One of the more interesting positional battles that has taken place throughout the first part of the Premier League season is the one at the left back position. Danny Rose and Ben Davies have jockeyed for their place in the starting lineup for league matches, with both players getting opportunities. But far from being an acrimonious rivalry, the positional battle seems to have brought out the best in both players.
Ben Davies was bought from Swansea City at the beginning of last season, and the Welshman was expected to immediately challenge or even supplant Rose for a place in the starting lineup. While Rose started most of the matches at left back last season while healthy, this year it's been a much more even split with Davies starting the early season matches and Danny Rose working his way back into the lineup after recovering from injury. In an interview on Tottenham's website, Rose addressed the competition with Davies and said, essentially, it's all good.
"I just want to do better every season and I felt I did that last season. I managed to chip in with a few goals and assists as well. This season is no different, I want to push on again. Myself and Ben (Davies) are fighting to play in each and every game and that's great for the club and great for us. As long as we're both fit, we'll both keep improving."
Rose and Davies aren't the same kind of player: Davies is perhaps a little more defensively sound and a little less likely to push forward into the attacking third than Rose. There are opportunities, now that both of them are healthy, to use both Rose and Davies in a more tactical approach depending on Spurs' opponent. Having the ability to rotate both players in and out means that, unlike at the striker position, there's little worry of burning out either player as the season progresses.
Rose was the first of the current crop of Spurs academy graduates to crack into the starting lineup in recent years, and he also noted how the familiarity with players like Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, Nabil Bentaleb, and Ryan Mason has helped the squad.
"For a start, we know each other inside-out and we look out for each other. If someone is having a difficult time we know what we have to do or say to pick them back up. I know Harry has got all the plaudits for scoring his goals but people don't talk as much about how hard he works and what he does for the team. For me, he stands out with Nabil as players who will dig you out when you are in trouble and get your head back up. If we concede a goal the first person you'll hear is Harry, shouting at everyone to keep going and it's great when you've got someone like that who you've known for such a long time doing so well, it's pretty inspirational. Of course, there's the banter as well."
The Aston Villa match was Rose's 100th appearance for Tottenham Hotspur, and Rose is excited about the squad and its potential for the rest of the Premier League season:
"We know we're always going to score goals with Harry up top and the likes of Christian and Sonny behind him. Erik Lamela and Mousa have hit some great form as well. We're excited but we don't want to look too far ahead."