All managers have different coaching methods and expect different things from their players on the pitch. And even the best managers have a tendency to play favorites. Whatever you think of AVB's reign, there are some players he used very effectively and some decidedly less so. With Tim Sherwood at the helm, might we see some marginalized or ineffective players finally show us what they can do?
Our record signing has -- as AVB put it -- been slowly adapting to life and football in a new country. But most fans will tell you that he's actually been chained up in the White Hart Lane basement being prodded with hot pokers because AVB is a daft moron who's ruining everything good about football. Whatever you believe, we're all desperate to see what the Argentine can do, and everyone hopes and expects to see him given the chance to prove how he good he is. Tim Sherwood would be daft to ignore the pleas for his inclusion.
The Hurrikane is a complete enigma at this point in his career. He's been floating around the periphery of the Spurs squad for a few years, and nobody knows quite what to expect from him. Is he a striker? Is he a #10? Is he actually the next Lev Yashin? Sherwood has worked with him in the youth setup for years now, and if anyone's going to unlock the riddle of Harry Kane and give him a chance to shine, it'll be him. At only 20 years old, he could still have a big impact for Spurs.
England's next big thing or degenerate gambler with a shooting problem? Townsend does everything right until he gets 18 yards out and pops one into Row Z. Can Sherwood do what AVB never managed and tell him to, y'know, stop doing that? Or perhaps he'll give Townsend a return to the left flank where he spent his early career? Either way, there's a lot of talent that can still be molded.
Only two years ago Ade bagged 17 goals and 11 assists and led the team in both categories. After AVB's appointment, the club's highest wage earner was often ignored and even forced to train with the reserves. AVB's falling out with the player is rumored to have played a part in the coach's sacking. If Sherwood can bring Adebayor back into the fold, he has the potential to be the best striker on our books.
The young Dane lead the known universe in chances created last year, but since being overmatched in the debacle against West Ham the most creative player in the squad has barely featured. Though injury impacted his playing time, AVB seemed to harbor reservations that the slight midfielder and his fancypants trickery might not have the physicality to hack it in the rough-and-tumble EPL. Will Sherwood give him the chance to carve up Premier League defenses again?
Another creative dynamo, like Eriksen, Holtby has only started five EPL matches as AVB opted instead for brute force over smooth silk. He's handsome, he works his ass off, and he seems to bleed blue and white. If Sherwood can get him firing, it will certainly help him get the fans in his corner. Plus, before he got here, he was really really good.
The Icelander came to Spurs as a goalscoring number 10/second striker, but since then he's been repurposed as a pseudo left winger to mostly "meh" effect. He spends most matches playing hide and seek with the ball, only to pop up with spectacular goal contributions. If Sherwood decides he wants to use a goal-getter in the hole instead of a creative passer, he might give Gylfi the chance to thrive in the role we bought him for in the first place.
Widely criticized by the Spurs faithful for basically being the worst, the departure of AVB and his high line might see the club captain revert back to the imperious form he managed alongside Ledley King. Much like John Terry, another classic English bruiser, he lacked the pace to thrive playing so far up the pitch. A return to a deeper defense could see him once again become a formidable presence in the Spurs backline.
Not all change is good. Several players who featured heavily under AVB may find that the grass isn't greener under Sherwood.
Moose played a part in almost every match he was fit to do so, but AVB still never managed to quite figure out how best to use him. As his time with Spurs has gone on, he's been pushed deeper and deeper into midfield and forced to do more and more defensive work and water-carrying. Sherwood could very well sort him out and get him playing to his all-action best. But if Sherwood opts for a more possession-based style with passers in the midfield, Dembele could find himself on the outside looking in.
Though for many fans it seems impossible that Paulinho could get any worse, it is, in fact, possible. Paulinho was a clear AVB favorite who never put it together. Sherwood could decide that Project Pauly isn't worth pursuing as he takes the team in another direction. The flip side, of course, is that Paulinho has been devastating for Brazil and dominant for Corinthians. Hopefully he can introduce that version of Paulinho to White Hart Lane.
The aging striker has always been a terrace favorite, but his one dimensional style may not fit with the new order. As rumors gather of a move to Toronto FC in MLS, he could very well be shown the door.
A hard-working speed merchant with great defensive workrate and constant question marks over his final ball. With Lamela, Townsend, and Chadli competing for spots on the wing, the current first choice Lennon may find that he's yesterday's news. In the eight years he's been at Spurs, Lennon's fought off competition for a spot more than once, and he won't go down without a fight, but could this be the beginning of the end for little Azza?
Vertonghen's exile to left back has seen him make waves in the media and complain about his role. He looks increasingly unhappy and rumors of an eventual departure to a bigger club always swirl. Sherwood will have to make sure he can bring Jan back to the light and keep him happy playing for the team, in whatever role is required. If not, he could be out the door sooner rather than later.
The French sweeper-keeper has been a dominant presence behind the backline since his move from Lyon last year. But his aggressive style masks frailties in other aspects of his game. Should the team revert away from the high line, Lloris might find himself facing significantly more shots from danger areas than he's used to. It would be typical Spurs to finally get a world class goalkeeper only to completely misuse him.
- Premier League projections and power rankings, Week 16: It gets really really bad
- Molde director says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been contacted about other jobs
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United: Fun with potential trophies
- Wednesday Morning Hoddle Of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur News And Links For December 18, 2013
- Erik Lamela unlikely to be loaned out