Grading the Squad: Fullbacks

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: Benoit Assou-Ekotto of Tottenham Hotspur looks despondent during the FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on April 15, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

We're back with more grades! Today we've got our grades for the fullbacks. This was probably the most consistent position for the club this season. Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Walker played a huge number of games at the left and right back positions respectively.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto 40(1):

Ashlock: Benny has become one of Tottenham’s most consistent performers and even chipped in two goals and five assists this season. His interplay with Gareth Bale on the left flank is excellent and his defensive play has improved leaps and bounds. A

Mechanick: If you were doing your pound-for-pound ranking for best Tottenham performance this season, Benoit Assou-Ekotto would have to top my list. The Cameroonian was a standout on defense, tackling with ease and losing the errors from his game that had costed him when he was younger. His offense stepped up as well, providing consistent service to go with two great goals. A+

Ed: My favourite thing about Benny is how much his off the field personality is reflected in his play. Calm, professional, never flaps- another of our most consistent performers. Expanded his game with more attacking forays which were a delight to behold at time. A-

Ryan: It’s easy to forget just how steady Benny is and how much freedom that gives Bale. That Bale never has to worry about what’s going on behind him is one of the most important parts of the team and that is all Benny. Also, infinity style points. Don’t you wish your leftback was B. A. E. A

TheRoosevelts:How many ways can you call someone is amazing. However in the future I would like to see more consistency in his hairstyle. A-

Nick: Serviceable, does what needs to be done, a rock. Never exciting, but never messed up either. In a world with a dearth of good left backs, that will inflate the grade from good to great. B+

Vedran Corluka 6(2):

Ashlock: I love Charlie almost as much as I love Gomes. The Croatian defender battled injuries early in the season and as a result lost his place to Kyle Walker. He’s a useful player to have, but his performances this year for Tottenham were not particularly noteworthy. C

Mechanick: I love Charlie (and apparently share a similarity in looks with him). He either needs to be with the squad next year or get sold for some good money. Incomplete

Ed: Charlie played this season?! Incomplete

Ryan: I wish Spurs had kept him because watching Walker hop around on one foot in the last couple matches was painful, but he’s too good to not play. Incomplete TheRoosevelts: Teacher currently under investigation for vindictive grade tampering. N/A

Nick: Charlie is the Spartan sent back from the 300 at Thermopylae to tell their tale before they eventually get completely massacred. B-

Adam Smith (1):

Ashlock: Smith looks like a promising young fullback but played only 25 minutes for Spurs. We don’t know enough about him to make any sort of judgment. Incomplete

Ed: No opinion from what I saw of him in the last game of the season, but high hopes for his future. Incomplete

Ryan: He looks older than 12, which you can’t say for most of the Tottenham kids. I guess that counts for something. Incomplete

Nick: Curse you Harry Redknapp for playing him at the last goddamn minute and forcing me to write one more pithy review. Who Cares?

TheRoosevelts: He looked really good that one time he jogged onto the field. Pass (preschool is pass/fail, right?)

Danny Rose 11(9):

Ashlock: I keep saying that someday Danny Rose is going to have to do something other than just "ON HIS PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT!". This was the season to do that, but it never materialized. I still think Rose is uncomfortable at left back and his defending leaves much to be desired. This was a season where good performances could have drastically improved his stock. Instead he’s in the same place he was last year. C-

Mechanick: Rose had some good performances at LB, but never looked quite comfortable there. Has use as a versatile player going forward, but starting to think he will never be anything more than a squad player. Naughton and Townsend’s returns to the squad put Rose in a perilous position for next season. C

Ed: I never thought Rose was an answer to the left-back problem when Benny’s absent and I still don’t. A natural winger who always looked out of position every time he was asked to fill in at back. If he can’t play the only role available to him, he shouldn’t be in the side. D+

Ryan: He really needs to be on a team that doesn’t have Bale on the left wing, doesn’t he? C

TheRoosevelts: I don’t think that Rose has much of a future with this club. He needs games to develop more and he is into that time of his youth where time is running out. Ryan couldn’t have said it better, he needs to be on a team that doesn’t have Gareth Bale. C

Nick: He’s not a left back, he never should have played left back, and he had no business defending. With Bale here, Rose has no business at this club right now, and even without Bale I feel that Rose is not a Top 6 player. C for Effort

Kyle Walker 46(2):

Ashlock: What a season Walker had. A couple of wonder goals, a PFA Young Player of the Year trophy, and a lot of polarizing opinions about his skill as a footballer. Walker is an incredible athlete, but his skill on the pitch sometimes leaves something to be desired. That said, his bombing runs this season were a sight to behold. I can’t argue that Walker has become a huge part of how this team plays and will remain that way for years to come. On the whole, a successful season for the Englishman. B+

Mechanick: Completely different grades would come from me based on Walker’s 2011 and 2012 performances. He started off the season defending like a chicken with its head cut off, but with the occasional moments of brilliance that would have you forget about his errors. But as the as the season went on, Walker improved dramatically, gaining much more discipline in his positioning and playing within himself. And for a guy that was only in his first full Premiership season, that is about all you can expect. A-

Ed: Still not the finished product but Walker’s brought energy and vitality to the side this year. His defensive issues can be ironed out, and even then his pace and enthusiasm has prevented him from being caught out as many times as he could and probably should have been this season. One of the most exciting things to look forward to next season will be Kyle taking the next step and becoming a mainstay of the club and the national sides. A-

Ryan: The question with this is how do you curve the grade? Do you judge him by what you want him to be because his crossing left so much to be desired that his grade has to take a hit. Do you judge him by his activity because he had a lot of that. Do you judge him by his improvement because as much as people want to harp on his defending, it was miles better in May than it was in August. Do you judge him by how he rates compared to his peers because the Premier League is devoid of right backs and no sane person can say he wasn’t one of the better ones in the league. A-

TheRoosevelts: A better first season as a full time starter could not be asked for. He had a few moments of brilliance, and more than a few moments when his inexperience was exposed. Hopefully over the summer he can improve his defensive positioning and maybe get in some crossing practice. With the addition of those two skills to his natural talents he could become the best right back in the world. B+

Nick: How do you curve the grade Ryan? Kyle showed you how to do that against Blackburn. A

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