birmingham City at White Hart Lane on May 22, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Alright, this is going to be fun! We've got our biggest list yet and this time you get to vote for TWO players. Exciting stuff, right? Our Tottenham Hotspur Best XI has been progressing along nicely now and now we're at perhaps the most competitive position in the team.

Spurs have never been known for their defending, but this seems like a position that is absolutely loaded with talent. The only position where we might have more competition is in central midfield. Two players on this list were named in the 50 greatest Tottenham Hotspur players of all-time by The Times back in 2009 and two players on this list have been, arguably, our best players since that list was released.

It's going to be very hard for me to be objective on this list giving my love of some of these players and my overall hatred of one in particular, but we're factoring in their greatness at Spurs and it is only that, which will win them a place in this magnificent Best XI side.

Sol Campbell: Ok, let's put aside our hatred of this guy for a second. Yes, he left us to play for Arsenal after previously saying he'd never play for our North London rival and once there helped lead the Gooners to two league titles and three FA Cups. At Spurs all he did was make 316 appearances and win a league cup. He barely qualifies for this team, because he left the club in the summer of 2001. During his nine years at the club, most of them as captain Campbell was arguably the best defender in English football. Despite my personal feelings towards him, he was one of the best defenders Tottenham Hotspur have ever had.

Ledley King: When Campbell departed for Highbury Spurs were left a huge hole to fill at the back. Up stepped young Ledley King. Early in his career he was shuttled back and forth between midfield and defense, but in one of the few smart decisions he ever made as a manager Glenn Hoddle putt King in central defense to start the 2001 season and a legend was born. King has made 293 appearances for the club and has been captain for the last four years. King's career has always been plagued by injury, but when he is fit and able to play he is regarded by many as one of the best central defenders in the world. He was even named the 25th Tottenham Hotspur player of all-time by The Times in March of 2009.

Chris Perry: Purchased from Wimbeldon in 1999 the diminutive Perry was seen as the replacement for Sol Campbell once he left Spurs. The 5'9" Perry made 146 appearances for the club in central defense before his career was derailed by a slipped disk in January 2003. By the time he was healthy and ready to return the combination of Ledley King and Anthony Gardner (who is not on this list, but may be on the Worst XI list) was working so well it was hard for Perry to get a game. In the fall of 2003 he was sold to Charlton Athletic for a measly £100,000 (Spurs paid £4,000,000). For some reason, Perry always seemed to excel against larger forwards, like Duncan Ferguson, despite his height. Perry was a battler and a tough defender in an time in which Spurs defense was very much in flux.

Dean Richards: Perhaps this is just me remember the late Richards fondly, because he scored in the first Spurs match I ever remember seeing (which was also Richards' debut). He only made 81 appearances for the club before he was forced to retire in 2005. The £8.1 million Tottenham paid for Richards was, at the time a record for a player who had never been capped by his country. Though Richards was never quite the player many imagined him to be he did play a fairly solid central defense for the Club during his time.

Michael Dawson: When he joined Tottenham from Nottingham Forest in January of 2005, not much was expected of the young Englishman, evidenced by the fact that he didn't make his debut until mid-April. However, he established himself in the side with a string of solid performances in the 2005-2006 season and hasn't looked back yet. Now at 225 appearances for the club Dawson has been the Club's most consistent defender for the last few years. He was so good during the 2009-2010 season, which saw Tottenham qualify for the Champions League for the first time, that we was awarded the Club's Player of the Year award. With Ledley King often injured and Club Captain Robbie Keane on loan, Dawson often took over the role of captain and has asserted himself well.

Jonathan Woodgate: Sure he really only played one full season with the club, but I make the lists and if I have to include Sol Campbell then I'm including Woodgate. His goal in the 2007-2008 Carling Cup final against Chelsea is still one of my happiest moments as a Spurs fan, right up there with Peter Crouch's goal against Manchester City, and Gareth Bale's performances in the Champions League. Woodgate was solid during the 2008-2009 season, but hasn't been healthy since then and was recently released by the club after refusing a pay-as-you-play contract.

William Gallas: If I'm going to include Woodgate I might as well bite the bullet and include Gallas as well. In his lone season at Spurs (so far) Gallas has played well as a partner to Michael Dawson. He even occasionally captained the team. Gallas was perhaps the Club's most consistent player for Spurs this past season, during which both Ledley King and Michael Dawson were injured for extended periods. Yes, he's a former Arsenal player and a former Chelsea player, but that's a lot different than what Sol Campbell is. I was against the Gallas signing at first, but how can you argue with the performances that the aging Frenchman provided? I don't know if one season is enough to get him into the Best XI, but he's certainly worthy of consideration.

 

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