There was bad news out of Spurs Lodge this morning, as Harry Redknapp announced that Benoit Assou-Ekotto had groin surgery on Friday that seems likely to keep the left back out of Sunday's North London Derby. The injury leaves a hole at left back, a position already left perilously thin after Sebastien Bassong's departure on loan. The only two options seem to be Danny Rose and Gareth Bale, out of position, to fill in at left back. But after the way Bale has played in recent weeks at left winger, it doesn't seem advisable to move him to defense. Instead, Spurs would be wise to go with the man who once did this against Arsenal:
[sorry, image redacted. It was Danny Rose on his Premier League debut]
Rose was perhaps Tottenham's best player on the pitch in an otherwise lackluster game against Stevenage. Playing left wingback, Rose raced up and down the pitch, breaking up play and quickly starting the counter-attack. Rose was the man who set up the Tottenham goal that wasn't, bursting to the byline to set-up Louis Saha's disallowed goal.
It's easy to forget now, but Rose started the last five league matches of 2010-11 at left back. His play was inspiring for a Spurs team that had lost hope for a Champions League return. He continued up his fine play with a starring run for the England U-21s this summer. But it has been Benoit Assou-Ekotto's sterling form which has pushed Rose back into obscurity.
In the interim though, it seems clear that the Tottenham coaches have been working diligently in turning the left winger into a left back, in almost reverse situation of Gareth Bale. Rose has a size disadvantage for a defender, standing only 5' 8". But he has the pace and defensive aggression to make up for his, pardon the pun, "shortcomings."
Rose will face a difficult test Sunday in likely facing Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. But the likes of Scott Parker and Gareth Bale will help provide cover for "Broadway Danny." Rose just needs to be disciplined in his position, regain some of his May 2011 form, and he should do well to fill in for BAE.
Look, nobody expects Rose to be Paolo Maldini on Sunday. But Rose has stepped up on a big occasion before. Let's see if he can help put Tottenham on their way to being the Kings of North London on Sunday.