Cartilage Free Captain is reviewing each of Spurs' first team players and evaluating their season. The series continues today with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Etienne Capoue.
Minutes played: 1,282
What went right?
The French midfielder started out the year strongly, as did the squad. Paired with Nabil Bentaleb, the duo shared defensive responsibilities and sprayed the ball around the pitch, allowing the attackers to operate with a freedom that warmed the souls of Tottenham supporters everywhere.
While playing in this iteration of the pivot, the former Toulouse man was completing passes at an astounding pace and even showing the ability to spring attacks from deeper on the pitch.
He was a large part of Spurs quick start to the campaign.
What went wrong?
There are cold hard facts, and there is speculation. Primarily, he stopped playing well, and then he fell out the team.
When Bentaleb went out with a knock, the pivot struggled for months, and Capoue's performance was not immune. He remained a fixture as other midfielders cycled through until Ryan Mason eventually became first choice after an uplifting cameo against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.
Capoue never regained the form of those first four games. Mason, admittedly, was learning a new role, deeper on the pitch so one can forgive some of his naivety, but Capoue never really partnered well with him, save giving Manchester City a go at the Etihad before succumbing 4-1.
Then the Frenchman picked up a knock and never really featured in an important match again. He even played 70 minutes for the U-21 side near the end of the year for fitness purposes. Those 70 minutes are included in his total minutes played.
Whether he was part of the rumored Kaboul Cabal, or he likes the night life a bit more than being professional footballer, it is clear the manager has little trust in the man who seemed undroppable four matches into the season.
Seems that Etienne Capoue needs a new start. If that is the new season, a full training regimen, and a healthy dose of forgive and forget at Spurs, or a move to another club, only time will tell. Good sense dictates that he is gone, however.
We should not forget that he is contracted through 2017, and that he has to be a willing participant in any transfer. He was linked to more than a few Premier League and La Liga clubs during the last window, yet here we sit. He is undoubtedly a massive talent, and that talent is going to waste presently, so here is hoping that this situation is settled quickly.
Grade: 1.5 Chirpys